SPOOKY READS OF 2018 (so far)
For the past two years I have failed my reading goal for the year and this year I am determined to surpass it. I went with a reasonable 80 books, instead of the usual 100, and am so far ahead of schedule by three books!
I wanted to share with you some of the great horror books I've read so far this year. None of these are brand new or ground breaking, but I've thoroughly enjoyed them and wanted to share!
I've been reading a lot of horror short story collections because it's such a great way to find new horror authors that you might not have heard from. Also my library put together a short story section which has been really helpful in finding some great anthologies.
The Best Horror of the Year - Volume One
These are great collections that ran from 2009 until 2016 and were edited by Ellen Datlow. Datlow would choose the best stories from that current year and compile them into a pretty lengthy book. I started with Volume One and there's some incredible stories in this one! There weren't many that I didn't enjoy. Some of the standouts for me from the year 2009 were "Cargo" written by E. Michael Lewis which is about the plane that carried the dead bodies back from Jonestown. "When the Gentlemen Go By" written by Margaret Ronald was very Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Hush". "Beach Head" by Daniel LeMoal was like Breaking Bad meets HP Lovecraft.
Overall I loved this collection and have already picked up Volume Two to peruse this weekend!
We Eat Our Own - Kea Wilson
This was FASCINATING. It's like Wilson took every rumor ever made about Cannibal Holocaust and put it into a fucked up novel. There's various storylines that you follow including that of an unnamed actor who was given the lead in this movie with no script or concept, a bunch of rebellion teens doing gorilla warfare in the jungle, and the ambitious, rambunctious female co-star who is willing to do anything for the spotlight.
I will admit, parts of this book I found very boring, the gorilla warfare stuff especially, but that's a personal prerogative. I also found myself getting confused a lot with the different characters and the storylines jumping around. Every couple of chapters it cuts to a court scene in the future where the director is speaking for his crimes and at the beginning it's frustrating as you have no idea what's going on but as the novel progresses you look forward to those parts.
It's brutal, it's honest, and it's a must read for any fan of that low budget filming on the fly type horror.
Night Visions 8
Another short story collection, Night Visions ran from 1984 to 1991. #8 features three horror authors - Joe R. Lansdale, Stephen Gallagher, and John Farris with a wrap up done by Robert Mccammon. There was a lot more in here that I didn't enjoy over those I did. But that's the risk you play when there's only three authors included - if you don't like the style of one author, you're kind of out of luck. There are some INCREDIBLE illustrations in this book though.
My absolute favorite tale was "Incident on and off a Mountain Road" by Lansdale which started out like a slasher final girl situation and ended up with an incredible twist that you couldn't see coming. I would love to see this made into a movie.
I'll pick up some other Night Vision collections to take a peek through but to be honest, this wasn't a great pick for me.
Stalking Jack the Ripper - Kerri Maniscalco
I am a sucker for anything Jack the Ripper, and a sucker for YA novels. So I'm fully aware this book won't be for everyone. For me however, it was a lot of fun to read. The lead is Audrey Rose Wadsworth who is a Lord's daughter forced to wear fancy gowns and be presentable to society. But at night she works secretly in her Uncle's laboratory helping him with his forensic work and autopsies. As bodies of prostitutes come in, torn apart by Jack the Ripper, Audrey finds herself wrapped up in trying to solve the mystery. And the killer is closer to home than she realizes.
The story isn't ground breaking or anything but it was a really quick and fun read. Audrey can be quite annoying at times but also pretty realistic for a young girl in that day and age. The mystery of who Jack the Ripper really is could probably be solved a lot faster than someone smarter than me, but I was kept guessing until the very end. The book has really cool period piece photos in it too, some are pretty gory!
This is also a series, next up is Hunting Prince Dracula which I have picked up from the library, and following that is Escaping from Houdini which I am SO ONBOARD FOR.
Congo - Michael Crichton
Before you yell at me - I know Crichton is usually shelved under science fiction or general fiction, but his novels ALWAYS have some horror type elements in them. Congo was an incredibly fun read and while the majority of it would be more adventure fiction, there's also abandoned ruins in the middle of the jungle where something ominous is killing anyone who makes their way there.
Crichton is not for everyone - he gets very technical and scientific and I find myself skipping giant passages of technical speak only to find I haven't really missed anything. I find that with all his books though. But I'm a sucker for his stories and am slowly trying to read them all.
Congo has a gorilla that can speak through sign language, an intrepid group of scientists and biologists all with ulterior motives, a creepy, violent jungle and a group of rebels causing violence across the country.
It's a quick, delicious read that kept me turning pages as fast as possible until the end. There was also a movie made of it that I watched after and while it's very questionable and 90's, it was a super fun watch after finishing the book. Also Bruce Campbell and Tim Curry are in it!!
Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice
I read this when I was a teenager and remember loving all the angsty vampire love, gazing into each others eyes, pressing bodies up against the wall, heaving chests etc etc. And I adored the movie as well. Reading it as a 28 year old was a different experience.
This book draaaaaags on. It is very long winded and Louis uses allllll his words. But the scenery was so fun to absorb yourself into and the history of the vampires was great to delve into. Claudia....I don't know man, reading the relationships between Claudia, Louis and Lestat felt so wrong. Claudia's just this little girl and there's so much petting and brushing of hair and inappropriate snuggling. It made me a little uncomfortable.
But I'm glad I read it again, and I'm fully aware this was Anne Rice's first novel so of course there will be flaws. We can't all be Stephen King. I delved into The Vampire Lestat briefly to see what it would be like and I read about 50 pages and realized I already loved it a lot more. So I'm looking forward to reading that properly and going further into the series.
In other news - for an early birthday gift my parents surprised me with custom made branded shoes and I am LOSING IT. These are seriously incredible and now I can rep my site wherever I walk:
So that's it! For now!
Currently I'm reading the Blumhouse anthology which I'm enjoying a lot so I'll report back on that.
I've also been binge watching older horror films these last few days like Bodybags and Hatchet, so I'll be back with those soon!