Check It Out Category: Horror

Books: Timely Horror

As the leaves fall and the air chills, All Hallows’ Eve brings with it a turn toward the sinister and dark. For those looking for a spine-tingling, hair-raising accompaniment to your Halloween weekend, look no further than these recent tales…

if you dare.

The Devil Crept In book coverThe Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn

Young Jude Brighton has been missing for three days, and while the search for him is in full swing in the small town of Deer Valley, Oregon, the locals are aware that after the first 48 hours the odds usually point to a worst-case scenario. Despite Stevie Clark’s youth, he knows that, too. He knows what each ticking moment may mean for his cousin and best friend. And there was that boy, Max Larsen…found dead after also disappearing under mysterious circumstances. And then there were the animals: pets gone missing out of yards. The awful truth may be too horrifying to imagine.

 

 

Strange Weather book coverStrange Weather by Joe Hill

A collection of four short, chilling novels.”Snapshot” is the disturbing story of a Silicon Valley adolescent who finds himself threatened by a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid Instant Camera that erases memories. In “rain” a seemingly ordinary day in Boulder, Colorado erupts with a downpour of nails—splinters of bright crystal that shred the skin of anyone not safely under cover. In “Aloft” s young man takes to the skies to experience his first parachute jump. . . and winds up a castaway on an impossibly solid cloud. In “Loaded,” a mall security guard in a coastal Florida town courageously stops a mass shooting, but under the glare of the spotlights, his story begins to unravel.

 

 

 

Universale Harvester book coverUniversal Harvester by John Darnielle

Jeremy works at the Video Hut. It’s good enough for Jeremy: it’s a job, and it gets him out of the house, where he lives with his dad and where they both try to avoid missing Mom, who died six years ago in a car wreck. But when a local schoolteacher comes in to return a tape, she has an odd complaint: “There’s something on it.” Two days later, a different customer returns a tape and says “There’s another movie on this tape.” Jeremy brings the movies home to take a look. The middle of each movie is replaced by a few minutes of jagged, poorly lit home video. The scenes are odd and sometimes violent, dark, and deeply disquieting and have been shot just outside of town.

 

 

Sleeping BeautiesSleeping Beauties book cover by Stephen King and Owen King

In this spectacular father-son collaboration, Stephen King and Owen King tell the highest of high-stakes stories: what might happen if women disappeared from the world of men? In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place.

 

 

 

The Dark Net book coverThe Dark Net by Benjamin Percy

The Dark Net is real. An anonymous and often criminal arena that exists in the secret far reaches of the Web, some use it to manage Bitcoins, pirate movies and music, or traffic in drugs and stolen goods. And now, an ancient darkness is gathering there. This force is threatening to spread virally into the real world unless it can be stopped by members of a ragtag crew, including a twelve-year-old who has been fitted with a high-tech visual prosthetic to combat her blindness; a technophobic journalist; a one-time child evangelist with an arsenal in his basement; and a hacker who believes himself a soldier of the Internet. Set in present-day Portland, this is a cracked-mirror version of the digital nightmare we already live in.

Fiction: The Fireman by Joe Hill

The fireman book coverWhile it might be tough to get this consuming book done in only 11 days, if you have a long commute or are up for the challenge try the latest Joe Hill book, The Fireman. An infection has started to overwhelm the human population and people are starting to burst into flames. The exact cause, while guessed at, is not known for sure. No one appears to be truly safe in this world, including Harper Willowes, who we learn pretty early on is pregnant.  Read by Kate Mulgrew, who is known for her role as Red on Orange is the New Black, the audiobook is particularly absorbing.

Fiction: The Caretaker of Lorne Field by Dave Zeltserman

Caretaker of Lorne Field book cover

Nine generations of firstborn Durkin sons have been paid by the town to do nothing but pull weeds from a field. Well, not weeds exactly. According to lore, the life forms being pulled from the ground are not plants but Aukowies, and if they aren’t constantly yanked and burned, they will take over the world.

In The Caretaker of Lorne Field by Dave Zeltserman, Jack Durkin is trying to stave off global extinction and feeling exhausted and alone. Local government would like to kick him off the payroll, his wife whines about him getting a real job, his son doesn’t want to take over the family business, and most everyone thinks he’s delusional. What if he is? What if he’s not?

Fiction: Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Lovecraft Country book cover

If you count yourself a fan of the movie Get Out, we have just the book for you! Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff offers a similar mash-up of horror, suspense, and social commentary that results in fantastic entertainment. It begins when the car of Korean War vet Atticus Turner breaks down, and finding help via the the Safe Negro Travel Guide stirs up additional trouble. From there the characters encounter secret societies, sorcerers, tentacled creatures, cursed dolls, and other worlds. As scary as these things are, they aren’t nearly as chilling as the racism of 1950s Jim Crow America, so prepare yourself for what’s to come.

Equally appealing to those who enjoy the thought-provoking, the weird, the page-turning, or the subversive, this is one homage that you’ll have to experience for yourself.

Fiction: Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

Universal Harvester book cover MPPL has a Goodreads discussion group!  Whether you’d like to join in on the conversation or just observe, you can hear about what books other participants are reading for the summer. As a result you may find books you might want to read too, such as Universal Harvester by John Darnielle. This horror book was shared by a member of the group and may be a great reading choice for you if you are a fan of….

…strange VHS tapes, mysterious narrators, creepy stories, foreboding settings, and nods to urban legends.

Audiobook: The Broken Ones by Stephen M. Irwin

Broken Ones book coverThe dead have risen, and they are shadowing us. Three years ago the earth’s poles inexplicably switched, plunging the planet into chaos. One effect was the appearance of personal ghosts, usually with a close connection to the haunted. Detective Oscar Mariani, however, can’t place the 16-year-old boy who is now his otherworldly companion. His unit specializes in those who are driven to murder by the presence of spirits, and he’ll need all his faculties intact to solve the latest gruesome killing.

Horror tales (or horror-blends) are especially heightened in audio, and Australian narrator Grant Cartwright shows how a strong performance can intensify the crawling of our skin. His skill in intonation, emotion, and pacing keeps us listening even though we’re tempted to hide under the covers. The Broken Ones by Stephen M. Irwin is both fascinating and creepy, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

List: Funny Horror Books

funny horror books

Horror books don’t only have to be eerie, they can be funny too! Books shown below take familiar horror story premises and add a little laugh to the boo.

Apocalypse Cow book coverApocalypse Cow
by Michael Logan
It starts with one cow that won’t die… and spreads… and spreads… until the world has a problem they never imagined they would have to deal with: zombie animals.
Carpe Demon book coverCarpe Demon
by Julie Kenner
Between taking care of her kids and supporting her husband’s political career, Kate doesn’t have time to hunt demons too, but there’s only one woman for the job and that’s her!
Gil's All Fright Diner book coverGil’s All Fright Diner
by A. Lee Martinez
Duke, a werewolf, and Earl, a vampire, stop at diner and are enlisted to help the owner’s zombie problem, however, zombies aren’t the only problems the owner has.

 

John Dies at the End book coverJohn Dies at the End
by David Wong
A concoction called Soy Sauce opens a can of worms, but thanks to David’s and John’s video game knowledge they may have a chance of protecting their loved ones.
Paul is Undead
by Alan Goldsher
The Beatles are gearing up to take over the world like no other rock stars have ever done before!
bloodlite book coverBlood Lite III: Aftertaste
by various authors
All-star authors such as Jim Butcher and Kelley Armstrong unite to bring forth a collection of some hilarious good short horror stories.

 

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Like Stranger Things? Try My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

My Best Friend's Exorcism book coverIf you’re looking for campy horror with just enough spook to keep you on your toes but humor to break the tension, make Grady Hendrix’s My Best Friend’s Exorcism your next read. Set in small town America during the 1980s, Abby and Gretchen have been long-time best friends. Now they are in high school and Gretchen is suddenly acting strangely mean. Is it just growing up, or is she possibly possessed by a demon? Abby is on a mission to find out.

Like the hit Netflix original Stranger Things, the novel has strong elements of loyal friendship, an abundance of 1980s pop culture, and a slow build up resulting in an action packed final scene

Staff Pick: Dead Alive

Picture of JohnPeter Jackson’s Dead Alive reigns undisputed as the messiest zombie movie ever made. In Jackson’s gleefully over-the-top, relentlessly gory, black comedy, Lionel’s overbearing mother receives a bite of an evil Sumatran “rat monkey”. Soon she’s snacking on the neighbors, who rapidly zombify – and then things escalate (watch for the lawnmower).