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Friday, July 31, 2020

Like THAT Stephen King Book? Read THIS!

I've read all the Stephen King books. I started when I was thirteen so you bet your ass I've read them all. Wait, this is a lie. I haven't read IF IT BLEEDS because I've been busy reading a lion's share of quality indie horror fiction, but I'm getting there! I might save it for October-my special horror book month.

So what I'm going to do right now, is take a Stephen King book and recommend at least one book you should read if you enjoyed that King read. It's like a Mother Horror magic trick. Are you excited? I am.
First up:
Stephen King's THE GUNSLINGER which is the first book in the DARK TOWER SERIES. 
"Roland of Gilead, The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which frighteningly mirrors our own, Roland pursues The Man in Black, encounters an alluring woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the Kid from Earth called Jake. Both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, The Gunslinger leaves readers eagerly awaiting the next chapter."
If you enjoyed that book, (I don't want to know you if you didn't enjoy that book) here is my recommendation:

Oh you authors of dark, disturbing things how I love when you write weird, Western crossovers.
A rare opportunity for readers to fall in love with unlikely heroes engaging in an epic battle against the most formidable enemies you've ever read; both human and cosmic. I promise that once you start reading Boden's work, you'll become a junkie for it; craving his unique brand of horror that no other author can deliver. It's Boden or nobody. 
Lastly, my hope is that there is more from John Boden's universe.
I would LOVE to have a series here and if not a series than just a connected universe because I will not quickly forget my time in this novella and I sure hope I can revisit my new friends.
This is a must-have if you found my recommendation intriguing--READ MORE

If you love King's short stories, especially when he writes about a strong, female protagonist...

"Just after sunset—call it dusk; call it twilight; it’s a time when human life takes on an unnatural cast, when nothing is quite as it appears when the imagination begins to reach for shadows as they dissipate to darkness and living daylight can be scared right out of you."

I'm writing up my review for SCREAM magazine but I just want readers here to know: I have read a lot of short story collections. This is one of the best ones I have ever read. It's like an album you can listen to cover to cover-every track is good and you can't pick a favorite.

"AND HER SMILE WILL UNTETHER THE UNIVERSE is a stellar example of how a collection can win a reader’s heart forever."- Sadie Hartmann, SCREAM Magazine

There are two books I want to recommend if you enjoyed Salem's Lot and neither of them has anything to do with Vampires and everything to do with fucked up, rural towns with big secrets.

"Thousands of miles away from the small township of 'Salem's Lot, two terrified people, a man and a boy, still share the secrets of those clapboard houses and tree-lined streets. They must return to 'Salem's Lot for a final confrontation with the unspeakable evil that lives on in the town."

I am fascinated by cults and cultish behavior. I watch a lot of documentaries about them, read true crime novels about infamous cult leaders, and enjoy learning about the secret practices of cults. Naturally, Cult Horror is a favorite, fictional sub-genre but it can be hit or miss with me. I feel like a lot of authors want to spend time on the sensational aspects without doing the leg work developing the practical mechanics of a believable cult.
In order for me to buy in, I need a charismatic leader capable of convincing seemingly normal people to do outlandish acts of service.
Todd Keisling’s Devil’s Creek is the perfect example of quality cult horror. Let me unpack it for you, as always, I’ll be mindful of spoilers.
In the tradition of books like Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, Keisling lays down important, historical groundwork for the setting of his epic cult tale.--READ MORE

What makes this book full-on horror is the brilliant way Amor sucks the reader into the story without telegraphing where she is taking you. As Megan begins to unravel the mysterious situations that befall her, the pace quickens, hurtling towards the escalating drama without being able to stop. The suspense is exhilarating and addicting.

Perhaps most noteworthy is Gemma’s ability to seamlessly stitch together mythology with epic proportions while simultaneously laying down solid groundwork for the reader to stand on so that suspending disbelief comes effortlessly/naturally. It’s clear that world building and character development are Gemma’s wheelhouse, and her greatest assets that assist her in dynamic storytelling-- READ MORE

I love a good Stephen King ghost story...

Four years after the sudden death of his wife, forty-year-old bestselling novelist Mike Noonan is still grieving. Unable to write, and plagued by vivid nightmares set at the western Maine summerhouse he calls Sara Laughs, Mike reluctantly returns to the lakeside getaway. There, he finds his beloved Yankee town held in the grip of a powerful millionaire, Max Devore, whose vindictive purpose is to take his three-year-old granddaughter, Kyra, away from her widowed young mother, Mattie. As Mike is drawn into Mattie and Kyra's struggle, as he falls in love with both of them, he is also drawn into the mystery of Sara Laughs, now the site of ghostly visitations and escalating terrors. What are the forces that have been unleashed here—and what do they want of Mike Noonan?

This newest book, The Siren and the Specter rests in the sweet spot of horror. It expertly blends together a few sub-genres within the horror umbrella.
As the title suggests, there are two entities in this tale, the Siren which represents the author’s incredible ability to develop dimensional characters the reader can invest in, emotionally. Our protagonist, David Caine, a famous critic of the paranormal, is invited to stay at a legendary haunted house called, The Alexander House. Before he even steps into the house, it’s clear that Caine is already haunted by tragedy. Immediately, I formed a connection to David Caine which always generates risk and I love that--it really ups the ante when the horror arrives on the scene.
The Specter represents Jonathan’s other wheelhouse: The brutal, violent and depraved side of horror that fans show up for--the teeth of the story. This book is the perfect example that Janz understands his fanbase. As the horror book industry grows in popularity, the stereotypes are going to be put to death. There’s this weird assumption that the majority of people who read scary books are males who just want blood, guts, sex and gore. -READ MORE

King is the master at novellas. The 4 stories in this collection tap his wheelhouse for strong character development...

Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption--the most satisfying tale of unjust imprisonment and offbeat escape since The Count of Monte Cristo.

Apt Pupil--a golden California schoolboy and an old man whose hideous past he uncovers enter into a fateful and chilling mutual parasitism.

The Body--four rambunctious young boys venture into the Maine woods and in sunlight and thunder find life, death, and intimations of their own mortality.

The Breathing Method--a tale told in a strange club about a woman determined to give birth no matter what.

Short story collections are the best way to experience a “new to you” author for the first time. GHOST SUMMER by Tananarive Due makes this statement unequivocally true.

Seasoned horror fiction fans and those who are timidly testing the waters will find Due’s unique brand of storytelling capable of delivering on all expectations.

There are fourteen stories and a novella. Each story a showcase of Due’s ability to draw readers into a provocative narrative across a variety of genres. One of my favorite things about this collection were the notes from the author after each story. It felt like Tananarive intentionally wanted to build an intimacy between herself and the reader with a little conversation about the experience the reader just had and the author’s experience writing it.-- Full review coming to Tor Nightfire

Joyland by Stephen King is a great, summer, coming-of-age style mystery...

Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. 

I know I sound like a broken record to those who follow my reading journey but for the sake of those who might be reading one of my reviews for the first time, let me just say:
I love coming-of-age horror. I especially love a female protagonist coming-of-age horror story with delicious supernatural elements and paranormal activity. 
SEEING THINGS by Sonora Taylor is about a young girl named, Abigail "Abby" Gillman. Around the same time she starts seeing some changes in her developing body, she begins seeing blood that nobody else can see. The mysterious blood leads her to ghosts or other important objects which usually spark some curiosity for Abby. This provokes her to start having some interesting conversations with the grown-ups in her life.
Man, this book has some serious ability to hook readers into the story immediately. Sonora Taylor has chops. She is an author on the rise. Her storytelling voice is so smooth and accessible, readers just fall right in step with whatever pace Taylor sets. I've read about a dozen or more of the author's short stories and this is an identifying, consistent attribute of her writing. READ MORE

CARRIE by Stephen King is a powerhouse story of an awkward young woman desperately trying to fit in...

A modern classic, Carrie introduced a distinctive new voice in American fiction -- Stephen King. The story of misunderstood high school girl Carrie White, her extraordinary telekinetic powers, and her violent rampage of revenge, remains one of the most barrier-breaking and shocking novels of all time.

As the story wound down to its conclusion, it was infused with emotion and a lingering sense of longing for the story to continue. I could have read about this family for a long time. This stems from everything that SGJ is busy doing in the subtext--because even though this book has its lighter moments and some laugh-out-loud surprises, the weight of the underlying themes were ever present and tugging at my heart strings.
Boys want to belong. They want to have a tribe. They want to feel important, loved for who they are and they want to have a place in this world. To be noticed--and not for being different in a negative way--they want to be different in a way that people celebrate.
This book made my heart explode, honestly.
I'll never see werewolves the same again.
Or French Fries and Pantyhose.--READ MORE

1 comment:

  1. I love your posts. And I love horror so much. Sorry, my English isn't good enough to leave a profound comment. Just know, you have followers over the sea, in middle of the alps in Austria.

    Greetings and have a frighting reading-time!


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