Brilliant Book Titles #137


Tales of “fearlessly offbeat” horror from the author of Lost Souls and Exquisite Corpse (Locus).

Poppy Z. Brite, an acclaimed horror fan favorite, is known for going to the edge and back—and this collection of stories, many set against the backdrop of the author’s native New Orleans, explores the outermost regions of murder, sex, death, and religion.

Featuring titles such as “In Vermis Veritas,” “Entertaining Mr. Orton,” and “Mussolini and the Axeman’s Jazz,” as well as collaborations with Christa Faust and David Ferguson, this volume also offers notes on each story by the author, an introduction by #1 NewYork Times–bestselling author Peter Straub, and an afterword by Caitlín R. Kiernan. Are You Loathsome Tonight? is an edgy, gruesome tour of “the darkness at the heart of things [with] a number of superb stories, powerful in style and characters” (Locus).

5 Horror Books to Watch Out For

Paperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction from the ’70s and ’80s by Grady Hendrix (19 Sep 2017)
SEE the amazing vintage book covers featuring well-dressed skeletons, evil dolls, knife-wielding killer crabs! READ the shocking plots involving devil worship, satanic children, and haunted real estate! LEARN the stories of long-forgotten creators as well as familiar names like V.C. Andrews and Anne Rice. Horror author and vintage paperback book collector Grady Hendrix offers killer commentary and witty insight on these trashy thrillers that tried so hard to be the next Exorcist or Rosemary s Baby. It s an affectionate, nostalgic, and unflinching tour through the horror fiction boom of the seventies and eighties, complete with story summaries and artist and author profiles. Plus recommendations for which of these forgotten treasures are well worth your reading time and which should stay buried.

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King (26 Sep 2017)
In this spectacular father/son collaboration, Stephen King and Owen King tell the highest of high-stakes stories: what might happen if women disappeared from the world of men?

All around the world, something is happening to women when they fall asleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed, the women become feral and spectacularly violent…

In the small town of Dooling, West Virginia, the virus is spreading through a women’s prison, affecting all the inmates except one. Soon, word spreads about the mysterious Evie, who seems able to sleep – and wake. Is she a medical anomaly or a demon to be slain?

The abandoned men, left to their increasingly primal devices, are fighting each other, while Dooling’s Sheriff, Lila Norcross, is just fighting to stay awake.

And the sleeping women are about to open their eyes to a new world altogether…

The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson (3 Oct 2017)
the murders.jpg
Every time she bleeds a murderer is born. Experience the horror of Tade Thompson’s The Murders of Molly Southbourne.

The rule is simple: don’t bleed.

For as long as Molly Southbourne can remember, she’s been watching herself die. Whenever she bleeds, another molly is born, identical to her in every way and intent on her destruction.

Molly knows every way to kill herself, but she also knows that as long as she survives she’ll be hunted. No matter how well she follows the rules, eventually the mollys will find her. Can Molly find a way to stop the tide of blood, or will she meet her end at the hand of a girl who looks just like her?

Daughters of Arkham by David A Rodriguez Justin Robinson (17 Oct 2017)
In Arkham, Massachusetts, the line between the haves and the have-nots is steeped in colonial tradition that stretches back over four hundred years. The Daughters of Arkham, a secret society of wealthy women, stand at the center of it all. On the surface, their power is assured by blood and money. Beneath it, they hold pacts with strange entities beyond the understanding of mortals. Fourteen-year-old Abigail Thorndike is the scion of the most important family in Arkham. When she becomes mysteriously pregnant, she is outcast, left alone to unravel the secrets of her haunted town. Abby must risk her status, her humanity, and the fate of her unborn child to stand against her family and the rising darkness to defend the very town that shunned her.

It Devours! A Night Vale Novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor (19 Oct 2017)
it devours
From the authors of the New York Times bestselling novel Welcome to Night Vale and the #1 podcast of the same name, comes a mystery exploring the intersections of faith and science, the growing relationship between two young people who want desperately to trust each other, and the terrifying, toothy power of the Smiling God.

Nilanjana Sikdar is an outsider to the town of Night Vale. Working for Carlos, the town’s top scientist, she relies on fact and logic as her guiding principles. But all of that is put into question when Carlos gives her a special assignment investigating a mysterious rumbling in the desert wasteland outside of town. This investigation leads her to the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, and to Darryl, one of its most committed members. Caught between her beliefs in the ultimate power of science and her growing attraction to Darryl, she begins to suspect the Congregation is planning a ritual that could threaten the lives of everyone in town. Nilanjana and Darryl must search for common ground between their very different world views as they are faced with the Congregation’s darkest and most terrible secret.

5 New Horror Novels to Watch Out For

universal-harvesterUniversal Harvester by John Darnielle (1st March 2017)

Jeremy works at the Video Hut in Nevada, Iowa. It s a small town in the center of the state the first a in Nevada pronounced ay. This is the late 1990s, and even if the Hollywood Video in Ames poses an existential threat to Video Hut, there are still regular customers, a rush in the late afternoon. It s good enough for Jeremy: it s a job, quiet and predictable, and it gets him out of the house, where he lives with his dad and where they both try to avoid missing Mom, who died six years ago in a car wreck.

But when a local schoolteacher comes in to return her copy of Targets an old movie, starring Boris Karloff, one Jeremy himself had ordered for the store she has an odd complaint: There s something on it, she says, but doesn t elaborate. Two days later, a different customer returns a different tape, a new release, and says it s not defective, exactly, but altered: There s another movie on this tape.

Jeremy doesn t want to be curious, but he brings the movies home to take a look. And, indeed, in the middle of each movie, the screen blinks dark for a moment and the movie is replaced by a few minutes of jagged, poorly lit home video. The scenes are odd and sometimes violent, dark, and deeply disquieting. There are no identifiable faces, no dialogue or explanation the first video has just the faint sound of someone breathing but there are some recognizable landmarks. These have been shot just outside of town.

So begins John Darnielle s haunting and masterfully unsettling Universal Harvester the once placid Iowa fields and farmhouses now sinister and imbued with loss and instability and profound foreboding. The novel will take Jeremy and those around him deeper into this landscape than they have ever expected to go. They will become part of a story that unfolds years into the past and years into the future, part of an impossible search for something someone once lost that they would do anything to regain.

The Possessions by  Sara Flannery Murphy (9th Mar 2017)
For five years Edie has worked for the Elysian Society, a secretive organisation that provides a very specialised service: its clients come to reconnect with their dead loved ones by channelling them through living ‘Bodies’. Edie is one such Body, perhaps the best in the team, renowned for her professionalism and discretion.

But everything changes when Patrick, a distraught husband, comes to look for traces of his drowned wife in Edie. The more time that Edie spends as the glamorous, enigmatic Sylvia, the closer she comes to falling in love with Patrick. And the more mysterious the circumstances around Sylvia’s death appear.

As Edie falls under Sylvia’s spell, she must discover not only the couple’s darkest secrets, but also her own long-buried memories and desires ― before it’s too late.

the broken hours.jpg
The Broken Hours by Jacqueline Baker (4 Apr 2017)
In the cold spring of 1936, Arthor Crandle, down-on-his luck and desperate for work, accepts a position in Providence, Rhode Island, as a live-in secretary/assistant for an unnamed shut-in.
He arrives at the gloomy colonial-style house to discover that his strange employer is an author of disturbing, bizarre fiction. Health issues have confined him to his bedroom, where he is never to be disturbed. But the writer, who Crandle knows only as Ech-Pi, refuses to meet him, communicating only by letters left on a table outside his room. Soon the home reveals other unnerving peculiarities. There is an ominous presence Crandle feels on the main stairwell. Light shines out underneath the door of the writer s room, but is invisible from the street. It becomes increasingly clear there is something not right about the house or its occupant.
Haunting visions of a young girl in a white nightgown wandering the walled-in garden behind the house motivate Crandle to investigate the circumstances of his employer s dark family history. Meanwhile, the unsettling aura of the house pulls him into a world increasingly cut off from reality, into black depths, where an unspeakable secret lies waiting.

White Tears by Hari Kunzru (6 Apr 2017)
A feverish new tale from the bestselling author of The Impressionist: two ambitious young musicians are drawn into a dark underworld, haunted by the ghosts of a repressive past.

Two twenty-something New Yorkers: Seth, awkward and shy, and Carter, the trust fund hipster. They have one thing in common: an obsession with music. Rising fast on the New York producing scene, they stumble across an old blues song long forgotten by history — and everything starts to unravel. Carter is drawn far down a path that allows no return, and Seth has no choice but to follow his friend into the darkness.

Trapped in a game they don’t understand, Hari Kunzru’s characters move unsteadily across the chessboard, caught between black and white, performer and audience, righteous and forsaken. But we have been here before, oh so many times over, and the game always ends the same way . . .

Electrifying, subversive and wildly original, White Tears is a ghost story and a love story, a story about lost innocence and historical guilt. This unmissable novel penetrates the heart of a nation’s darkness, encountering a suppressed history of greed, envy, revenge and exploitation, and holding a mirror up to the true nature of America today.

The Truants by Lee Markham (25 May 2017)

Following the suicide of his lover, the last of the ‘old-ones’ ancient immortal beings, as clever as they are ruthless and unable to withstand the light of the sun has decided to end his immortality. As he sits on a bench on the edge of a council estate to await his demise with the rising of the sun, he is mistaken for an old man, held up at knifepoint by a young man and stabbed before the sun burns his body to ashes. His assailant scurries back into the belly of the estate with the knife in his pocket, the blood of the old-one seared into its sharpened edge. But once the blade cuts another person, the congealed blood mingles with that of its victim, and awakens in them the old-one’s consciousness from the depths of the afterlife. It is not long before the knife draws blood again, and one by one the youth living on the estate are taken over by the old-one’s mind. Determined to die, he must find and destroy the knife before his soul becomes irrevocably dispersed in the bodies of the city’s children, trapped forever in its feral underbelly. But someone is out to stop him… Inspired by the murders of Baby P, Jamie Bulger and Damilola Taylor, and by the London riots during the summer of 2011, The Truants is a visceral, intelligent, gripping novel which uncovers the fragility and hopelessness of Britain’s social underclass and the horror of their everyday lives.

Brilliant Book Titles #59

♪ Like a cat out of hell
I’ll be gone when the meowning comes ♪


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

By acclaimed storyteller Lynne Truss, author of the bestselling Eats, Shoots and Leaves, the mesmerising tale of a cat with nine lives, and a relationship as ancient as time itself and just as powerful.

The scene: a cottage on the coast on a windy evening. Inside, a room with curtains drawn. Tea has just been made. A kettle still steams.

Under a pool of yellow light, two figures face each other across a kitchen table. A man and a cat.

The story about to be related is so unusual yet so terrifyingly plausible that it demands to be told in a single sitting.

The man clears his throat, and leans forward, expectant.

‘Shall we begin?’ says the cat …

World War Z by Max Brooks


  • ‘Have you read World War Z yet?’
  • ‘What?! that crappy film with Brad Pitt in it, there was a book?’
  • ‘Yep, give it a go, it’s top notch’
  • ‘Ok, I’ll give it a bash’

And I did, it was terrific.  The attention to detail and the vivid imagination of the author oozed from the pages.

The book is set ten years after the outbreak of the zombie apocalypse, mankind has all but won, but at a dreadful cost.  The narrator is an agent of the UN Post-War Commission as he travels all over the world to find out definitively what happened in the different countries. The extreme sometimes medieval measures some countries took, while other nations used modern warfare tactics to no avail against the hundreds of millions of Z’s.   Tales of Napoleonic tactics to defeat the hordes of Z’s capture the imagination.

Ten years on and still nobody has heard from North Korea, Major cities lie abandoned and there are Nuclear wastelands.  Zombies still roam the ocean floors and wastelands, they are frozen in the tundra and trapped in buildings in the cities.

Give it a shot, it’s really cleverly done and very easy to read, you won’t regret it.  The Audiobook is especially good, the array of famous actors cast as the various characters will surprise you, and is testament to how good it is,  Alan Alda, Mark Hamill, Common, Jurgen Prochnow, Henry Rollins, Jeri Ryan, Simon Pegg and Paul Sorvino to name but a few will make any car journey fly by, but be sure to get the unabridged version for all the juicy interesting bits.

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.


The Grownup by Gillian Flynn


This short story follows a con artist who makes her living by learning how to read people- working both as a sex worker and a psychic!

She comes across what she thinks is an easy mark (Susan Burke) and takes a job in an eerie Victorian mansion. When she accompanies the highly strung owner to the creepy Victorian mansion that seems to be the source of her troubles, she comes to believe that there’s more to the problem than she first thought.

Is the mansion actually haunted-and what does the disturbing stepson Miles have to do with it?

The book is 64 pages long….. yet despite being so short the author squeezes constant twists and turns into it.

Not quite a horror story-but definitely worth a read!

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

5 Horror Novels To Watch Out For

im thinking
I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid (14 Jun 2016)
“”I’m Thinking of Ending Things” is one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read. Iain Reid has crafted a tight, ferocious little book, with a persistent tenor of suspense that tightens and mounts toward its visionary, harrowing final pages” (Scott Heim, award-winning author of “Mysterious Skin” and “We Disappear”).””
You will be scared. But you won t know why
“I m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks. It lingers. It s always there. Always.”
“Jake once said, Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can t fake a thought. ”
“And here s what I m thinking: I don t want to be here.”
In this smart, suspenseful, and intense literary thriller, debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of Jose Saramago s early work, Michel Faber s cult classic “Under the Skin,” and Lionel Shriver s “We Need to Talk about Kevin,” “I m Thinking of Ending Things” is an edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel pulls you in from the very first page and never lets you go.”

The Binding by Nicholas Wolff (28 Jun 2016)
When a rare mental disorder begins to consume his small-town neighbors, a young psychiatrist digs up the past for clues to the epidemic s bone-chilling source in this brilliant supernatural horror debut, written in the bestselling tradition of Peter Straub.
Convinced that evil spirits have overtaken his daughter, a desperate father introduces her to Nat Thayer, a young psychiatrist in their sleepy blue-blooded Massachusetts college town. Thayer quickly diagnoses the girl with Cotard Delusion, an obscure condition sometimes described as walking corpse syndrome. But Thayer soon realizes his patient and many of the local families are actually being targeted by a malignant force resurrected from the town’s wicked history. Thayer must discover the source of the spreading plague before there is no one left to save.”

in the shadow
In the Shadow of Frankenstein: Tales of the Modern Prometheus
(5 Jul 2016)
Frankenstein… His very name conjures up images of plundered graves, secret laboratories, electrical experiments, and reviving the dead.

Within these pages, the maddest doctor of them all and his demented disciples once again delve into the Secrets of Life, as science fiction meets horror when the world’s most famous creature lives again.

Here are collected together for the first time twenty-four electrifying tales of cursed creation that are guaranteed to spark your interest with classics from the pulp magazines by Robert Bloch and Manly Wade Wellman, modern masterpieces from Ramsey Campbell, Dennis Etchison, Karl Edward Wagner, David J. Schow, and R. Chetwynd-Hayes, and new contributions from Graham Masterson, Basil Copper, John Brunner, Guy N. Smith, Kim Newman, Paul J. McAuley, Roberta Lannes, Michael Marshall Smith, Daniel Fox, Adrian Cole, Nancy Kilpatrick, Brian Mooney and Lisa Morton.

Plus, you’re sure to get a charge from three complete novels: The Hound of Frankenstein by Peter Tremayne, The Dead End by David Case, and Mary W. Shelley’s original masterpiece Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. As an electrical storm rages overhead, the generators are charged up, and beneath the sheet a cold form awaits its miraculous rebirth. Now it’s time to throw that switch and discover all that Man Was Never Meant to Know. ”

raven and skull
Raven and Skull by Ashley Lister (7 Jul 2016)
Jean-Paul Sartre said, ‘Hell is other people.’ But he was only half right. Hell is the other people who work in the offices of Raven and Skull.After a week of horror and upset, six colleagues from the Raven and Skull offices get together in the pub to exchange stories and decide which of them has had the worst week.Each one has had a week plagued by adultery, theft, betrayal, murder, cannibalism, black magic and death. The stories they share are dark and twisted and reflect the regular reality of Raven and Skull. Do you dare to hear what they have to say?

Pressure by Brian Keene (13 Jul 2016)
Off the coast of tropical Mauritius, an ecological catastrophe with global implications is occurring. The ocean’s floor is collapsing at a rapid rate. World-champion free diver and marine biologist Carrie Anderson joins a scientific expedition determined to discover the cause-and how to stop it. But what they uncover is even more horrific. Deep beneath the surface, something is awake. Something hungry. Something…cold. Now, the pressure builds as Carrie and her colleagues must contend with the murderous operatives of a corrupt corporation, an unnatural disaster that grows bigger by the day, and a monstrous predator that may spell the extinction of all mankind.”Pressure” is this summer’s hot new thriller from bestselling author and World Horror Grandmaster Award winner Brian Keene.


Brilliant Book Titles #8

An occasional series of blog posts whenever something takes my fancy.

This came across my path this morning. Looks right up my street!


shock value

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

1970s Hollywood often brings to mind directors such as Scorsese, Spielberg and Coppola. But the decade was also horror’s ‘golden age’, producing classics like Rosemary’s Baby, Carrie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween by directors who would achieve massive success. Since then, horror has been a prominent part of popular culture.

Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor


Welcome to Night Vale is a biweekly podcast presented in the form of a local community radio show, hosted by Cecil Baldwin, for the town of Night Vale, which reports on the strange events that are common in the town: hooded figures roaming the town, statements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, a Dog Park that by law nobody is allowed to enter, a literal five-headed dragon running for mayor. The podcast is one of the most popular, successful and well-known on the internet, with a huge, loyal fanbase so it was unsurprising that the writers announced a novel, especially given how well-written, and at times, novel-like, the podcast is.

So, first things first – do you have to have listened to the podcast to read this novel? The short answer is no. The book manages the trick of being both a self-contained story with new characters that can be read by anyone and something that is spun out of existing threads of the show too, mostly prominently the ominous and recurring character of The Man in the Tan Jacket, who is *finally* explained here.

This book is the story of two women, told mostly in alternating chapters – a style which works very well.

Jackie Fierro owns the town’s pawn shop, and she is nineteen. The only problem is is that she’s been nineteen for what feels like decades and almost can never remember being anything but nineteen. She is given a slip of paper by The Man in the Tan Jacket which has the phrase “King City” on it and no matter how hard she tries to remove or destroy it, it will not leave her hand.

Diane Crayton, Treasurer of the PTA, is trying her best to be a good parent to her moody teenage son Josh, who is also a shapeshifter. Josh’s father has returned to town and Diane keeps seeing him everywhere.

The stories inevitably collide, and then centre on the mystery of King City. What struck me the most about this book is how wonderfully expansive Night Vale feels in a novel format – perfectly suited. Also, these two men have a wonderful knack to writing women, and character in general. Despite the weirdness of the town, you are with them completely and rooting for them the whole way. I also found this novel unexpectedly moving and touching a number of times.

Linking it to the podcast, and serving as a way to both comment on the story of Diane and Jackie, and also bring in another perspective and characters from the podcast, transcripts of Cecil’s radio show are interspersed throughout the book. Interestingly enough – and I mean this as a form of compliment – you could almost do without them, so strong were the characters of Diane and Jackie, but I was still glad they were there.

In summary, if you like your fiction a little unusual, and are looking for something a little different, I recommend giving this a try. Underneath all of its oddity, Welcome to Night Vale, the novel is a book with a big, beating human heart, that like all of is, is just looking to be understood.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.