“I’m terrible at remembering plot and character specifics…if the story is successful, what I do remember and will never forget is what and how that story makes me feel.”—Paul Tremblay in the “Notes” of Growing Things.
Christopher Golden returns to the realm of high concept thrillers with The Pandora Room, a novel chock full of action, horror, mythology, and history. Following in the footsteps of Ararat, the story that successfully combined the aforementioned elements in one of the best novels of the year, this entry also keeps the setting claustrophobic and tight, a motif that could be a mess in less capable hands.
2019 is the year of Jonathan Janz. There. I said it. Flame Tree Press performed the remarkable act of acquiring his previously released titles and then doling them out to us on a pretty aggressive schedule, which is an impressive gesture all on its own…but wait! There’s more. Flame Tree is also releasing new titles from Janz.
Briella is a bright child, some would say gifted. That being said, she does have trouble making friends.
Along with a loathing for personal hygiene and lack of friends, Briella had taken up lying. Much like her father, she wasn’t really very good at it.
File this short novel under the “mind-blowing, mind-boggling, weird horror” category. There. It’s done. Attempting to classify I Dream of Mirrors is nearly impossible to explain or put into a genre box.
Translated: it’s one of the cool, weird stories that can be called horror, dark fantasy, sci-fi, or bizarre fiction. Readers who crave the out-there settings and characters of Jeff Vandermeer, Neil Gaiman, and John Langan will find plenty to lose themselves in here with a tale that, while being heady and intelligent, keeps itself grounded.
For those out there who are unfamiliar with Gwendolyn Kiste’s gorgeous prose, The Rust Maidens would be a great place to start. After last year’s stellar collection, And Her Smile Will Untether The Universe, Kiste steps out with her debut novel, which rattles the soul in a disturbing, yet beautiful read.
The Haunting of Henderson Close by Catherine Cavendish
Flame Tree Press (January 2019)
240 pages; $16.48 hardcover; $12.86 paperback; $6.29 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington
Catherine Cavendish is a prolific writer of horror, frequently with ghostly, supernatural, Gothic and haunted house themes. She’s very active on social media. I have no idea why I’ve never read her work before now, but now that I’ve finally read one of her novels, I know I’ll be back for more.
The Haunting of Drearcliff Grange School by Kim Newman
Titan Books (October 2018)
400 pages; $10.37 paperback; $6.15 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms
Kim Newman has an extensive resume that goes far beyond his Anno Dracula — but YA fiction? Gothic young adult fiction? Newman nails this genre in a fascinating story that will recall both Harry Potter and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children in a novel that sets itself apart from the others in style and characters.
Wow. First read of a brand new author for me and I absolutely loved it. There truly is no greater thrill than finding a new writer whose work keeps you guessing from start to finish. Okay, I can think of one or two greater thrills, but you get the point.
Small town horror. A coming of age novel. The good girl/bad girl conflict. Readers have read it all before, right? Not so. S.P. Miskowski turns the tropes on their heads in this wrenching novel that is bound to leave a scar.
A Midnight Dreary (The DeChance Chronicles, Vol. 5) by David Niall Wilson
Crossroad Press (January 2019)
218 pages; $25.99 hardcover; $12.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms
A novel that features Edgar Allan Poe is always something worth reading, especially as a character who is larger than life, shedding light into his mysterious past and sad fate. Add in dimensional and time travel, creatures of all sorts, the Brothers Grimm, and classic mythology, and the reader is in for a treat.
Stephen Graham Jones posted on social media a few times about a book called In the Valley of the Sun and I took note, but it wasn’t until he posted the book’s cover that I got excited. The cover boasts a human skull bleeding from the eye sockets. It’s wearing a cowboy hat and vampire incisors are clearly visible.
I finished reading Brian Kirk’s latest novel over a week ago and put off writing my review to allow this story time to gel in my mind. Or, maybe ferment is a better word. The whole concept of Will Haunt You is a bit of a mind-altering experience.
Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You by Scotto Moore
Tor (February 2019)
128 pages; $13.53 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms
Just when you thought Lovecraftian horror couldn’t get any weirder, Scotto Moore tosses out this tongue-in-cheek tale of a band that is destined to bring about the end of the world. It’s a fun read that can and will be easily read in one sitting, and is sure to leave the reader with a smile.