This isn't a Year's Best List. This is a list of my favorite books I read this year, no matter when said books were published. Most of the books on the list didn't come out this year. Just making things clear before I get started. It wasn't a huge reading year for me. Long time readers of Singular Points know that I used to read two or three fiction books a week. Since I became a published author, I don't have as much time to read. My other writer friends warned me about this. But I still love to read and I work in as much stuff as I can. So let's get started, shall we?
CLICKERS II: THE NEXT WAVE by J.F. Gonzalez and Brian Keene.
This how you write a creature novel. Gets off to a very fast start with monsters eating people in the first few pages and barrels through to the end with barely a pause to catch your breath. Gory and messy and everything anyone who ever watched monster movies wants. Plus some dark Lovecraftian stuff too.
THE SOFT WHISPER OF THE DEAD
THE LONG NIGHT OF THE GRAVE
THE DARK CRY OF THE MOON
All three of these books were written by Charles L. Grant. They are his homage to the great Universal Horror films of the 1930s and 1940s. WHISPER is about Vampires, NIGHT is about a Mummy, and CRY is about a Werewolf. I absolutely loved these books. Not only am I the target audience for this sort of material as a reader, but as a writer I was amazed at how these short novels were put togther. WHISPER in particular is a little gem of construction. Grant was known as the master of 'quiet horror' and these books certainly show that he deserved that title.
THE RISING by Brian Keene.
Yeah, Keene again. Brian is a friend, but that doesn't get him any slack. This is an amazing and incredibly influential zombie book. Without it, we might not have all the zombie mania we have right now. But Brian's zombies are very different and original. This ain't George Romero territory here.
WITCH HOUSE by Evangeline Walton
As my review from earlier this year notes, I'd been meaning to read this one for a long time. My buddy Cliff Biggers gave me a copy for my birthday and I dived right in. A really cool ghost story, quite Gothic and creepy. And I got to read it in the original Arkham House Edition.
A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO by Jeff Strand
I love a good Young Adult book, being a kid at heart. This was one of the most fun YA books I've read in a long time. Strand is known for his ability to mix horror and comedy in his books for adults and he does the same thing here. Just a tremendous amount of fun.
DEAD RINGERS by Christopher Golden.
I'm a sucker for a book about Doppelgangers and this is a terrific take on the idea. People's doubles begin to show up and cause all kinds of trouble for the original folks. This is the kind of 'idea' book that Stephen King used to do. Golden writes my favorite horror Comic, BALTIMORE, and his prose work is just as impressive.
HAP AND LEONARD RIDE AGAIN by Joe Lansdale.
I've been reading Lansdale, and Hap and Leonard for years. This is a collection of short stories drawn from the series, some of which feature characters other than the boys. Lansdale hits a lot of different notes here and none of them are sour. Probably my favorite story in the collection is 'The Boy Who Became Invisible'. That one stays with you a long time after you close the book.
I think I'll stop here, because I'll begin to repeat more authors, including Lansdale, Golden, and yes, more Keene. This is a favorites list anyway, and those were the standouts.