I had certain expectations for Unbury Carol. That was foolish. I should know by now, after reading much of Josh Malerman’s output (except, somehow, the one that got everybody talking about him to begin with: Bird Box), that he is not going to deliver the expected. So, when I allowed the title and the synopsis and the cover to lead me to expectations of a western/horror hybrid that would be a dark cross between a fairy tale and a Hammer movie…well, I should have known that wasn’t what I was going to get.
Mary SanGiovanni is a prolific author and podcaster, and she’s getting ready to add another title to the list: editor. Recently, SanGiovanni announced that she is joining forces with respected publisher Thunderstorm Books to form a new, female-centric imprint. In the following interview, SanGiovanni discusses her approach to creating and curating this new line of horror fiction
Over the years, the Hellraiser mythology has become something of a hash, combining elements of Clive Barker’s original novella The Hellbound Heart with bits from the Hellraiser movies (mainly the first two in the franchise: Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II). Nowhere is this more evident than in The Scarlet Gospels. In Barker’s 2015 novel, the cenobite known as Pinhead (but not to his face; no, never to his face) was a sometimes confusing mix of the elegant sadist from Hellbound Heart and a bloodthirsty, Hollywood-style slasher.
Quiet horror is, to me, the most effective style of horror, especially when it comes to written horror. Shocks, gore, jump scares—when done right, those things work in the moment. But quiet horror, when done right, lingers. Stays with you. Comes back to you at the worst (i.e., the best) possible times, like when you’re just about to drift off to sleep and you hear a soft thump behind the closet door, or when you catch a glimpse of something out of the corner of your eye that disappears when you look straight at it. Shock hits you and then wears off a second later and you’re laughing, shaking your head, saying “They got me again.” Quiet horror hangs around, and when it comes back to you, nobody is laughing.
Robert McCammon Previews The Listener
The Listener Preview Event
The Alabama Booksmith, Birmingham, Alabama
December 5, 2017
by Blu Gilliand
More than a dozen devoted fans (some driving from more than three hours away) braved a rainy Alabama night to gather at The Alabama Booksmith for a “preview party” for Robert McCammon’s upcoming Cemetery Dance novel The Listener.
The Weight of Words edited by Dave McKean and William Schafer
Subterranean Press (December 2017)
248 pages; $40 hardcover
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand
Like all great artists, Dave McKean has a style that is immediately recognizable as his and his alone. His unique visuals have graced everything from comic books (perhaps most notably his eight-year run as cover artist for Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series and his collaboration with Grant Morrison on the graphic novel Arkham Asylum) to album covers. book covers….even stamps. So, what happens when you ask a group of authors to filter that style through their own distinct voices?
Bubba and the Cosmic Blood-Suckers by Joe R. Lansdale
Subterranean Press (October 2017)
200 pages; $31.84 hardcover; $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand
Back in 1994, Joe R. Lansdale wrote a story called “Bubba Ho-Tep” about an elderly Elvis Presley teaming up to fight a mummy with a fellow nursing home resident who thought he was JFK, and I read it and thought, “Welp, it doesn’t get much crazier than that.” Boy, was I wrong.
Unspeakable Horror 2: Abominations of Desire edited by Vince Liaguno
Evil Jester Press (October 2017)
404 pages; $14.99 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand
In his introduction, accomplished author and editor Vince Liaguno describes the theme of Unspeakable Horror 2: Abominations of Desire as “desire gone awry.” This theme winds through a strong slate of stories selected by Liaguno for his follow-up to the Bram Stoker Award-winning collection Unspeakable Horror (2008). As we often see in real life, these stories portray desire as a catalyst for more than pleasure; often, desire leads to unintended consequences, bad decisions, and terrible results.
John Brhel and Joe Sullivan grew up consuming the short, sharp shocks of horror fiction anthologies in the ’80s and ’90s. After several successful writing projects, they’ve finally found the perfect way to channel their love of twisted tales in their new anthology, Corpse Cold. They took the project to Kickstarter. and, with just under a week left ’til the deadline, they’ve blown past their $3,000 goal.
Brhel (who, when he isn’t writing short stories, writes the “My First Fright” column for Cemetery Dance) took a few minutes to answer some questions about the origins and approach to Corpse Cold.
(Interview conducted by Blu Gilliand)
Kevin Lucia has been creating strange stories for a long time. It’s a passion project for him, borne out of a love for reading and an overwhelming desire to share the people, places and things that dominate his dreams and nightmares. His work has appeared alongside many genre greats in numerous anthologies and magazines, and now he’s looking to take his efforts to the next level with the pursuit of his very own Patreon. Recently I swapped a few emails with Kevin about his latest project (among other things—he is, after all, the Reviews Editor for Cemetery Dance magazine and Cemetery Dance Online). Enjoy!
Joe Hill‘s compelling quartet of novellas, collectively titled Strange Weather, hits shelves tomorrow, riding a wave of anticipation and positive reviews (including our own). Strange Weather is the latest example of what has become a hallmark of Hill’s career: versatility. The author roams from horror to fantasy to sci-fi….from comics to prose to screenplays…..from massive 700-page epics to to short novels to short stories….fearlessly and effortlessly. Likewise, our discussion covers a lot of ground, beginning with his latest release, then touching on his comics work before teasing a bit about what’s in the future.
Earlier this year, people began calling 2017 “The Year of King.” The “King” in question is Stephen King, who’s had a busy year even for, well, Stephen King: new television series based on his novella The Mist and Mr. Mercedes; a milestone birthday (his 70th) in September; a critical and box office smash hit in IT; two more critically acclaimed adaptations for Netflix in Gerald’s Game and 1922; and a brand new novel, Sleeping Beauties, co-written with his son Owen.
Now, as the year is winding down, it’s King’s other son, Joe Hill, who has stepped up to claim his place in “The Year of King” with Strange Weather, a collection of four short novels and one of the strongest overall works in Hill’s already illustrious career.
Hap and Leonard: Savage Season adapted and illustrated by Jussi Piironen
Short, Scary Tales Publications/IDW (October 2017)
124 pages; £39.95 signed, numbered hardcover; $17.99 paperback; $7.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand
Joe R. Lansdale’s “Hap and Leonard” series isn’t the first thing that comes to my mind when considering what books would benefit from being adapted in graphic novel form. Lansdale’s series, about a couple of blue collar buddies whose keen sense of right and wrong gets them into escalating amounts of trouble with bad guys and good guys alike, is elevated by the author’s sharp dialogue and natural storytelling ability—two things which could easily be lost in translation when moving to the more visual medium of comics.
Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction is a history lesson crossed with the world’s coolest (and unlikeliest) museum exhibit. As the title indicates, author/curator Grady Hendrix is our guide, taking us from the post-Rosemary’s Baby boom of paperback horror all the way through the 1990s bust. In between, there’s a whole lotta crazy to cover, and Hendrix is more than game to take us through every twist, turn and trend.
I’ll be honest, when I first got wind of this book, I expected little more than a portfolio of lurid paperback covers accompanied by a plot synopsis for each book, maybe a spotlight or two on some of the more prolific authors, and perhaps a closer look at some of the publishers who were churning the stuff out. And you know, I would have been fine with that. But Hendrix has given us so much more. An accomplished author in his own right (My Best Friend’s Exorcism, Horrorstör), Hendrix digs deep and writes with passion. You need look no further than his introduction, in which he writes about the book that served as his “gateway drug” into the world of paperback horror. It’s better heard from him, but let me just toss out the term “Gestapochauns” as an appetizer. Yeah, you’re thinking there’s no way that could mean what you think it means, but it does.
Rather than go year-by-year, Hendrix has organized the book by the themes and subgenres that defined the period. So, we move from “Hail, Satan” to “When Animals Attack” to “Real Estate Nightmares” to “Inhumanoids” to….well, you get the idea. Each of these chapters are written with a historian’s observational skill coupled with a fan’s passion and a professional’s touch. Hendrix hits the requisite high points like David Seltzer’s The Omen, James Herbert’s The Rats, and Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door (and it’s infamous skeleton cheerleader cover!), but he revels equally in obscure gems like Eat Them Alive by Pierce Nace and Slay Bells by Joe Gibson and Blood Snarl by Ivor Watkins.
Hendrix recognizes that the covers were often the best thing about these books, so he’s written several “Coroner’s Report” asides spotlighting particularly prolific artists and their contributions.
I often look at my own, growing library and keep a mental list of my “essentials,” the books I absolutely could not do without. Paperbacks from Hell is now on that list. As a reference book, as a celebration, and as an appreciation, it’s one of the best books about the horror genre that I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. I’ll honestly be stunned if I ever meet a horror fan that disagrees. This gets my highest possible recommendation.
Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors edited by Christopher Golden
Dark Horse Books (August 29, 2017)
216 pages; $10.19 paperback; $8.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand
For this, the fourth Hellboy prose anthology and the first in almost 10 years, editor Christopher Golden decided to recruit only authors who had never published a Hellboy story in prose before. The result is a fresh crop of tales that showcase the depth and richness of the world Mignola has created.