Saturday, December 17, 2011

Top 5 new horror/supernatural covers I liked (plus three author recommendations you should try)

List by Tosca

"Like sex, horror is seductive - enticing the reader to accept the forbidden; allowing a fascination with the carnal, the forbidden; titillating the mind as sex does both the mind and sense. Reading horror is an act of consensual masochism: you willingly submit to the pleasures of fear - scare me! Please?"
- Paula Guran

What better time to get back into enjoying horror fiction than over the Christmas break? I'm serious. Think about it: long, hot sunny days (hopefully, even though I'm looking out the window at a miserably wild, wet afternoon) are as far removed from a dark, moody and atmospheric late night read. I get scared far too easily these days. It seems the older I get, the more my imagination can't handle the possibilities of a horror novel, no matter how unlikely the circumstances (e.g. zombies and post-apocalyptic life - or un-life). I remember a time when I used to devour scary books. (Get it? Devour? Har har har). Zombies, blood, gore, grisly deaths, supernatural elements - I enjoyed it all. Somewhere along the way I lost the anticipatory feel and let the actual fear of fear overshadow that, but a chance tweet I saw on our work tweetstream made me think that maybe it was time to reclaim what used to be fun. The tweet, by Andre Farant, asked if people had discovered horror authors Sarah Langan, Gary McMahon, and Robert Jackson Bennett. The link Andre included was to a post on his site; 'The new voices of horror,' and, in short, was what convinced me to give these books a try. Requested already, and waiting for them to come in from other branches. Merci beaucoup, Monsieur Farant :-) It then got me thinking, from our most recent batch of newly received horror/supernatural titles, where would I start? What would I request? It wasn't a huge list, but there were still too many for me to make up my mind about. In the end I decided to go with 5 of the most interesting covers which, not coincidentally, make up today's 12 posts of Christmas piece. Am I seriously encouraging you to read horror during a time when most people are celebrating the birth of baby Jesus and being with friends and family? TOTALLY.

Don't forget! You can follow Auckland Libraries on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and check out Andre Farant's tweetstream, too :)

The white devil : a novel / Justin Evans
An American teenage boy with a dark past is sent abroad to Harrow, the famous British boarding school, and finds himself fighting to save his own life by solving a 200-year-old literary mystery and freeing a ghost of its bonds.

Reviewer comment:
"...cast in the role of Lord Byron in a play written by drunken and bitter housemaster Piers Fawkes, Andrew finds himself adopting Byron's exotic lifestyle amid a love affair, a TB epidemic, and various bizarre elements in this disturbing gothic thriller." (Publishers Weekly)
  • "A breath of fresh graveyard air for horrorholics; fans of Dan Simmons, Anne Rice, and Joyce Carol Oates will inhale it." (Library Journal)

  • "Smart, scary, sexy, and gorgeously written to boot." (Booklist)

  • The city / David Moody
    A disease of unimaginable ferocity has torn across the face of the planet leaving billions dead. A small group of survivors shelter in the remains of a devastated city, hiding in terror as the full effects of the horrific infection start to become clear. The sudden appearance of a company of soldiers again threatens the survivors' fragile existence. Do they bring with them hope, help and answers, or more pain, fear and suffering?

    Pretty little dead things : a Thomas Usher novel / Gary McMahon (Yes, the same author Andre recommended in his tweet)
    Thomas Usher has a terrible gift. Following a car crash in which his wife and daughter are killed, he can see the recently departed, and it's not usually a pretty sight. When he is called to investigate the violent death of the daughter of a prominent local gangster, Usher's world is torn apart once more. For the barriers between this world and the next are not as immutable as once he believed. Who Is Thomas Usher? His name is Thomas Usher. A normal man. An average guy. Until he is involved in a tragic accident and his wife and daughter are killed. After that, things begin to change. Usher is no longer normal. Or average. Now he can see the dead, and the dead can see him. They seek him out to help them, to usher them to the next level so they might face whatever comes next. The lost. The lonely. The departed. They never speak to him; they only ever demand his attention. The ghosts are drawn to Usher, and he is compelled to help them in the hope that he might once again see his family. But sometimes, just sometimes, it isn't enough and his efforts make things worse. His name is Thomas Usher. He is an usher for the dead. It's who he is. It's what he does.

    Reviewer comment:

  • "McMahon's prose is serviceable; Usher is a competent-enough example of the paranormal gumshoe, from tragic backstory to gloomy worldview; and there is the necessary unresolved shadowy menace. Unfortunately, the novel never ventures past these basic ingredients." (Publishers Weekly)

  • H.P. Lovecraft goes to the movies : the classic stories that inspired the classic horror films / H.P. Lovecraft
    With more than 100 movies based on his writing, H.P. Lovecraft ranks among the most adapted authors in history--along with Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King. His unnervingly scary tales appeal to both diehard fans of horror and readers with mainstream tastes, and H.P. Lovecraft Goes to the Movies presents the very best of his filmed stories. Additionally, this unique collection provides an enlightening historical introduction, short headnotes for each story calling out interesting trivia, and an appendix with credits for each screen version. THE STORIES INCLUDE: "The Colour out of Space": filmed twice, once as a vehicle for Boris Karloff called Die, Monster, Die! "The Dunwich Horror," also filmed two times, once with Dean Stockwell "Pickman's Model" and "Cool Air": both for Rod Serling's Night Gallery TV program "The Call of Cthulhu," which laid the foundation for the Cthulhu Mythos.

    Dead Mann walking / Stefan Petrucha
    After Hessius Mann was convicted of his wife's murder, suppressed evidence came to light and the verdict was overturned-too bad he was already executed. But thanks to the miracles of modern science Hessius was brought back to life. Sort of. Now that he's joined the ranks of Fort Hammer's pulse-challenged population, Hessius attempts to make a "living" as a private investigator. But when a missing persons case leads to a few zombies cut to pieces, Hessius starts thinking that someone's giving him the run-around-and it's not like he's in any condition to make a quick getaway... Book 1 in the Hessius Mann series.

    Reviewer comment:

  • "Petrucha successfully portrays the walking dead as more than mindless, flesh-eating killing machines, thanks to careful details of zombie life, culture, and slang." (Publishers Weekly)
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