Cinema of Shadows (2011)

Welcome to the Woodfield Movie Palace.

The night the Titanic sank, it opened for business…and its builder died
in his chair.   In the 1950s, there was a fire; a balcony full of people
burned to death.   And years later, when it became the scene of one of
Harmony, Indiana’s most notorious murders, it closed for good.  Abandoned,
sealed, locked up tight…until now.

Tonight, Professor Geoffrey Burke and his Parapsychology
students have come to the Woodfield in search of evidence, hoping to find
irrefutable proof of a haunting.  Instead, they will discover that, in this
theater, the terrors are not confined to the screen.

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“4 Stars!  Michael West is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.” ~ Mermaid Heather

“9 out of 10!  West effortlessly chills you to your very marrow.  I highly recommend snagging a copy of Cinema of Shadows as soon as humanly possible…one hell of a good story.”  ~The Sci-fi Guys Book Review

“4.5 out of 5 stars!   West simultaneously warms the heart and chills the soul…Don’t start reading Cinema Of Shadows on a weeknight, because you’re going to end up calling in to work from lack of sleep.  Save it for the weekend, because you’re going to be up all night, unable to put it down until you finish, and not sleeping so well after you do.” ~Horror-Web

“Ah how I loved this…I would recommend Cinema Of Shadows to anyone looking for a fun, entertaining read with characters that are well written and enjoyable. With some chills and thrills, it’s sure to please. I’d personally recommend it in winter, when you’re curled up under a blanket, when the lights are low, when the wind is howling. At least you hope it’s the wind, better check though just to be sure.” ~Jess Resides Here

“This is intelligent, atmospheric horror that does not have to resort to ‘shock value’ to get an effect. If you like Stephen King’s style…you will definitely like Michael West’s work.” ~Stephen Zimmer, author of The Rising Dawn Saga and The Fires In Eden Series.

4 stars!  I was hooked into Cinema of Shadows from the start…an original and frightening story.   I have some vivid images from inside (the) Woodfield Movie Palace that will continue to haunt me.  I couldn’t help but like the characters and root for them to survive.  Cinema of Shadows is the first novel I have read by Michael West, but it won’t be the last.”
~Book Den

“Cinema of Shadows…delivered what I expected and then some.  Harmony, Indiana…may one day take its place alongside purely fictional cities like Arkham, Dunwich, and Castle Rock.   There are some truly original scenes here as well as some pointedly subtle allusions to horror classics.  (Michael West) is one horror writer to watch.  He’s definitely got the goods on display here.”  ~Pretty Sinister Books

“The novel is chock-full of ghostly encounters, some harmless, but far more wind up treacherous–even fatal…a fun, bloody romp that has a great B-movie feel to it. The pacing really felt cinematic, and reminded me of the better Fangoria Fright Flicks that I’ve seen over the last couple years.” ~The Rabid Fox

Cinema of Shadows works beautifully… Michael West appreciates horror, and is extremely skilled at conveying eeriness and creating terrifying situations…(He) expertly projects the specters, providing the narrative with vivid visuals.” ~Hellnotes

Cinema of Shadows is a treat for horror fans.  Michael West has taken the macabre and infused it through the pages of this book, it has a creep-factor that had me putting the book down before I went to bed so that I wouldn’t give myself nightmares.  This reminded me of…Richard Laymon and James Herbert.  Ghouls of a nature that common sense or science can’t explain away – fantastic.” ~Cyberbookworm

“Highly recommended for fans of horror just for the imagery alone and wannabes of this genre should take lessons from a writer who has this skill mastered.  Just watch out for those gargoyles…” ~Sonar4

Cinema Of Shadows is a full-throttle, unique journey that takes the concept of the conventional ‘haunting’ to new territory.  Well written, with a suspense that is palpable, West delivers a novel that strikes emotional chords and challenges our imaginations.  (He) proves once again that his voice is rare and quite formidable.” ~Shroud Magazine

“Classy, old-fashioned horror, Cinema Of Shadows will appeal to…those who enjoy supernatural horror and well-constructed, well-written stories of any sort.  The characters are well-written and the story compelling, tense and creepy, building to a fitting conclusion.  It’s no slight on the book that my dear old mother picked it from my shelf, read it in a matter of days and loved it (hey, she reads The Walking Dead comic books. Being cool is in the blood). Cinema Of Shadows is approachable, readable horror that even a non-genre connoisseur can pick up and enjoy; a page-turner in the truest sense.” ~The Horror Review Hole
“4.5 out of 5 stars!  Cinema of Shadows has everything you are looking for in a horror novel.  Strong characters, an interesting location with a detailed history, chills and frights, unexpected twists and even a little true love.  I love the paranormal investigation aspects, and having dabbled in that before, can testify to the accuracy of its portrayal.  My only complaint is that the book felt a little short. Of course, that could be because I read it in all of two sittings.  Buy the book.  You won’t regret it.” ~Brett J. Talley, award-winning author of That Which Should Not Be

“I loved the characters, the setting, and yes, even the baddies. Mr. West told us of his love for the horror genre and damn does he shine. If I can read this book and love it, anybody can, because it’s good. When at one point I was asked why I was visibly squirming in my chair you know he’s doing something right!” ~Ryan Thomason, Watch Play Read

“I just finished this fast paced, non-stop thrill ride from Michael West and I’ll be damned if I didn’t start going through literary withdrawal.  It’s like a drug, it hooks you early, draws you in then spins you into oblivion. Mr. West really did his homework on this and it shows…a spectacular read.  10/10” ~David Rupp, Infernal Dreams

“4.5 out of 5 stars!  One day, I was sitting reading this book in my car and someone knocked on my window…I literally screamed.  The Cinema itself was an awesome setting.  The author writes people well…it made it more real and believable.  I enjoyed this book greatly and look forward to reading some more by this author.” ~Bee’s Knees Reviews

 “9 out of 10!  Cinema is a triumph—incredibly satisfying, offering the scares you hope for with an attention to detail, history, and a set of characters you like and root for, even knowing not everyone makes it through to the end.  At 278 pages the book moves fast, yet never feels rushed.  Highly recommended!”~R.J. Sullivan, author of Haunting Blue

“I thought this was a great book.   I loved the creepy aspect…how the people interacted with each other and the ghostly back stories…I read this alone and late at night, giving the read some extra nuances and I loved how the book made me feel.  I would give Cinema Of Shadows four stars!” ~Mad Moose Mama

“Forget haunted houses, try a haunted theater!  Michael West delivers a ghost story that both holds true to the traditional tropes but simultaneously provides his own unique spin, and delivers a plot twist that leaves your heart pounding.   West breathes depth and life into every character: living, dead, and demonic. You care for what happens to them, unlike in, oh say, the Saw films where you could care less if the heartless morons get torn into itsy bitsy pieces.  If you like ghost stories or even just horror stories in general, you’ll love Cinema of Shadows.” ~Scott M. Sandridge, Fear and Trembling

“4 stars!  Fast-paced Horror at its best!  Cinema is a story much in the vein of The Mangler with a touch of Rose Red. It’s got demons, ghosts and psychics. It’s got a parapsychology instructor eager for proof. And it’s got a great setting, well-rounded characters and plenty of scares. West does some interesting things with the trapped-ghost sub-genre…I couldn’t put this one down.”~Parish the Word

“Michael West’s Cinema of Shadows is the most fun I’ve had between the pages of a book in a long time…Whether he’s suggesting something in the shadows, building up to a big reveal, or literally dragging you into Hell, West does an absolutely stellar job of describing the horrors. There are subtle moments of campfire ghost-stories born of urban legends, creepy scenes of Poltergeist like activity, and even some darkly comic moments that reminded me of movies like Ghostbusters or The Frighteners. Once the story really gets going, though, it’s sheer paranormal insanity, kind of like an unrated version of the original The Amityville Horror, as re-imagined by Stephen King, and directed by Rob Zombie…This is supernatural horror at its darkest, wildest, and most unapologetic. It’s a story populated by ghosts, poltergeists, demons, and psychic phenomena, and one that refuses to waste a single word in justifying itself to the skeptics. I found it so refreshing to become immersed in a good old-fashioned horror story again, to sit back and be entertained by the thrills and the chills, and not be preached at or reasoned with. It’s pure popcorn horror, complete with a gallon of sugary soda to fray your nerves and stretch your bladder, keeping you physically and emotionally on edge until the very last page.”               ~Beauty in Ruins

“Author Michael West has managed to produce something that is chilling, suspenseful, haunting and horrific. It also manages touches of much needed levity, not bad for one book!   West is a skilled story-teller expertly holding your attention and building the intrigue and mystery before dishing out the frights! He has managed here to turn the familiar: a cinema into a truly terrifying place where malevolent spirits and demons lurk in the shadows.   What I particularly enjoyed was the schlocky ‘B-movie’ feel to the proceedings. Along with all the shocks and jolts there are plenty of pop-culture references and it is clear that even if his protagonists are not having a great time West certainly is. Fans of novelist Stephen King and film-maker John Carpenter will enjoy this.  West also manages to write female characters well, here they not the usual clichés you find in horror films, i.e. helpless screaming victims or monosyllabic vixens but rather sophisticated, intelligent, strong and defiant heroines so kudos for that as well.   Cinema of Shadows is an excellently crafted and constructed tale where something monstrous and unworldly exists in quiet rural Indiana. West has proved he is an extremely accomplished horror author and I very much look forward to his next project. ”                        ~The Independent Review

“I absolutely loved this book.   In many ways, great ways, Cinema of Shadowsis a typical horror novel. It’s clear West loves the genre, but also understands some of its failings. He manages make the book a ton of fun by playing on reader expectations and turning them over. The lead females can be in distress, without having to be saved and they can be saved without being weak and useless. Likewise the males can be tough guys, but still get into trouble and need a little help themselves.   Cinema of Shadows was fun to read, hard to put down…Definitely recommended, especially by those who miss having a little fun and humor with their ghosts and gore.” ~ Michele Lee,  author of Rot and Wolf Heart

“9.2/10!  West is an extremely accomplished horror author…These are all believable characters who all suffer with their own fears and neuroses making the tension and suspense all the more palpable…The Woodfield is a place with almost a century of tragedies, accidents, fires, murders and suicides… the perfect place for a haunting. ” ~ Fantasy Book Review

“4 stars! Cinema of Shadows is delightfully creepy, and West has a way of writing that makes the hair stand up at the back of your neck. At a particularly eerie part in the story, I flipped the page and was faced with a ghastly illustration (courtesy of Matthew Perry) that startled me into dropping the book! Some horror books are pretty gruesome and gory, but this book falls more into the ‘scary’ category. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a book that gives you the creeps while reading!” ~ Darlene’s Book Nook 

“Have you ever wanted to go on a ghost hunt? If so, read this novel first for some excellent practical suggestions—no smoking for a start. And if not, enjoy this ghost-hunting tale for the vicarious thrill of a truly scary encounter with the ghosts of a crumbling cinema.  Backstory is well-timed, adding depth to characters the reader already cares about. Romance has just the right level of happenstance and human depth. And the horror creeps up on the reader, scary, double-edged and well-focused, serving the story well.  Harmony Indiana sounds like a town that will haunt the horror shelves for years to come, and Michael West is a writer to enjoy. For young adult upwards, Cinema of Shadows is highly recommended.” ~ Sheila Deeth, Book Town

“Many of us go to the movie theatre to be frightened.  The difference is this movie theater is terrifying and there is NO movie running.   This novel is a first rate horror story.  Michael West creates realistic, likeable characters.   I think that is what I like best about his books.  I’m not a big fan of spooky stories but I like his and his characterizations are what make it likeable for me.  The characters are likeable and are forced to face their personal demons.   West does a great job building tension and terror.” ~ Pick of the Literate

“I like horror.  Love ghost stories.  This is a blend of the two with some horrific events that provide the fertile ground for a haunting in the Woodfield Movie Palace.  It really read like a good horror flick you’d put in for Halloween.  The ghost hunter stuff was accurate.  I’ve watched all those shows. Will the team survive? You’ll have to read this tale to find out!” ~ Alchemy of Scrawl

“5 Out of 5 Stars!  Stephen King, James Herbert, Richard Laymon, Ramsey Campbell, Peter Straub, and maybe one or two more make up my ‘horror stable.’ I’ve now added Michael West to this small very talented group of writers who have the ability to entertain the hell out of me…The book is fast paced and the story made me think of Straub’s ‘possessed’ movie theatre in Ghost Story but more in-depth and a damn sight scarier…With a minimum of muss and fuss West has come up with characters that I liked.  More importantly, I believed their assorted back stories and I could empathise with all of them.  He also does a brilliant job with the dialogue of each character.  Very few authors have the knack for making the people in their stories sound real.  Michael West has a ‘good ear’ and he has the knack of making their speeches and conversation sound natural and real.  Cinema of Shadows was an excellent introduction to a new author and he is now a member of my small stable of writers who can deliver not only scares but stories that carry you away.” ~ MikesFilmTalk

“The story is brilliantly written by West…wonderfully original.  West has written a fun, quick-paced thrill of a haunting with (the) most believable characters; each one bringing their own story to the overarching one in a nice blend of reality mixed with ghosts and one real nasty demon.  He writes in a superbly elegant way, almost lyrical at times, while scaring the crap out of the reader. I actually read this book very late at night, and found myself jumping at the usual creaks and groans of an old house; hmmmm…or could it be that while reading this a few haints decided to materialize perhaps encouraged by West’s story?  I’m not sure, but I do know that this book is very difficult to simply put down and definitely not one to forget.  His creative, artistic style ‘paints’ one helluva scary trip.” ~Dolls of Despair

“I’d suggest you sit back, enjoy the ride, but don’t let your guard down. If you do, that’s when Michael will put the boo on you.”


ISBN # 978-0-9837402-0-9  (Trade Paperback)
ISBN # 978-0-9837402-9-2  (Limited Hardcover)
ASIN # B07SQBNLPX (Audiobook)
Also available as an e-Book.

Own one of “The Scariest Horror Books of All Time!”*

Order now from:,,,,,,,, Barnes&Noble, BooksAMillion, Joseph-Beth, Powell’s, Kobo, iBooks, Indiebound,, or your favorite book store. 

Read the entire Harmony, Indiana series from the beginning, and hear it narrated by Nila Brereton Hagood on audiobook! #HearTheFear

*As voted on

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Cinema of Shadows