"It was dawn, and the zombies were stumbling through the parking lot, streaming toward
the massive beige box at the far end."
~ from Grady Hendrix' Horrorstör
Hell's Bounty by Joe R. Lansdale and John L. LansdaleWhen Hell sends out a bounty hunter to combat a demon backed by the undead residents of a small western town, you know there's a horrific showdown coming. This Western-Horror mashup penned by brothers Joe and John Lansdale combines classic tropes of both genres in non-stop action featuring beautiful (if corrupt) women, gunplay, and a hero (or anti-hero?) out to redeem himself. Count on "smart tactics, high carnage, and unlimited silver bullets" (Publishers Weekly) in this race to save the world from the Lovecraftian Old Ones.
Blood Sisters by Graham MastertonIn this 5th in the Katie Maguire mystery series, there isn't just a murder to solve. Horror-meister Graham Masterton concocts a good detective novel, all right, but this Ireland-set tale also features unusually gruesome deaths and deep, dark secrets. Piling up dead bodies -- including those of 23 horses -- and depicting uncanny crimes in a nursing home, Blood Sisters delivers both an absorbing crime novel and a terror-drenched chiller to please horror readers. Masterton's genre-bending and -blending series begins with A Terrible Beauty. Series fans are in luck: the 6th book, Buried, is scheduled to appear this month.
Lovecraft Country by Matt RuffTo the surprise of Atticus Turner, the African-American hero of Lovecraft Country, supernatural forces exacerbate white supremacy in 1954 Massachusetts. When Atticus goes looking for his missing father, he and his friends discover a menacing cult whose leader wants to use Atticus to maximize his power. Even worse than this threat, however, is the racist treatment they face -- worse than anything found in H.P. Lovecraft's fiction. Bringing together occult and normal dangers, author Matt Ruff creates an irresistibly "provocative, chimerical novel" (Booklist, starred review).
Interior Darkness: Selected Stories by Peter StraubIn Interior Darkness, multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author Peter Straub collects 16 short stories and novellas to please his fans and introduce himself to new readers. From classic "don't go to the attic" situations to characters who are either not-dead or sort-of-alive, Straub delivers anxiety, scary ambiguity, and gross-out moments. Some stories feature characters from Straub's novels: "Blue Rose" stars Harry Beevers (from Koko) as a small boy; "Mallon the Guru" offers the back story of Spencer Mallon from A Dark Matter. The Washington Post says that this collection is "for those who love horror -- and even those who don't."
The Passenger: A Novel by F.R. TallisDeep under the North Sea, a German World War II submarine receives the order to pick up a couple of prisoners from a stranded ship. Soon after they're on board, mayhem breaks out, and once the violence ends, matters only get worse, gradually escalating in weirdness and dread. The claustrophobia of U-boat duty can be unpleasant enough, but when paranormal entities invade the closed system, hewing to routine isn't adequate to cope with the danger. Submarine novel fans willing to go along with a supernatural premise and horror buffs who enjoy subtle, elegantly written tales should try diving into The Passenger.
Cursed, Haunted, Possessed!
Bliss House: A Novel by Laura BenedictAfter losing her husband in an explosion that also disfigured her daughter Ariel, Rainey Bliss Adams moves back to her family's Virginia foothills home town and buys the elegant mansion that her ancestor built. Soon, the house's reputation for violence and madness bears itself out, leading to a murder investigation, ghostly apparitions, and the revelation of a horrendous, long-suppressed secret. For more on the malevolent history of Bliss House, try the sequel, Charlotte's Story, which takes place about a generation later.
This House is Haunted: A Novel by John BoyneIn 1867 London, 21-year-old Eliza Caine's father dies, and she must look for a means of income. Responding to an advertisement, she takes a job as a governess at Gaudlin Hall in Norfolk -- but a mysterious power opposes her even before she gets there. Once she arrives, she finds that there are no parents and few or no servants, and her two charges are very odd children. Clearly, something is deeply wrong, and Eliza must discover the house's evil secrets before it's too late. With literary nods to gothic horror traditions, This House is Haunted provides a "subtle, satisfying tale of ghostly terror" (Publishers Weekly).
Horrorstör: A Novel by Grady HendrixIn Horrorstör, Orsk, the "all-American furniture superstore in Scandinavian drag," serves its customers' needs from cradle to grave. At Location #00108 in Cleveland, Ohio, a group of employees -- sorry, "partners" -- volunteer to spend an overnight shift investigating strange, possibly paranormal events inside the store. From dusk until dawn, a band of misfits -- armed with nothing but the promise of double overtime -- must attempt to survive until morning as they navigate the ever-creepier showroom floor while evading murderous specters. Intriguing but progressively more sinister illustrations of Orsk's wares illustrate this solidly scary story.
The House of Small Shadows by Adam NevillAfter therapy helped her overcome the trauma of being fired from her previous job, Catherine feels lucky to find employment appraising a hoard of rare puppets and dolls. However, she doesn't feel lucky for long once she sees the collection. The dolls are pitifully realistic and the puppets scarily lifelike; moreover, the household servants warn Catherine off in no uncertain terms. The House of Small Shadows is so well-crafted that Booklist says readers might want to take the accursed tome "out back and bury it." Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, this disturbing novel will draw admiring shudders from the most seasoned ghost story aficionado.
A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel by Paul TremblayTelevision reality show producers are always looking for a new twist. How about a demon-possessed teenage girl and her otherwise normal suburban family? In A Head Full of Ghosts, a writer interviews the girl's younger sister, Merry, 15 years after the television series ends. The interview releases Merry's repressed memories of the events, and her recollections clash with the version depicted on the reality show. Reminiscent of William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, and other classic tales of haunting and possession, this suspenseful novel "is a work of deviously subtle horror" (Publishers Weekly).
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