"During the night, I had twice awakened from a dream in which the tide flowed red and the sea throbbed with a terrible light."
~ from Dean Koontz's Odd Hours
Charlotte's Story by Laura BenedictCharlotte Bliss feels trapped in the 19th-century Virginia mansion that belongs to her husband's family. As she mourns the death of her four-year-old daughter, she sees the ghost of her mother-in-law, who tells her disturbing secrets about both the house and Charlotte's husband. She perceives other chilling signs and portents, too, until a violent climax clearly reveals the evil that has been waiting to appear. This tale is a sequel to Bliss House, which you may want to read first for background.
Ghost Summer: Stories by Tananarive DueAward-winning author Tananarive Due portrays human depravity in this collection of 15 short stories and a novella. With a liberal dollop of monstrous creatures, including werewolves (in "Afternoon"), ghosts (in "Summer" and other tales), and zombies ("Patient Zero" and "Danger World"), and offering glimpses into the future, Due expertly discloses the menace that lies under the surface. With an introduction by Nalo Hopkinson and an afterword by Steven Barnes, Ghost Summer offers a terrifying sampler of gourmet treats.
Ghostly: A Collection of Ghost Stories by Audrey NiffeneggerThis ghost story anthology edited by artist and novelist Audrey Niffenegger brings together the terrifying, the uncanny, and the comic to display some of the best in spectral storytelling. Choosing from classic and contemporary authors and including a story of her own, Niffenegger adds introductions that enhance the stories and brings expertly drawn creepiness to the page in her illustrations. "There's nary a dud in the bunch," says Library Journal.
The Reckoning by Carsten StroudNothing is amiss in Niceville. But "Nothing" is actually something -- an evil that moves into people's minds and pushes them to murder. Detective Nick Kavanaugh and his wife are immune to the affliction, but they have their work cut out for them if they're going to stop Nothing and clear the town of murderous villagers. The Reckoning is the 3rd volume of author Carsten Stroud's Niceville trilogy, following Niceville and The Homecoming. Though this plot stands alone, you might appreciate reading volumes one and two first.
The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben TrippAntiques collector Asmodeus "Sax" Saxon-Tang has amassed huge wealth by stealing the treasures of vampires he's killed. After unintentionally attracting the notice of a wealthy vampire who's trying to reclaim treasures she lost during World War II, Sax heads for Europe on a Vatican-sanctioned vampire hunt, aiming to murder the vampire before she gets him. Sax is a repellent but engaging narrator in a shapeshifter tale and heist caper combo that will keep you turning the pages.
Focus on: Small Town Horror
The Creeps: A Samuel Johnson Tale by John ConnollyIn the village of Biddlecombe, England, an invasion of supernatural creatures threatens to destroy the world, starting with Biddlecombe. A little boy named Samuel Johnson (first seen in Samuel Johnson vs. the Devil), along with his faithful dog Boswell, has to lead a motley assemblage of policemen, dwarfs, and monsters into battle against annihilating demonic forces. This 3rd in the Samuel Johnson series contains everything from a CERN investigation into Biddlecombe's multi-dimensional aberrations to a has-been boy band -- and don't miss the entertaining footnotes! This comic horror tale is "guaranteed to delight" (Kirkus Reviews).
Doctor Sleep: A Novel by Stephen KingA grown-up Dan Torrance (who was the little boy who feared "REDRUM" in The Shining) returns in Doctor Sleep, tasked with the protection of Abra, a 12-year-old girl gifted with the shining. Dan is an alcoholic (as his father was) and has been a drifter, but he's found a home in a small New Hampshire town where his spiritual gift helps soothe hospice patients. When he realizes that Abra is the target of a band of supernatural travelers, he pulls himself together in order to face them down -- along with his own alcoholic demons. Author Stephen King will abundantly satisfy existing fans and attract new ones with this "gripping, taut read" (Publishers Weekly).
Odd Hours by Dean KoontzThe adventures of Odd Thomas (begun in the eponymous Odd Thomas) continue in this dramatic novel from Dean Koontz. Odd Thomas is a fry cook with an extraordinary talent -- he can communicate with the dead. He also experiences haunting dreams that foretell disaster, allowing him to rescue people from danger. In Odd Hours, Odd dreams about another catastrophe and heads for a small coastal California town, where a menacing trio confronts him on the Magic Beach pier -- and the drama goes into high gear. Engaging, quirky characters populate this terrifying page-turner, which is the 4th in the series.
The Dead Run: A Novel by Adam MansbachAuthor Adam Mansbach shows off his dramatic storytelling talent with this gripping blend of horror and suspense. Set on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, The Dead Run follows two people -- one escaping from her torturers and one coerced into delivering a creepy relic to a cult leader -- as they try to make it through the desert alive. In addition to the small-town cop and the American lawyer who are chasing the cult, religious fanatics, outlaw bikers, and corrupt police complicate the pursuit. This fast-paced, violent, profanity-laden tale won't be for everyone, but horror aficionados will go for it.
I Don't Want to Kill You by Dan WellsJohn Wayne Cleaver (introduced in I Am Not a Serial Killer) is a sociopath, but he keeps a firm grip on his murderous inclinations. In I Don't Want to Kill You, some demons have possessed ordinary people and embarked on a murder spree in a small rural town. John is on the trail of a demon called "Nobody," but he doesn't know whose body Nobody's using. He has to suspect everybody of being the demon -- and he's going to be surprised when Nobody finally shows herself. With plenty of gore and violence to contrast with John's affable narration, this 3rd John Cleaver novel will satisfy horror fans.
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