Fringe is more than you think it is. Yes, it began with X-Files-like investigations into strange events, and you’ll certainly find episodes with the best storytelling elements of science fiction, fantasy, and even horror. However, it grows beyond formulaic genre fare. Fringe became a complex and poignant exploration of parenthood, identity, and humanity. Terrific performances, most especially that of John Noble as the repentant, Red Vine-loving mad scientist, expose the beating hearts beneath dual worlds. Not many series boast episodes that include a noir musical, an LSD-fueled jump into animation, or a twenty-five-year fast-forward into dystopia, but that’s par for the course on a show that embraces the full spectrum of human emotion, from the creepy to the heart-tugging.
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Joe Hill has won acclaim by creating dark, disturbing stories, like Heart-Shaped Box, and most notably, Horns – which is being made into a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe. In addition to his fiction, Joe Hill writes comics. Locke and Key follows Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode after the murder of their father, when they are forced to move into Keyhouse, a supernatural estate located in Lovecraft, Massachusetts.
Hannibal Lecter. Dexter Morgan. We have a fascination with what motivates monstrous characters, sometimes even taking it so far as to root for them. If this is true for you, be sure to visit The Monster’s Corner, a collection of “stories through inhuman eyes,” edited by Christopher Golden. Top horror and dark fantasy authors pen original tales from the point of view of frightening creatures, and, after all, we can’t really judge until we’ve walked in their shoes, right? Standouts include the grisly “Less of a Girl” by Chelsea Cain, the clever “Jesus and Satan Go Jogging in the Desert” by Simon R. Green, and Kelley Armstrong’s “Rakshasi,” elegant in both tone and perspective. Satisfy your appetite for creepy with any one of these disturbing stories.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door –
Only this and nothing more.”
The opening to Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” is one of the most recognizable, atmospheric starts to a poem ever. Vincent Price is one of the most legendary horror actors ever. Put them together and a macabre beauty is made.
What should vampires be? According to Stephen King, “Killers, honey. Stone killers who never get enough of that tasty Type-A. Bad boys and girls. Hunters. In other words, Midnight America. Red, white and blue, accent on the red.” In other words…not sparkly, angst-filled romantics.
If you agree with King and want to read vampire novels where your bloodsuckers are monstrous and mean, click here.
Bonus list: Then click here for equally atrocious werewolf tales.
A fire destroyed the Bedford paper mill and, since then, the surrounding woods between Bedford and Corpus Christi have died. Lois Larkan uses these woods as a “teachable moment” and takes her class on a field trip to see the ecological disaster. Distracted by a break-up, Lois doesn’t notice that one child gets left behind until it’s too late. Little James Walker has had plenty of time to wreak havoc in the woods. James stumbles upon and releases a malevolent evil into the world…and it’s a contagion…a sentient contagion. Anyone who comes in contact with it becomes a flesh-eating monster. Can Corpus Christi (and the world) survive? Find out in Sarah Langan’s horror-edged thriller The Missing.
Vampires are planning on taking over the United States, and there’s only one man out there who can stop them – Honest Abe. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is an alternate history horror novel that explores the secret diaries of President Lincoln.
In June, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter hits the big screen. If you don’t want to wait until summer to learn the vampiric history of the United States, check out the book.
There are nocturnal beasties at Blackwood Manor that savor the crunch of children’s teeth. If only young and lonely Sally had known that the soft whispers calling her to come and play from deep down in the hidden basement were evil…she wouldn’t have let the creatures loose in the house. Co-written by Guillermo del Toro, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is a remake of a 1973, made-for-TV horror movie with further inspiration taken from the dark fairy lore of Arthur Machen. What malevolent fiends dwell in the dark at Blackwood Manor? Check out Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark to find out.
When a one-night stands nibbles at Peter’s neck, he convinces himself he’s turning into a vampire. Is he really? Not quite a psychological thriller and not quite a black comedy, Vampire’s Kiss mines queasy laughs from a narrative that could be considered tragic…plus, Nicholas Cage eats a real cockroach.
We understand that not everyone is interested in books that win important literary prizes. Sometimes you just want to find a thrilling new story in your favorite category. If you can relate, be sure to check out the recent winners and nominees of the The Reading List, which honors the best in genre fiction. These must-reads are selected by librarians who know which titles not only have the best buzz but also live up to the hype. See below for the winners and click here for readalikes and the runners-up.
Adrenaline: Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
Fantasy: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Historical Fiction: Doc by Mary Doria Russell
Horror: The Ridge by Michael Koryta
Mystery: The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino
Romance: Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase
Science Fiction: Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
Women’s Fiction: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh