In my view, there’s no better way to start off the new year than by reading some of the best works of the last year (and yes, I am only including books released in 2012. So even though I loved High Moor and read it in 2012, it doesn’t count. You should still buy it.) This is a tough one for me, as I read some really great books over the last 365 days. In fact, I’d say that 2012 was the best year for reading in my life. Below are my 10 favorite reads, divided between novels and long fiction (7500-40000 words). They are ranked one through five only for convenience sake; I’m not even going to try and rank these great books. If you enjoy horror, pick some of these up.
- Twice Shy — I’ve been talking up Twice Shy for quite some time. It’s simply put one of the best zombie novels I have ever read. And strangely enough, it may be the best book about teen angst. Just a really great book.
- The Croning — It’s hard to describe The Croning. It’s one of those rip-roaring, psychedelic tours through madness that really has to be experienced. It’s not for everyone, and there’s not shame in not getting it. But if you do, you won’t be disappointed.
- Terminal Island — I had the chance to read an early copy of Terminal Island and offer an endorsement. Here’s what I said. “A psychedelic descent into madness and cultural insanity, Greatshell has given us a tale of ancient gods and nameless cults that practice their rites not in some wasted land far away, but right in our backyard. This book never slows down until the high energy climax.” And it’s true. This book is crazy. I’m not saying you’ll love it, but you won’t think it’s ordinary.
- The Devil of Echo Lake — Another fantastic book that puts a great spin on the old legend of Robert Johnson and the crossroads. But it’s so much more than that. Sometimes, there are things far worse than the devil.
- The Donors — Last, but certainly not least, is The Donors by Jeffrey Wilson. A great, creature-feature that will make you think twice about going to the hospital. Jeff Wilson is a fresh face on the horror scene, and I hope he continues to put out such great stuff.
And now, long fiction.
- The Mourning House — “The Mourning House” was, in fact, my favorite read of 2012. It is everything that horror should be, a nearly perfect story. I loved, loved, loved this book. As a bonus, check out the author’s “After the Fade.” Another great story.
- When We Join Jesus In Hell — Lee Thompson’s long fiction masterpiece is a truly disturbing work. It’s the kind of punch in the gut story that sticks with you for a very long time and doesn’t want to let go. It’s a book I recommend by saying that I don’t recommend it to everyone. Enter at your own risk.
- Subject 11 — I’ll say the same thing about “Subject 11” I said about Terminal Island. It’s a crazy, trippy story, and it’s not for everyone. But man, what a trip it is.
- Night of the Scream Queen — What a wonderful romp “Night of the Scream Queen” is. Most of the entries above are very serious, very dark. Not so with this little jaunt. It’s a fun read and has some great and humorous moments. If you like your horror tinged with some lighter banter, this one is for you.
- I’m going to do something a little different for this one. Here’s a list of some more terrific long fiction. These are short and cheap, so you can read a lot of them. Lost Girl of the Lake. The Girl. Thirty Miles South of Dry County. He Waits. Without Purpose, Without Pity. Swamp Monster Massacre. Chorus of Dust. The Cold Spot.
So there they are! Pick some up and enjoy!