October – I mean, Horrortober – is my month long Mardi Gras, and I know I’m not alone. As usual, I’ve been saving special books and movies to keep me immersed in all things horror for the 31 days and nights of terror-fueled delight. And I was smart enough this year not to take on any writing projects so I have all the time I need.
First up, the Monster Men got our furry mitts on the newest edition of 31 Days of Terror. It’s a damn fun game where you roll the dice and then consult the book to see what movie you should watch. This is our fourth year playing it on Monster Men and it was pretty funny how we bent the rules to get a good movie for Halloween night. It’s a cool way to discover new movies or revisit ones you may have forgotten. Check it out right below. For my part, I want to see if I can top my Horrortober movie total of 55 this time around. We shall see…
Now, on to my reading list. Here are the books I’ve been smuggling away, saving them for my favorite month. Have you read them? What did you think? I have a sneaking suspicion I’m going to be very happy with them.
How far would you go to bring back someone you love?
When Chris’s son dies in a tragic car crash, her world is devastated. The walls of grief close in on Chris’s life until, one day, a small cut on her finger changes everything.
A drop of blood falls from Chris’s hand onto her son’s roadside memorial and, later that night, Chris thinks she sees his ghost outside her window. Only, is it really her son’s ghost, or is it something else—something evil?
Soon Chris is playing a dangerous game with forces beyond her control in a bid to see her son, Trey, alive once again.
Quinn Maybrook and her father have moved to tiny, boring Kettle Springs, to find a fresh start. But what they don’t know is that ever since the Baypen Corn Syrup Factory shut down, Kettle Springs has cracked in half.
On one side are the adults, who are desperate to make Kettle Springs great again, and on the other are the kids, who want to have fun, make prank videos, and get out of Kettle Springs as quick as they can.
Kettle Springs is caught in a battle between old and new, tradition and progress. It’s a fight that looks like it will destroy the town. Until Frendo, the Baypen mascot, a creepy clown in a pork-pie hat, goes homicidal and decides that the only way for Kettle Springs to grow back is to cull the rotten crop of kids who live there now.
A tale of revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, Stephen Graham Jones.
Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.
Antarctica. A mining base at the edge of the world.
Anders Nordvelt, last-minute replacement as head of security, has no time to integrate himself into the crew before an act of sabotage threatens the project. He must untangle a complex web of relationships from his position as prime suspect.
Then a body is found in the ice. Systems fail as the long night falls. Now Anders must do more than find a murderer: he must find a way to survive.
Will anyone endure the night shift, or will ice and frozen corpses be all that remains?
Alex: A hardened goth-punk who’s convinced she’s a vampire with a penchant for blood.
Stacia: A seventeen-year-old raised by an alcoholic mother, her fellow captives the only family she’s ever truly had.
Kammie: The youngest of the three—a mute who finds solace in a houseplant.
But does life outside the house offer the freedom they’d envisioned? Or is it too late, the scars too deep?
A coming-of-age tale of revenge and survival that explores a friendship and the desperate measures taken to ensure they stay united, held together by the scars that bind them.
The end of summer, 1986. With only a few days left until the new school year, twins Jeremy and Jack Schaffer are on very different paths. Jeremy is the geek, playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends Kathleen and Randy, while Jack is the jock, getting into trouble with his buddies.
And then everything changes when neighbor Mister Higgins is killed by a wild animal in his yard. Was it a bear? There’s something big lurking in the woods behind their New Jersey home.
Will the police be able to solve the murder before more Middletown residents are ripped apart?
I think this may be my longest wait between new book releases. The Wraith has been hounding me lately, asking, “When’s the book coming out?” Well, not so much in words. More like threatening gestures with various sharp and blunt instruments.
Well Wraith old boy, the wait is over. SLASH has arrived.
If you’re a fan of 80’s slashers like I am, this one is written just for you, a gory love letter to unstoppable killers, victims making dumb ass decisions and an exploration of the final girl phenomenon. With Slash, I’ve created a new, bad ass motor scooter named The Wraith that I think might give Jason and Michael a run for their money. He’s big and bad and silent and pretty inventive when it comes to laying waste to anyone in his path. And man, does he have a wicked origin story.
Here’s a little about the book –
Five years after Ashley King survived the infamous Resort Massacre, she’s found hanging in her basement by her fiancé, Todd Matthews. She left behind clues as to what really happened that night, clues that may reveal the identity of the killer the press has called The Wraith. With the help of his friends, Todd goes back to the crumbling Hayden Resort, a death-tinged ruin in the Catskills Mountains. What they find is a haunted history that’s been lying in wait for a fresh set of victims. The Wraith is back, and he’s nothing what they expected.
Side note. I named the abandoned resort The Hayden because as I was writing that section of the book, I overheard a story about Hayden Panettiere on the TV in the next room. Now you know how writer’s sausage is made.
SLASH was just listed as a novel to embrace the scary season by Kirkus. (see the list here)
And to get you all in a slasher state of mind, read my SLASHER PERSONALITY TEST over at Inkheist and see what kind of slasher would best chase you down and ruin your day. Are you more of a Leprechaun or a Jason? Lucky charms vs lucky machete.
Then hop on over to my Video Visions column at Cemetery Dance Online and check out my latest on THE SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE where I drill deep into uncharted slasher territory. If you haven’t seen this one yet, rush over to Amazon and feast your eyeballs.
Most of all, The Wraith and I would love you to read SLASH. It’s available in ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook. We need to make this a bestseller, or else The Wraith is going to take it out on me! Please, help!
Yes Hellions, it’s that time of year again. Horrotober is fast approaching and it’s time to pull out all of the books and movies I plan to devour like a hungry Critter. What’s on your list?
DECAYED by JASON BRANT
I’m going to start Horrortober right by reading my buddy Jason Brant’s latest, Decayed. It’s book 5 of what I kiddingly call his Hunger trilogy. If you like witty, sarcastic banter, action and gore, and post-apocalyptic terror, you’ll love every book in The Hunger series. Can’t wait to see what he cooked up for this one.
AIN’T WORTH A SHIT by JACK BANTRY & ROBERT ESSIG
These authors are new to me but I couldn’t resist a book with a title and cover like this. Seems there’s some weird stuff going on under the streets of London. Poor Issy and Matt are about to find out just what. Bring on the mole people!
BLACK MAD WHEEL by JOSH MALERMAN
Look, Josh Malerman is one of the best horror writers around. I loved Bird Box and Unbury Carol and can’t wait to sink my teeth into this one. A rock group is tasked by the government to find the source of a mysterious sound that is very much a weapon. Josh is a musician, too (his band did the theme song for Shameless), so I know this is going to be black mad intriguing.
ZOMBIE BIGFOOT by NICK SULLIVAN
Did you think I wasn’t going to read a cryptid book during Horrortober? Not a chance. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Nick, an established audiobook narrator with a penchant for all things squatchy. We are long overdue for some undead Bigfoot. So excited to read this.
I also have my October issue of Rue Morgue magazine sitting on my bedside table, waiting for the calendar page to flip. For my hard earned dough, this is the tops of all the current horror mags, especially because they review books!
There are so many other books I want to read, but alas, there’s just so much time in the day. Any suggestions on what I should read if I get through these early?
Hey there, Hellions. The starter pistol has gone off and it’s time for a month long deep dive into horror! I’m not only going to rock Horrortober with a horror movie each and every day. When my eyeballs aren’t on the screen, they’ll be on the page. So, what’s on Uncle Hunter’s Horrortober reading list this year? Let’s peruse the old to-be-read pile. And please give me suggestions, especially graphic novels. I know I’ll breeze through these and be on the prowl for more.
I’ve been saving The Cabin at the End of the World just for this. Tremblay knocked my socks off with A Head Full of Ghosts. I’ve heard nothing but high praise for his latest.
Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.
One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, “None of what’s going to happen is your fault”. Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: “Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world.”
Thus begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined. The Cabin at the End of the World is a masterpiece of terror and suspense from the fantastically fertile imagination of Paul Tremblay.
Guy N. Smith is the master of monster horror and I don’t know how the hell I haven’t read this one. Night of the Crabs is a classic. Best part is, this is book one of an ass kicking series.
The Welsh coast basks in summer tranquility. Then the ‘drownings’ begin. But not until the monstrous crustaceans crawl ashore, their pincers poised for destruction, does the world understand the threat it faces. A seafood cocktail for the strongest stomachs.
Robert McCammon is a freaking legend. I’d read a tampon box if I knew he wrote the copy. I Travel by Night is a no brainer.
For Lawson, the horrors that stalked the Civil War battlefield at Shiloh were more than just those of war. After being forcibly given the gift of undeath by the mysterious vampire queen LaRouge, Lawson chose to cling to what remained of his humanity and fought his way free of the Dark Society’s clutches. In the decades since, he has roamed late nineteenth century America, doing what good he can as he travels by night, combating evils mundane and supernatural, and always seeking the key to regaining a mortal life.
That key lies with his maker, and now Lawson hopes to find LaRouge at the heart of a Louisiana swamp with the aid of a haunted priest and an unexpected ally. In the tornado-wracked ghost town of Nocturne, Lawson must face down monstrous enemies, the rising sun, and his own nature.
Cryptid…Zoo. I mean, holy cow, is there another book out there more geared toward my warped sensibilities? I bought this the second I saw it. Cannot wait to tuck into this one.
As a child, rare and unusual animals, especially cryptid creatures, always fascinated Carter Wilde.
Now that he’s an eccentric billionaire and runs the largest conglomerate of high-tech companies all over the world, he can finally achieve his wildest dream of building the most incredible theme park ever conceived on the planet…CRYPTID ZOO.
Even though there have been apparent problems with the project, Wilde still decides to send some of his marketing employees and their families on a forced vacation to assess the theme park in preparation for Opening Day.
Nick Wells and his family are some of those chosen and are about to embark on what will become the most terror-filled weekend of their lives—praying they survive.
STEP RIGHT UP AND GET YOUR FREE PASS…
TO CRYPTID ZOO
Sarah Pinborough is a great writer. The moment I saw this book at Barnes & Noble, I grabbed it and hustled to the register. Behind Her Eyes has the seal of approval from Stephen King and Joe Hill. ‘Nuff said.
Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.
When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake, but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend. But she also just happens to be married to David. And if you think you know where this story is going, think again, because Behind Her Eyes is like no other book you’ve read before.
David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife. But then why is David so controlling? And why is Adele so scared of him?
As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong—and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.
So, what’s on your Horrortober reading list? Share with the class and I’ll add some books to your TBR pile!
It’s getting chilly outside and I see a smattering of brown crunchy leaves on the ground. That means it’s time to dive headfirst into the pile of books I curate just for the Halloween season, or as I call it, Horrortober. This year’s list may be a bit ambitious, but I think I can do it. That’s along with watching 1 horror movie a day and other decadent things. So, if you’re looking for a hot read when the nights are dark and our spirits colder, pluck one of these off the shelf…
THE NIGHT PARADE BY RON MALFI
First the birds disappeared.
Then the insects took over.
Then the madness began . . .
They call it Wanderer’s Folly–a disease of delusions, of daydreams and nightmares. A plague threatening to wipe out the human race.
After two years of creeping decay, David Arlen woke up one morning thinking that the worst was over. By midnight, he’s bleeding and terrified, his wife is dead, and he’s on the run in a stolen car with his eight-year-old daughter, who may be the key to a cure.
Ellie is a special girl. Deep. Insightful. And she knows David is lying to her. Lying about her mother. Lying about what they’re running from. And lying about what he sees when he takes his eyes off the road . . .
EAT THE NIGHT BY TIM WAGGONER
For Joan Lantz, it starts with a dream of a death-cult’s mass suicide in the jungle of Suriname thirty years ago, followed by the discovery of a hidden basement in her new house, where heavy metal music echoes on humid tropical air.
For Kevin Benecke, long-suffering employee of a mysterious organization known simply as Maintenance, it starts with the violent death of his co-worker at the hands of a madman who tells him, The Big Dark is coming for you.
Long-dead cult leader and former rock star Mark Maegarr has returned from beyond the grave, and Joan and Kevin have front-row seats to his apocalyptic comeback. Maegarr’s waited decades to finish what he started, and this time no one will stop him from putting on a killer show designed to hasten the universe’s end.
LOVECRAFT’S CURSE BY BRIAN LETENDRE
A horrific childhood incident cast a shadow over Fela Barton’s life for fourteen years.
Now a 20-year-old college student, Fela survived her first semester of living on campus and is finally ready put the past behind her.
Until the nightmares start again.
Fela’s dreams hold the key to the madness that has plagued her family for generations. But as she searches for answers, a terrible evil gets closer to finding her.
Only one person can help Fela now–and he’s been dead for over 70 years.
LITTLE SECRETS BY MEGAN HART
They’re not alone in the house.
With a baby on the way and a brand new house, it seems Ginny and her husband, Sean, are on their way to a fresh start. But strange occurrences and financial strain seem determined to keep Ginny and Sean stuck in the past. Ginny begins to believe the house may be haunted…or that her husband might be trying to trick her into thinking so. As Ginny researches the house’s former owner and the tragedy that happened there, it becomes clearer than ever that something is in the house with them. The question is, who…or what…is it?
CHELSEA AVENUE BY ARMAND ROSAMILIA
On July 8th 1987, in Long Branch, New Jersey, The Haunted House Pier and Murphy’s Law club fires destroyed not only local landmarks, but everything Manny Santiago found dear.
And it isn’t over.
The entity responsible for killing Manny’s family and wreaking devastation in the small seaside community has reappeared. Again. As it has every year since. And is growing in power.
Every July 8th it returns, as survivors of the fires, including Manny, are mysteriously led back to the now-vacant seaside lot on Chelsea Avenue, where the entity intends to finish what it started in 1987 once and for all.
TAR BY IAIN ROB WRIGHT
How do you go on living when you’re already dead?
The world has ended, yet a few places still cling to life, dragging out their final, dwindling moments until the last second. The United Kingdom is one of those places still left alive, but it is only a matter of time before it too is wiped from the face of the earth.
The Tar is coming, covering every inch of the globe. There is no escape.
It means the clock is ticking for Finn, who needs to find the monster that murdered his sister. The world might be over, but vengeance never dies.
By bestselling author, Iain Rob Wright, comes an apocalypse like no other. Follow a broken brother’s vengeance as he seeks to kill a man who is already dead.
As long time readers of my blog and chain know, October – renamed Horrortober by yours truly – is my favorite month of the year. Over the past 11 months, I’ve been stockpiling horror books, movies, mags and places to go, so every day of Terrortober is nothing but horror, horror, horror.
So, what will I be reading? What should you be reading? Here is my complete list with links to purchase, or just plain peruse, each book. There’s a little bit of everything here by authors old and new. The one thing they have in common – they all kick some serious ass. Guaranteed to creep you out.
Bed bugs. They hide in mattresses. They wait till you’re asleep. They rise in the dead of night to feast on our blood. They can multiply by the hundreds in less than a week. They are one of the most loathsome, hellish species to ever grace God’s green earth. Thought to be eradicated decades ago, thanks to global travel they’re back. And with them comes a nightmare beyond imagining. Infected with a plague virus so deadly it makes Ebola look like a summer cold, one bite turns people into homicidal maniacs. Now they’re in Chicago and migrating to al points North, South, East and West. The rest of the world in a matter of time. The U.S Government and the CDC are helpless to stop it. Only one man knows what’s causing the epidemic. And the powers-that-be want him dead.
The year is 2009, and the world’s financial and publishing sectors are in chaos. In the midst of this disarray, a burned-out horror writer finds himself haunted by a variety of ghosts, both real and metaphorical. And as the ghosts increase their attacks, his struggle to make a living quickly becomes a fight to hold on to his family – and his very sanity.
In the spirit of such iconic horror classics as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Deliverance, Kin begins at the end and studies the possible aftermath for the survivors of such traumas upon their return to the real world — the guilt, the grief, the thirst for revenge — and sets them on an unthinkable journey… back into the heart of darkness.
On Pine Street, the houses begin to shake. The earth begins to move. The streets crack open and yards split asunder…and rising from subterranean depths far below, a viscid black muck bubbles up and floods the neighborhood.
In it are a ravenous army of gigantic worms seeking human flesh. They wash into houses, they come up through the sewers, through plumbing, filling toilets and tubs, seeking human prey.
Cut off from the rest of the town, the people of Pine Street must wage a war of survival or they’ll never see morning. As bad as the worms are, there’s something worse—and far larger—waiting to emerge.
Charly, Sam, Jesse and the others must do battle with the Children in the labyrinthine subterranean world that the creatures call home. But the situation grows bleaker when many of the survivors are captured and borne deeper into the lightless caverns…where a new and even more horrific species awaits.
In a desperate attempt to save their land from tax foreclosure, Delphus Fraley and his daughter open a camp for at-risk kids, with the goal of building character through experience in the Appalachian Mountain outdoors.
But a strange infection contaminating the camp’s mess hall soon triggers a violent rampage. As the isolated camp turns into a bloodbath, camp counselor Jenny Usher first fights to save the children, and then finds she must fight to save herself.
Because this infection doesn’t just kill, it brings the dead back to life…
A nightmare made real.
On Christmas Eve, six-year-old Tom McCrae witnessed an unspeakable atrocity that left him orphaned, his childhood in tatters. Now in his mid-thirties, Tom still has terrifying nightmares of that night. When Tom is sent to the remote Scottish village of Douglass to negotiate a land grab for his employer it seems like a golden opportunity for him to start over. But Tom can’t help feeling he’s been to Douglass before, and the terrible dreams from his childhood have begun to spill over into his waking life. As murderous events unfold and Tom’s feverish nightmares escalate, he will discover the hideous truth behind the villagers’ strange pagan ritual of The Jack in the Green.