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View Full Version : Horror Fiction Authors/Books You've Read This Year



Hollie Thomas
06-09-2008, 03:03 PM
What, if any, horror fiction have you read this past year? I've been trying to keep track of everything I've read since the 1st of 2008.

January
The Cellar by Richard Laymon
Beast House by Richard Laymon
The Midnight Tour by Richard Laymon
City Infernal by Edward Lee
The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum
Peaceable Kingdom by Jack Ketchum

February
Among the Missing by Richard Laymon
Island by Richard Laymon

March
Endless Night by Richard Laymon
Night in the Lonesome October by Richard Laymon
No Sanctuary by Richard Laymon

April
One Rainy Night by Richard Laymon
The Travelling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon
Darkness, Tell Us by Richard Laymon
Blood Games by Richard Laymon

June
Allhallow's Eve by Richard Laymon

Books that I have laying around, waiting to be read next:

Cuts by Richard Laymon
To Wake The Dead by Richard Laymon
Into The Fire by Richard Laymon
After Midnight by Richard Laymon
The Lake by Richard Laymon
Come Out Tonight by Richard Laymon
House Infernal by Edward Lee
Infernal Angel by Edward Lee
Duel by Richard Matheson
Offspring by Jack Ketchum

Can you tell I'm on a Laymon kick? I just discovered him this year (and was so sad to find out he died in '01, I really can't believe it took me so long to find out about him) and have become engulfed in rumps, rape and revenge.

What have you been reading, do you suggest any other horror fiction authors (over the years I've read almost everything King has ever written, most of Lovecraft, attempted Poppy Z. Brite) I tend to find a few authors and then tackle their entire body of work.

Also, your thoughts on John Saul as I have skimmed through his works at book stores but never bought/read anything.

Don May Jr
06-09-2008, 04:03 PM
This year, I've read:

DUMA KEY - Stephen King
CITY INFERNAL - Ed Lee
THE NAMING OF PARTS - Tim Lebbon (Friggin' Fantastic...!)
HEART-SHAPED BOX - Joe Hill
CITY OF THE DEAD - Brian Keene
THE RISING - Brian Keene
THE CONQUEROR WORMS - Brian Keene


I just started VIGIL by Robert Masello last night.
After this one, GAST by Ed Lee is waiting on my nightstand.

Hollie Thomas
06-09-2008, 04:07 PM
This year, I've read:

DUMA KEY - Stephen King
CITY INFERNAL - Ed Lee
THE NAMING OF PARTS - Tim Lebbon (Friggin' Fantastic...!)
HEART-SHAPED BOX - Joe Hill
CITY OF THE DEAD - Brian Keene
THE RISING - Brian Keene
THE CONQUEROR WORMS - Brian Keene


I just started VIGIL by Robert Masello last night.
After this one, GAST by Ed Lee is waiting on my nightstand.


What did you think of Lee's City Infernal? I actually thought it was really neat and loved the idea of Hell as a metropolis, I'm very excited to read the other two installments.

Would you suggest Brian Keene?

Don May Jr
06-09-2008, 05:21 PM
Honestly, I wasn't too impressed with CITY INFERNAL. Not because it was a bad book (it wasn't), but because the book had such a tongue-in-cheek attitude toward the entire plot, that the things that were SUPPOSED to be horrific, really weren't to me. I wanted the book to have a horrifying vision of Hell, but there was always a slick sense of humor about it that felt out of place to me when compared to Lee's other books. I'll read the other two eventually, but I'm not in a hurry to do so. It was a cool idea, though... just not a vision of "Hell" that I was expecting.

I would suggest Brian Keene. I like that all his books kind of go together with the same mythology... the whole "Ob" thing (you'll get what I mean when you read them). They were more interesting in a horror sense than actually "scary", but the books are nasty and visceral and good, quick reads. Unlike the dead returning to life type of "zombies", Keene brings a fresh idea to the walking dead genre that I thought was cool and inventive. A word of warning, though... You might be a "little" pissed with the ending of the first book, THE RISING... so have the next book handy when you are done so you don't curse at the sky! :)

Oh, by the way, no horror fiction fan should be without Camelot Books. This online book merchant specializes in horror fiction and has some signed limited, exclusives, etc. from pretty much ALL relevant horror authors of today. www.camelotbooks.com I buy a lot of my stuff from them. Because they deal in limited print runs, special editions and signed stuff, they are much more expensive than your local Borders... but the wealth of fiction you can find here (and not find anywhere else) is astounding. I recommend trying Tim Lebbon... he's now my favorite author of the moment...

Steve R
06-09-2008, 05:43 PM
Hollie,

Another Richard Laymon fan. You've been on a steady diet for a while now, huh?

Which ones did you like the best?

In the Dark, The Island and Traveling Vampire Show for me.

The Woods are Dark gets a long awaited reprint next month. I've heard a lot about it and am loooking forward to it.

He writes like a trashy B movie. Always has a good time and occassionally trips over the good taste line. Though he has such an obvious grin about it, that, for me, it's fine.

For a new author to check out, I'd highly recommend Clive Barker. Though his early stuff has much more bite. The Books of Blood volumes I - VI are chock full of stories that really stretch out the genre and there are plenty of go for the throat horror ones, too. But be prepared for him to take you to some very far out places. He writes very well and has a great imagination and creative vision.

Steve

John G.
06-09-2008, 06:19 PM
I second the Barker recommendation... hands down my favorite modern horror author (Lovecraft for all-time). My favorite of his books is his massive epic IMAGICA, although that's more fantasy than horror. THE BOOKS OF BLOOD are the obvious starting points, but also make sure to check out WEAVEWORLD for his great blending of horror, fantasy and surrealism.

Hollie Thomas
06-09-2008, 06:24 PM
Hey Steve!

Thanks for reminding me to check out more Barker! I've only read Hellbound Heart, which I did like.

I absolutely adore Laymon, there's just something about him...It's hard to pick a favorite but I would have to say my favorites are the Beast House Chronicles, Island and Endless Night. I'd have to say my least favorites so far are Among the Missing and Darkness, Tell Us, but I still liked them, just not as much as the others.

Hollie Thomas
06-09-2008, 06:27 PM
Oh, by the way, no horror fiction fan should be without Camelot Books. This online book merchant specializes in horror fiction and has some signed limited, exclusives, etc. from pretty much ALL relevant horror authors of today. www.camelotbooks.com I buy a lot of my stuff from them. Because they deal in limited print runs, special editions and signed stuff, they are much more expensive than your local Borders... but the wealth of fiction you can find here (and not find anywhere else) is astounding. I recommend trying Tim Lebbon... he's now my favorite author of the moment...


Thanks for the recommendation, I've been going into Borders and Barnes and Noble but I've picked up all the Laymon I can find, I was thinking about continuing my search online but I knew that Leisure books was releasing a bunch of Laymon. I'd like to find the 4th installment to the Beast House chronicles as I loved the first three. I'll definitely check out the site.

Tim Mayer
06-09-2008, 08:17 PM
Been wanting to read NAMING OF THE PARTS for some time. I'm working on LOST ECHOES by Joe Lansdale right now.

Don May Jr
06-09-2008, 08:42 PM
THE NAMING OF PARTS is short, scary and utterly brilliant and unsettling. A great, great "zombie" story. You can read it in a few hours, but man... that book has more power than anything I've read in a while. I found a signed/numbered copy (is there ANY other pressing of this?) at Dark Delicacies in Burbank, CA and fell in love with it immediately, even though it was expensive. The second "part", with the continuation of the characters, called THE CHANGING OF FACES is on my shelf somewhere. I guess I should dig that out someday.

I find Tim Lebbon a much more satisfying author than Clive Barker, actually (blasphemy to some, I know)... if you want to sample Lebbon's work, I recommend his two short story compilations, "White and Other Tales of Ruin" and "As the Sun Goes Down".

Todd J
06-09-2008, 09:54 PM
my GOD you read fast, Hollie. Do you remember what you read? I think I have read two books all year and I read every single night (fall asleep). Salem's Lot and a book by a well-known medical examiner.

Hollie Thomas
06-09-2008, 10:25 PM
my GOD you read fast, Hollie. Do you remember what you read? I think I have read two books all year and I read every single night (fall asleep). Salem's Lot and a book by a well-known medical examiner.

Ha! I had to stop and think about a couple of them like No Sanctuary and Among the Missing..but then I remembered what they were about. I read for a while before bed and then I sometimes read on break at work and when I'm in the bathroom..haha.

The last book I read, Blood Games took me quite some time to read cause I've been busy and haven't read every night. That's why there's nothing listed for May. Hopefully I can get back into the swing of things, I set a goal for myself to read every Laymon book I could get my hands on before the end of the year.

Salem's Lot was good! I read the Dark Tower series last year in a couple of months and then became so obsessed that I started to read (or reread in some cases) all the books that are associated w/ the DT series.

Michael CS
06-10-2008, 04:32 PM
The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum - Have been reading it since 2004, but re-read it in Jan 08 and it is still one of the best horror novels of all time.

City Infernal by Ed Lee - Got in March 08 for free and well, was bored to death! I didnt even finish it! Please recomend me a GOOD book from this guy!

Cuts by Richard Laymon - read it in March, and I liked it a lot! Will def. be getting more of the late Laymon's books.

Triage by Ketchum, Laymon and Lee - good stuff! But Ketchum's was the best story in my opinion.

Dark Hollow, The Rising, City of the Dead by Brian Keene - HOLY CRAP DO I LOVE THIS GUY! Buy these 3 books ASAP if you love horror, I kid you not!

The Lost by Jack Ketchum - just finished it the other day, awesome.
I loved the movie too.


QUESTION FOR KEENE FANS:
So was George Romero influenced by CITY OF THE DEAD for his LAND OF THE DEAD or is it just a tremendous coincidence?????
Also, I wonder if THE WALKING DEAD's Robert Kirkman (comic book) has also read any of Keene's stuff???

Marshall Crist
06-10-2008, 06:41 PM
City Infernal by Ed Lee - Got in March 08 for free and well, was bored to death! I didnt even finish it! Please recomend me a GOOD book from this guy!

Read COVEN immediately!!!!

Marshall Crist
06-10-2008, 06:44 PM
The Woods are Dark gets a long awaited reprint next month. I've heard a lot about it and am loooking forward to it.



My favorite Laymon book. You guys are in for a huge, trashy treat. It's like Ketchum's OFF SEASON, but better, IMO. The action starts on page 2 and never lets up. Phenomenal.

Right now I'm stalled on INTO THE FIRE. Just can't get into it.

Don May Jr
06-10-2008, 09:24 PM
My favorite Laymon book. You guys are in for a huge, trashy treat. It's like Ketchum's OFF SEASON, but better, IMO. The action starts on page 2 and never lets up. Phenomenal.

Right now I'm stalled on INTO THE FIRE. Just can't get into it.

Really? I've had THE WOODS ARE DARK (the British paperback edition) for years and never read it. It's sitting on my shelf, abandoned... Heh! Maybe I should read it after VIGIL, which is going good so far, I must say.

Randy Thomas G
06-10-2008, 11:52 PM
I just finished Laymon's THE CELLAR. I liked his extremism but man, some of his characters act ridiculous (while we wait for my psychopathic, child molesting ex-husband to show up and attempt to kill us, why don't we screw?) and his sex scenes were so poorly written that they become amusing.

Good trashy fun though, I'm looking forward to the re-issue of THE WOODS ARE DARK. What other books of his would you recommend? I've been looking them over and can't really decide.

I also read Ketchum's OFF SEASON and THE GIRL NEXT DOOR and liked both but THE GIRL NEXT DOOR is really good.

Although I read her as a teenager and don't know what I would make of it today I remember being blown away by Kathe Koja's BAD BRAINS and SKIN.

I also just picked up Ramsey Campbell's THE HUNGRY MOON and Dan Simmon's SONG OF KALI.

Steve R
06-11-2008, 12:09 AM
The frist Laymon I read was In The Dark. It has a real grabber of a premise that escalates beautifully. A simple easy dare is made to a stranger and rewarded with some cash that leads to antoher dare at double the cash. It's very nicely plotted. It really hooked me. Very hard to put down once you've started.

John McMinn
06-11-2008, 12:33 AM
The only thing I can think of that I've read this year horror-wise is Tim Lucas's Throat Sprockets. INCREDIBLE book.

Hollie Thomas
06-11-2008, 01:01 AM
I just finished Laymon's THE CELLAR. I liked his extremism but man, some of his characters act ridiculous (while we wait for my psychopathic, child molesting ex-husband to show up and attempt to kill us, why don't we screw?) and his sex scenes were so poorly written that they become amusing.

Good trashy fun though, I'm looking forward to the re-issue of THE WOODS ARE DARK. What other books of his would you recommend? I've been looking them over and can't really decide.
.

Yeah, I mean, some of the books are REALLY predictable but they're still really fun and you really start to figure out his major fetish for very thin, small breasted, tan women with nice rumps and any short woman with large breasts he considers fat and ugly..haha..which makes me feel bad about myself but whatever, the guy wasn't necessarily a "looker" himself.

I would HIGHLY suggest Island. My other favorites are the other two Beast House books (The Beast House and The Midnight Tour), Endless Night, The Traveling Vampire Show, One Rainy Night, Night In the Lonesome October and so far Allhallow's Eve is pretty good. I really enjoyed all of his books that I've read and really look forward to the 6 or 7 other Laymon books I have laying around, I'd like to read his entire work (that I can get my hands on) by the end of the year.

Hollie Thomas
06-11-2008, 01:03 AM
Really? I've had THE WOODS ARE DARK (the British paperback edition) for years and never read it. It's sitting on my shelf, abandoned... Heh! Maybe I should read it after VIGIL, which is going good so far, I must say.


I've read somewhere that he wrote some romance novels under another name but I'm not sure how true this is, even though I don't read romance novels I'm somewhat tempted to just so I can eventually say I've read everything he's written.

Richard W
06-11-2008, 02:40 AM
I stopped reading fiction 25 years ago. I'm so far behind it isn't funny. I would like to find some good ghost stories or haunted house stories as good as Shirley Jackson (The Haunting of Hill House) and Richard Matheson (Hell House). Any suggestions?

I know it's old stuff, but try reading Progeny of the Adder (1965) and Moon of the Wolf (1967) by Leslie H. Whitten:

http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/3075/n14142hl5.jpg

These books have more literary merit than the covers suggest.

http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/2591/n14143vi3.jpg

Randy Thomas G
06-11-2008, 04:49 AM
Ramsey Campbell's short story collection DARK COMPANIONS has several very good ghost stories, "The Companion" in particular is an excellent story.

Peter Straub is an interesting and talented writer, GHOST STORY would be the obvious choice but I liked SHADOWLAND even more. I've heard good things about his novel LOST BOY LOST GIRL as well.

I'm not sure how to define China Mieville's amazing supernatural novella 'The Tain' but I think that it is a must read, it is in the LOOKING FOR JAKE collection.

Richard W
06-11-2008, 06:23 AM
Recommended reading:

http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/3678/bigbookssloane2fk1.jpg

I bought these two paperbacks because I liked the covers. Before I had finished reading the first one I was calling around looking for signed 1st editions with dust jackets.

http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/7073/walkqc7.jpg

Also, I found these write-ups on the author William Sloane:

http://www.citypaper.com/special/story.asp?id=14573

http://dustandcorruption.blogspot.com/2008/06/to-walk-night-by-william-sloane.html

Old stuff, I know, but the creepiness factor in these two novels is so intense it's like being a child again watching Universal's Frankenstein or Dracula for the first time.

Don May Jr
06-11-2008, 06:30 AM
If you are looking for a ghost story that is goofy, disgusting and has some "inspiration" from HELL HOUSE, etc., then Ed Lee's FLESH GOTHIC might be up your alley. It's a story of a big ol' house that was the home of a crazed sex cult that suddenly end up dead. Investigators go in the house and... well...

Richard W
06-12-2008, 06:55 AM
FLESH GOTHIC sounds like a book I should definitely read. Thanks I'll pick it up.

Has anyone read Richard Matheson's EARTHBOUND ? Just picked it up in Walgreens. An erotic ghost story.

Barry M.
06-12-2008, 12:44 PM
Octavia Butler's final book Fledgeling was interesting. It's an engaging read, a vampires-among-us romance of sorts, but off-kilter, and wrapped up in race, sex, power, and ethics. The narrator's a black girl of 11 or 12, without memories, recovering surprisingly well from terrible injuries: yeah, she's a kid vampire, way older than she looks, and it's still genuinely disturbing when a guy stops to pick her up on the side of the road.

I'd peg it as squarely sf -- everything's rational, and explained as we go in grand old Gernsbackian style. The technique of the reader following the young naif in her introductions to the mysteries of the world works, because Butler was a very good writer, but the expository nature of the book might drive some readers wiggy. The story's a page-turner, even though it's never really surprising: it's more that it's so darn interesting.

What starts out as wish-fulfillment vampire fantasy on the most individual level (love me, eternally, unconditionally!) has turned into social drama by the end, complete with courtroom fireworks.

Admirable, interesting, not for everybody. RIP, Octavia.

EDIT: forgot to mention the free-lovin' vampire communes, which I'm sure will be a major selling point :)

Marshall Crist
06-12-2008, 03:24 PM
The frist Laymon I read was In The Dark. It has a real grabber of a premise that escalates beautifully. A simple easy dare is made to a stranger and rewarded with some cash that leads to antoher dare at double the cash. It's very nicely plotted. It really hooked me. Very hard to put down once you've started.

IN THE DARK is a hell of a page-turner and IMO his "best" book. (While THE WOODS ARE DARK is my "favorite.")

Marshall Crist
06-12-2008, 03:29 PM
I've read somewhere that he wrote some romance novels under another name but I'm not sure how true this is, even though I don't read romance novels I'm somewhat tempted to just so I can eventually say I've read everything he's written.

He wrote at least one under the name "Carla Laymon." Never seen it for sale. I believe he also wrote at least one western under a different name, one illustrated kids' book as Richard Laymon, and two kids chapter books under a pseudonym. (I have the last three and they are OK.) For a really detailed breakdown of his career, pick up his excellent non-fiction book, A WRITER'S TALE.

Marshall Crist
06-20-2008, 05:56 AM
Just noticed that an eBay UK seller has the "Carla Laymon" book for sale for a mere 1,000 pounds. Didn't check how much he wanted for postage.

Randy Thomas G
06-24-2008, 04:48 AM
Thanks for the Laymon recommendations everyone, I'll be sure to scoop up what I can find. :cool:

FLESH GOTHIC sounds like a lot of fun too, I've added it to my list. I dug up Koja's BAD BRAINS and it is one crazy book, just like I remembered. John Byrne's THE WHIPPING BOY is from the same publishing line and is also quite strong, although the ending is a little weak in that sentimental Stephen King way (excluding Pet Semetary, Thinner and most of the Bachman books of course :D).

Randy Thomas G
07-15-2008, 05:11 AM
Has anyone else picked up the new, uncut edition of WOODS ARE DARK? I did yesterday and finished it today. It was a lot of fun and better than THE CELLAR imo (although he once again has an unbelievable sex scene at the most unlikely time).

I wonder what the cut version of the book is like because I can't imagine the novel without Lander's story as it seems central to the purpose of the novel.

****SPOILER*****
Lander is a little too quick on the draw in his descent into depravity though, I mean he starts thinking about rape right out of the gate.
****SPOILER****

Marshall Crist
07-15-2008, 07:25 AM
****SPOILER*****
Lander is a little too quick on the draw in his descent into depravity though, I mean he starts thinking about rape right out of the gate.
****SPOILER****

Someone alert Alyss N.

Steve R
07-15-2008, 02:28 PM
RT, glad you enjoyed it.
I went to pick this one up yesterday on way home from work and it was not there. Guess it was sold out rather than not stocked yet.
I shall return, looking forward to it.

Randy Thomas G
09-29-2008, 01:26 AM
I've recently revisited Kath Koja's BAD BRAINS and finished John Shirley's WETBONES.

BAD BRAINS would have been an excellent novella but was overlong as novel. I read an interview where Koja said that she had trouble getting her first novel THE CIPHER accepted because it was considered 'too short' due to the demand for overwritten tomes in the horror market of the day (thanks to King's bloated epics imo) and I suspect she was pushed to 'expand' this book beyond what it required.

WET BONES, on the other hand, moved very rapidly and shifted between several different characters quite effectively. Some really nasty imagery and sexual abuse throughout the novel but never tripping into the pornographic leering that you sometimes get from Laymon or even Ketchum on occasion. Shirley seems to have a much surer hand with characterization than either of those authors, imo.

Right now I'm reading Michael McDowell's TOPLIN (a serial killer novel as written by Samuel Beckett) and next up is Shirley's reprinted CELLARS, with an introduction by Edward Lee!

Randy Thomas G
09-29-2008, 01:33 AM
I would HIGHLY suggest Island. My other favorites are the other two Beast House books (The Beast House and The Midnight Tour), Endless Night, The Traveling Vampire Show, One Rainy Night, Night In the Lonesome October and so far Allhallow's Eve is pretty good.

I picked up NIGHT IN LONESOME OCTOBER as the dream-like storyline sounds intriguing and will be getting to it after CELLARS. :cool:

Barry M.
09-29-2008, 09:48 AM
Off-Laymon, but Roger Zelazny's A NIGHT IN THE LONESOME OCTOBER is great Cthulhu-Universal pastiche mashup fun. It's like Abbott & Costello meet Frankenstein with the addition of Jack the Ripper and his dog, and Things in the Mirror. Respectful, delightful, and with Gahan Wilson illustrations. I haven't reread it this year, but it'd make a great Halloween tradition.

C.A. Hall
10-02-2008, 01:09 AM
What are some good experimental Horror novels?

Tim Mayer
10-06-2008, 08:59 AM
I'm still trying to find ANYTHING by RR Ryan, a british horror writer from the 1930's. There is at least one reprint, but I refuse to pay $40.00 to read a book. And I don't collect.

Randy Thomas G
10-07-2008, 03:26 AM
For experimental horror novels I'd recommend Brian Evenson's DARK PROPERTY, a kind of combination of Mormon blasphemy, Cormac McCarthy and Stephen King.

Randy Thomas G
11-22-2008, 09:25 PM
Finished Shirley's CELLARS a while ago, it's good, better than WET BONES which I also liked. The prose here is stronger than in WET BONES, with some very evocative writing of early 80s New York and (again) good characterizations. Some good set-pieces of gore and perversion but nothing near as extreme as in Laymon or Ketchum. Remember though, as Edward Lee says in the intro, this is one of the first 'hardcore horror' novels and I'd say that Shirley is the best writer I've encountered in the subgenre so far. The storyline is like a serious and competent version of BLOOD FEAST.