My Favorite Books From 2016

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Woom, by Duncan Ralston

I don’t normally indulge  in the “extreme horror” sub-genre. I can’t give a great reason other than woommy impression of the stories is that they often seem to focus on the details of the horror experience that I’m not as engaged with. I’m not opposed to graphic descriptions in books but what I don’t like as much is when I feel like the gore is crowding out the story itself. 

But I’m a fan of Ralston so I was willing to give it a shot. And I’m very glad that I did. This story packs a punch and not just from being gross or going for the shock factor. The narrative is cleverly put together and layered. I love seeing stories that feature characters who are clearly broken but also treats them fairly and makes them sympathetic. 

This is not a book that is for everyone but it will definitely stay with you. That much is guaranteed. 

Buy it now at: 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01FDMCTTO/

The Final Cut, by Jasper Bark

I was immediately drawn to this book by the exceptional cover art but it was the premise that really drove me into a purchase. I loved the notion of a movie somehow havingthe-final-cut the ability to affect the people watching it. This was the first book of Jasper Bark that I read and I was very happy with what I got. 

I thought he brought a fresh take to the notion of supernatural horror and executed it to perfection. The story packs a big emotional punch to it, so much that I kind of wanted to take in the entire book in one sitting. Additionally, Bark does a particularly good job layering the story, masterfully using different points of view to heighten the impact on the reader. 

This year was largely about discovering new writers for me and Jasper is definitely one which I am happy to be more aware of. 

Buy it now at:

 https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01FZVJ16W/

The End, by Matt Shaw

Once again, delving into uncharted territory for me.  I was aware of Matt Shaw but had never tried any of his books. the-endAgain, many of them seemed to be of a style and sub-genre of horror that I was less interested in. Nothing against him, just how my preferences tend to be. 

The End was a book that attracted me because it seemed to be more along the lines of what I would read, an apocalyptic story in which the world has been wreaked by a contamination, killing much of the population. 

This book has one of the strongest, most emotional openings I have ever read and the story winds around full circle to an ending that somehow gets even more tragic. This was a gripping story that he paced perfectly. I loved that Shaw drops you into the action without bogging it down with a ton of unnecessary exposition and backstory. 

Buy it now at:

https://www.amazon.com/End-Apocalyptic-Novel-Matt-Shaw-ebook/dp/B016FMZI3A/

King Carrion, by Rich Hawkins

 

I’m a fan of Rich Hawkins. I’m not going to lie about that one. I was hooked on to the ride with the Last Plague trilogy and I have been a happy passenger ever king-carrionsince. 

The current landscape of pop culture has caused a mindset in which I kind of dismiss anything zombie or vampire related out of hand. This is largely because the franchises have become so trodden and exploited that it becomes hard to spot anything new or original anymore. 

King Carrion broke that trend in fine form. From the opening pages, Hawkins sets up a story with a great, scary villain and he brings his trademark bleakness to bear on the world of vampires. This was the first time in a while I got something out of a vampire story close to what I remember as a kid. Books like this were what sold me, in the beginning. To see a current and contemporary voice putting this on display was a definite treat. 

Rich Hawkins is a shining star in this genre and I am excited to see what work he produces in the future. 

Buy this now at:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/099359266X/

Kids, by Paul Feeney

Paul Feeney is an author who more people need to be aware of. Dark Minds has been putting out some fantastic kidsbooks as of late and this was a shining example. 

The thing that is brilliant about Kids is how it completely puts you into the perspective of the characters and the fact that you have no idea what is happening makes it that much more terrifying. 

The story kicks off with a brief ramp-up but before long, the action is underway and it doesn’t let up until the last page. I loved the feeling of uncertainty about whether or not the events unfolding in this house are isolated or if there is some larger epidemic. The story builds up to a beautifully executed ending that left me with a chill and wanting to read more. 

The action of this book was really well done, with just the right amount of gore and graphic description. There is never a feeling that Feeney is pulling any punches but it also never feels exploitative or over the top. 

Buy it now at:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1530278481/

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, by Mercedes M. Yardley

This was one of the most unique books I read this year and luluwas definitely a good introduction to this Bram Stoker award winning author. What began as a staandard sort of abduction story quickly took a turn and went in a direction that I never would have expected. The story had cool hints of a Natural Born Killers type of vibe, but without the kind of goofy MTV frills.

Buy it now at:

https://www.amazon.com/Apocalyptic-Montessa-Nuclear-Lulu-Atomic-ebook/dp/B01C66KZ4G/

The Factory, by Mark West

Mark West is a solid and creative voice in the industry and has put out a number of books that I have enjoyed. The the-factoryFactory has probably been my favorite to date. The concept is simple enough but the execution is top notch. The action kicks off right away and manages to be maintained all throughout, with crisp, clear language to support it. There is quite a bit of beautifully dark and creepy moments in here and I had a great time reading it.  

Buy it now at:

https://www.amazon.com/Factory-Mark-West-ebook/dp/B01KTY1U8C/

Slaughter Beach, by Benedict J. Jones

Another installment from the Dark Minds novella series, I loved this story. And I do realize that the book doesn’t slaughter-beachreally qualify as it was released in late 2015 but I read it this year so I’m counting it. I loved that this had a great nostalgic feel of a classic cult horror film. The premise is fantastic and original and the action of the book is written well. I thought the brutality of the story was pretty much perfect. And it all builds up to a spectacular ending.

Buy it now at:

https://www.amazon.com/Slaughter-Beach-Benedict-J-Jones/dp/1516969707/

5 thoughts on “My Favorite Books From 2016

  1. So many great books out there. So little time. I’ve archived your list so I can try out a few. I’m hoping to meet Matt Shaw at a convention I’m going to in February. I’ve listened to his audiobook ‘Sick b**tards’ and wondered which one to try next. I guess you’ve given me the answer.

  2. Chad, really chuffed and humbled to appear on your list. Especially as I’m under Rich Hawkins, a position I’ve been dreaming about for a number of years 😉 Don’t tell him, though.

    Joking aside, though, I’m genuinely grateful to get a shout out by you. You’re an utterly decent chap who deserves to be as successful as anyone in this field, and I hope 2017 brings it.

    I’m just writing a few reviews on Amazon for books I read this year; if you haven’t read Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones, you really must.

    Cheers, mate.

  3. Pingback: 2016 Reading Lists! | A Broken Laptop

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