You might be a horror book consumer like me and have already bought into the Grady Hendrix brand. You come for the unique titles and clever packaging (My Best Friend’s Exorcism) but you stay for the alluring storytelling, memorable characters, and iconic cultural references.Continue Reading
Adam Nevill is a special writer. Those familiar with The Ritual, either the novel or the Netflix adaptation last year, know it’s a story that elevated horror in a way few authors can these days. Those who are fans of Banquet of the Damned, Last Days, and Apartment 16 realize the man writes with a smooth fury that evokes comparisons of Peter Straub, later-Robert McCammon, or Graham Joyce. Still, Nevill has a voice that’s all his own.Continue Reading
Gwendolyn Kiste is a rare kind of speculative writer: the kind able to craft highly metaphorical and allegorical tales which also vibrate with a resonance that cuts close to the bone and pierces the heart. As a reader, I’ve always needed to feel something in response to a work of fiction. From fun, escapist thrillers to “high brow literary horror,” if I don’t feel something for the characters and about their situations, the story bounces right off me, no matter how finely written it is.Continue Reading
It’s this reader’s opinion that short story collections are the best way to read a new author. It’s the quickest way to discover an author’s versatility; each story an opportunity to showcase a variety of unique skills without being locked into one narrative.
I also believe that a reader begins their relationship with a book with the cover. In this case, primate skulls in bold, appealing colors with a recognizable Matthew Revert style. A real winner for me. A cover-buy.Continue Reading
Liv is a teenage girl, a high school freshman living with the typical teenage drama that comes with trying to find your crowd, not to mention your own identity. Unfortunately for Liz, she has more than the usual obstacles standing in the way of acceptance and self-confidence; she has to carry the burden of being the daughter of the man who went missing, showed up raving and naked in the middle of town, and then disappeared again.Continue Reading
If you’re a fan of cosmic horror and you’ve yet to delve into the work of Mary SanGiovanni, you need to rectify that, immediately. Without a doubt, SanGiovanni is one the best writers on the cosmic horror scene today. And best of all, SanGiovanni hasn’t been content to rehash old Lovecraftian gods. She’s invented her own mythos full of eldritch beings and malevolent aliens, a dizzying pantheon of epic proportions that is fresh, original, and contemporary. Her Hollower trilogy is still one of my favorites, and I still maintain that Thrall is simply one of the most original novels of cosmic horror I’ve ever read.Continue Reading
Some authors have a storytelling voice that feels familiar to the reader. I often say that these authors’ books are like coming home after wearing formal clothes all day, and then putting on your favorite pajamas; the definition of comfort.
Gemma Amor’s writing style “fits me.” We are a perfect reader/author match. The minute I start reading one of her short stories I am immediately drawn in and compelled to finish. It’s difficult for me to put any story of her’s down until I’m done.Continue Reading
Keith Minnion has long been a force in the horror genre, both as an author and artist. He made his name as an illustrator for several magazines and publishers, most notably and recently for the Stephen King/Richard Chizmar novels Gwendy’s Button Box and Gwendy’s Magic Feather. His short stories have been making the rounds since 1979 and his two collections have garnered high praise.
His first novel The Boneyard, immensely readable and well-written, tears into ground that feels untrodden and fresh. Finding something new these days is tough; finding something that is both new and successful in execution is much tougher. This novel nails it on both counts.Continue Reading
A Wind of Knives by Ed Kurtz is a grim beauty to behold. One part realistic western reminiscent of the late Ed Gorman’s work; one part rumination on the nature of love and the desperate ties which bind us together; all parts sad, brutal, and tragic. This isn’t a Saturday afternoon spaghetti western in which the good guys wear white and the bad guys wear black, with blazing six guns and stalwart heroes riding off into the sunset. It’s a melancholic story of a man fueled by revenge and the deep, aching pain that not only comes from loss, but also from the deepest kinds of betrayal.Continue Reading
If you’ve been to the South you’ve seen kudzu, the suffocating green vine that will envelop anything that stands still long enough. It fills gullys and blankets hills. It climbs telephone poles and encircles trees. It’s got a deep foothold in the region, and it’s tough. I once saw a car that had plunged nose-first into a kudzu-filled ravine, its taillights the only thing visible through the green webbing — webbing strong enough to catch the car like a net and keep it from hitting the ground.
Were the kudzu to disappear one day, to turn brown and crumble the way other, lesser plants do, there’s no telling what would be revealed. Abandoned pickup trucks. Forgotten general stores and shotgun houses. Animal bones by the millions. And secrets…so many secrets.Continue Reading
As an English teacher and lover of myths and folklore, nonfiction works on the historical and mythical backgrounds of monsters and such is right up my alley. I love reading how strange beliefs, customs, and folktales serve as the roots of some of our more famous monsters and horror fiction beasties. So, as you can imagine, when Shapeshifters: A History by John B. Kachuba showed up on my doorstep, I was pretty excited. Continue Reading
Those who devoured Alma Katsu’s The Hunger (which should have won awards across the board last year—pun intended) will want to take the plunge into The Deep, a beautifully disturbing cross-genre tale that might even top that previous novel. Whereas The Hunger mined the ill-fated travels of the pioneers who traversed the Donner Pass, this one dives into the mystique of the Titanic, yet with a twist. The ship had a sister—the Britannic. This ship was retrofitted to be a hospital to be used during the war.Continue Reading
I clearly remember a debate that transpired last summer on social media about anthologies. An author wondered about the future of anthologies because it seemed to him they don’t make any money. Several industry people weighed in with their strong opinions either in support of anthologies or against them (not really opposed to anthologies in general but speaking more about the profitability, or lack thereof).
Watching from the sidelines, I was beside myself. Anthologies are some of my favorite books to read. I chimed in on the conversation, only to add that I enjoy a well put together, themed anthology and that I am wholeheartedly in support of their continued success. Miscreations, by award-winning editors Doug Murano and Michael Bailey, proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that anthologies are well worth any amount of effort, money, blood, sweat, and tears.Continue Reading
I took a few road trips in my youth. While they were marked with plenty of shenanigans and questionable decisions (as was most of my youth), none of them came close to the craziness experienced by the women in Jane Goes North, Joe Lansdale’s new novel from Subterranean Press. It’s probably a good thing, too; Lansdale’s women barely flinch in the face of the inconveniences and dangers he tosses at them, while I would have crumbled like a cheap cookie.Continue Reading
Susan Burch is a prominent composer of English Language Tanka. She began writing tanka in April 2013 after reading winning contest poems on the Tanka Society of America website. She loved the brevity of the form and submitted to Ribbons, which published her first tanka and encouraged her to keep writing. Since then she has placed in Mandy’s Page’s tanka contest, the World Tanka Competition, Diogen contests, the Haiku Poets of Northern California contests, the British Haiku and Tanka Awards, the TSA’s Sanford Goldstein tanka contest, and most recently, the Fleeting Words tanka contest. Her most recent collection is keeping score: Angry Tanka.Continue Reading