My Favorite Reads of 2020

These are my top reads of 2020 (released in 2020). They’re sort of in order, the top three (Magpie/Survivor/Ring) being too close for me to choose. It was probably the best year in horror fiction that I can remember. There’s always a bunch of good books, but this year was super packed. If you don’t own these books, make a list and start grabbing them! And I strongly believe this year is going to be just as freaking good.

As I always do, here’s the list of other great books just outside of my Top 11:

MISFITS by Hunter Shea, TOMB OF GODS by Brian Moreland, TRUE CRIME by Samantha Kolesnik, THE BELL CHIME by Mona Kabbani, MYSTERY ROAD by Kevin Lucia, and THE INVENTION OF GHOSTS by Gwendolyn Kiste

Other books that I enjoyed Best non 2020 reads WHERE THE CRAWDAD’S SING by Delia Owens, DECEMBER PARK by Ronald Malfi, DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone

Favorite Non Fiction: AMERICAN PREDATOR by Maureen Callahan (not from 2020) END OF THE ROAD by Brian Keene

Favorite Anthology: Bludgeon Tools edited by K. Trap Jones and Survive With Me edited by Kenneth W. Cain

Feel free to check out my GoodReads page for my reviews. https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2020/16739484

If you haven’t read my 2020 release (UNTIL SUMMER COMES AROUND) check it out. Definitely for fans of 80s/coming of age/vampire stories.

Stay safe, stay positive!

-Glenn

SURVIVE WITH ME: 5 Questions with Heather Herrman

SURVIVE WITH ME features sixteen of my favorite writer buds. Each of them gave these stories to me for this charity anthology. ALL proceeds go to the American Indian College Fund. You can order your eBook or paperback copy HERE Or discover more about this wonderful cause here: AMERICAN INDIAN COLLEGE FUND

Tonight, we welcome in Heather Herrman. I met Heather online after reading her excellent Bentley Little-esque novel, CONSUMPTION. We’ve kept in touch ever since and she has some pretty big things on the horizon. I’m so happy to have her and her wonderful story in this special anthology.

Heather Herrman

What inspired your story in SWM, “Hold Still”?

I am so interested in the idea of secret places. When I was a kid, I’d constantly be on the lookout for secret doors (who am I kidding, I still am). This story was a “what if” you accidentally found one of those pathways to another world and took it? Beyond that, it’s always fun to turn gender tropes on their heads.

What causes would you like see get more attention?

Adult literacy. I used to work for two fabulous organizations that supported this and would love to see both of them get more attention. The Minnesota Literacy Council and The Loft Literary Center, both located in Minnesota. All adults deserve and need access to the opportunities literacy brings, both on the professional and personal levels. Beyond that art/literature should be a right, not a privilege.

I loved your novel, Consumption. Will we see a paperback edition released?

Thanks so much! I’d love to see Consumption out in paperback, and fingers crossed someday that will happen. Right now my publisher is keeping it strictly in ebook format, but who knows what the future holds? 

2021 promises to be a good one for new releases. What can we look forward to from you?

 I’m so excited to announce that my Young Adult debut, The Corpse Queen, will be out from Putnam in Fall 2021. It’s a macabre murder-mystery featuring a serial killer loose in 1850’s Philadelphia and a young grave-robber, Molly Green, who must become an anatomist in a male-dominate industry to stop him. I love the characters so much and can’t wait to introduce them to the world! 

Give me three aromas that lift your spirit. 

Creosote after a desert rain

Burning piñon

Coffee. Always coffee.

You can read Heather’s story, “Hold Still,” in SURVIVE WITH ME.

For more, check out her website: HeatherHerrman.com

Survive With Me: 5 Questions with Lucas Mangum & Hunter Shea

SURVIVE WITH ME features sixteen of my favorite writer buds. Each of them gave these stories to me for this charity anthology. ALL proceeds go to the American Indian College Fund. You can order your eBook or paperback copy HERE Or discover more about this wonderful cause here: AMERICAN INDIAN COLLEGE FUND

Tonight, we welcome two more contributors and authors I consider friends. Lucas Mangum and I met at World Horror Con in Portland, Oregon back in 2014. We were just two fresh faced weirdos that felt out of place among hallways walked by such giants as Jack Ketchum, Gord Rollo, Wrath James White, and the recipient of that years Bram Stoker Awards Grandmaster of Horror Award, Brian Keene. Here we are six years later, and I’m happy to see the success Lucas has is having with his works, and to have him included in this anthology.

Hunter Shea is a man that needs no introduction… but he’s one of the people in this industry I’ve spoken with the most, so I have to say something. He’s such a cool, laid back dude, and he knows his hair metal! (Tesla, man.) Hunter has written tons of great monster books for publishers big and small. I’m grateful to have his new story included here. I’m also grateful for his friendship and his advice whenever I seek it out.

So, let’s talk to the boys…

Lucas Mangum

What inspired your story in SWM, “The Hand of Violence”?

I always wanted to write a proper slasher, and I thought SWM’s theme was perfect for that. As far as the narrative itself, I think my best short stories tend to be as fast-paced as possible. We all know the slasher genre and its tropes, so I set it during the final showdown and used  brief glimpses of backstory to show what made my story different.

What causes do wish would get more attention?

I don’t have a specific charity in mind, but anything that addresses mental health is going to have my support provided it’s run by honest people. I’ve stayed in a psych ward, and I’ve been on more meds than I can remember. And I know there are people out there with struggles even more frightening than mine. We need the resources to find help when we look for it, so I’m all for anything that helps in that department. 

Who are some of the authors you’ve interacted with that have helped you out the most?

I’ve had a lot of writers help me over the last ten years. Most recently, I’ve gotten a lot of support from Max Booth III, Autumn Christian, Ryan Harding, Shane McKenzie, Wesley Southard, and Wile E. Young.

How do you work your writing around family and your day job?

I’m very fortunate right now, because I work part time. I do a lot of my writing in the morning before my kid gets up and some more before I go to bed. Throughout the day, I just get it in where I can.

Give me three things that made you laugh this week.

Three things? Let’s see… first, a line I wrote in my collaboration with Wesley Southard that I won’t spoil here. Second, the many twists and turns of the Fritz Lang movie, Scarlet Street. Last, pretty much anything that comes out of my four-year-old’s mouth is comedy gold. When he counts to twenty, he almost always skips thirteen. Not sure what that’s about, but it makes me wonder if triskaidekaphobia can be innate.

Hunter Shea

What inspired your story in SWM, “Into the Night”?

 I love all things alien and abductions. I’ve written several other abduction stories in the past but they’ve never seen the light of day.  This was an opportunity to explore the true horror of the alien abduction experience, but with a little tongue in the ol cheek. Not to mention, I know we share this particular interest, so it only seemed right. 

What cause do you wish would get some more attention?

My wife and one daughter both suffer from a rare auto immune disease called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Depending on the type of you have, it can be either mildly irritating to life threatening. It has some similarities to lupus, and some people, like my wife, have both. I remember coming across doctors who had never heard of it, but that’s starting to change. More research needs to go into treating and possibly curing this disease. Unfortunately, I don’t think enough people have it (thank God) for it to warrant the time and money that will take. 

When are we gonna get a Bigfoot v. Mothman book from you?

 First, I have to write a Mothman book. I have about five story ideas for a Mothman story. One of these days, I’ll settle on one. 

I loved your novella, The Waiting. Are there any novellas in the works?

Thanks Glenn. I’m actually looking to get that back out soon. I’m currently working on a new bigfoot book for Severed Press that should be out in 2021. It’s going to be a ton of fun. 

Give me three movies that people might be surprised to find out you love.

OK, I guess it would be She’s the One, Bring it On and True Love (not to be confused with True Romance). 

New Release: A Mega All-Star Cast for the LAND OF BONES (Fireside Horror) Audiobook

FIRESIDE HORROR has brought my short story collection to life. Holy hell, the amazing cast assembled by owner Joe Hempel is un-fucking-believable!

I now have an idea what it’s like to have a movie or TV show made of one of your books. I mean, the performers here bring each of these tales to life in ways that had me mesmerized. And I wrote the damn things!

I want to thank Fireside Horror for the opportunity to share these short stories in new medium, and for bringing this cast together.

On a personal note, while I absolutely love every performance in here, for someone that’s been listening to each of Matt Godfrey’s audio book versions of the Paperbacks from Horror titles, getting to listen to Matt deliver his talents to the novella included here, Too Much of a Dead Thing, was a dream come true.

You can get your audio, eBook, or paperback edition of LAND OF BONES here: LAND OF BONES

And check out much more from Fireside Horror here: FIRESIDE HORROR

Cover Reveal and Pre-order for my novel, AUGUST’S EYES

“Rolfe is the real deal, folks, and anything he writes is well worth checking out.” – Gord Rollo, author of The Jigsaw Man and The Crucifixion Experiments

When dreams start bleeding into reality, a social worker is forced to face the mistakes of his past.

A serial killer has found a way to make his land of graveyards a sinister playground to be bent at his sadistic will.

The secrets behind August’s eyes will bring two worlds together, and end in a cataclysm of pain and ruin.

Pre-order your copy in eBook, paperback, or hardcover here: AUGUST’S EYES

Glenn Rolfe is an author from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King, Richard Laymon, Brian Keene, Jack Ketchum, and many others. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is a Splatterpunk Award nominee and the author of Until Summer Comes Around, The Window, Becoming, Blood and Rain, The Haunted Halls, Chasing Ghosts, Abram’s Bridge, Things We Fear, Boom Town, and the collections, Slush and Land of Bones.
Look for his next novel, August’s Eyes, coming from Flame Tree Press in the summer of 2021.

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We’re still pretty far out from the actual release (8.17.21), but I’m sure we’ll be chatting this one up in the not too distant furture. For now, here you go. I love this story and this freaking cover.

Oh, and don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads TBR: AUGUST’S EYES GoodReads

THE WINDOW is on sale this week. Grab a copy and tell a friend.

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“Emotional and action-packed.” – Horror After Dark 

“A flawlessly executed character driven modern day horror tale.” – The Horror Fiction Review

“A dark and unsettling coming-of-age horror novel with great characters. Highly recommended!” – Little Miss Zombie

“A coming-of-age story with sex demon doppelgangers, it harkens to the day of Leisure titles (Brian Keene’s Ghoul comes to mind).” – Undivine Interventions

“The Window is brilliant!” – Finding Montauk

“(Rolfe) takes a step up into the next echelon of horror greats and it is completely deserved off of this masterpiece.” – Kendall Reviews

 

What kind of demons await you tonight?

For Richie, life’s constant cheap shots are adding up. When he finds something is watching him, he never dreamed that it would show him everything that he ever wanted.

When his son, James, comes to stay for the last month of summer, the changes in his father’s behavior come to the forefront. What is his father doing staring into the window in the middle of the night?
Was the fiery spark in the dark real? Or is James’ imagination getting the best of him?

Summer’s almost over.
And life is about to change.
Will the son be able to save the father? Or is it already too late?

The Window holds the answers…and the key.

 

Get your 99 cent copy HERE

 

THE WINDOW is on sale for this final week of May.  Click the link above and grab a copy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble,  Apple, or Kobo. If you’ve already read the book (thank you),  be sure to tell a friend.  Thanks so much.

-GR

A Closer Look into the World of Jackson R. Thomas

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Last summer, I kicked off the next phase of my publishing company, ALIEN AGENDA PUBLISHING.  We decided to go with a summer package featuring re-releases of novels by Mick Ridgewell (The Nightcrawler) and David Bernstein (Skinner), and introduced Jackson R. Thomas.  The “Summer of Horror” kicked off with The Beast of Brenton Woods, a fast and ferocious short novel about a legend known in the town of Coopers Mills as “The White Wolf”.

That book was a big hit for AAP, and we sold the audio rights to the fine folks at Tantor Media (with a fine vocal performance from Joe Hempel).  That audio edition is available now (To order, click HERE)

To get to know Mr. Thomas a bit better, check out the rare interview he did with House of 1000 Books

11 Questions with Jackson R. Thomas Author of Paradise, Maine

 

And that brings us to the latest offering: Paradise, Maine

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“A short, entertaining read for fans of Edward Lee and Jack Ketchum’s Dead River series.” – Jack Bantry, Splatterpunk Zine and author of The Lucky Ones Died First

“Thomas brings the goods and packs them into bite size zip-lock freezer bags, making sure to keep the horror fresh on every page! A must read.” – Kendall Reviews 

 

This one just came out last month. If you’re into splatterpunk, check it out.

Word on the street is you have two new Thomas books to keep and eye out for coming…/

RISE (the sequel to The Beast of Brenton Woods-coming late 2019 from Alien Agenda Publishing)

and IT CAME FROM THE LAKE    (TBA, 2020)

 

 

Bio:

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Jackson R. Thomas has lived in Colorado, New York, and now resides in Coopers Mills, Maine with his cat, Gizmo.

He loathes social media, and has worked as a janitor, fast-food slave, record store clerk, and night auditor at an unnamed hotel on Route 1.

He loves horror books, horror films, and the band, Ministry.

 

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Some legends never die….

The White Wolf, the Beast of Brenton Woods, a legendary creature said to walk like a man. When the full moon rises, it will feast.

Unseen for years, truth has turned to rumor, mere folklore. Until something lures the monster from exile, calling it home.
For Tyler and Ben, a firsthand encounter leads to an exploration of the forbidden depths of Brenton woods, and for Ben, the discovery of a family secret.

When Wendy and her friends hangout in the abandoned cabin is compromised, the hunt begins. The target of a creature’s desire, Wendy is hearing whispers in the night, finding footprints outside her window, and can’t shake the dreadful feeling that something is waiting for her.

Deputy Kathy Wilcox understands the disturbances, the shredded carcasses, and the growing list of missing persons in town are connected to something larger than life. Will her acceptance of the legend end in tragedy?

There’s a full moon above, the night is coming down, and blood is about to run.

 

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They needed a place to get away from it all… they’ll never be coming back.

When Darren and Vanis set out to free themselves from life’s anxieties and rekindle their relationship, a trip to the beautiful Maine coast sounds perfect.

The breathtaking views and gorgeous cabin seem like another world. One to get lost in and from which they never want to return. But something has an eye on them…

For Zebulun Ayers, a trip to connect with nature is far more than he ever saw on Man vs. Wild or any other reality TV show. This is the real wild life.

Paradise, Maine is home to a monster rarely seen and one never mentioned, even among locals. The Watcher is waiting.

Officially signed with FLAME TREE PRESS!

It’s been a while…

Happy to announce that I have signed with FLAME TREE PRESS for my vampire novel, UNTIL SUMMER COMES AROUND.

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UNTIL SUMMER COMES AROUND

It’s Old Orchard Beach, Maine in the summer of 1986. The pier, the fries, the tourists, and the sunshine blazing high above the Atlantic. For fifteen year old Rocky Zukas, it’s when he sees the beach side town he calls home come to life. Gone are the long, cold, quiet nights of the off season, and here, like magic, returns the beauty and wonder of the city’s heartbeat.

This summer brings her.

When a mysterious, dark-haired girl named November walks into his world, Rocky’s life is forever changed.

A story of love, loss, betrayal, and the undead, ends in explosive fashion after sundown.

In the tradition of such modern horror classics as The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon and Ghoul by Brian Keene, Until Summer Comes Around proves once and for all…the monsters are real.

Look for UNTIL SUMMER COMES AROUND to be released in mid-2020.

And I am so happy to be back with family like this.

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Stoker Con Providence, RI 2018 (Left to right: -JH Moncreiff, me, JG Faherty, and Don D’Auria)

From my first viewing of THE LOST BOYS to reading Anne Rice’s THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES, ‘SALEM’S LOT by King, THE NARROWS by Ronald Mafi, and LIVE GIRLS by Ray Garton, this  one has been percolating for some time.

See the below video from my old band, THE NEW 45- “I Wanna Suck Your Blood”

BONE SAW: A horror book for horror fans and more. Patrick Lacey’s best yet.

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Bone SawBone Saw by Patrick Lacey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Sometimes bad men are scarier than monsters.”

Bone Saw is the latest novel from horror fiend, Patrick Lacey. In this b-movie monster flick come to life, the small town of Bass Falls is about to meet The Pigfoot (a unique creation all on his own, for which the author should be proud).

Lacey’s love for horror flicks shines through this work like a scream queen’s puncturing wail. Is there blood? Yes. Is there gore? Of course. Is there heart? Surprisingly, yes. And that’s a good thing. For our young protagonist, Liam, through a shitstorm of bad luck, he may just find the perfect lady…if they can survive.

“…and bit into the woman’s face like corn on the cob.”

Lacey shows he’s far from a one-trick pony, as he digs deep and fills the spaces with some real grit and emotion. It felt at times as though we were seeing the inner workings and emotions of the author himself. Among the blood and chewed upon body parts, there is a love story.
It’s this type of writing that will help Lacey continue to grow into the great author he’s becoming before our eyes.

I’ve been a fan of Patrick Lacey since his first novella, and having read both his previous novels, DREAM WOODS and WE CAME BACK (both from Sinister Grin Press), I’d say BONE SAW is his best yet. Definitely going in my Top 10 of 2018.

A five-star read.
Highly recommended.

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Patrick Lacey was born and raised in a haunted house. He currently spends his nights and weekends writing about things that make the general public uncomfortable. He lives in Massachusetts with his Pomeranian and his muse, who is likely trying to kill him. Follow him on Twitter (@patlacey), find him on Facebook, or visit his website at https://patrickclacey.wordpress.com/.

(BOOK REVIEW) BROKEN SHELLS by Michael Patrick Hicks

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“He could only watch as a pasty arm jabbed at his face. His back arched as he screamed, the spiked forelimb spearing his eye. Warm jelly oozed down his face as the orb exploded…”

BROKEN SHELLS (High Fever Books, 2017), the latest by author, Michael Patrick Hicks (REVOLVER, MASS HYSTERIA), is a wild underground creature-feature. The story follows Antoine DeWitt, a man that is slugging his way through a paycheck-to-paycheck life. Antoine has a screaming, crying baby at home with his lady, and is tired of it all. He’s just been fired from work when he receives a Money Carlo winning ticket promising him $5, 000, he reluctantly decides to check out the to-good-to-be-true deal. The dealership has something for Mr. DeWitt, but it’s not exactly what he was expecting.

This is a fun and nasty little novella from Hicks. He shows his love for creatures-features, brings the gore and the terror, and his show-stealing creations (the Ba’is) are fantastic. Joe Dangle, the owner of the dealership, and his family have been responsible for keeping the creatures locked away, feeding them (bodies, of course), and keeping it all secret. Evil bugs with sharp claws that will poke your eyes out or rip your mouth apart, the Ba’is rule this story.

“Her lips stretched, her skin blanching under the strain, and then the corners of her mouth split, the flesh unzipping into a gruesome and jagged smile as her cheeks ripped apart.”

Personally, I disliked both DeWitt (who numerous times considers walking away from the stress of his wife and kid) and Dangle (car salesman + murderer =cretin), but LOVED the Ba’is and all the carnage they unleash throughout.
If you’re a big creature-feature fan (digging on works like Adam Cesare’s VIDEO NIGHT or Hunter Shea’s THEY RISE) you’re going to love this book.
I give BROKEN SHELLS 4 stars!

Thanks to Nev at Confessions of a Reviewer for supplying me with an Advanced Reader Copy of the book.

BROKEN SHELLS is available now in Print and will be released in eBook on Feb 8th. Get yours HERE

 

Michael P Hicks

MICHAEL PATRICK HICKS is the author of a number of speculative fiction titles. His debut novel, Convergence, was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist. His most recent work is the horror novel, Mass Hysteria.

He has written for the Audiobook Reviewer and Graphic Novel Reporter websites, in addition to working as a freelance journalist and news photographer.

In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

To stay up to date on his latest releases, join his newsletter, memFeed: http://bit.ly/1H8slIg

Website: http://www.michaelpatrickhicks.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authormichaelpatrickhicks
Twitter: @MikeH5856