Sublime Horror

Celebrating the best in horror

Category: Book reviews (page 1 of 7)

Pine by Francine Toon review – A literary and unsettling folk-horror debut

Francine Toon’s debut novel Pine opens with a young girl and her father driving on a darkened country road in the Scottish Highlands. They’re heading to the nearest settlement – a tiny collection of houses – to go “guising”, or trick-or-treating. Among the surrounding trees, they see a lone figure in a white dressing gown. This apparition haunts the following story, coming as close as young Lauren’s own fireside – where the lady in white is a hideous night-hag, barefoot, moving oddly, incapable of eating, wiping herself from the memory of any adult that encounters her – but otherwise seen in glimpses, as the weird and supernatural hovers over every aspect of Lauren’s childhood.

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Bad People by Craig Wallwork review – evil running through its core

Bad People… you ain’t kidding!

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Binocular by Nick Sidhu and Kelly Smith review – a stark lesson in what happens if we let our darker side take control

Suspense and chills galore await in Binocular, a tightly controlled, claustrophobic double bill of menace.

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We Wait by Megan Taylor review – prose so vivid it leaps off the page

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.

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The Guest House by Abbie Frost review – a gothic murder mystery

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.

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A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs review – two novellas of lush, haunting prose

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

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The House on the Lake by Nuala Ellwood review – gripping and dark, but with a glimmer of hope

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.

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Gothic Remixed by Megen de Bruin-Molé review – an enlightening examination of Frankenfictions

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.

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The Other People by C. J. Tudor review – a tightly-paced and gripping crime thriller-horror hybrid

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).

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Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss – national identity and sacrifice in the good old days

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.”

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