Meddling Kids by Edgar CanteroIn Meddling Kids, Catalonian author Edgar Cantero portrays a reunion of old friends who decide to complete some unfinished business in the resort town where they spent their summers as kids. While pitting good against evil, Cantero pays homage to H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos, the bumbling but resourceful gang in Scooby-Doo (yes, there are four kids and a dog), and a full range of road trip, haunted house, and reclusive wizard tropes. This gripping escapade (with touches of quirky humor) will have you rooting for the sympathetic, well-drawn kids -- now adults -- as your knuckles all turn white.
In the Valley of the Sun: A Novel by Andy DavidsonIn this "lyrical modern Western" (Booklist, starred review), author Andy Davidson skillfully works the traditional vampire legend into a cowboy yarn set in West Texas in 1980. Serial murderer Travis Stillwell wakes up pale, weak, and sensitive to sunlight after a one-night stand; he's taken in by a motel owner and her son, who offer him odd jobs. All the while, a Texas Ranger is tracking him, and the vampire who turned Travis is annoyed by his pacific behavior. This suspenseful, complex debut will please not only horror fans but also those who appreciate Cormac McCarthy's dark narratives.
You Should Have Left by Daniel Kehlmann; translated by Ross BenjaminDuring a mountain vacation with his wife and young daughter that's supposed to help him write, a screenwriter finds distractions instead of an environment conducive to maintaining his creative focus. Recording these distractions in the notebook intended for his new screenplay, the narrator discusses his growing emotional distance from his wife, amusing anecdotes about his four-year-old...and creepy phenomena, warnings, and terrifying nightmares. By the time his dread motivates him to leave, it may be too late. In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews declares that author Daniel Kehlmann "creates a sense of existential dread that transcends the typical ghost story."
The Dark Net: A Novel by Benjamin PercyThere's a dark net in reality, but in The Dark Net author Benjamin Percy injects supernatural evil into the communications technology that handles such things as movie pirating, drug trafficking, and other criminal activities. He also adds futuristic devices such as a special prosthetic that enables one character, 12-year-old Hannah, to see. Percy's combination of techno-thriller and demonic possession explores what happens when demons cross from the electronic communications network into flesh-and-blood Portland, Oregon. Valiant humans, led by the blind Hannah, must beat back this attempt to subjugate humankind. This fast-paced and gruesome adventure will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Stay Awake: Stories by Dan ChaonStay Awake, a story collection by acclaimed author Dan Chaon, presents unsettling tales that explore the darkness lurking in his characters' lives. In the first story, "The Bees," a five-year-old child's screams wake his parents several times a week, but the cause of the screaming is mysterious -- and more disturbing secrets are yet to be revealed. The title story, "Stay Awake," describes a father's nearly fatal traffic accident just before his infant daughter's surgery to remove an incompletely formed conjoined twin. Other tales focus on grief over a loved one's death and similar intensely emotional events.
High Crime Area: Tales of Darkness and Dread by Joyce Carol OatesBram Stoker Award-winning author Joyce Carol Oates, who's skilled at literary fiction as well as horror, explores the heights and depths of human character in these disturbing stories. The narrator of "The Home at Craigmillnar" wonders if an elderly nun's death was from her heart condition...or something else. Several tales, including "The Rescuer" and "Demon," portray extremes of family dysfunction, while some (especially the title story "High Crime Area") reveal the risks that come from total strangers. Favoring ambiguous conclusions, Oates ruffles the previously serene seas of our consciousness.
Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan PoeFrom the well-known "Murders in the Rue Morgue" to the less familiar "Tale of the Ragged Mountains," author Edgar Allan Poe's short stories provide mystery, dread, and lingering wonderment. The poems and other pieces in this collection add additional chills to a horror aficionado's appreciation of the 19th-century master, whose very name makes one keep all the lights on at night.
Black Tide Rising by John Ringo and Gary PooleZombie fans have a feast before them in this tense and fast-paced anthology that vividly depicts life after the zombie apocalypse. Acclaimed science fiction writers present stories set in author and editor John Ringo's zombie apocalypse universe, with pieces by Ringo to introduce and conclude the volume. John Scalzi and Dave Klecha team up in "On the Wall;" characters in Sarah Hoyt's "Do No Harm" wonder if that phrase still means anything; and there's even a jewel heist caper at the Louvre in Jason Cordova and Eric S. Brown's "Best Laid Plans."
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