Series: Horror


King Bullet: The monster finds his way

King Bullet by Richard Kadrey

With 2022’s King Bullet, Richard Kadrey brings the novel series about Hellion wizard James Stark, AKA Sandman Slim, to a conclusion. As Kadrey once said, Stark is a monster who wonders if he can become human. We readers figured out that answer a while ago, but in King Bullet, Stark faces the answer himself, along with an adversary who may defeat him once and for all.

L.A. (if not the USA and/or the world—we don’t know) is hunkering down in the throes of a devastating virus,

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Darkness Below: A romp through dark academia with tentacles

Darkness Below by Barbara Cottrell

2023’s Darkness Below is the first book in Barbara Cottrell’s new THE SHADOWS OF MISKATONIC series. We’re heading into warmer weather, with the promise of road trips and vacations. Here’s a shivery tentacle-horror story for fans of Lovecraftia, complete with a sprinkle of dark academia on top, that’s perfect for the road or that lounge chair by the pool.

Ellen attends Miskatonic University and lives in the town of Arkham with her guardian, Uncle Joshua (who probably isn’t her uncle.) Ellen is a strong psychic whose past is a mystery.

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The Between: Classic horror, scary as all get-out

The Between by Tananarive Due

The Between, first published in 1995, is Tananarive Due’s classic horror novel, about a man who must risk his life to save his family from malignant forces, both supernatural and all too human. In the mid-1990s, Hilton James suddenly starts experiencing the dreadful dreams he had before, early in his marriage. Time with a therapist and a hypnosis session seemed to help then, but now the episodes are worse, and he begins to have waking dreams, until sometimes he can’t tell when and where he is.

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Revival (Volume One): You’re Among Friends: A rural noir horror story

Revival (Volume One): You’re Among Friends by Tim Seeley (writer) and Mike Norton (artist)

Revival is marketed as “rural noir,” but it is horror, too. Tim Seeley and Mike Norton have created an eight-volume story, and volume one, “You’re Among Friends,” starts off, after an introduction by Jeff Lemire, with a shocking event: Ms. Tao, a reporter given the worst columns to write, is forced to write one on unusual jobs. In the opening scene, she is making a video recording as she interviews the town’s crematorium technician at one in the morning.

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Yellow Jessamine: A dark, disturbing treat

Yellow Jessamine by Caitlin Starling

Having thoroughly enjoyed Caitlin Starling’s 2019 novel The Luminous Dead, I was very happy to learn that I wouldn’t have to wait long to read more of her work.

Yellow Jessamine (2020), Starling’s new novella, is completely different from The Luminous Dead but similarly features creepy atmosphere, a background of family trauma, and relationships filled with dysfunctional tension and longing.

Evelyn Perdanu is a wealthy woman in the city of Delphinium,

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Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse (Vol. 2): It Only Hurts When I Pee: The slapstick horror continues

Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse (Vol. 2): It Only Hurts When I Pee by Ben Templesmith

The slapstick horror of Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse continues in volume two, It Only Hurts When I Pee. Wormwood is an “intergalactic, interdimensional, immortal, happy-go-lucky larval worm thing” that “wears corpses likes suits.” You can see the worm he is in the eyeball of each corpse. And he has his gang: Mr. Pendulum a “robotic drinking companion”; Ms. Medusa, ex-girlfriend and manager of Wormwood’s favorite bar, The Dark Alley; and Phoebe Phoenix,

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Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse (Volume 1): Birds, Bees, Blood and Beer: Beautifully illustrated slapstick horror

Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse (Volume 1): Birds, Bees, Blood and Beer by Ben Templesmith

Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse (Volume 1): Birds, Bees, Blood and Beer is first notable because of the identifiable art of Ben Templesmith, who both wrote and drew this first of three volumes. Ben Templesmith is known for his work on 30 Days of Night. The art in Wormwood is haunting, with shifting lights marking the seedy backdrop of a creepy cityscape and “The Dark Alley,” a stripper bar that the Gentleman Corpse seems to like to hang out in with Mr.

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The Secret Skin: So many scares!

The Secret Skin by Wendy N. Wagner

There are so many scary things in Wendy N. Wagner’s short 2021 novella, The Secret Skin. There is the nasty housekeeper who gives the nasty housekeeper in Rebecca a run for her money. There is the leering, unpleasant overseer of the Vogel family sawmill. There is Abigail, a deeply disturbed little girl who may be telekinetic. There is the “community meeting” of the white men in the nearby town of Coos Bay, Oregon, and their white robes and hoods.

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Sensor: A mystical story from a horror master

Sensor by Junji Ito

Junji Ito is, in the United States, the best-known creator of horror manga (Japanese comics). So far, seventeen volumes have been translated into English (some are as long as 750 pages). Most of what has been published are collections of short stories like Shiver and Fragments of Horror. However, there are graphic novels by Ito that tell one long story, like Gyo, Tomie, and his masterpiece, Uzumaki.

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Shiver: Junji Ito’s best short story horror collection

Shiver by Junji Ito

Seventeen books by Junji Ito have now been translated into English, and while a few of them are graphic novels telling a single story, most are short story collections. Perhaps the best of them is Shiver. Shiver contains ten excellent tales and includes commentary by the author on every story as well as a final afterword. Each story also includes at the end samples of Ito’s notes (with translations). These notes, along with the commentary, give interesting insights into the stories.

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Recent Discussion:

  1. Not sure I can be persuaded on two of these articles. When I was young book-banning meant you couldn't sell…

May 2023