Sunday, December 28, 2014

My Favorite Horror Reads of 2014

I think that 2014 was the best year yet for Too Much Horror Fiction: the blog reached a million views, I wrote two series on horror fiction at Tor.com, and read some great books for the first time. In no particular order I present my fave horror reads of the past year.

The Face That Must Die by Ramsey Campbell. An all-too-convincing portrait of the murderer's mind. The intro essay, Campbell's account of his mother's mental illness, is essential reading.

The Nest by Gregory A. Douglas. Repulsive pulp chiller that delivers. Too bad more Zebra horror paperbacks weren't this outrageous.

Feral by Berton Roeche. Understated thriller about cats on the attack. Rouche as an unassuming, quiet and literate prose style that heightens the tale's believability (some boneheaded Amazon reviewers think this
means the guy can't write).

Burning by Jane Chambers. A haunting historical love story about a forbidden love. I know that sounds cheesy but really, this is a sensitive and thoughtful novel. Terrific cover art as well, although it probably made some folks dismiss it.

Gwen, in Green by Hugh Zachary. Erotic ecohorror with that full '70s flavor. Also one of my all-time fave covers.

Hell Hound by Ken Greenhall. A forgotten, overlooked masterpiece of the sociopathic mind of a dog. Yes, a dog. Hope someone publishes a reprint.

A Nest of Nightmares by Lisa Tuttle. A powerful collection of stories that highlight horror at home. Tuttle's '80s short horror fiction should not be missed.

The Cormorant by Stephen Gregory. A gloomy, doomy, almost poetic tale about a man, his family, and his bird. Unique, startling, powerful.

Big life change too: in June I moved across the country and to live in Portland, OR! On the drive across the country, I visited plenty of used bookstores and added dozens of vintage paperback titles to my shelves. Photos of my hauls:

And February will be the fifth anniversary of Too Much Horror Fiction! So here's to a great 2015--who knows what horrors lie in wait...

19 comments:

the night watchman said...

Can't wait to read your review of Alan Ryan's "The Kill." In a blurb inside, David Morrell says something along the lines of the novel offering an "original supernatural conceit." Well, that's one way of putting it.

highwayknees said...

Will, I'd still like to know how you managed to FIND a copy of L. Tuttle's, A Nest of Nightmares? It's not available online except for ridiculous amounts for the HB version. It's my new holy grail.

Lincoln Brown said...

I think you'll find those prices are for the paperback - pretty sure there is no hardcover edition.
I also had a terrific reading year, and sampled some authors, new to me, thanks to TMHF - including Michael McDowell and Alan Ryan. Oh, and 'The Nest', which I also loved

Jack Tripper said...

@highwayknees: Keep an eye on Amazon UK and abebooks. I'll occasionally see "good condition" copies for under $20 (US) on those sites. I recently payed $15 on abebooks for a "good-plus" copy after searching for years for it. But I rarely see it for less than $40 on US Amazon and Ebay, though.

Authorfan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Authorfan said...

Here's a review of THE KILL I wrote a few years back:

http://sleaze-factor.blogspot.ca/2011/06/alan-ryan-and-kill.html

I own many of the same titles. Hope I get to read more horror in 2015, since it's my first love.

Martin

the night watchman said...

@Authorfan - You liked "The Kill" more than I did. Way more. I probably could have gotten behind the slow build-up had it not been for the nature of the supernatural agent.

Lincoln Brown said...

My thoughts exactly, the night watchman.
I liked the writing, the setting and the characters - but just couldn't get on board with what the 'ancient evil' ended up being.

Will Errickson said...

I found Tuttle's book purely by chance at the used bookstore in I once worked at in NJ. Bookstores now have different approaches to old books: some places will simply charge a nominal price for them, like half the original cover price or maybe 2 or 3 bucks; other places will use the collector sites to determine demand and charge accordingly. So it was obvious this bookstore didn't bother to look up how much that Tuttle book is going for online. Huzzah! I paid $2 for it.

francisco said...

hey Will, congratulations for your five years on the blog!!! I read you almost everyday since the summer of 2011, it a very informative and interesting site about horror fiction. By the way why not a history of modern horror fiction on the blog? the seminal bestsellers of the 70's, the horror boom of the 80's, spaltterpunk, publishers like Zebra or Leisure, the Dell line and the decline...

keep on the good work and Greetings from Spain

Authorfan said...

Will, forgot to ask you if I could include a link regarding THE KILL review of mine. Sorry about that. Happy 5th year. Glad to be on board.

Martin

William Malmborg said...

Oh wow, I have not have the pleasure to read any of these titles yet. I think that must be fixed. And with a giant store wide sale going on at Half Priced Books this week, I may be able to add some of these to my collection!

And congrats on reading a million page views!!

Ron Clinton said...

Funny, I thought you were already living in Portland...well, make sure you visit Powell's on Burnside ("City Block of Books!")...you'll find it book-browsing nirvana (and find lots of fodder for the blog).

Still on the lookout for the hell hound book, thanks to your earlier review of it.

balefuleye said...

Nice photos of all your hauls. On a recent trip to Portland, I picked up a copy of Burning from Powell's on Hawthorne---but it's still languishing on my to-be-read pile.

Padded Cell said...

I think one of the other pages on here said Hell Hound by Ken Greenhall was originally published as "Baxter" by Jessica Hamilton.

I don't know whether that would be easier to find.

Padded Cell said...

If I remember right, "The Hunter" by Richard Stark became the Mel Gibson movie "Payback."

Midnight's Lair is really good, and "Out are the lights" is pretty good too, but don't read the plot synopsis on the back cover. It's spoilery.

I haven't read The Reaping or The Surrogate yet, but I did read Taylor's "The Godsend" and Nick Sharman's "The Scourge" and both were very good.

the night watchman said...

@Padded Cell - You're right about Stark's (Donald E. Westlake) novel "The Hunter" being filmed as "Payback" with Mel Gibson. And if you haven't seen "Payback" yet and want to, track down the director's cut, sold on DVD as "Payback: Straight Up," in place of the theatrical release. This version still has its flaws, but it's a much better, nastier, and more satisfying flick.

Padded Cell said...

I'm not sure which version of "Payback" I'll watch first.

The original probably has a more satisfying resolution, but it uses voiceover, which I hate.

toomuchhorrorfiction said...

Watched PAYBACK recently, can't recall which version though. I liked it but nothing can compare to the original Stark novels!