Saturday, 30 April 2016

Some Recent Horror Recommendations

A few hasty words on the cream of the crop of horror books I've read over the past few months:

The End by Gary McMahon (UK | US)
Stories about the end of everything are rarely light reading, but trust Gary McMahon to come up with an apocalypse that's even bleaker than anyone else's (with the honourable exception of Cormac McCarthy). The End begins with an epidemic of suicides and things only get grimmer and more violent from there on in. The scenes of society collapsing are some of the best I've read, chilling, plausible, gut-wrenching. Often these kind of stories limp to a conclusion as the author writes themselves into a corner: the world's ended, now what? But McMahon caps The End with an effective denouement, that manages to turn the screw one more time.

Born With Teeth by Conrad Williams
I loved this collection of short fiction by Conrad Williams (one of the highlights from the many books I picked up at last year's Fantasycon). Williams's fiction is intricate, atmospheric, and at times inordinately creepy. His prose is constantly a delight even as it leads us through the dark events of the stories here. Nearly every story is worthy of your time, but my own favourite pieces were Recycled, Haifisch and The Pike. 

The Lost Film by Stephen Bacon & Mark West (UK | US)
The Lost Film is a collection of two novellas, one by Stephen Bacon and one by Mark West, both dealing the same theme: that of lost films. Bacon's story, Lantern Rock, references both Hammer and Amicus early on, and his tale is very much in the spirit of those films. His two protagonists are seeking out the director Lionel Rutherford who lives as a recluse after his son died years before. Gradually revealing its secrets, this is a fun, atmospheric story. Mark West gets to follow that, and he does so by doing something very different. The Lost Film has a noir feel to it, as a PI is hired to track down the director of a film which sends people mad... There's some truly chilling imagery and ideas at play in this one, especially concerning the few snippets of the film itself that are uncovered. A very different story to Bacon's but one that contrasts it nicely.

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