John James Minster
October 25, 2022
Hellbender Books
Reviewed by Brian “Skull” Lewis

Hello horror fans! It’s me, your old pal Skull, with a new novel by John James Minster, The Undertaker’s Daughter. This is high school horror taken to a higher level by some old Jewish magic that makes it fresh and inclusive to those familiar with the traditions and educates people who aren’t. Like myself, for instance. Hey, even a member of the undead community can’t know everything! Anna Dingle is a smart young woman who helps her undertaker father with the family business. But she’s tired of being viewed as a plain jane with a brain. Anna wants to be seen as beautiful and sexy, the desire of handsome high school hunks. Especially one lucky guy named Timmy who plays guitar like he was born to do it.

Anna’s bestie, Naomi offers her assistance, with stunning results. But things don’t go exactly as planned. Even though she blows Timmy out of the water, she doesn’t do it without attracting a truckload of trouble. Namely, Bruce Barnette and his crowd of cruddy cronies, a group of garbage that make the mean kids in Stephen King’s Carrie seem kind of friendly. At least they had a few redeeming qualities. Barnette’s crew could’ve been close friends of theirs, though. So instead of a dreamy teenage love summer, Anna and Timmy spend way too much time worrying when Barnette will strike again.

Things reach critical mass when family is dragged into the mess. Once again, Naomi comes to the rescue. More than just a pretty face, she’s deep into the study of ancient religious mysteries and a recent discovery leads to her creating a powerful protector from one of the funeral home’s cadavers with a unique history. Since reason and the local criminal justice system haven’t been much help to the girls, it’s time to fight fire with fire! Or is it? Anna’s got a conscience and doesn’t want to pollute her life with bad energy, but is she making the right decision? There’s only one way to find out and that’s to grab a copy of The Undertaker’s Daughter by John James Minster from your favorite bookseller.

Damaged Skull Writer and Reviewer gives The Undertaker’s Daughter A FIVE STAR RATING! This is a powerful story full of plot twists that delivers some serious messages. So, while it starts out in a bright and cheery high school fashion, this ain’t Barbie and Ken in plastic paradise. One quick note: those sensitive to reading sexual assault scenes should proceed with a bit of caution. On the other end of the spectrum, fathers who love their daughters may do some fist pumps when the big bad wolf finds out what it’s like to be prey. Overall, a solid horror novel about bullying, family, friendship, faith and the power of love. Recommended.

Want to find out more about John James Minster? Then head on over to:





You can also order The Undertaker’s Daughter directly from Sunbury Press here:

And don’t forget to follow me, your old pal Skull, at: which will help your favorite independent authors, poets, and publishers. This is an inclusive blog where everyone is valued, except for haters who are heartily encouraged to climb into the nearest industrial trash compactor and press start. My human host, Brian James Lewis is a disabled poet and writer with PTSD who has 3 new Beat Generation style poems in Trajectory Journal issue 23, available now! As is issue 22 which contains his terrifying short story Following My Destiny about misguided mass shooter Chance McCandless. We’re also on Twitter @skullsnflames76 and Goodreads. See you soon!

John James Minster

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