Archive for the ‘Lists’ Category

I am a bit late with my 2016 list as the first month of 2017 is just about over, but I still wanted to take a minute and share some of my favorite reads from this year. 2016 was a slow year for The Horror Bookshelf and I didn’t hit any of my goals that I made this time last year, but it was for a happy reason! The last few months of 2016 were some of the happiest in my life as my wife and I had our first child. The blog has slowed down considerably, but I do not plan on closing The Horror Bookshelf. I fell a bit behind, but I plan on starting 2017 off catching up on some reviews I owe and then hopefully getting back into a normal routine. I have met so many great people through this blog and it would take forever to name everyone, but I want to thank all of my friends, authors, and readers for sticking with me and offering me encouragement and support. My main goal for this site has always been to have fun, interact with other horror fans, and give back to the authors whose art has inspired me and helped me through some rough patches. That goal remains the same and I hope I can continue the blog for many more years.

Being that I fell a bit behind, some of the books featured here haven’t had their full reviews run yet, but they are on the way. I still want to recognize the authors and their works for helping make 2016 an incredible year for this horror fan. Here is a list of my favorite reads from 2016. I decided to go with a Top 15 for novels, a Top 10 for novellas and a Top 5 for Anthologies and Collections. Thanks for sticking with me this far and I hope you find some great new reads on this list!

Novels

1. Ronald Malfi The Night Parade 

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2. John C. Foster Mister White 

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3. Kristopher Rufty Desolation 

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4. Jonathan Janz Children of the Dark

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5. Justin Cronin The City of Mirrors

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6. Damien Angelica Walters Paper Tigers

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7. Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason Mayan Blue

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8. D. Alexander Ward Beneath Ash & Bone

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9. Hunter Shea The Jersey Devil

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10. Joe Hill The Fireman

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11. Kristin Dearborn Stolen Away

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12. Robert E. Dunn A Living Grave

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13. Stephen Kozeniewski Hunter of the Dead

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14. Joe Schwartz Stabco

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15. John Quick Consequences

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Novellas

1. Adam Howe Tijuana Donkey Showdown

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2. Glenn Rolfe Chasing Ghosts

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3. Josh Malerman A House At The Bottom of a Lake

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4. Mark Matthews All Smoke Rises

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5. Robert E. Dunn Motorman

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6. John F.D. Taff The Desolated Orchard

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7. Kristin Dearborn Woman in White

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9. David Bernstein Blue Demon

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10. Lucas Mangum Mania

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Anthologies and Collections

1. I Can Taste The Blood

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2. Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories

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3. Richard Thomas Tribulations

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4. Brian Moreland Blood Sacrifices

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5. Glenn Rolfe Out of Range

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Summer is now just a month away which means it is time for me to begin winding down my “Most Anticipated Summer Reads” series! Last month’s installment included books from John F.D. Taff, Tim Curran and Stephen Lloyd Jones. This time around I will be featuring Tana French, Mark Matthews and Hunter Shea!

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Tana French The Secret Place (September 2) from Viking Adult

The Secret Place is the fifth novel in Tana French’s outstanding series of crime novels that focus on the Dublin Murder Squad and this time the focus is on Detective Stephen Moran as he attempts to solve the year-old murder of Chris Harper, armed with little more than a mysterious photo of the victim with the caption “I know who killed him.”

I debated on whether or not to include this book because it comes out right on the borderline of summer and fall, but I had to make an exception for one of my favorite mystery writers! French’s novels are highly addictive reads that are nearly impossible to put down once you start them due to the depth of her characters and absolutely brilliant plot twists. While French’s novels are not classified as horror novels, they usually offer terrifying glimpses  into the real-life horrors that other people are capable of. French also has a tendency to add subtle, creepy additions that would be right at home in a horror novel – Rob Ryan’s mysterious childhood memories in In The Woods and the unidentified noises originating in the Spain’s attic come to mind.

I highly recommend all of French’s novels in the Dublin Murder Squad series and I can’t wait to see what she has in store with The Secret Place!

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Mark Matthews Milk-Blood (Summer 2014) from Wicked Run Press

Milk-Blood is the upcoming horror novel from Mark Matthews and after reading his heart-pounding novel On The Lips of Children, this quickly became one of my most anticipated reads! Here is a synopsis from the author:

Lilly is ten years old, born with a heart defect, and already addicted to heroin. Her mother is gone from her life, and there are rumors that she was killed by her father and buried near the abandoned house across the street. The house intrigues her, she can’t stay away, and the monstrous homeless man who lives there has been trying to get Lilly to come inside.

For her mother is there, buried in the back, and this homeless man is Lilly’s true father, and both want their daughter back.“

I read Matthews’ prequel, The Damage Done (available for free on Amazon), and it blends the horrors of addiction with a supernatural element to create a unique and horrifying short story that sets the stage for Milk-Blood, which is sure to be a truly terrifying and gripping read from this extremely talented author.

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Hunter Shea Hell Hole (July 1) from Samhain Publishing

This is the second time Hunter Shea has made my “Most Anticipated Summer Reads” list (The Montauk Monster was listed in Part 1) which isn’t surprising considering the slew of excellent novels he has published.

Hell Hole is the story of New York City Cop Nat Blackburn and his journey to Hecla, Wyoming on a mission from President Theodore Roosevelt. Hecla is an abandoned mining town that draws in explorers and fortune-hunters seeking to recover the supposed gold hidden deep within the depths of the mine, but those who venture into the mine are never heard from again. Nat and his partner Teta arrive in Hecla only to encounter “black-eyed children, strange lights and ferocious wild men” lurking within the cave.

I am a bit of a history buff, so Hell Hole’s historical western setting drew me in right away and I can’t wait to sit down and read Hell Hole this summer!

I am back again with the second installment of my most anticipated summer reads! It seems like I just posted the first installment,  but time seems to be flying by with summer  just around the corner and I still have TONS of books I want to write about. The last batch included novels from Stephen King, Hunter Shea and Brian Moreland. This time around I will be featuring John F.D. Taff, Tim Curran and Stephen Lloyd Jones!

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John F.D. Taff The End In All Beginnings (Late Summer) from Grey Matter Press

I am a relatively new fan of Taff’s, but this one has rocketed right to the top of my list after it was announced by Grey Matter Press due to how much I loved his novel The Bell Witch and his story “Angie” in Ominous Realities. The End In All Beginnings will feature five new novellas that, according to the folks at Grey Matter Press, “explore the painful, emotional horrors of life, love and loss through the ages”. Sign me up!

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Tim Curran Blackout (August 2014) from Dark Fuse

While summer usually conjures images of pool parties, barbecues and warm, beautiful weather, there is also a less pleasant side to most people’s favorite season.  I am talking about the huge storms complete with downpours, thunder and lightning. It is not unusual to lose power for long periods of time after lightening lights up the sky and the booms of thunder rattle your windows. At most, this is a minor annoyance. However, Tim Curran’s upcoming novella for Dark Fuse takes this mundane scenario and dials up the horror by throwing in tentacles that snatch people into the sky at random. I imagine that the first time a big storm rolls through town after I read this novella, I will be absolutely scared out of my mind and fighting with my wife over who gets to hold the flashlight (though I doubt that would be a good defense against airborne tentacles).

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Stephen Lloyd Jones The String Diaries (July 1, 2014) from Mulholland Books

The String Diaries follows a woman named Hannah as she attempts to outrun a centuries-old man who has the horrifying ability to take on the persona of any person he wants, including Hannah’s loved ones. Throw in a pile of mysterious diaries that have been passed down for over 200 years within Hannah’s family that supposedly hold the clues to surviving this monster and this has all the makings of a book that will probably rule my life from the minute I start it.

The story is said to jump from present day all the way to Hungary at the turn of the 19th century and I love books that do that because in addition to being a huge horror fan, I am also a bit of a history nerd. I know very little about The String Diaries other than what is in the official synopsis, but it kind of reminds me of Elizabeth Kostova’s brilliant 2005 novel The Historian.

The long and brutal winter where I live seems to have finally come to an end! Believe it or not, summer is just around the corner, and I can’t wait! I have an extended vacation from work and that means a lot more free time for reading some awesome horror books. In celebration, I wanted to start gathering some of my most anticipated reads that are scheduled to hit shelves this summer. I will be listing these in a few installments, featuring anywhere from 3-5 novels at a time, for a few reasons. The most important one being that I am constantly discovering books I want to read, so I don’t want to leave any out! Here are the first three books that made my list!

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Stephen King “Mr. Mercedes”(June 3, 2014) from Scribner

This list just wouldn’t be the same without a title from one of my favorite horror authors of all-time! King has two books planned for the rest of 2014 and Mr. Mercedes is the first one up. Mr. Mercedes focuses on retired cop Bill Hodges who is still haunted by the unsolved crime that happened a few months prior in which a person drove a stolen Mercedes into a crowd of people and intentionally ran them down. Hodges is drawn from retirement and his depression after the killer sends  him a letter threatening an even more horrific attack.

I have loved King’s recent steps outside of horror – 11/22/63 and Joyland were phenomenal – and I can’t wait to see the surprises King has in store with this one!

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Hunter Shea “The Montauk Monster” (June 3, 2014) from Pinnacle

The Montauk Monster is the first thriller novel from horror writer Hunter Shea and after reading the synopsis, I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! I have always had a huge interest in cryptids and remember being completely baffled by the remains that washed up along  the shores of Montauk back in the summer of 2008. Theories ranged from a turtle without a shell all the way to a failed experiment from a government research facility before being determined by many to be the carcass of a raccoon.

In The Montauk Monster, Shea utilizes the failed genetic experiment angle to craft a story that seems absolutely terrifying. I mean, this book has it all! Creepy monsters? Check. Shadowy, top-secret projects from the government? Check. One thing is for certain after reading the synopsis of this book. Seeing how there is not just one but MANY of these creatures terrorizing the residents of Montauk, I will probably be afraid to ever step foot in the water again, fictitious story or not!

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Brian Moreland The Vagrants (June 3, 2014) from Samhain Horror

Brian Moreland’s new novella for Samhain, The Vagrants,  focuses on journalist Daniel Finley and the fallout from his most recent book that outs a sinister underground cult he encountered while spending six months in Boston’s underground writing an article on the homeless. The cult is after him because of his book and when you combine that with his attempt to save his father from mobsters, The Vagrants is guaranteed to be an action-packed adventure you will want to read!

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