Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

Talking Horror

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

9780062363268_df008  Front_Cover_Image_Man_With_No_Name-423x628  9780765387868_ec93e

The WSJ Speak Easy podcasts take a look at pop culture, particularly TV and movies, but the latest is devoted to horror fiction, a half hour conversation that offers a way in to the genre for anyone who is not already a fan.

Featured are author Paul Tremblay, winner of last year’s Bram Stoker Award and whose new book Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) has garnered admiration. Joining him are Laird Barron, Man With No Name (JournalStone; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) and Victor LaValle, The Ballad of Black Tom (Macmillan/Tor; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Each discusses how they translate their own fears into their writing as well as the influence of H.P. Lovecraft and growing awareness of his racist views.

LaValle re-worked a Lovecraft story as The Ballad of Black Tom, taking Lovecraft’s idea that the most horrific idea is a universe that doesn’t care about your existence and turning it instead to a universe set against you, intent on wiping you out. He says that Lovecraft’s prejudices “limited his understanding of the breadth and depth of his own concept.”

They close by listing what scares them most, various visions of the future.

 

Readers’ Advisory: DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL’S ROCK

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

9780062363268_df008After nearly a decade of writing novels to steady but muted notice, Paul Tremblay may have broken through.

Tremblay won the Bram Stoker award this year for A Head Full of Ghosts (HC/William Morrow, June 2015; paperback, May 10, 2016; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample),  a novel that earned him comparisons to Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House by io9, a rave in the NYT, and the attention of Stephen King.

Now Tremblay is back with Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample). NPR reviewer Jason Heller, a senior writer at The A.V. Club, says is “it’s even more head-spinning” than his Stoker winner.

Heller calls the book a “dizzying emotional vortex” full of “immediacy [and] immaculate storytelling” and says Tremblay’s “characters are rendered vividly and sensitively. The ambience is all shadows.”

Terrance Rafferty, in a round-up of new horror titles in the NYT, says that Tremblay (among others he highlights) is the heir to Joyce Carol Oates, Peter Straub, and Edgar Allan Poe and that his book “is never, at any point, exactly what you expect it to be.”

Tor.com offers a rave review, concluding: “Tremblay left me speechless, breathless, deeply unsettled and impossibly impressed. I love being genuinely scared by a book, so Disappearance at Devil’s Rock left me with a giant smile, too … In a summer of great horror releases, this one is among the very best.”

Holds are over a 3:1 ratio at several libraries we checked while others have yet to order or are showing circ. about equal to copies.

 

IT Gets Its Clown

Monday, June 6th, 2016

9781501142970_c0849“Up-and-coming” actor Bill Skarsgard will play the lead in the adaptation of Stephen King’s novel It reports Deadline Hollywood, adding, “It’s a step up for Skarsgard, who has been knocking on the door in series like Hemlock Grove and the Divergent sequels.”

Andy Muschietti (Mama) is directing the New Line Cinema production (after Jane Eyre‘s Cary Fukunaga left the project). Mash-up master Seth Grahame-Smith is one of the producers.

Consequence of Sound reports the movie will be a two-part set with the first following “the children being stalked by the titular shapeshifting monster, while the second will pick up decades later, when those same kids are confronting their same demons as adults.”

It is one of King’s highest regarded novels, ranked as #1 on Den of Geek‘s gathering of King’s “Top 10 Pure Horror Novels” saying “IT is King’s terrifying, gruesome, trashy, cosmic, demonic horror masterpiece that we still can’t claw out of our minds so many years later.” The novel also beat out all but The Stand and The Shining on BuzzFeed‘s list of King’s “11 Essential” books. In a Rolling Stones reader poll the crazy clown novel ranked the 2nd most popular of any King novel.

Fans may recall that this is not the first It adaptation. In 1990 a TV miniseries starring Tim Curry aired on ABC.

Readers Advisory: Horror

Friday, May 20th, 2016

9780062363237_da22eA Head Full of Ghosts, Paul Tremblay (HC/William Morrow, June 2015; paperback, May 10, 2016; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) has won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel.

io9 offers a rave review, calling it “a brilliant book that follows a New England family in their descent into madness, following in the footsteps of some of the the genre’s greats, such as Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House or Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper” and continuing:

“It’s a fantastic look at the horror genre as a whole … the book runs right to the end with an utterly horrifying conclusion that absolutely blew me away … What ultimately makes A Head Full of Ghosts such a great read is that it’s a gripping novel, one that builds and builds, increasing the tension and dread as the pages turn. It’s a book that’s certainly going to keep me up for a couple more nights yet.”

The NYT agrees, calling the Indie Next pick “terrific” and saying it offers “the pleasurable fog of calculated, perfectly balanced ambiguity.”

NPR approves as well, commenting that Tremblay’s “ultimate, bloodcurdling revelation is as sickeningly satisfying as it is masterful.”

Looking for more suggestions to keep up with horror fans? Consider the titles on the Stoker’s short list:

9781250055804_73899 TheDeep433x653-2 the-cure Front_Cover_Image_Black_Tide-423x628

The Scarlet Gospels, Clive Barker (Macmillan/St. Martin’s, Mar. 2015)

The Deep, Michaelbrent Collings (self-published, July 2015)

The Cure, JG Faherty (Samhain Publishing, May 2015)

Black Tide, Patrick Freivald (JournalStone Publishing)

Also look to the winner and short list for the Stoker categories Superior Achievement in a First Novel as well as YA fiction. The full list of winners and nominees is available online.

RA Alert: THE LONEY

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

9780544746527_4c1a5Debut gothic horror novel, The Loney by British author Andrew Michael Hurley (HMH; Overdrive Sample), has been named “Book of the Year” by the British Book Industry.

The awards honor the industry as a whole, from authors to publishers to retailers. Added this year are prizes for fiction, nonfiction, debut fiction, and children’s books. The “Book of the Year’ is selected from the winners of those four categories. The Loney rose over a shortlist of 32 titles including Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train and Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman.

The Guardian reports the awards are given to books “that have been both well-written and brilliantly published” and surveys The Loney‘s rise, which started as a limited run of 300 copies from an indie publisher. Word of mouth was so strong that it was picked up by UK publisher John Murray and went on to win the Costa first novel award and the print run was increased by almost 100 fold. The novel earned the praise of Stephen King, reports The Bookseller, and was acquired by DNA Films (Ex Machina).

It comes out in the U.S. today and has already caught the notice of Entertainment Weekly, which includes it on their list of “11 excellent new books to read in May.” The review however, gives it a B+, marking it down for a lack of genre focus and speed but calls it “ultimately terrifying” with “dark, unexpected depths.”

The Guardian offers stronger praise, “like the best gothic novels, The Loney is not merely thrills and chills: it is also a perceptive and nuanced exploration of the interrelation between faith, community and nature … the effect is both strikingly assured and authentic, while also comprehensively destabilising any assumptions the reader may have had about all three.”

Check your orders. In several libraries holds are far outpacing copies.

9781419717987_99b18National Book Award finalist, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, took the fiction award. The nonfiction winner, a surprise  best seller in Europe, received less attention here, Lars Mytting and Robert Ferguson’s Norwegian Wood, is as the subtitle states, about “Chopping, Stacking, and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way.”

David Solomons’s My Brother is a Superhero won best children’s book.

Stephen King’s IT To Begin Filming (Again)

Monday, April 25th, 2016

9781501142970_c0849Fans may take with a grain of salt the newly announced release date of Sept 8, 2017 for the film adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 novel It (cover, at left, from the S&S/Scribner trade paperback, released in January). The project has been on the burner since 2012. Back in December of 2014, it was confidently announced that it was set to begin filming the following summer, with True Detective‘s Cary Fukunaga directing.

Fukunaga left the project last May and has since been replaced by Andy Muschietti. Entertainment Weekly reports that “Fans of King’s novel should be pleased with the current take on the script” quoting the producer saying it will be in two parts, one “from the point of view of the kids, and then making another movie from the point of view of the adults, that could potentially then be cut together like the novel. But it’s gonna be a really fun way of making this movie.”

Currently filming, also after many delays, is the movie adaptation of King’s The Dark Tower, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. It is set for release Feb. 17, 2017, so two long-awaited King adaptations may arrive next year.

Next Stephen King Novel

Monday, October 12th, 2015

End of Watch, KingAs an indicator of the importance of  Stephen King to the Hollywood community, the movie trade site Deadline announces the title of the author’s next book, End Of Watch, (S&S/Scribner, 9781501129742, 6/7/16), the final volume in the trilogy which began with Mr. Mercedes (2014), currently being developed as a limited TV series, and Finders Keepers (2015).

In addition, Scribner has acquired the rights to King’s backlist formerly held by RH/Doubleday.

King’s short story collection The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams is set for release in print and audio on November 3.

The Best in Horror

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

The Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement in horror and dark fantasy were announced at the World Horror Convention in Atlanta, Georgia last weekend.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 10.01.32 AM  Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 10.27.13 AM  Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 10.02.29 AM

Steve Rasnic Tem won in the Novel category for Blood Kin (Solaris Books; OverDrive Sample) while Maria Alexander’s Mr. Wicker (Raw Dog Screaming Press) was selected as best First Novel. John Dixon took honors for best Young Adult Novel for Phoenix Island (S&S/Gallery Books; OverDrive Sample) and Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 10.03.09 AMJonathan Maberry won the Graphic Novel category for Bad Blood (Dark Horse Books; OverDrive Sample).

Jack Ketchum and Tanith Lee each received Lifetime Achievement Awards.

The full list of winners and nominees is available on the Horror Writers Association website.

NPR Loves BROKEN MONSTERS

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

9780316216821_1f1ebWe had to invent a new category, “Hard to Call,”  for Lauren Beukes’s new title, Broken Monsters, (Hachette/Mulholland Books) in our look-ahead to books arriving this week. Its graphic murder scenes and “grotesque and perpetual sense of doom,” as Entertainment Weekly says, may put off readers.

NPR’s reviewer has no such problem saying, “You could say that she’s as edgy as James Ellroy, as creepy as Stephen King and as darkly funny as Kurt Vonnegut, but Beukes is an author whose work is resistant to easy comparisons. Broken Monsters is one of the most remarkable books of the year, and one of the best suspense novels you’ll read in quite some time.” Stephen King himself tweeted that it’s “Scary as hell and hypnotic. I couldn’t put it down.”

Buekes’s 2013 title, The Shining Girls, (Hachette/Mulholland), was dubbed  “a strong contender for the role of this summer’s universal beach read,”  by the NYT‘s Janet Maslin. While it didn’t achieve that status, it received some strong reviews and hit #13 on the L.A. Times best seller list.

If you want to judge this one for yourself, you can read the grisly first chapter in the OverDrive Sample. Tell us what you think in the comments.

THE STRAIN First Full Trailer

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Enough with the creepy teasers, below is the creepy first full trailer for the FX series, The Strain, based on the vampire novel trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The 10-episode premieres next month.

Tie-in:

The Strain Tie-inThe Strain: TV Tie-in Edition

Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Harper, June 24, 2014

Mass market; 9780062344618,  $9.99

Another Week, Another Creepy Teaser for THE STRAIN

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

The creepy teasers have been piling up for The Strain, the 10-episode TV series based on the vampire novel trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The latest comes with a difference, a definite premiere date, July 13.

We’ll hold off on grossing you out further until the actual trailer arrives. Those with strong stomachs can watch all the teasers on The Strain’s official Web page.

Tie-in:

The Strain Tie-inThe Strain: TV Tie-in Edition

Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Harper, June 24, 2014

Mass market; 9780062344618,  $9.99

One of the Great Horror Novels of All Time

Monday, May 19th, 2014

I Remember YouCalling a new book “One of the Great Horror Novels of All Time” is high praise. The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s influential reviewer Laura DeMarco applies it to a novel by Icelandic author Yrsa Sigurdardottir, saying, “I have read a lot of horror fiction, and a lot of psychological suspense books, and I Remember You, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin, also in trade pbk, both, March 25), ranks among the scariest, right up there with the best of Stephen King and Peter Straub. It’s that good. And that scary. And, ultimately, that moving.”

Sigurdardottir, known for her mysteries, makes a departure in this standalone, which, says DeMarco, “chills with sounds and smells and shadows, not blood.”

DeMarco mentions that the covers of the American and U.K. editions were changed from the original, which Icelanic fans complained was too terrifying. Link here to see it on the Candian version (Icelanders must be sensitive).

How Creepy Can You Get?

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

The teasers for The Strain, the 10-episode TV series based on the vampire novel trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, coming to the FX Network in July [UPDATE: Premieres July 13], are so creepy that one observer has taken to ranking them.

Below is the next-to-latest, which is ranked as not-that-creepy; click here to view the creepiest. Yet another was released yesterday (it’s tough to keep up), but it’s so obscure, few are likely to get it.

The newly-released cover for the upcoming the tie-in is pretty creepy in its own right:

The Strain Tie-inThe Strain: TV Tie-in Edition

Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Harper, June 24, 2014

Mass market; 9780062344618,  $9.99

 

ROSEMARY’S BABY, NBC

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Recovered from the remake of Flowers in the Attic? Prepare for another blast from the past. Ira Levin’s 1967 novel Rosemary’s Baby is coming to NBC as a two-part series, which begins Sunday, May 11.

The book was famously adapted in 1968 by director Roman Polanski, with Mia Farrow as Rosemary and John Cassavetes as her husband. This time, however, the story is set in Paris, rather than in New York’s Dakota Building.

Rosemary's BabyRosemary’s Baby
Ira Levin, Intro by Otto Penzler
Pegasus (dist by W.W. Norton)
May 5, 2014
9781605981109, 1605981109
Paperback $14.95
 

 

Below is the trailer for the original (it seems trailers were longer in those days):

DOCTOR SLEEP Reviewed by Margaret Atwood

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Doctor SleepFeatured on the cover of the upcoming NYT Book Review is Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio; Thorndike). Not only is it a surprise to find the Book Review covering a book by a best-selling author close to publication date (likely the doing of the new editor, Pamela Paul, who began that position in May), but the name of the reviewer is also a surprise, Margaret Atwood.

Perhaps to justify that choice, a callout quotes Atwood’s review, “Some may look skeptically at ‘horror’ as a genre, but it’s one of the most literary of all forms.”

TMaddAddamhis may be the only review of Doctor Sleep that mentions Vladimir Nabokov and Salvador Dali in the first paragraph. Atwood calls it,

… a very good specimen of the quintessential King blend. According to Vladimir Nabokov, Salvador Dali was ‘really Norman Rockwell’s twin brother kidnapped by gypsies in babyhood.’ But actually there were triplets: the third one is Stephen King.”

The review is peppered with literary references. Atwood gives King respect as a  writer, noting that he “loves wordplay and puns and mirror language … The names of King’s characters are frequently appropriate: Daniel ‘Lion’s Den’ Anthony the (the tempted saint) Torrance (it never rains but it pours) is a case in point.” She also gives him respect as entertainer, “by the end of this book, your fingers will be mere stubs of their former selves.”

This may be the only review of Doctor Sleep you need to read (currently, it’s only available in print; it will be online Friday afternoon).

Atwood’s latest book is Maddaddam (RH/Doubleday/Talese), which was reviewed earlier in the NYT Book Review.