I find that one problem with voting in the Bram Stoker Awards is that I rarely have the opportunity to read all of the entries. I usually read several, but not them all, no matter how much of an effort I put forward. But this year I am in a rare spot when it comes to the Long Fiction category. I had the honor of serving on the Long Fiction Jury and thus I read just about every piece of long horror fiction that was written in the last year. I’ve blogged about some of my favorites before (you shouldn’t have to scroll down far to find them), and today I wanted to share my recommendations from the preliminary ballot. First, here’s a list of the ten works that made the shortlist. By that virtue alone, they are worthy of a read.
- Burke, Kealan Patrick – Thirty Miles South of Dry County (Delirium Books)
- Faherty, JG – The Cold Spot (Delirium Books)
- Giglio, Peter – Sunfall Manor (Nightscape Press)
- Ketchum, Jack, and Lucky McKee – I’m Not Sam (Sinister Grin Press)
- Malfi, Ronald – The Mourning House (Delirium Books)
- McKinney, Joe, and Michael McCarty – Lost Girl of the Lake (Bad Moon Books)
- Miskowski, S.P. – Delphine Dodd (Omnium Gatherum Media)
- O’Neill, Gene – The Blue Heron (Dark Regions Press)
- Prentiss, Norman – The Fleshless Man (Delirium Books)
- Thompson, Lee – When We Join Jesus in Hell (Darkfuse)
Of these ten, my favorites are “Thirty Miles South of Dry County” by Kealan Patrick Burke, “The Cold Spot” by JG Faherty, “The Mourning House” by Ronald Malfi, “Lost Girl of the Lake” by Joe McKinney and Michael McCarty, and “When We Join Jesus in Hell” by Lee Thompson.
These five are truly fantastic, but there are three that really stand out. If you read any long fiction this year, read “The Mourning House,” “When We Join Jesus in Hell,” and “The Cold Spot.” You can’t go wrong with those works, and I can honestly say they are some of the best pieces of writing I have picked up in a very long time. Check them out.