Bad People… you ain’t kidding!
Bad People… you ain’t kidding!
Suspense and chills galore await in Binocular, a tightly controlled, claustrophobic double bill of menace.
Scandal, sex and secrets in a crumbling country pile await us in Megan Taylor’s latest dark novel, a coming-of-age tragedy packed with prose so vivid it leaps off the page.
In the past few years, there has been a great deal of focus in the horror community on the explosion of horror literature in the 70s and 80s, an interest partly generated by Grady Hendrix’s excellent book Paperbacks from Hell. Recently, though, I’ve been thinking about gothic and horror writing that was being published just prior to those years – the time when writers such as Shirley Jackson and Richard Matheson were flourishing. If “mid-century” often conjures up images of cocktails and cigarettes, McCarthyism and the atomic bomb, Freudian theories and existentialism, what horror novels and stories were highly reflective of those times? Below is a list of six books that partially embody the notion of mid-century horror.
For those of us who live in areas that boast below freezing temperatures in the winter, January is not a very fun month. It actually hurt my skin when I went outside today. Earlier this month, I learned what a squall was. Look it up, it’s not very fun. I bring up my winter blues because one of the precious few cold-weather activities that helps to allay this doldrum season is the joy of reading a horror novel set during a particularly stormy autumn while concealed beneath a heavy blanket and drinking a hefty mug of hot chocolate. This was my experience reading Abbie Frost’s thrilling debut novel The Guest House.
A Lush and Seething Hell brings together – in The Sea Dreams It Is The Sky and My Heart Struck Sorrow – two very different novellas located within the “found history” tradition.
“I am fucking jealous as fuck of John Hornor Jacobs” – Chuck Wendig, foreword
The House on the Lake opens with an anonymous narrator reflecting on the loss of all she ever wanted. “Love. Family. Home.” The reader has no idea how she has fallen into this dire situation but something terrible has happened. There is blood in the snow and the police are breaking down the door.
We live in a time of remixes. Arguably, we live in a time that is itself a remix. Culture, history and politics all seem to repeat themselves, changed only slightly from one iteration to the next, with increasing rapidity. Whether it’s blockbuster movie sagas or wars in the Middle East, everything seems unpleasantly familiar.
C.J. Tudor has garnered a shining reputation as a prolific author of psychological thrillers, gaining praise from author heavyweights such as Stephen King and Lee Child. The Other People was my first introduction to C.J. Tudor’s work, after hearing her on a panel speaking passionately about the audiobook adaptations of her previous two novels, The Taking of Annie Thorne (2019) and The Chalk Man (2018).
Ghost Wall opens with a human sacrifice. She is led, unblindfolded (because she knows what is coming), to the sound of chanting and drums, “unsyncopated with the last panic of her heart.” Her family and neighbours look on as the men take a blade and cut away her hair, and then place a rope around her neck. “There is an art to holding her in the place she is entering now, on the edge of the water-earth, in the time and space between life and death, too late to return to the living and not time, not yet, not for a while, to be quite dead.”