Shortlisted in the Australian Shadows Awards for “Best Horror Novel of 2016”.
A suspenseful horror story set in outback Australia…
Dr Erin Harris may be a scientist, but she has an unscientific obsession: to find a living Varanus priscus. Cryptozoologists call it the Devil Dragon. This giant Australian reptile went extinct some 12,000 years ago but like Bigfoot or Nessie, there are occasional sightings. Spurred by a credible witness, Erin cobbles together an expedition party consisting of herself, her witness, and his deer-hunting neighbours. They travel into the unexplored heart of a national park. Erin, believing the Devil Dragon to be a larger version of the Komodo, is confident she can outwit a specimen. However, the monster that lumbers out of the bush is a savage and unpredictable predator the size of a campervan. Erin must transform herself from genteel university lecturer to die-hard survivalist.
Published by Severed Press, November 2016. Severed Press titles are a regular feature in the top 100 Horror and Sci-Fi bestseller lists, and the company was voted ‘This Is Horror’ Publisher of The Year 2014. Check out Severed Press here.
The Australian Shadows are the annual literary awards presented by the Australian Horror Writers Association. In March 2017, Devil Dragon was shortlisted for Best Novel of 2016.
EXAMPLES OF WHERE TO BUY
Audiobook – Amazon
Book Depository – free shipping worldwide
EXAMPLES OF READER REVIEWS
Deirdre – 5/5 stars:- Ancient Prehistoric Komodo Dragons 🦎
Wow thank you Deborah Sheldon for such a wild crazy entertaining ride in Australia’s Outback! I love creature features with Gators, Crocs, Sharks, and Komodos. This one was amazing. The tension was pumped up so high like approaching the top of a huge roller coaster and suddenly you are careening down at breakneck speed. There are sudden sharp turns, loops, additional climbing then that terrible helpless drop -OMG! The unexpected kept happening.
I’m so glad Amazon suggest books based on what you’ve been reading or I wouldn’t have found this gem. I read it slowly because it was exciting and interesting. I didn’t want it to end.
I couldn’t guess where the author was going to take us next. You get the most underprepared MC in a battle for her life and those who accompanied her on her expedition. The ending was a cliffhanger – good! I needed an opportunity to catch my breath. I am hoping the author writes a sequel to this very exciting story.
Dutchgirl – 5/5 stars:- A good tale. From the introduction of a female protagonist to a really scary beastie, this story hits with surprises with regularity. The transformation of a wimpy academic into a hunter is quite fascinating and unusual in action/horror literature. Ms. Sheldon does not turn Erin into a superhero but she becomes far more competent in nature. The other characters are entertaining and have some depth as needed. I enjoyed the story and the scientific information alike. I look forward to more from Ms Sheldon in the future.
Anne Mccluskey – 5/5 stars:– I loved reading “Devil Dragon”. It is an exciting, fast paced book featuring a truly terrifying monster. Deborah’s characters are very human & believable. A strange thing happened while I was reading “Devil Dragon”-I found I disliked the main character Dr. Erin Harris. But that only increased my enjoyment while I read the book. I think she is an anti-heroine. I almost rejoiced in her trials.
“Devil Dragon” is beautifully written. It is a genuine pleasure to read such a free-flowing narrative.
The storyline develops in a roller coaster of events, each one accumulating until the appearance of the monster & then things just get worse!.
The creature is superbly described, with wonderful & realistic word pictures that are actually believable. While reading the description of the monster I was able to imagine that the horrific animal was real. Then the action becomes non-stop. Thrilling chapters follow with things happening so rapidly it made me eager to see what was next. It is completely engrossing.
The ending of the book is so unexpected. I did not see it coming. What a very fitting finale for Erin.
After reading this book, I am so glad I have found Deborah Sheldon’s work. I have bought more of her books & I have made it my goal to read all of her writings.
T.L. Boeing – 5/5 stars:– I loved it. I couldn’t put this book down & resented any interruptions. It was very well written & so exciting & intense. Towards the end I found myself grinding my teeth & wanted to scream out “Run!!!” Be prepared to be thrilled.
Suzanne Larue – 5/5 stars:– What a RIDE! Thank you for this one. Finally an original idea with both great character building and a realistic storyline. Very nice to see in a cryptid type book these days. A must have for your consideration if you enjoy cryptid monster mayhem especially with guns and sharp teeth.
S. David Long – 5/5 stars:– A devil of a book. Great read. Had trouble putting it down. Loved the plot and the characters. Well worth the read.
Shelley – 5/5 stars:– A must to read. This was a really good book. I read it in 3 days hated to put it down. If you love horror books based on possible creature this is the one.
J. Lyle – 5/5 stars:– Great monster novel. Really great novel. I read lots of “monster” books and this was one of the better ones. As good as Meg but in a different way.
Amazon Customer – 5/5 stars: – Stupendous! This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, a stupendous read. Set aside however many hours it will take to read because you are absolutely not going to be able to put this book down. Every twist and turn leaves you wanting more!
Sharon – 5/5 stars:- Page turner. Wow what a scary adventure. A city girl used to university living explores the outback of Australia. She is looking for the devil dragon. This book has some salty language and graphic details of gore. It is not for the squeamish reader. Lots of hunting violence. Also a lot of technical jargon. Looking forward to the next adventure.
Kindle customer – 5/5 stars:- This is a really good story. It takes place in Australia and is believable because any country that lays claim to a platypus may indeed have a dinosaur-type lizard in its interior.
Robyn – 5/5 stars:- I really enjoy reading books by this author. The writing is spare and direct. Devil Dragon is an exciting story with well-constructed characters who develop both personally and in relation to each other as the tale progresses. There is some gritty edge-of-your-seat action and the protagonist brings the chain of events to a forceful and compelling conclusion. If you like a book that won’t let you put it down, then get your teeth into Devil Dragon!
Amazon Customer – 5/5 stars:– A gripping thriller. I really liked how this story played out from the beginning to the end. The suspense of tracking an unknown species to the final confrontation was absorbing. At first Erin appeared self centered until it hit her what her obsession was doing to the group who went out to find her lizard. I especially liked the ending even though it seemed to end too abruptly. All I will say is I think she got exactly what she deserved. The author did a great job in fleshing out the details of the surroundings and description of the reptile to the point I could see it in my mind exactly what was going on and who the characters were. A really well written and intense story.
Allen James – 5/5 stars:- Normally I’m a slow reader but I couldn’t put this book down. It was very well written, good character development, lots of gore when it counted, pacing was perfect building up to a great ending. I liked the amount of technical jargon from the main character. I thought it was just enough to explain to the layman what a scientist would be thinking. The story made sense from the start. I would highly recommend this book to anybody who likes a believable action story.
Dirty Chap – 5/5 stars:- I loved this book. Deborah Sheldon really did her research. Her book combined both elements of fear and suspense, and then some gore/horror as well.
Loki – 5/5 stars:- An exciting ride thoroughly enjoyable. Will be following this writer and plan on reading more works. Really rather good lol.
MACARTHUR HERPETOLOGICAL SOCIETY: REVIEW
From the very first line of this thriller you are introduced to the title character, a frightening real creature of immense proportions that simply should not exist!
Reading on, we meet a collection of likeable and believable folk including one of the major characters, Dr. Erin Harris – a sophisticated, well-educated, adventurous scientist with a passion for herpetology. She has, after all, had hands-on experience with venomous snakes and crocodiles! Her plan is to verify the sighting of this ‘devil dragon’, make a name for herself in the scientific community and, in the process, erase a lifetime of self-doubt.
The journey begins and we, the reader, get a very clear insight into the party of four. All their skills, knowledge, strengths and weaknesses become evident along with their thoughts as they are determined to lure and kill the animal the farmer has seen. It isn’t long before they realise not only is it a huge beast, but a monumentally dangerous task they have undertaken. Will their wits and weapons be enough?
Anyone who has studied monitors, for even a short time, knows just how intelligent these creatures can be, how stealthily and unpredictably fast they can move and this particular animal is no exception. The only thing that defies belief is that this is fiction! A hard book to put down. Well researched, well written, well done Deb Sheldon – looking forward to your next offering, thanks. [Rhonda Glover, President, Macarthur Herpetological Society]
KAYLA GASKELL – FANTASY BOOK REVIEWS
Noel Baines has no idea what he is getting himself into when he reports his sighting of a monster on the edge of his property. He becomes a laughing stock, the town joke—that is until Erin Harris, an evolutionary biologist, comes to town for an interview. After seeing the evidence (dead heifer) and getting her samples tested by the all-too-willing Russ Walker-Smith, Erin becomes convinced that the monster is the Devil Dragon (Varanus Priscus) which went extinct 12,000 years before. In her excitement, Erin ignore Russ’ cautions to wait, to return to the university and apply for a grant, and rushes into a deal with Noel to catch the predator. Noel enlists the help of his neighbours, the Robinsons, who know the area and are skilled hunters. They head off together with notions of killing the monster and gaining fame and fortune from its discovery—a discovery Erin intends to claim for herself.
Despite her lack of hands on experience Erin believes that her wealth of theoretical knowledge will be valuable in the hours to come—hours in which she will become the only scientist alive having had the change to look at the Varanus Priscus up close. But will she stay that way for long? The Varanus Priscus quickly disproves many of Erin’s theories (theories based on her knowledge of the Komodo dragon) and shows it’s much more dangerous than Erin could have possibly guessed.
Erin is going into the biggest expedition of her life completely unprepared and without the safety net of even a phone signal to call for help. She, Noel, and the Robinsons will be completely cut off. Can a city-girl handle the pressure of a hunt? Can she hold her beers and her face in face of the dangers to come?
The thrill of new knowledge paired with the almost completely alien world of evolutionary biology made this an engrossing read. While slow in places, it maintained its entertainment and pulled off something very difficult—an Australian outback horror that felt authentic.
SCI-FI & SCARY REVIEW
Devil Dragon’ was a book I chose because it was a horror novel written by a woman. I realized I’ve been really bad about showing support in that area that month. (Of course, it didn’t hurt that it promised to fulfill my creature-feature needs.)
By the end of the book, I was truly enjoying ‘Devil Dragon’. However, the beginning of the book, with our first introduction to the main character, starts off a bit rough. Mostly because Erin is the type of walking cliché that makes you grit your teeth when she appears. However, as soon as I relaxed a little bit and realized this was going to be pure gory cheese, she was easier to handle. And, luckily, she actually gets much less irritating throughout the book.
If you like the idea of realistic ‘dragons’ – such as the Komodo – this is the book for you. Devil Dragons – Varanus priscus –actually existed at some point. That adds an extra layer of neatness when reading the book. I mean, reading about mutated gigantic monsters spawned from man messing with nature or aliens is cool, but throwbacks are nifty too. (However, Sheldon does admit that she took a few liberties, so don’t expect something completely true to known science.)
Deborah Sheldon gives readers the true bad-good B-movie experience with each page of ‘Devil Dragon’. There’s a plethora of action scenes and several “Nope. NopeNopeNope. No-pe!” moments. The drama between some of the characters in the story is needlessly high, but that kind of just adds to the entertainment factor, honestly. I mean, sometimes we all just need a little schlock to keep us entertained, don’t we?
I’m pleased to report that ‘Devil Dragon’ is a clean copy with no real cringe-worthy issues. I did feel like the very end (last couple of lines) were a bit rough and awkward, but that wasn’t a big thing. Overall, ‘Devil Dragon’ is a fun, mindless read that requests only that we sit back and enjoy the ride. And – let’s face it – we need that sometimes.
4/5 stars – Lilyn G.