Friday, October 31, 2014

Top-5: Books for Halloween

This series of blog posts is a top 5 topical 'best-of' list for all things bookish - be it true crime, fiction, novels to novella etc. - pretty much whatever topic I want to post about on a given day. The aim being to reintroduce myself with some old favorites (books/authors) and also take a look at some books/genres I'm yet to read much of. This is a more casual series of posts as there is no defined scheduled unlike my regular Friday Finds and Monday Reads, feel free to join in and post your top-5 all things bookish and provide a link in the comments. 

This entry looks at books to get you in the mood for Halloween. While Halloween is steadily gaining momentum each year in Australia it's certainly not as popular as in the US. Irrespective, it makes for a great opportunity to showcase some of my favorite horror reads and hopefully introduce new readers to these spooky stories! 

Off SeasonOFF SEASON by Jack Ketchum (cannibalism) 

When Off Season, a novel about horror and cannibalism in modern-day Maine, was first released in 1980, it took readers by storm and sold over 250,000 copies. However, the original edition was edited and content was removed from the story at the publisher's request. The whole effect of the book was deemed too intense, particularly the ending. The Overlook Connection Press has released the novel in its original unexpurgated state for the first time anywhere. The author's original vision can now be read. 

September. A beautiful New York editor retreats to a lonely cabin on a hill in the quiet Maine beach town of Dead River—off season—awaiting her sister and friends. Nearby, a savage human family with a taste for flesh lurks in the darkening woods, watching, waiting for the moon to rise and night to fall...

And before too many hours pass, five civilized, sophisticated people and one tired old country sheriff will learn just how primitive we all are beneath the surface...and that there are no limits at all to the will to survive.

White Flag of The DeadWHITE FLAG OF THE DEAD by Joseph Talluto (zombie)

Millions died when the Enillo Virus swept the earth. Millions more were lost when the victims of the plague refused to stay dead, instead rising to slay and feed on those left alive. For survivors like John Talon and his son Jake, they are faced with a choice: Do they submit to the dead, raising the white flag of surrender? Or do they find the will to fight, to try and hang on to the last shreds or humanity?

From my review: 'White Flag of the Dead' is much like every other zombie novel out there - a virus originating in a densely populated metropolis infects thousands before spreading to suburbia where the numbers turn seven digits before crossing borders and continents to turn the world into one giant meat market. What makes this tired old tale fresh is the sense of community among chaos. In the middle of a broken world, one man, John Talon stops surviving and starts living. Delusions of grandeur? Perhaps, but I like the idea of mankind taking a stand and fighting back; a slight deviance to the traditional survival horror genre zombie books so comfortably fit in.

Dark MatterDARK MATTER by Michelle Paver (ghost story)

January 1937. Clouds of war are gathering over a fogbound London. Twenty-eight year old Jack is poor, lonely, and desperate to change his life, so when he's offered the chance to join an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it. Spirits are high as the ship leaves Norway: five men and eight huskies, crossing the Barents Sea by the light of the midnight sun. At last they reach the remote, uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year, Gruhuken, but the Arctic summer is brief. As night returns to claim the land, Jack feels a creeping unease. One by one, his companions are forced to leave. He faces a stark choice: stay or go. Soon he will see the last of the sun, as the polar night engulfs the camp in months of darkness. Soon he will reach the point of no return--when the sea will freeze, making escape impossible. Gruhuken is not uninhabited. Jack is not alone. Something walks there in the dark...

From my review: I couldn't put ‘Dark Matter’ down; one can’t help but feel what Jack is going through and shudder at ever bump, groan and scrape in the night. Paver used subtle horror to perfection instilling a constant sense of dread and hopelessness. The extra content on the ‘real’ dark matter complimented the fiction nicely. In a word – excellent, 5 stars.

BreedBREED by Chase Novak (vampire)

Alex and Leslie Twisden told each other they would do anything to have children. The price didn’t matter. But the experimental procedure they found had costs they couldn’t foresee.

Adam and Alice Twisden’s lives seem perfectly normal. Except that, every night, without fail, their parents lock them into their rooms.

And the twins know that the sounds they can hear are not just their imagination. They’re real. And they’re getting louder...

From a new name in horror, Breed is a stunning thriller in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby, brilliantly written, daring, and unforgettable.

The Birthing HouseTHE BIRTHING HOUSE by Christopher Ransom (haunted house)

When Conrad buys a big old house in Wisconsin, his wife Jo doesn't share his enthusiasm, reluctant at the idea of leaving their LA life. But Conrad's new purchase is not all that it seems. Soon Conrad is hearing the ghostly wailing of a baby in the night, seeing blood on the floor & being haunted by a woman who looks exactly like Jo.

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