There are psychological thrillers and then there are books that dive deep into the psychology of the characters; into trauma, and the deep pits that therapy and grief can dig. Alice Blanchard drags the readers into the pit with A Breath After Drowning, a thriller that—while not terribly original—is as close to perfect as it can get in this genre.
Last year’s dark fantasy underdog breakout, Hekla’s Children, brought the subgenre to life again with a mix of heavy action, horror, and fantasy, with a style that read quicker than a demon on a blood-slicked luge to hell. James Brogden became known in the mix of genres as a voice to be reckoned with, but second novels can be a downfall.
Tim Lebbon knows how to spin a tale that envelops the reader in a world they know, and then twists that reality into a unique playground for his characters to battle monsters and create stories which always sidestep cliché.
After a couple of straight-up thrillers, Lebbon returned to the land of weird horror with Relics last year, a novel that detailed the hidden world of the Kin, creatures who existed alongside humans yet are rarely seen. Fairies, nymphs, and monsters beyond description fought for their survival against enemies both human and supernatural.
Hekla’s Children by James Brogden
Titan Books (March 7, 2017)
400 pages; $8.79 paperback; $7.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms
Sometimes a book which comes out of left field can be a home run. Hekla’s Children landed on this reviewer’s desk with the invitation to give it a whirl. Whirl it did, and the wild ride became one of the best surprises in recent memory. James Brogden has published three other books but this hopefully will be his breakout effort. Some will call this urban fantasy, others weird, while most will simply enjoy a story which has a bit of everything.
Relics by Tim Lebbon
Titan Books (March 21, 2017)
336 pages; $9.76 paperback; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms
The first literary hit of the new year has been born. Tim Lebbon, no stranger to penning stories which shrug off the shackles of genre, has hit 2017 hard with the first of a breathtaking trilogy. Equal parts thriller, horror, and fantasy, Relics takes readers back to his best world creating in the apocalyptic Silence, Coldbrook, and The Nature of Balance, along with the more fantastic in Fallen and Echo City.
Too Soon Dead by Michael Kurland
Titan Books (November 2015)
320 pages; $12.95 paperback; ebook $7.99
Reviewed by Peter Tomas
Michael Kurland’s little misadventure, Too Soon Dead, is a wild goose chase of moderately restricted proportions. Columnist Alexander Brass and his small team, when approached by a rather large man with some very interesting pictures (whom also happens into quite a bind later) run from here to there, asking questions, being profound, finding corpses and making witty remarks. They discover all kinds of interesting things about individuals involved in government during their exploratory run, and in the end, uncover a conspiracy that could have very well led to a disaster.
The Madness of Cthulhu Volume Two edited by S.T. Joshi
Titan Books (2015)
304 pages; $13.01 paperback/$8.69 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington
From the intro to The Madness of Cthulhu Volume Two – “If there is a dominant theme in this volume and its predecessor, it is that of alien incursion, the notion that ‘we are not alone in the universe.'” For me, it’s all about the stories and in this anthology the stories are, for the most part, excellent.