Tag Archives: Horror

Found Footage Horror in Books?

It’s summertime, which means I’ve been indulging my love of horror novels, dear readers.   And I’ve found myself feeling a bit nostalgic…

…How many of you remember The Blair Witch Project?

Though it wasn’t the first “found footage” horror film–‘found footage’ being a sort of sub-genre where the film is presented as amateur video discovered after an event–The Blair Witch Project came along at precisely the right time, harnessing the power of the new technology that was the Internet to whip everyone into something of a tizzy.  Debates sprung up everywhere as to whether the events depicted in the film actually happened, what truly happened to the three young film-makers seen in the footage, and just what the Blair Witch really was.  I remember three people in Blockbuster video (yes, Blockbuster Video)  arguing together about whether the film was a ‘hoax’, and if so, what it meant for the horror genre as a whole that this film had so blurred the line between fiction and reality.

Because that’s what ‘found-footage’ does so well, and why it’s such a fascinating genre.  Found-footage creates a reality in a way that few other movies do.  It’s power comes from its incompleteness.  Real life usually doesn’t play out with a well-plotted beginning, middle, and end.  It’s messy.  There are plotlines that go nowhere.  And, in the end, we don’t get the answers to all our questions.

Horror as a genre allows us to deal with the unpleasant, the scary, and the overwhelming aspects of life in a safe way.  Found footage helps us deal with a reality where something are just un-knowable.  And for creatures whose brains are programmed to think in narrative form, that in itself is pretty terrifying.

Anyways, looking back on The Blair Witch Project today (not the sequel, for which I had such high hopes)…it’s a bit campy.  The plot doesn’t really hold up (they argue for 10 minutes out of an 80-minute movie about a map).  The steady-cam makes everyone a wee bit nauseous.  But what is does beautifully is harness our inherent terror of not knowing.  And even though ‘found footage’ is a tough genre to do successfully, especially with today’s passion for special effects and IMAX panoramas and computer generation, I don’t think that fear of not knowing has dimmed at all.  If anything, it’s probably gotten even stronger now that we have so many resources to look up anything we want, to know all we want…to dispel those shadows lurking in the corner…

But when that ability is taken away, when sentences end with ellipses or a comma, and not a period, when the camera is dropped and there is no resolution–it triggers something in our cave-brain that thinks in narrative to flip out and start climbing the walls.

And for those of you looking for a “found footage” fix in a book–there are any number of options from which you can choose.  Dracula and Frankenstein, the very foundations of the horror genre, are themselves ‘found footage’ of a sort, in that they are collections of media produced by the characters.  So let’s take a look as see how this genre has expanded and evolved–just don’t look too closely at those shadows in the corner……

The Supernatural Enhancements: We’ve covered this book here a few times before, but that’s because it’s so flipping good.  The plot centers around a twenty-something gentleman named A., who inherits a house in the backwoods of Virginia from an unknown relative who apparently died after jumping out of a window at the precise age that A himself is now.  Together with Niamh, a mute young woman who is a force in her own right, A sets out to discover the secrets of the house, and of his mysterious family.  The book is a mish-mash of letters written by A to his aunt, of transcripts of conversations between A and Niamh (who writes instead of speaking), and transcripts of video and audio recordings made inside the house.  And codes. So many, many codes.  Because A’s family has plenty of secrets, both fascinating and terrible–and while we learn a good deal of them, there is plenty in this book that is left up to the imagination, not the least of which is what precisely lives in the upstairs bathroom?

House of Leaves: Another old favorite here, and one that very well might take the found footage tale to a whole new level.  Mark Z. Danielewski’s book, ostensibly, is about a family who buys a house that turns out to be bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.  And not in a fun, TARDIS-kind of way.  This is a house with a mind of its own, and it’s quite easy to get lost forever.  But if that wasn’t enough, this is a found story about a found story–and, as such, this book is a chilling maze of footnotes, as the multiple layers of storytellers all work through their own issues with this tale–and reveal just how badly this house has affected them all.  This is one of the few books that can make citations scary.  Read it on a beach.  In the sunlight.  Probably, read it outside.  It’s just safer that way.

We Eat Our Own: This is a story less comprised of found footage, and more about found footage–specifically, about the first new found-footage horror movie, the Italian Cannibal Holocaust, which was widely believed to be a ‘snuff’ film when it was first released (a subsequent trial revealed that the human actors all survived, though the scenes of animal brutality were indeed real).  Kea Wilson’s novel follows a nameless, struggling actor in 1970s New York who gets a call that an enigmatic director wants him for an art film set in the Amazon…not because of his talents, but because he so closely resembles the former star who is unable to complete the film.  The conditions on-set are terrible–the atmosphere is so damp that the celluloid film disintegrates, the director himself seems near madness, and there are strange rumors on set about the goings-on in the village around them.  This book is less about Cannibal Holocaust itself than it is a book about violence, and what is does to people who cannot escape it.  It’s a twisty, twisted, thought-provoking, bizarre story that skips perspectives with dizzying ease, and ends with a scene as ambiguous as The Blair Witch Project itself.  Try it, and tell me what you think is going on!

And the (Stoker) nominees are….

Just in case you haven’t had your fill of awards this season, dear readers, we are delighted to bring you this year’s Stoker Award Nominees, celebrating the best in English-language horror writing!

Each year, the Horror Writer’s Association presents the Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement, named in honor of Bram Stoker, author of the horror novel to beat all horror novels (and Free For All favorite), Dracula. The Bram Stoker Awards were instituted immediately after the organization’s incorporation in 1987.  The first awards were presented in 1988 (for works published in 1987), and they have been presented every year since. The award itself, designed by sculptor Steven Kirk, is a stunning haunted house, with a door that opens to reveal a brass plaque engraved with the name of the winning work and its author.

How amazing is this?!

The Stoker Awards specifically avoid the word “best”, because it recognizes that horror itself is a genre that is constantly moving, changing, and pushing its own boundaries (and can often be very specific to a place, or a generation).  Instead, it uses the words “Superior Achievement”.  The categories of award have changed over the years, as well, as the genre has evolved, but since 2011, the eleven Bram Stoker Award categories are: Novel, First Novel, Short Fiction, Long Fiction, Young Adult, Fiction Collection, Poetry Collection, Anthology, Screenplay, Graphic Novel and Non-Fiction.

And can I just say, that the HWA also hosts an academic conference on horror alongside its annual conference, known as the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference, after the pioneer of the Gothic novel, and a lady author to boot?  I think that is the coolest thing ever, not only because the HWA remains so devoted to celebrating and studying horror as a genre in the past and the future, but it also creates a wonderfully inclusive atmosphere where all kinds of readers are accepted.

So here, without further ado, are the 2016 nominees for the Stoker Awards.  There are a few titles here that we’ve covered previously at the Free For All, which is proof that we know how to pick ’em, and many that I will be added to my To Be Read list promptly!   The final announcement will be made at StokerCon, the annual conference of the HWA.

Superior Achievement in a Novel

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

Saturdays @ the South: Holiday Horrors

checklist-1817926_640I’m sure everyone has a holiday horror story of some type. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, something goes wrong in the holiday prep a story ensues that will be told at future get-togethers. “Remember that time the turkey caught fire and we had to order pizza for the holiday dinner?” Horror is not all that uncommon this time of year, for authors, either. Whether this time of year is dorkily loved (like yours truly) or utterly reviled, sometimes you just need a break from the saccharine holiday cheer.  We’ve already mentioned on the blog how books can be a great retreat, (particularly when there’s a blanket fort involved) and can have restorative measures. Well, sometimes a little antidote for holiday cheer is precisely what the doctor ordered.

This antidote for holiday cheer and spreading a little holiday horror isn’t a new concept. In Germany and Austria, they have had a centuries-old tradition of the Krampus. The name, derived from the German krampen (meaning claw) is considered the anti-St. Nick and was used, partly as a means to frighten children into being good. The Krampus, according to folklore said to be son of Hel in Norse mythology, is a half-goat, half-demon, horned creature that whips children into being good. This is the yang to St. Nicholas’s ying. Where St. Nick goes around on December 6th  (known as Nicholaustag) in Germany, Austria and Hungary, delivering sweets to the children who have been good, Krampus appears the night before December 6th (known as Krampusnacht) to whip the bad children with his bundle of birch twigs and take the particularly wicked ones away to his lair. It brings on a whole new meaning to “he knows if you’ve been bad or good; so be good for goodness’ sake!” In recent years, here in the States, the Krampus has been gaining a bit of popularity,  appearing in a recent feature-film, making an episode cameo on the TV show Grimm and, apparently in something called a Krampus party as well (Google it; it’s a Thing). It’s an interesting reaction against the commercialization of the holiday season; though if you’re concerned about Krampus getting too commercialized, you’re about 120 years too late. Krampus postcards and other items have been manufactured in Germany since the 1890s.

Greetings from Krampus – This was a Viennese Krampus card circa 1911.

In other horror and suspense news, this past Wednesday, December 14th would have been Shirley Jackson‘s 100th birthday and I can think of no better way to celebrate than with a list of holiday-related horror books that would likely have set even her spine a-tingle.

3206706Krampus by Brom

Brom most recently gained acclaim earlier this year with Lost Gods, but his 2012 works took the Krampus legend to a whole new level. With themes of family and hope this book might seriously creep you out, but its underlying heart may have you thinking that a little horror this time of year isn’t quite so bad…

3243262NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

This book by Stephen King’s son (make no mistake here, Hill is an astounding author in his own right and deserves his solid reputation sans any nepotism) is profoundly unsettling. A man, who’s license plate is the titular inspiration, kidnaps distraught and disadvantaged children and takes them to Christmasland, his own personal Christmas theme park which doesn’t quite live in this plane of existence. These children eventually lose their teeth to fangs, their blood to ice and their humanity to… something else. This is the type of horror that has some supernatural elements in it, but what is truly scary here is the capacity for people to lose their humanity and what happens when good intentions go terribly awry.

51rgydnykfl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Horror for the Holidays ed. by Scott David Aniolowski

This book has a little something terrifying for every holiday, from Valentine’s Day to the Pagan Yule to, yes, Christmas with it’s cover story featuring none other than Krampus. This sampling ranging from classic to modern horror tales can chill you all year ’round.

2656597Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

So this comes more under the humor than horror category, but the essay “The Santaland Diaries” is equal parts hilarious and terrifying; anyone who has been stuck at the mall waiting in line for Santa knows that it can be it’s own special version of hell. If you’re looking for something that’s not quite as terrifying but still an antidote for a holiday cheer overdose, this would be a terrific pick.

3580651Twelve Screams of Christmas by R. L. Stine

We started off this post with a list from the kids’ horror master Stine and I’d be remiss if I left off a little something for the kiddos (or kids at heart) who want a scare of their own. From his perennially popular Goosebumps series, this book has two frenemies who need a rehearsal space for the school’s Christmas play practicing in a space that just might be haunted…

While I won’t be replacing my decorations and festive lights with furs and demon horns, sometimes a little respite from the holiday madness is just what’s needed to get us through the home stretch. Till next week, dear readers, find whatever you feel comfortable with on these cold nights and maybe consider exploring the dark side of the holidays and see if its the remedy you might need.

Winter Is Coming….


…Or, judging by the frost on my car this morning, dear readers, it might actually already be here.

I’ll be honest with you–I love winter.  I love the cold, I adore snow.  I was one of those kids who went tearing out of the house without a coat on and flung themselves at the nearest snowdrift (ok, I still do that, who am I kidding?).  But I realize that I am most likely in the minority here.

As much fun as it can be to sit cozily inside and watch the snow fall, or to flaunt your new boots and scarves this time of year, the truth of it is that human bodies really really don’t like to be cold.  It’s one of those primal fears built into all our brains, just like a fear of the dark, and a fear of being alone.  All of these things aren’t modern-day constructions; they are primal triggers that have been passed down to us from our single-celled organism ancestors.  Because all of them are, potentially, mortal dangers.

And this is what makes a genre that I am hereby terming Arctic Horror such a rip-roaring success.  We could also call it ‘Polar Horror’ or ‘Cold Horror”, but what we’re discussing are books that are set in remote, usually the Arctic, sometimes on Antarctica or a really high mountain, where it’s really, really cold.  And dark.  And isolating.  If done right, these books are not only fascinating journeys to places that most of us will never see–they are also absolutely terrifying, precisely because they tap into those brain-stem fears that we all have in common.  Even while you rationally know you are safe and warm and connected to the outside world, the visceral feeling of experiencing these harrowing expeditions, these brutal quests, or these races against time are experiences that linger long after the final page has turned.

But horror novels are more than just the scary stuff.  In order for the scary stuff to be scary, in order for us to feel for the characters who are enduring these hardships, we need to care about them.  We need to see ourselves in them, and we need to want them to survive.  So along with creating powerfully affecting settings, authors of Arctic horror also have to create genuinely real characters, and powerful relationships between them that ground us in their realities and make thier journeys that much more fraught.

So I thought I’d share some of the highlights of Arctic Horror that I’ve found recently, for those of you looking for a high-stakes, low-temperature thrill.  They may help you pass the next long, winter night–or give you the itch to go out on an adventure of your own!

indexDark Matter: Although this book only lives at the Boston Public Library, it’s a piece of cake to get those books, either by getting your own BPL card (any resident of Massachusetts is eligible), or by having one of your friendly Reference Librarians put in an Inter-Library Loan request for you.  Believe me, this little book is worth it.  In it, we follow Jack, a penniless, desperate, but adventurous young man who, in January 1937, manages to get himself accepted on board an Arctic expedition as a radio operator.  He and his small team weather the journey north, and prepare to make their winter home at a deserted bay known as Gruhuken.  But as the nights grow longer Jack begins to realize that there is more to fear in Gruhuken than the plummeting temperatures.  Members of his expedition team are being forced to leave, one by one, until Jack is the only man left–but he knows he isn’t alone.  And he knows whatever is outside is watching him.  Michelle Paver does a brilliant job creating Jack, and giving him both the wonder we would no doubt feel at his adventures, as well as the annoyance we would all feel at being stuck in cramped quarters with near-strangers for months on end.  The terror here builds slowly, but with the strength of a blizzard.  Once it hits, there is no turning back, and eventually reaches a climax that is disorienting, overwhelming, and genuinely frightening. (See the end of this post for a tiny, but helpful spoiler)

3839094StrandedBracken MacLeod’s haunting new novel opens in the midst of a massive Arctic storm that is remorselessly battering the Arctic Promise, a supply ship headed to an Arctic Drilling platform called the Niflheim.   Though the ship and crew survive, their radio and communications equipment completely stops working, stranding the ship in an impenetrable fog. Then, slowly, the crew begins falling ill–not with a cold or a fever.  They just begin to waste away.  Deckhand Noah Cabot is the only man who seems unaffected–and thus, becomes the first man to volunteer to leave the ship when a shape is spotted on the horizon.  With no hope left onboard the Arctic Promise, Noah and a small crew set out across the ice…but what they find on the horizon is more dreadful than anything Noah could have imagined, and forces him to reconsider all the choices he’s made to this point.  MacLeod does a sensational job of building the terror slowly around Noah, first by isolating him from his crew (his backstory with his captain is heartbreaking and critically important here), and then by sending him into a kind of frozen purgatory, not unlike the Niflheim of myth.  Though the twist here would seem utterly ridiculous if I told you here, it works in the context of this story, and leads to a climax that is shocking, but no less believable and tragic for all that.  There are no easy answers here–there are few answers at all, come to that–but in some ways, that makes this book even more haunting.

3370892The AbominableDan Simmons is one of those authors that we here at the Library can always turn to for a wonderfully told, immersive story, and this tale only further cements his reputation.  Like Dark Matter, this book is a historical tale, set just after the disappearance of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine on Everest in 1924.  One year after the loss of Mallory and the hopes of reaching the top of Everest, three climbers–a British war poet,a  French Chamonix guide, and an adventurous American–decide to try again.  Financed by a grieving mother whose own son disappeared on Everest, the team sets out to conquer the tallest, and most terrifying of all mountains.  But what they find on those treacherous, wintery slopes is far more than they expected.  Something is following them.  And even if they reach the top–even if they discover what happened to Mallory and the other victims of Everest, even if they survive…there is still the challenge of climbing down, and facing the terror head-on.  Simmons pulls a few narrative tricks here to make his story feel real from the outset, which is helped considerably by his innate talent for crafting historical settings, making this hefty book fly by.  By blending the real-life tragedy of Mallory and the First World War into the tapestry of this book, he gives his tale a pathos and a drive that makes the threat to our climbers feel so much more terrifying, because we want them to succeed so badly.


Enjoy, dear readers!  And don’t forget your mittens!


(The dog lives.)

Saturdays @ the South: Diversity in Horror

bonesIt’s getting close to the official All Hallow’s Read and while I can’t wait to see what Arabella has cooked up for Monday, we’ve still got one Saturday left in our month-long celebration. I’d like to spend it talking about diversity in what is often considered a white man’s genre: horror. Many will automatically think of Stephen King, Dean Koontz or even more classic authors like M.R. James and Edgar Allan Poe when they think of people creating horror stories. While they have produced many wonderful horror stories that have terrified people through the years and are read with good reason, they are not the only voices in horror.

In fact, amidst a predominantly white publishing industry,  authors, readers and interest groups (such as the fantastic “We Need Diverse Books“) are starting to take a stand to encourage more diverse books among horror and all types of literature. Blog favorite Book Riot has spoken several times on making it a point to recommend and speak about diverse books on their site and in their podcasts. I myself am working to have more voices of all types in my reading and when I looked back at what I’ve been reading this month (mostly horror and ghost stories in my own celebration of All Hallows Read) I noticed it was primarily white male voices.

I also noticed that while there are virtually infinite ways to scare people, many of these books fall into similar tropes. With that in mind, I thought I would take a look at some other voices in horror, to look at the possibility of other ways to be scared and to also see what are some of the commonalities of what is fundamentally scary as part of the human experience, regardless of culture. As Haruki Murakami said: “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” So here are some books that will help you think outside the box of typical horror:

3789533The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike

Koike is a hugely popular author in Japan working primarily in horror and detective fiction. In this newly-translated work from 1986, in some circles considered her masterpiece, a family moves into an apartment building  next to a graveyard where strange things begin to happen. The potential evil lurking in the young family’s new home seems to feed off of a dark secret they’re harboring and the psychological suspense builds as they explore the building’s spaces and its past. This book is purported to make basements even creepier, so sign me up!

3544400Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

When I went searching for more diverse horror reads, I found this rec from Book Riot contributor Jenn Northington. Written with a diverse cast of characters, Northington had this to say about Broken Monsters: “Whether you’re a veteran horror reader or a hide-under-the-blankets-put-the-book-in-the-freezer newbie (I am the latter), Beukes has something for you. Her books are both terrifying and wildly imaginative, and so so hard to put down.” I’m so there. This may very well be the next book on my to-read list (All Hallows Read or not!) with a recommendation like that.

2267807Wee Winnie Witch’s Skinny by Virginia Hamilton

Working with her extensive knowledge of African-American folklore, Hamilton manages to make a children’s book truly scary for any who reads it. Uncle Big Anthony and James Lee have been cursed by Wee Winnie Witch who rides them like a broom throughout the night. Mamma Granny knows what to do to break the curse, however, in a clever twist that rivals any in the Grimm’s fairy tales.

3022778American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I know what you’re thinking: Lady Pole, while we are well aware of your love of Neil Gaiman, he is, in fact, a white, male author. Doesn’t this defeat the purpose of your post? Your point is certainly fair, but I’m including this book because Gaiman himself has spoken up and acted on (through some of the collections he’s edited) about diversity in literature. He has vehemently worked to ensure that the main character of this book, Shadow , does not succumb to Hollywood whitewashing and is striving to keep the cultural diversity of his book in the upcoming Starz adaptation. I’ve included this book because it is a horror book about the immigrant experience and because Gaiman does a pretty decent job of writing outside of his own cultural borders, which not every author is brave enough to attempt.

3699308The Girl with the Ghost Eyes by M. H. Boroson

Li-lin is cursed with”yin eyes” the ability to see ghosts in 1800’s San Francisco Chinatown. She is the daughter of a Daoshi excorcist who becomes cursed by a powerful sorcerer. It takes Li-lins powers of sight to defeat the curse all the while struggling against the demands of being a dutiful daughter and the stigmas of being a widow. This book got a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and is described by the publisher as having: “…a rich and inventive historical setting, nonstop martial arts action, authentic Chinese magic, and bizarre monsters from Asian folklore…” I’ll never know how this didn’t end up on my radar sooner.

Diverse books are important for so many reasons. Readers need to see a portion of themselves represented on the page, regardless of who they are or where they come from. Books are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to broaden our horizons. If you’re already planning on reading something for All Hallows Read, why not see if you can be scared in a way that perhaps has never creeped you out before? If none of these books whet your whistle, you can try this great list from Goodreads which includes not just cultural, but gender and ability diversity as well. Till next week, dear readers, let’s try to break some boundaries with our reading. You’ll never know what new favorite you can discover.

Saturdays @ the South: Haunted Humor

Image created by The Introverted Wife

Ah, dear readers,  it’s fall. The crisp cool nights and warm-ish days have arrived and I couldn’t be happier to welcome my favorite season. I also couldn’t be happier that our wonderful blogger-in-residence Arabella got the ball rolling on All Hallows Read. For those of you who remember our celebrations last year, I hope that you will enjoy this year’s posts as well as we revel in things spooky, horrific and creepy.

I thought I’d start off the Saturdays @ the South festivities a little lighter. Sometimes horror books can be taken extremely seriously because it is a genre based on the emotion of fear. Horror can tap into some of our deepest fears  including death and the unknown. As Arabella has mentioned previously, it’s healthy to explore these fears in a safe space  and books give a perfect outlet to do just that. That doesn’t mean, however, that books that scare us can’t have other emotions tied to them. Romance is arguably the closest genre to horror because they both deal with strong emotions and horror books can have a romantic element in them.

'Mummy, can you please pull the curtain and make it dark please? I'm scared of the light...'
‘Mummy, can you please pull the curtain and make it dark please? I’m scared of the light…’

A reaction that seems diametrically opposed to horror, however, is laughter. And yet, there are some great books out there that masterfully blend both elements of horror and humor. The two aren’t quite as disparate as they seem. If horror allows us to safely explore our fears and provide an outlet for our worst-case scenarios, humor allows those fears to be put aside and made that much less powerful by making them absurd. Voltaire once prayed “O Lord, make mine enemies ridiculous,” because this is precisely what takes away their power. The marvelous Mel Brooks adapted this philosophy by making the horrible figure of Hitler a ludicrous one in The Producers. Both horror and humor can lessen the impact of something fearsome, loathsome or otherwise horrific.

To that end, I’d like to recommend some books that blend the elements of humor and horror, to varying degrees.  Some of them might scare the pants of off you (as a couple of these titles did for me) but give you a chuckle in the process, while others consider humor their job first, and adding horror elements as a way to move the story forward. The spectrum here is broad, so hopefully there will be something for all to enjoy:

2344748A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

Moore is one of those authors who doesn’t shy away from a silly fart joke but can also make some interesting commentary on the more serious aspects of life. In this book, he takes on death, parenthood and a coming apocalypse all with his characteristic light touch. Charlie Asher has inadvertently become the Grim Reaper and if that wasn’t hard enough, he’s worried that he may end up passing it along to his child. Hilarity ensues as he tries to shield his daughter while saving the world.

3605662Cat Out of Hell by Lynne Truss

If anyone can bring humor to a grim subject, it’s the author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves which brought a sense of humor to a treatise on grammatical mistakes. In this fiction tome, Truss writes of a cat, Roger, who speaks to Alec Charlesworth and tells him frightening tales of recent deaths that may be linked to dark forces. If a talking cat doesn’t undercut a terrifying situation with humor, I don’t know what does.

3143872The Postmortal by Drew Magary

If sarcasm in the face of horrifying events is more your take on humor, then this book may be more your speed. John Farrell gets “The Cure,”  a death cure that renders someone impervious to old age and theoretically, won’t die. That is, unless some other outside force kills him. He and several others have taken part in this illicit treatment, but find it increasingly difficult to keep it under wraps as more people try to gain immortality. But can the world handle the load on its resources if an entire population doesn’t die? He’s sure to live long enough to find out. I’ll be honest, this book has some great one-liners in the humor department, but it successfully scared the daylights out of me!

3794357The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp

Speaking of one-liners and books that terrify me, this take on horror is a non-stop, gripping ride take takes a somewhat epistolary approach to horror. Jack Sparks is a loud-mouthed social media presence who is quick with a quip and was researching a book on the occult when he died. This is the story of how he died in the process of researching that book. The humor here comes in with Sparks, who isn’t shy about mocking much of what he sees (some of these lines made me laugh out loud) and the terrifying part comes in with just about everything else.

3553458The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero

This book is similar to The Last Days of Jack Sparks in that it has some fantastic one-liners that can definitely break the tension of a gripping read, it’s told in an epistolary style with records and transcripts from a stay in a haunted house and it scared the pants off of me. I also couldn’t stop thinking about this book long after it ended. A. (we know him as nothing else)inherits a house from a distant relative in West Virginia and stays there with companion Niamh only to discover that the house hides secrets about his family, about the area and about its inhabitants. It’s a bit indescribable. You’ll just have to read it for yourself. But be sure to lock doors before you do…

Till next week, dear readers, I hope you find your own balance of humor and horror during this month of All Hallows Read.