Wow, how is it July 1st already?
I’ve read some really awesome books in the first half of 2016, and I thought I’d share them with you. Now. there are plenty of books I expect to make this list at year’s end (Tremblay, Malfi, Shea, and plenty of others have some great works out there or coming soon that I need to read), but these are the best of what I’ve read to date.
9. THE MONSTER UNDERNEATH– Matthew Franks
This debut from Samhain Publishing author, Matthew Franks, is an interesting psychological mash up of Criminal Minds, The Following, Silence of the Lambs, and something with a mind reader/dream invader. If you want to make a splash out the gate, I guess creating your own concoction that nobody has seen before is a good way to achieve that. *THIS ONE IS ON SALE for 99 CENTS!
8. THE COMPLEX by Brian Keene
A lot of reviewers (myself included) mentioned how great is to see Keene return to form with this vicious, yet thoughtful horror ride. A gang of possessed people descend upon an apartment complex full of interesting characters. It pays to be on speaking terms with your neighbors! One of Keene’s short story character’s plays a major role in here, an added bonus for BK fans. I’m not sure THE COMPLEX will make my end of the year list, but I’m happy to see him back in any of my top lists.
7. CHILDREN OF THE DARK by Jonathan Janz
Janz delivers another strong effort. This one has him reaching into the coming-of-age bag, pulls out of big, bloody ball, and bats a solid hit. I’ve seen a lot of praise out there from the Janz-ites, and if you’re a big JJ fan, you will no doubt have this one on your 2016 list. COTD serves as a prequel to Janz’s SAVAGE SPECIES novel and I’m thinking we’re in for more from this universe. Stay tuned!
6. MAYAN BLUE by Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason
Remember what I said about creating your own concoction to make that initial impact? Well, the “Sisters of Slaughter” have done just that. MAYAN BLUE has a very original story (Mayan ruins/artifacts in Georgia?) and showcases their unabashed taste in writing some pretty vicious scenes. I mentioned in my review how their style had me thinking back to Brian Keene’s original Leisure Books run. I stand by that statement.
5. THEY RISE by Hunter Shea
Hunter writes like he’s making these crazy horror/action movies. It’s perfect for that hungry horror bookworm who wants something good that reads like a match set to gasoline. This one has a lot of JAWS-like sensibilities which, I’m sure, suits Mr. Shea just fine. A great monster fish long thought extinct resurfaces and in numbers that would scare the bejesus out of any seaman…
4. PRINCE OF NIGHTMARES by John McNee
This is a haunted hotel story that reads like something hidden in Clive Barkers steamer trunk. The writing is smooth and exciting, and the story is just about perfect. The evil creations McNee uses and the horrifying sights they show the guests in this ghost attraction hotel are top notch and scary. I really loved this book.
3. NORTHWOODS by Bill Schweigart
This book is a sequel to a novel I have never read (Beast of Baycroft). That being said, I had no trouble following along with the characters or their situations. A great sequel stands alone. Schweigart nails that model here in spades. I had a lot of fun reading this one and will go back and find the first book before Christmas. If you like shapeshifters, cryptozoology, and action, you will love this! (Writing-wise, he could be Hunter Shea’s twin brother!) *AND this one is on sale for 99 cents !
2. DESOLATION by Kristopher Rufty
Definitely a contender for my Top 5 at the end of the year, Rufty’s DESOLATION really hit me in the guts. With the most heart-wrenching opening I’ve read in years, this novel dares to go straight for your soft spot. There’s revenge, there’s right and wrong, there’s a family trying to keep itself together while trying to avoid being chopped to bits…it’s pretty freaking great. I loved this one. You should make time for it, too And, if you act now, you can get the paperback version from Amazon for just $7.23!
1. MONGRELS by Stephen Graham Jones
I LOVED this book! Sounds like I’ve had a pretty good 2016 in the reading world, right? Yes, I have, and MONGRELS tops the list. SGJ writes this book like he has some sort of inside information on werewolves that the rest of us don’t. It’s not a fast and furious werewolf blood bath like Janz’s WOLF LAND (or that book that I wrote), but what it is is SOOO MUCH better. Not to kick any of the werewolf novels that came before it in the nuts, but I truly believe Mr. Jones is in or knows a real wolf pack. This is just a wonderful piece of literature wearing a horror jacket and being really fucking cool. The story of a werewolf family and the challenges they face trying to stay under the radar in the world around them, and a boy waiting to see if he’s ever going to change. A really wonderful book and one that should make everyone’s Top 10 of 2016.
I’ll drop a few novellas and a collection that I really enjoyed here. Check out:
WOMAN IN WHITE by Kristin Dearborn
VICKI BEAUTIFUL by Somer Canon
THE WINTER BOX by Tim Waggoner
and FLESH AND FIRE by Lucas Mangum
(Mangum’s is part of Journal Stone’s double down collection, and is paired with a new Jonathan Maberry piece-BONUS!)
And don’t miss A MIXED BAG OF BLOOD by David Bernstein, a fantastic and imaginative collection of perfect horror.
To see all the books I’ve read so far this year, go check out GLENN’s GOOD READS CHALLENGE (I will add this link later-my computer is acting fruity)