Between putting the final touches on my dark horror release, Quilt, and writing the first draft of my forthcoming novel, I got in as much reading as I could in the last two months. I love to read, and many of my author friends are among my favorite new storytellers.
Here are some of the books I completed in the last two months:
One of my favorite writers. I never know where McCammon will take me in a story because he never confines himself to genres and labeling. Is Mine a horror novel? Not really, but Mine goes to horrific places.
Is it a suspense or thriller novel? Maybe.
An action novel? At times, but far more intelligently written than typical action. As always is the case with McCammon, I was on the edge of my seat from start-to-finish.
“Mine” is a compelling novel by Robert McCammon that masterfully intertwines elements of horror and thriller. Published in 1990, the narrative revolves around Laura Clayborne, a journalist, and Mary Terrell, a former college radical with a deranged mindset. After a series of personal failures and spirals into madness, Terrell, also known as “Mary Terror,” becomes fixated on a vision of her revolutionary past, leading her to commit a horrendous crime: the abduction of Laura’s newborn son. What follows is a tense and gripping chase across the American landscape as Laura sets out in desperate pursuit of Mary and her stolen child.
McCammon’s writing shines in his vivid characterization and pulse-pounding plot progression. Laura, while grappling with the challenges of new motherhood, is forced to summon inner strengths she never knew she had, adding layers to her character and making her journey both emotionally resonant and fiercely inspiring. On the other hand, Mary’s descent into madness serves as a harrowing exploration of obsession, disillusionment, and the lengths to which one might go when consumed by the ghosts of their past. “Mine” is not just a tale of pursuit; it’s a deep dive into the psyche of two very different women bound by a singular, horrifying event.
Talk about a bad day.
You’re behind bars when the Super Flu strikes.
And it just happens to be the zombie apocalypse, and the warden is going bonkers.
Book one of the Caged series delivers gritty prison drama before all hell breaks loose.
“After: The Shock” by Scott Nicholson delves into the chilling aftermath of a devastating solar storm that wipes out most of humanity, leaving in its wake hordes of “zombies.” However, these aren’t your typical undead. The solar flare has transformed the majority of the population into shell-like versions of themselves, driven by basic primal urges. As survivors navigate this treacherous new world, they not only grapple with external threats from the changed ones but also confront the haunting shadows of their pasts and the murky moral lines between humanity and monstrosity.
Nicholson’s post-apocalyptic vision is grim yet captivating, offering readers a gritty narrative that combines elements of horror, science fiction, and dystopia. His portrayal of a fractured society struggling to rebuild amidst chaos is both poignant and thought-provoking. The story, while filled with moments of tension and fear, is also an exploration of human resilience, adaptation, and the inherent drive to form connections in a world gone awry. Nicholson masterfully navigates the complexities of a post-disaster landscape, making “After: The Shock” a compelling read for anyone intrigued by tales of survival and human endurance.
Scott Nicholson is one of horror’s most prolific writers, and he always manages to tell a great story.
The After series begins with a solar storm that destroys the world’s communications and infrastructure and turns humans into…zapheads.
They’re sorta zombie-like, but more like warped humans. But watch out, they’re getting smart and organizing. A fun ride and thrilling post-apocalyptic adventure.
The Sisters of Slaughter are Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason.
Want to know something cool? Michelle and Melissa have written stories together since they were kids.
But don’t let that last bit of warm-and-fuzzy lull you into a false sense of security. The two shorts included in Double-Barrel Horror hit hard.
Tenant’s Rights particularly got under my skin.
Now this is the stuff.
Besides her notable work as an editor, comic book designer, and cover artist, Rachel Autumn Deering is among the most gifted new writers I’ve come across.
Warning: Husk will take your breath away and rip your heart out.
Flat out, the best book I read this winter.
You’re gonna need a bigger boat.
And a bigger gun, and a bigger bazooka.
Part monster movie, part shark story, part science-and-industry-run-amok commentary, Sharkwater Beach is another solid release from Tim Meyer.
So what’s my favorite read this month?
Certainly! One of the standout horror novels released in 2017 is “The Chalk Man” by C.J. Tudor.
The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
Set in a small English town, “The Chalk Man” toggles between events in 1986 and 2016, following the life of Eddie and his friends. As children, they had a simple way of communicating: they would draw chalk figures on the ground to send secret messages to each other. However, things take a dark turn when the chalk figures lead them to a dismembered body, changing their lives forever. Fast forward to thirty years later, Eddie receives a chalk drawing in the mail, reigniting the terror of the past. As the group of friends is forced to confront the events from three decades ago, they find themselves tangled in a web of dark secrets and horrifying truths.
C.J. Tudor’s debut novel is a gripping tale that perfectly blends elements of mystery and horror. It’s not just about the fear of a potential killer, but also the psychological terror stemming from buried secrets and the lengths people will go to keep them hidden. If you’re looking for a novel that combines chilling horror with a compelling mystery, “The Chalk Man” is a great choice from 2017’s offerings.
That’s it for this month. I’m holding my review for Chad Lutzke’s forthcoming novel “Stirring the Sheets” until it releases. But I’ll give you a hint: it’s one helluva story. Stay tuned.