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

Best Horror Books Post-2000, Non-King

A Twitter friend posted a picture of her Top !0 favorite post 2000, non-King books.

I liked the idea, so I just wanted to share some of the ones under that criteria that have stuck with me above all the others. These are some of my favorite all-time.

If you haven’t read these yet, make a list  and go find them.

 

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Antho-Palooza! The last few months have been busy.

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I got asked to contribute stories to a lot of anthologies last year.  Here are the four i chose to give something to:

VS: X  US vs. UK Extreme Horror  eBook .99   Paperback  $16.99 

SPLATTERPUNK FIGHTING BACK  eBook  .99  paperback $9.99

THE BLACK ROOM MANUSCRIPTS Volume Three  eBook (pre-order) $4.10

100 WORD HORRORS  eBook $1.49   Paperback $6.55

 

Dawn Cano has done a fantastic job raising money for animal charities with her two VS. anthologies.  I took part in both editions.  I was more than happy to write a new story for the X and I was delighted to share the roster with Jack Ketchum and Wrath James White among many others.  My contribution: “To Be Alive”

Jack Bantry and Kit Power put together a great roster with SPLATTERPUNK FIGHTING BACK, as well. The proceeds to this charity anthology are ALL going to help fight cancer. My brother passed away from his battle with this monster with no cure back in 2010. I was honored to be invited.  I also dedicated my piece to Matt Molgaard (Horror Novel Reviews). Matt was one of my earliest supporters and offered up my first review ever.  He passed away last year, leaving a major hole in the horror community.  My contribution:  “Molly”

Daniel Marc Chant  approached me for a story for this one. THE BLACK ROOM MANUSCRIPTS always delivers a star-powered cast. I didn’t hesitate in jumping aboard.  This one contains stories from Paul Tremblay, David Moody, Adam Nevill, and more. My contribution: “Orson’s Gas N’ Go”

I’ve been trying to find the time to work with Kevin Kennedy on one of his anthologies for quite a while. I’m glad we were finally able to make it happen. His horror drabbles (stories in exactly 100 words) anthology, 100 WORD HORRORS, is full of short goodies from Lisa Morton, Richard Chizmar, Gord Rollo, and many, many, many more. My contribution: “The Came for Me”

How much did I get paid for these stories? $0  Why do it?  Because I love working with this great group of editors and writers, and the ones for charities are causes I believe in and support.

Two of the covers (VS: X and 100 WORD STORIES) were created by the multi-talented Michael Bray.  Check out his website here: MichaelBray.com

My FIGHTING BACK compatriots and I were all blown away and honored to be nominated in a couple categories for the inaugural SPLATTERPUNK AWARDS taking place at this year’s KILLERCON in Texas. We’re up for Best Anthology, plus Matt Shaw, Bracken MacLeod, and myself, were each nominated in the Best Short Story category for our FIGHTING BACK contributions.

VS: X  US vs. UK EXTREME HORROR is also nominated for Best Anthology.  Congrats to Dawn and everyone else involved.

Check out the full list of categories and nominees here:  SPLATTERPUNK AWARDS NOMINATION LIST

 

You can grab all four eBooks for less than $10.  I hope you’ll consider it.

We all appreciate the support.

There is another fantastic collection I’m even more excited about on the way this June or July that we’re waiting to announce.  You guys are going to love it.

Stay tuned!

THE BLACK ROOM MANUSCRIPTS and more updates

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Happy to share the cover for the next installment of The Sinister Horror Company’s THE BLACK ROOM MANUSCRIPTS.  I was super excited to get the invite for this one. The story I delivered, “Orson’s Gas n’ Go”, is my little tribute to Tobe Hooper. Psyched to see the roster here on the cover: Paul Tremblay, Adam Nevill, David Moody, Paul Kane, Michael Bray….pretty good group, right?

Not sure of the release day yet, so stay tuned!

Seeing this cover made my dropping off the SCARES THAT CARE convention a little easier.  Sadly, I had to make a financial decision to stay home this summer. I wish I could have come up with a way to be there, but life doesn’t always play by your rules.  I hope all my friends have a blast, and I will try to make it back soon (even if just for Scareyoke!).

I’m still hard at work on FOLLOW ME DOWN, WAITING FOR DARKNESS, and THE WINDOW. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

Lastly, I just wanted to thank everyone that ordered print copies of BECOMING. Glad to see they all made it safely.  I also just got the new print edition of BLOOD AND RAIN up and ready to order. Jason Lynch’s new cover is amazing and this one is a beauty.

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Get your copies here:

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Joe Hempel will be doing the audio editions of both of these titles later this year.

I hope to have some more cool news in the coming months. Stay tuned!

GR

 

Top Reads of 2016 (So far).

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.

Novels

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.

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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)

 

CHEERS!

-GR

 

 

My Top Ten of 2015! From The Nightmare Girl to Darkness Rising…

Okay. I managed to squeeze in that last book.

Altogether, I read 63 books this year, 30-something of which were released in 2015. Many of those were Samhain Publishing titles, many were not.

*My Top Ten list only features releases from 2015.

Let’s get right to it!

10. (Tie) THE NIGHTMARE GIRL by Jonathan Janz and THE VAMPIRE of PLAINFIELD by Kristopher Rufty

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9. (Tie) GOD BOMB! by Kit Power and DREAMWALKER by Russell James

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8. CONSUMPTION by Heather Herrman

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7. WE ARE MONSTERS by Brian Kirk

6. GOBLINS by David Bernstein

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5. LITTLE GIRLS by Ronald Malfi

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4.ISLAND of the FORBIDDEN by Hunter Shea

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3. HE WHO WALKS in SHADOW by Brett J. Talley

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2. A HEAD FULL of GHOSTS by Paul Tremblay

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  1. DARKNESS RISING by Brian Moreland

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I cheated a little…two ties, but hey, I really loved all of these pieces more than the rest. They all brought me a tremendous amount of reading joy this year, and were definitely head and shoulders above the rest.

Regarding my choices…

Janz’s Wolf Land garnered him the most attention this year, but I found his first title of 2015, The Nightmare Girl,  to be more potent. Rufty’s Vampire of Plainfield was a brave attempt to re-write history with Ed Gein and ended up being great fun. Kit Power’s debut, God Bomb!, surprised me in how well it worked. A nice debut! Two other debuts made my list: We Are Monsters by Brian Kirk and Consumption by Heather Herrman. Kirk offers us a look at man’s motivations and dares us to look within, while Herrman’s novel was complete macabre storytelling in the vein of Bentley Little. I loved them both. Russell James also released two fun novels in 2015, I went with Dreamwalker. The story of a boy who could walk in two worlds in a battle of good and evil. Oh, and there’s a nice little love story in there, too. Great stuff by James.  Goblins by David Bernstein was another dark ride that surprised me with how good it was. His best that I’ve read yet! Ronald Malfi’s Little Girls delivered my needed fix of his creepy and beautiful storytelling. while Hunter Shea set me back in the saddle with two of my favorite characters of the last few years (Jessica and Eddie) in Island of the Forbidden.

My top 3…

Brett J. Talley’s He Who Walks in Shadow was a great supernatural adventure that was part Robert Langdon, part Indiana Jones, and all awesome! Not so much a horror story, but a lot of fun!

Paul Tremblay’s 2015 hit, A Head Full of Ghosts scared the bejesus out of me and had me reading at top speed! So good. There were a couple of short spots that I thought were unnecessary, but the good stuff was so good that it blew me away. Great book!

Darkness Rising by Brian Moreland just completely knocked me outta my socks! My favorite read of the year by far. So good that I am re-posting my review right here:

“…a wise man once told her, Poetry has an invisible power that transcends the soul.”

Far and away the best new piece of fiction I’ve read this year. With Darkness Rising, Brian Moreland reminded me why he’s one of my two favorite (not King, Laymon, Ketchum…etc.) authors out there (the other being Ronald Malfi). I’m a huge fan of his novel, Shadows in the Mist, but I think this novella rivals it.

Darkness Rising goes so many places, it’s hard to get across just how awesome this novella is. It is dark and gritty in places and beautiful and poetic in others. It is completely vicious in spots, but counters that with moments of uplifting magic.

I connected instantly with the main character, Marty Weaver, the same way I did with Laymon’s Ed Logan in Night in the Lonesome October (my favorite Richard Laymon book). That alone speaks volumes for me. And much like that Laymon novel, Moreland’s ability to balance the light and dark sides in a romantic waltz over a floor made from dead flesh and macabre visions is nothing short of inspiring.

Add in a soundtrack featuring the Stones, The Doors, and possibly some Alice Cooper…and you’ve got me hook, line, and sinker.
Darkness Rising is a perfect example of how amazingly good novellas can be. This is a Moreland masterpiece.

5 stars. Easy.

 

There were a great number of novels I didn’t hear about or have time to get to that came out this year, as well. My biggest regret was that I didn’t have time to start Kevin Lucia’s THROUGH A MIRROR, DARKLY. I will get to it soon.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

WHITE KNUCKLE by Eric Red

SEEING EVIL by Jason Parent

ORPHANS of WONDERLAND by Greg Gifune

WHERE SPIDERS FEAR TO SPIN by Peter N. Dudar

THE BEAR WHO WOULDN’T LEAVE by J.H. Moncrieff

There were so many other great novels and novellas that I enjoyed.

Here’s the link to what I finished in 2015. GOODREADS CHALLENGE