Haley Newlin’s Take Your Turn, Teddy is a dark, psychological horror story exploring the manifestations of early childhood trauma. Newlin uses themes of domestic violence, anxiety, and isolation to create a provocative landscape, The Shadow, for her characters to encounter and battle. A disturbing glimpse of how a broken spirit can unleash powerful demons of the soul. Absolutely captivating, I couldn’t put it down.
As far as introductions to an author’s work goes, I can’t think of a better offering than a collection of three, novellas differing in style and substance but sharing the same universe and characters.
All three tales in In Nightmares We’re Alone are told from a first person POV. Greg Sisco takes readers through a character’s own, personal nightmare as they are living it. . .alone. But they’re not really alone, are they? We are with them.
February is Women in Horror Month. Officially. But unofficially, genre buffs read horror fiction all year. It’s not even something to consider or be super intentional about, but of course the focused, extra attention women get during WiHM is important.
Eventually, the Women in Horror Month movement will take off in a more expansive direction allowing people to promote WiHM whenever and however they desire. But for now, it’s important to join together and amplify women who write horror loudly and proudly with a unified voice this month.
My favorite book series for the longest time was “The Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. These books were set in the American Midwest in the late 1800s.
Hearts Strange and Dreadful transports us to New England in 1821 and I, for one, could not have been more eager to make the trip back in time to this familiar era.
“The Three Births of Daoloth” series is a trilogy that was previously released in hardcover, limited editions by PS Publishing. Now, the series is getting a reprint by Flame Tree Press and is poised to get a whole new fanbase for this epic, cosmic horror story.
Fast cars are not my thing. That whole Fast and Furious movie franchise? Nope. Never saw those. The cover of this book with that muscle car tearing through a desert landscape and the title Eight Cylinders doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest. What does appeal to me is this slim (just over one hundred pages) novella is written by Jason Parent and published by Crystal Lake Publishing. I’m a big fan of both. Crystal Lake consistently publishes quality horror and Parent has a unique storytelling style that I enjoy. Last year, I celebrated his short story, “Russian Dollhouse” from the Midnight in the Graveyard anthology.
There’s kind of this unofficial debate among readers concerning those who enjoy unlikable characters and those who need protagonists to be tolerable in order to invest in their story.
I like despicable, flawed people. I think protagonists should be as varied as the people we encounter in real life. I don’t need to like people in order to emotionally invest in their stories — sometimes, hating them is just as fun as loving them.
Women in Indie Horror have a powerful voice and if that’s a surprise to you, take note of the popular Best Of Lists from horror reviewers as 2020 comes to a close. You will see these names: Laurel Hightower, Gemma Amor, Samantha Kolesnik, Sara Tantlinger, Gwendolyn Kiste, Cynthia Pelayo, V. Castro, Stephanie Ellis, Jessica Guess, Briana Morgan, and many, many more.
One name I saved for last and special mention. Hailey Piper. Hailey is one to watch. She has had a stellar year of releases starting with the breakout novella, The Possession of Natalie Glasgow. Then it was just one winner after the next: Benny Rose, The Cannibal King (Unnerving), An Invitation to Darkness (Demain Pub), and several short stories in various anthologies.
For me, an avid reader of horror who reads nothing but books in this genre day in and day out, Ronald Malfi is among the legends. He is the award-winning author of several novels, novellas, and two short story collections, and I feel like I have only scratched the surface of his work.
My introduction to his storytelling was the collection, We Should Have Left Well Enough Alone. The first story stood up and punched me square between the eyes, making me a fan for life! I highly recommend it. Later, I went on to read December Park (one of my favorite coming-of-age novels with an intense murder-mystery-thriller storyline) and Bone White (a creature-feature with heart, high-stakes, and themes of loneliness/isolation).
I’m excited that I have more Malfi books to look forward to both from his back catalog of fan-favorites and new releases. We talk about those books and more in this interview.
In the third collection of horror stories from Adam Nevill, something is missing. The “who” and the “what” and the “why” aspects of the story have been intentionally omitted from the narrative and it’s up to you, the reader, to discover and discern these things for yourselves.
Doesn’t that sound…
Because it is.
A group of adults shares the same dark secret. When they were children, they grew up at the foot of a mountain called Red Peak. Isolated from the rest of the world, the children lived through the traumatic experience of life in a cult. Years later, a fellow survivor and friend, takes their own life. The grownup children of Red Peak reunite and re-open old wounds.
What really happened on that last night at Red Peak? Our protagonists, the survivors, must bring to the surface all the painful memories they buried and maybe even take a trip back to where it all happened.
For anyone that’s ever lived in a small town where everyone knows each other and seems to hold secrets about their next-door neighbors, idyllic town horror is a satisfying trope. Truth is always stranger than fiction and if you live in one small town long enough, you’re bound to uncover some of the strange history and unusual happenings. Sometimes what appears to be perfectly quaint is really just good at hiding its seamy underbelly.
It’s not difficult to suspend disbelief in order to buy into the old adage, “Nothing is as it appears to be.” Or another fitting favorite, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”
I read a brief tagline for Ring Shout that was along the lines of, “a dark fantasy historical novella that gives a supernatural twist to the Ku Klux Klan’s reign of terror” and I was sold. I love everything the tagline promises: Dark Fantasy. Historical Fiction. Novella. Supernatural. Give me all of those things.
Ring Shout not only delivered on these promises, but it also flew past all of my expectations making this book a solid contender for my favorite book of 2020.
You know, if I didn’t have to sleep, eat, or tend to the family during this stay-at-home order, I would have sat and read this one straight through. This book is everything.
Cue some strange intro music like the eerie riffs from X-Files or the digital notes of that synthesized melody from Stranger Things and settle into this binge-worthy genre mashup. Best known for his bizarro-horror style and flavor, Jeremy Robert Johnson is an unexpected hero for the coming-of-age conspiracy thriller genre.
Christina Henry entices readers to travel back in time to a small town called Smith’s Hollow. It’s the 1980s. We follow best friends Lauren and Miranda, their longtime friendship seemingly in transition. Miranda is looking to make friends with older boys who drive while Lauren resents being dragged along as a third wheel.
Wrapped in this compelling coming-of-age story is something more insidious than teenage boys. Two girls Lauren’s age are found murdered, their bodies mutilated, in the backyard of one of her neighbors.