As usual, I’m behind in posting a list of my top reads for the past year. I read 17. That’s not a lot compared to what some people I know read, dozens, if not hundreds! Don’t know how they do it, frankly. Maybe they are reading books a lot shorter than the ones I gravitate towards. Either way, we’re all reading and that’s what counts! Because I read so few, I’m only going to do a Top 5 with a couple of honorable mentions. The list included two very different short story collections, one non-fiction, a children’s chapter book, 2 murder-mysteries, a YA novel, an old classic, something I can’t quite classify – fantasy-ish, I guess, and the rest, just good old modern Horror.
#5: By The Pricking of my Thumbs by Agatha Christie
This book sat on my parents’ bookshelf for as long as I can remember. When they sold their house and were getting rid of things, I snatched it up… and it sat on my bookshelf for another 25 years before I finally put it in the official TBR pile. Of course, it was awesome! Why didn’t I read this sooner? Every time I read a Christie book, I am reminded why she’s so beloved. The writing comes across as effortless. The characters are charming and witty. You can never go wrong with an Agatha Christie title!
#4: Good Boy by Thomas R. Clark
A novella and the shortest thing I read all year. Good Boy is the story of a zombie apocalypse told through the eyes of a little dog and his small pack of dog friends … and one bad ass cat. What a great concept! Loved it all the way through. Engaging with an endless supply of tension mixed with tenderness. I laughed. I cringed. I cried, damn it! I know there’s a sequel out there. Hopefully I’ll get my hands on it sooner rather than later.
#3: Black Goat Motorcycle Club by Jason Murphy
This was just out and out fun! Loved that I wasn’t sure what kind of creatures the bikers were for a good stretch of the book and when I did find out, it was fantastic. Non-stop biker action, a lot of gore, a lot of violence – not what I’m usually into – but the author made me care so much about the lives of the humans involved, that I had to keep reading through all that carnage. If that’s what your into, you’ll probably like it even more than I did.
#2: Hell House by Richard Matheson
This was something I’d read back in my high school days and loved. But, sometimes we read things in our youth and they’re a lot better the first time. When you go back and re-read it as an adult, you’re disappointed. This was not the case here. It was just as great as I remembered it being and by god the movie they made based on it follows the dialogue almost word for word in many instances. This book should be read by every haunted house fan out there. Loved, loved, loved it. I may just read it again!
#1: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
I only started reading this because I signed up for an English Literature class that featured Horror and this was the first book we were required to read. I probably would never have picked it up otherwise and yet… look. It became my number one read of 2020! Whoda thunk it? There’s a reason this is a classic, folks. If you’re a fan of the movies, forget about them! They are practically two different stories! The creature isn’t some dumb brute and, in my opinion, isn’t the real monster here at all.
Wrath and Ruin by C.W. Briar & Shadows in the Witching Glass by Thomas S. Gunther
Two very different writers with very different story subject matter to share. Briar leans very much into dark fantasy and sci-fi while Gunther approaches with a much more twisted psychological horror angle. Both are very good, and I enjoyed the majority of the stories each presented in their collections. You can read my full reviews for both of these at the links below. Honestly, can’t pick one over the other due to the vast differences between the genre choice, but if forced into it, I’d have to go with Gunther’s work merely for the fact I prefer Horror over Fantasy-SciFi in general.