Saturday, January 3, 2015

My Top Reads of 2014

Best Reads of 2014

So I am a few days late. Sorry about that. Here are my rules. I do this list every year because reading and the novel/ short story are important to me. I just do my top ten reads of the year, doesn’t matter if the book was released this year or 1936. If it is a new release it is in bold. Please consider checking out these books by some of the less well known authors. Every book counts to those of us struggling authors. They are listed in the order of which they kicked my ass.

One by Conrad Williams (2009)

This British apocalypse novel knocked my socks off. So in many ways ONE is a masterpiece of the subgenre. Ironically considering the title it is like two books starting off like a straight forward end of the world novel and then in the second half becoming an excellent supernatural horror novel that is really the novel I wanted Simon Clark’s Blood Crazy to be. Believe it or not I thought it made Cormac MCcathry’s the Road seem light hearted.

Repo- Shark by Cody Goodfellow:

The margin between 1 and 2 is super thin. The most fun I had reading a book this year was Repo-shark. I will let Cody himself describe it. “It’s about a repo man who goes to Honolulu to repossess a classic Harley from a were-shark. If you’ve ever enjoyed the quirky detective novels of Charles Willeford, Joe Gores or Elmore Leonard while flying on mushrooms, then this will come as a sensible value. Zef DeGroot is a tarnished White Knight private eye in the classic Spade-Marlowe tradition, but with black belts in karaoke and auto-fellatio.”

14 by Peter Clines:

14 as a novel is many things, Gothic horror, a supernatural mystery, A haunted house story, (in this case a Los Angeles apartment building) and a Lovecraftian bizarro freak out. All those elements make for a fun novel but what makes it work are the well- written characters and perfect story structure

Say Anything but Your Prayers by Alan Clark:

This book is the second in a groundbreaking series that explores the Jack the Ripper history from an angle never before seen in over century of non-fiction and fiction inspired by the serial killer. This second book follows the life and demise of Elizabeth Stride the fourth victim. Each book in the series follows the life of the killer’s victim. Clark includes a few key Illustrations, but the strength comes from the attention to detail and the humanizing of Elizabeth Stride.

Doyle After Death by John Shirley: A really neat metaphysical mystery by the master John Shirley. The story is about the creator of Sherlock Holmes solving a crime in the afterlife. I loved every detail in this thoughtful mystery.

Netherworld by Lisa Morton:

This novel is a swashbuckling supernatural horror crossover with a historical vibe, big thumbs up from me. Lisa is one of my favorite writers. 19th century setting, multiple monsters and Wuxia moments. I loved it.

Wyatt in Wichita by John Shirley:

“It was largely a land without Borders - something that attracted him and disturbed him both. The land didn't need laws. But the people did." A historical western by my favorite author. Shirley paints a vivid picture and I loved every page. When authors go outside of the genres that they are most famous for it often ends up that the novels get overlooked. It is not my personal favorite by Shirley, I liked Doyle After Death more just this year, but I would say this is probably his BEST novel.

Spore by John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow:

Zombie novel meets LA noir via two Crazy good writers combining their powers. This novel got lost in the mix of the demise of Leisure books horror line of paperbacks. Back out on trade paperback out of the three releases by Skipp and Goodfellow it is easily the best one. This would make a great film the trite Hollywood pitch would be think 28 Days Later meets the Wire. That sounds awesome right? It is!

Darling Brad C. Hodson:

This novel felt like a classic 80’s novel you might have found on the Abyss line. Hodson has a strength for plotting, everything from the background of the building to the history between the main characters are carefully revealed to perfect effect.

Three Chords of Chaos by James Chambers: Really bizarro punk rock fairy tale/ fantasy novel. Short fun read.

Honorable Mentions:

Luther the Calling by Neil Cross, The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale, Human Division by John Scalzi,

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