Friday, December 23, 2016
Year's Best 2016
I haven't really done a year's best list in the past, just more a running review of the books I've read that I thought were noteworthy. The problem is, while I may buy a lot of books every year, sometimes it's a year or two before I work my way down the pile towards them. And believe me, I have a mega pile of books waiting to be read. Even reading several per week I'll never catch up.
However, with the exception of one book, the following were all released in calendar year 2016, and all very much worth you reading.
The Fireman by Joe Hill
First of all, Joe Hill is not his father. Lets get that out of the way right now. I'm SO tired of people constantly comparing him to Stephen King. Yes, Joe is a brilliant author, and that's where the similarities end. He has his own very distinct style and voice. A talent that has been successful in the comic and graphic novel markets. Is a master of the short story. He's really become one of my favorite new authors. The Fireman is an epic work of survival in a world gone to hell, almost literally. It's about the fragile state of community during a crisis that nobody knows how to fix. About finding love in the most unlikely of places. If you can only manage to read one book this coming year, pick this one up. You just may become a Joe Hill fan, and that can't possibly be a bad thing.
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
This book came out in 2015 but I had to put it on this list because, first, I didn't read it until 2016, and second, I think you need to read it too. It's a brilliant book, and I don't say that lightly. A woman's recollection of the horrors her family is put through as her sister is gripped by a nasty possession while a producer seeks to exploit their terror and crumbling family for the television audience. It's a gripping book, one you won't be able to put aside for a minute.
Best Short Story Anthology
Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories edited by Doug Murano & Alexander Ward
I've blogged about this collection before, and for good reason. It's one of the best short horror story collections I've read. This book is full of some of the best talent out there; Barker, Gaiman, Campbell, Lucia...and many more. Plus, the interior artwork by Luke Spooner is as breathtaking as the tales themselves. This is a must read for all short story lovers, horror lovers, or anyone who simply loves great storytelling.
Greetings From Moon Hill by Anthony J. Rapino
Expanded from the former e-book only 'Welcome To Moon Hill', this reincarnation is an amazing collection of stories centered around the mysterious eastern Pennsylvania village of Moon Hill, where nothing is as it seems, and dark things lurk in the shadows. I've been waiting year for this to be available in print form, and the work Tony Rapino and Tod Keisling put into this has made it well worth it. Backers to the project received varied extras, such as a map of Moon Hill, exclusive sculptures and more. The writing is not only amazing, but the presentation and layout is second to none.
Detritus In Love by Mercedes Yardley & John Boden
I don't read a lot of novellas. But, because Mercedes was involved in this one, well, I just had to. And I have to say, it's a wonderfully bizarre love story. This book swept me up in a world beyond the light and into the dusty realm of forgotten places. I don't know what words to use to describe it. If you're at all familiar with Mercedes' writing, you will understand. This is the first time for me reading Boden, but the book and storytelling is seamless. Dark and lovely and strange. I urge you to pick it up.
Best Horror Magazine Issue
Cemetery Dance #74/75
I read a lot of horror magazines, mainly for the exclusive short stories they contain. Magazines such as Cemetery Dance, Black Static, Dark Discoveries, Gamut, and many more. And while I have a certain loyalty to CD because I've read it longer than all the others combined, I don't have a particular favorite. They're all excellent reads, every issue. However, CD's special double issue 74/75 was above and beyond fantastic. Not only did it contain a great interview with Joe Hill, and a new Hill short story that will blow you away, but the rest of the issue was literally jam packed with amazing stories, reviews and more. Pick this issue up! It will get you hooked on a magazine I have loved for many years now.