Julianne Clancy is a master of horror. Literally. She got her master’s degree in horror literature from Trinity College Dublin in 2009. She now spends her days as a copywriter for Berkley and NAL, and her evenings trying to convince her husband and her cat to sit through an endless stream of B-horror movies and Paranormal Activity sequels. She also cooks a lot.
If James Brown is the godfather of soul, Shirley Jackson is the godmother of the American Gothic. Her stories are some of the most chilling, twisted, and mind-bending in horror, and The Haunting of Hill House is the crowning achievement within her wonderful body of work. Part ghost story, part psychological puzzle, and completely terrifying, Jackson’s magnum opus will have you glancing over your shoulder to make sure none of the spirits on the pages have somehow come to life. A tour-de-force of horror that questions the nature of depression, insanity, and pure supernatural evil.
Any list of great horror novels would have to include at least one entry from Stephen King. For me, that one book is, without a doubt, IT. King’s story of a cruel clown stalking the children of Derry, Maine plays off of the childhood fears we all still feel when something goes bump in the night. However, King’s true achievement here is in the characters, both the good and the bad, who prove to be so much more important, impactful, and horrifying than any other-worldly being could ever be. If Pennywise the Clown doesn’t frighten you, I guarantee vicious bully Henry Bowers will.
Buehlman wins my vote for best new horror writer of the past several years. He deftly handles creature horror while still keeping his work grounded in realistic fears that are unsettlingly relatable. This haunting tale of a failed academic discovering the dark, bloody secrets of a southern town is guaranteed to have you turning pages long into the night—and sleeping with the light on afterwards.
Traditional gothic horror isn’t for everyone, but I happen to be a huge fan of the slow, creeping terror that true gothic can provide. Sarah Waters calls to mind Henry James or Edgar Allen Poe with her carefully written, chilling novel about a poor doctor in postwar England. Family secrets, insanity, and the hint of something more sinister abound—a delicious combination that gothic devotees will devour.
I love zombies. Always have, always will. However, I’d be the first to admit that many zombie tales fall into the category of silly or overdone. John L. Campbell’s Omega Days breaks the mold. Following a motley cast of characters as they face a sudden and devastating zombiepocalypse, this series opener reads more like a cautionary tale about human nature in crisis than standard zombie fare. Lots of action, but also lots of thought-provoking scares to keep you ruminating long after you finish the last page.
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