Category: If you like...
If you like your horror gothic (with a twist of Victorian)...
The Seance New and popular!
by John Harwood
"Sell the Hall unseen; burn it to the ground and plow the earth with salt, if you will; but never live there..."
Product Description (taken from Amazon.com):
A haunting tale of apparitions, a cursed manor house, and two generations of women determined to discover the truth.... Constance Langton grows up in a household marked by death, her father distant, her mother in perpetual mourning for Constance’s sister, the child she lost. Desperate to coax her mother back to health, Constance takes her to a séance: perhaps she will find comfort from beyond the grave. But the meeting has tragic consequences. Constance is left alone, her only legacy a mysterious bequest that will blight her life.
Also available from the same author:
Ghost Writer (2004)
By John Harwood
From Publisher's Weekly:
...gothic suspense novel....As he searches through the country house his mother inhabited long ago, Gerard finds past and present fusing in horrifying fashion....a satisfying, unexpected ending. For reviews and more check out Amazon.com
The Telling New!
by Jo Baker
Baker is an English writer who has a real gift for creating moody, atmospheric novels.
In The Telling, a young woman loses her mother and must travel to an isolated cottage and sort through her mother's belongings. It is a sad occasion, one the narrator hopes will be done quickly. However, she soon senses a presence in the house with her, and what it wants is a mystery she is compelled to solve. Fans of Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale will be sure to like this one.
Do you love a good story that's brimming with atmosphere and some memorable chills? Try one of these highly recommended titles.
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Angelica: a novel (Random House 2007), Arthur Phillips
Fans of authentic Victorian literature and a penchant for traditional ghost stories will love Phillips' latest novel set in 19th century London. For reviews visit Amazon.com
The Nature of Monsters (Harcourt 2007), Clare Clark
A dark tale about a pregnant, unmarried young girl who is exiled into domestic service as an apothecary's maid. Her employer turns out to be a sadistic madman obsessed with the monstrous and malformed. Absolutely not to be missed. A Publisher's Weekly Starred Review. For reviews visit Amazon.com
The only book of lists you will ever need!
The Book of Lists: Horror
edited by Amy Wallace, Del Howison and Scott Bradley
This comprehensive, sometimes off-the-wall, book of lists is chock full of mainstream horror and hard-to-find cult classics and a must read for the horror addict. I had an absolute ball perusing these colorful lists, compiled by some of the biggest names in the genre, including Stephen King (who lists his 10 favourite horror novels / short stories of all time). You will be inspired, intrigued, and amazed and have a helluva good time along the way. You will also never lack for a good movie or book idea ever again. For the horror novice, this deluge of lists is a baptism by fire of everything the genre has to offer, from the good, the bad, the ugly, and the Italian. Trivia buffs will rejoice!
My only criticism is that the book does not have a Table of Contents (or an index) for each list, so you can end up doing a lot of flipping pages to find the ones you want again. Other than that, dig in and enjoy!
Welcome to the Twilight Zone
Are you a fan of the original Rod Serling Twilight Zone series? Let's not forget Serling's classic, dead-pan introductions, which usually went something like this:
There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.
Find the Twilight Zone in the RPL catalogue.
There's a new kind of vampire in town
Are you a fan of vampires, but tired of the suave, aristocratic anti-hero, the star of paranormal bodice rippers? Maybe you think vampires shouldn't be seductive or romantic, but horrible, merciless, bloodsucking monsters that you absolutely WOULD NOT want to meet in a dark alley. I mean, c'mon, we're talking about the Undead here, a.k.a. nosferatu
If this is you then don't despair. Here are some vampires sure to make your blood run (not hot) but cold -- very, very, cold.
30 Days of Night: a novelization (2007)
by Tim Lebbon
Based on the screenplay by Steve Niles and Stuart Beattie and Brian Nelson
Horror writer Tim Lebbon has novelized the film 30 Days of Night (which itself was based on the graphic novel series of the same name). The result is suitably creepy and terrifying. Lebbon is a talented writer and it shows here. He understands what is so frightening about the vampires of Barrow Alaska. For far too long vampires have been distinguished aristocrats, Byronic heroes, or sexy "bad boys" to make the hearts of women everywhere go pitter-patter. The vampires of Barrow are ruthless, and everything vampires should be if you want to scare the heck out of someone -- merciless, bloodthirsty, villains with no conscience.
From Book Description:
"In the sleepy and secluded town of Barrow, Alaska -- the northernmost settlement in North America -- its citizens are preparing for the annual coming of the Dark, when the sun will set for more than thirty consecutive days and nights. But this year, the Dark will bring something else. From across the frozen wasteland, a horrifying evil descends upon Barrow, mercilessly besieging its residents with unrelenting terror and swift death. And as the darkness continues and the thirty days of night seemingly have no end in sight, Barrow's only remaining hope lies with Sheriff Eben Oleson and Deputy Stella Oleson, a husband and wife who are torn between saving the town they love and their own survival..."
Because of the enormous success of the 30 Days of Night graphic novel series, and the subsequent film adaptation starring Josh Hartnett, creator Steve Niles is writing a series of novels based upon his original characters.
30 Days of Night: Rumors of the Undead
by Steve Niles and Jeff Mariotte
Continues the story of the residents of Barrow Alaska.
Book Description: Months later, as Stella Olemaun attempts to warn the world about the looming vampire threat by any means necessary, a rogue government agent may be taking more than an active interest in her story. And meanwhile, further north, a new sheriff and his young son must solve the lingering mystery of Barrow, even as the survivors of the original attack prepare for the sun to set once again -- however this time, they're ready. 30 Days Of Night: Rumors Of The Undead is Steve Niles's innovative and eagerly anticipated expansion of a nightmarish narrative that explores the nature of ancient evil existing -- and thriving -- in an unsuspecting modern world.
30 Days of Night: Immortal Remains
by Steve Niles and Jeff Mariotte
Book Description: "Existing in shadow, thriving in night, a terrifying serial killer stalks the residential streets of Savannah, Georgia - one whose brutal signature is now drawing the attention of other denizens of darkness....But there is more than meets the eye here, and the horrifying truth behind these savage killings is about to be revealed - a truth that has dire implications for the very future of the mortal world..."
Book 1 of a trilogy
by David Wellington
Publisher's Weekly: "Minimally plotted and driven by nonstop action, this gory vampire tale is of a piece with Wellington's zombie novels (Monster Island; Monster Nation). Special deputy Jameson Arkeley stopped a vampire rampage 20 years earlier, during which he whittled down all known bloodsuckers to a single survivor, Justinia Malvern. Kept alive at a sanitarium in rural Pennsylvania by minimal life support and bizarre laws preventing her extermination, wispy Justinia seems a threat to no one—until a series of vampire killings in the area suggest that she has found a secret way to spread her taint. Convinced that Justinia's minions plan to spring her and revive her to full power, Arkeley commandeers state trooper Laura Caxton to help him find their lair and wipe them out before they can get their vampire queen the blood she needs."
99 Coffins: a historical vampire tale
Book 2 of a trilogy
by David Wellington
Publisher's Weekly: "Vampires and mortals fight a modern battle of Gettysburg in vampire hunter Laura Caxton's gore-soaked second outing (after 2007's 13 Bullets). When a college archeological dig uncovers a cache of Civil War–era coffins, each containing a corpse minus heart, grizzled detective Jameson Arkeley recognizes these remains as evidence of a forgotten Union vampire corps and immediately summons Caxton. Before the two can unravel the historical mystery, someone reanimates one of the vampires, setting the stage for the full vampire army to rise and resume its unfulfilled mission. Wellington keeps the pace brisk, alternating action-packed chapters set in the present with chapters cast credibly in the form of extracts from period journals, letters and dispatches that gradually reveal the origin and intent of the vampire regiment and its enigmatic leader, Alva Griest. The taut narrative never slackens, providing thrilling entertainment for readers who like their horror raw and bloody."
Some ideas on what to read next...
If you're like me, you're always on the lookout for that next great book, that next great author...that next great scare. But sometimes it's more difficult than easy to put your hands on that next great read. One solution is to sign up with RPL's online book clubs.
Well...these are not "bookclubs" in the traditional sense. You won't be online discussing books. How it works is every day, Monday through Friday, you will receive in your email a five-minute selection from a chapter of a book.By the end of the week, you’ll have read 2-3 chapters.
This will give you a much better idea if this is a book you really want to read. This can be a lot more useful than only having the snappy plot description released by the publisher to go by. Every Monday we start a new book. It's easy!
Then if you decide you no longer want to be signed up, just click the "unsubscribe link" located at the bottom of every email. No muss, no fuss. I've been on the horror reading list for awhile now, and have gotten a few great ideas on what to read next.
Come on, don't be afraid. Ghosts...Ghouls... dark things eerie and evil. Come sample a daily horror in our weekly picks- chosen with help from the Horror Writer's Association. Horror books are featured every other week. Sign up today!
So you like your horror a little Southern Gothic?
There's nothing like the American South to produce writing that's as deep, lush, and mysterious as its landscape. The crumbling ruins of plantation houses engulfed by decaying foliage make the perfect setting for tales of the macabre and fantastic.
Tennessee Williams described Southern Gothic as writing that captures "an intuition, of an underlying dreadfulness in modern experience." That underlying dreadfulness is what makes this kind of horror so utterly compelling. The novels are about the destructive power of family secrets and often linger over the grotesque -- mentally and/or physically flawed characters that illicit from readers both empathy and disgust.
The supernatural is but a natural extension to this type of storytelling. The real and the unreal world coexist side by side, one as significant and substantial as the other.
Photo: Mood Lifter, by Maggie Taylor, Lanoue Fine Art
Four and Twenty Blackbirds
by Cherie Priest
"Priest sinks deep into the tale of a Tennessee orphan who draws upon grit worthy of Scarlett O'Hara to extract an evil canker from her Spanish moss-hung family tree. Visitations by spirits spur Eden, who has grown up seeing ghosts, to pursue dangerous genealogical research. Also fueling her investigations are attempts on her life by a maniacal cousin, whose plots have the blessing of a crusty old matriarch resentful of Eden's slave-descended branch of the family. This southern-gothic closet is fairly overflowing with skeletons, from a polygamist wife murderer to a coven of voodoo priests....there's mystical, sultry appeal in the thick Chattanooga atmosphere and strong characterizations".
The Bad Seed
by William March
From Book Description:
"Now reissued – William March's 1954 classic thriller that's as chilling, intelligent and timely as ever before....What happens to ordinary families into whose midst a child serial killer is born...? The spine–tingling tale of little Rhoda Penmark had a tremendous impact on the thriller genre and generated a whole perdurable crop of creepy kids. Today, The Bad Seed remains a masterpiece of suspense that's as chilling, intelligent, and timely as ever before."
by Beth Massie
She is the Flannery O'Connor / Shirley Jackson / Stephen King / Eudora Welty of Southern horror -- Douglas Clegg
Watch book trailer here.
From Book Description:
"Charlene Myers, a struggling young artist, reluctantly moves to the rustic, isolated farm she inherited in hopes of rekindling her creative spark and reviving her flagging career. However, Homeplace - the dilapidated house and craggy, mountainous farmland to which she's moved - holds dark family secrets she had no idea about, secrets that begin to surround her and draw her in. What is in the tiny cabin called the "Children's House?" What is in the boarded up room at the top of the farmhouse stairs or the old well in the yard? Was Charlene's ancestor truly a witch? Is she part of a familial legacy of cruelty and abuse that she cannot escape?"
by Lucius Shepard
Excellent Southern gothic ghost story from Hugo and Nebula Award winner Lucius Shepard.
From Book Description:
"Sanie Bullard, a 28-year-old frustrated writer, is stuck in a stultifying marriage and husband Jackson's dilapidated antebellum family mansion in South Carolina, where the couple has returned so he can study for his bar exams in peace. His brother, Will, is addled with peyote as well as the family's weirdness; sister Louise is stranger still. Sanie, at loose ends in the "eminently hauntable" family home, hears voices. Unafraid of the ghostly voices, Sanie sees the house—and the Bullards—not as monstrous but as a "frail, musty puzzle she wants to solve." However, the puzzle is stranger and far darker than Sanie imagines. This memorable short novel careens through the mundane realities of a Southern small town, from bizarre revelations of decadent family history and strange supernatural theory to a violent and unexpected conclusion."
The Long Home
by William Gay
"In Willam Gay's debut novel...the devil comes to Tennessee in the form of one Dallas Hardin, a vile and violent man who brings tragedy in his wake....If Gay's themes are big--nothing less than the battle between good and evil--and his metaphors drawn unabashedly from that old-time religion, his novel is nonetheless firmly grounded in the flesh-and-bone world--sometimes nightmarishly so. There is a lot of blood spilt over the course of this novel, in myriad ways and in graphic detail. Indeed, one quality that The Long Home shares with most of Cormac McCarthy's work is that it is definitely not for the faint-hearted. But Gay balances the horror with moments of true beauty, and his novel is undeniably compelling."
by The Cryptkeeper
In the spotlight: Michael Slade
Author's Official Website
Michael Slade (1947 - ) is the pen name of Canadian novelist Jay Clarke. Four other authors have contributed under the name Michael Slade: John Banks, Lee Clarke, Rebecca Clarke, and Richard Covell. However, Jay Clarke is the predominant voice of these novels. Part police procedurals, part whodunits, the books tell about the fictional Special External Section (Special X) of the RCMP, whose job it is to track down fugitives (typically serial killers). In the splatterpunk tradition, the novels are extremely gory and, for this reason, not for everyone.
In Evil Eye, a serial killer bashes in the skulls of his victims and then disembowels them. Full of meticulous details of Canadian history and police work.
In Ghoul, horror fiction fuels the already twisted imagination of a schizophrenic, an ingenious serial murderer obsessed with H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulu mythos.
If you are a fan of such movies as: The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Seven (1995), and The Bone Collector (1999), then you might want to give the Michael Slade books a try.
Every Dead Thing, by John Connolly
From Publisher's Weekly: "One serial killer who tortures children and another who steals victims' faces after mutilating their bodies give readers two grisly plots in one darkly ingenious debut novel... The prose rings of '40s L.A. noir, a la Chandler and Hammett, but the grisly deaths, poetic cops and psychic episodes set this tale apart.
Messiah, Boris Starling
From Publisher's Weekly: "Scotland Yard's Redfern Metcalfe "gets inside killers' heads and reels them in." But Britain's latest serial killer (an evil genius dubbed "Silver Tongue" for his grisly technique and distinctive "calling card") is the worst Red's ever seen, leaving the hardened investigator shaken to his core... When it seems the case is close to resolution, Starling manages to step up the already considerable tension, and the simultaneous story lines dramatically and unexpectedly converge."
Zombie, by Joyce Carol Oates
From Publisher's Weekly: "Periodically, Oates seems compelled to write grim novels that explore humanity's darkest corners... this depressing narrative carries macabre imagination to the extreme. It depicts the career of Quentin P., a convicted young sex offender on probation who has turned to serial killing without being caught, despite the worried scrutiny of his family and of his psychiatrist. Convincingly presented as Quentin's diary of his pursuit of the perfect "zombie" (a handsome young man to be rendered compliant and devoted through Quentin's lobotomizing him with an ice pick)...
by The Cryptkeeper