Liz’s October 2023 Reads

Fangoria! Woo!

★★★ out of ★★★★★

Dust Jacket Description:

After striking out on her own as a teen mom, Madi Price is forced to return to her hometown of Brandywine, Virginia, with her seventeen-year-old daughter. With nothing to her name, she scrapes together a living as a palm reader at the local farmers market.  

It’s there that she connects with old high school flame Henry McCabe, now a reclusive local fisherman whose infant son, Skyler, went missing five years ago. Everyone in town is sure Skyler is dead, but when Madi reads Henry’s palm, she’s haunted by strange and disturbing visions that suggest otherwise. As she follows the thread of these visions, Madi discovers a terrifying nightmare waiting at the center of the labyrinth—and it’s coming for everyone she holds dear.

What Kind of Mother went somewhere that I did NOT see coming…although I guess I should have known since he opened up the HP Lovecraft Film festival this year…hint, hint. While I did not identify with the protagonist at all, I appreciated Chapman’s storytelling and especially loved the epilogue.

What Kind of Mother is available now from Quirk Books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever you buy your books.

★★1/2 out of ★★★★★

Dust Jacket Description:

Alfie wakes one night to find his twin daughters at the foot of his bed, claiming there’s a shadowy figure in their bedroom. When no such thing can be found, he assumes the girls had a nightmare.

He isn’t surprised that they’re troubled. Grief has made its home at Hart House: nine months ago, the twins’ mother Pippa died unexpectedly, leaving Alfie to raise them alone. And now, when the girls mention a new imaginary friend, it seems like a harmless coping mechanism. But the situation quickly develops into something more insidious. The girls set an extra place for him at the table. They whisper to him. They say he’s going to take them away…

Alfie calls upon Julia―Pippa’s sister and a psychiatrist―to oust the malignant tenant from their lives. But as Alfie himself is haunted by visions and someone watches him at night, he begins to question the true character of the force that has poisoned his daughters’ minds, with dark and violent consequences.

Whatever this “friend” is, he doesn’t want to leave. Alfie will have to confront his own shameful secrets, the dark past of Hart House, and even the bounds of reality―or risk taking part in an unspeakable tragedy.

Let Him In started out with so much creepy potential but ran out of steam less than halfway through and had me wanting to put the book down more than once. However, I decided to press on and finish the book but there was no payoff at the end.

Let Him In is available now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever you buy your books.

★★★★ out of ★★★★★

Dust Jacket Description:

A cop begins seeing huge, blinking eyes where the headlights of cars should be that tell him who to pull over. Two freedom riders take a bus ride that leaves them stranded on a lonely road in Alabama where several unsettling somethings await them. A young girl dives into the depths of the Earth in search of the demon that killed her parents. These are just a few of the worlds of Out There Screaming, Jordan Peele’s anthology of all-new horror stories by Black writers. Featuring an introduction by Peele and an all-star roster of beloved writers and new voices, Out There Screaming is a master class in horror, and—like his spine-chilling films—its stories prey on everything we think we know about our world . . . and redefine what it means to be afraid.

Featuring stories by: Erin E. Adams, Violet Allen, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Maurice Broaddus, Chesya Burke, P. Djèlí Clark, Ezra Claytan Daniels, Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson, N. K. Jemisin, Justin C. Key, L. D. Lewis, Nnedi Okorafor, Tochi Onyebuchi, Rebecca Roanhorse, Nicole D. Sconiers, Rion Amilcar Scott, Terence Taylor, and Cadwell Turnbull.

Out There Screaming is a wonderful anthology. For me, it was the perfect way to discover new authors and explore all the facets of horror through the lens of the Black experience.

Out There Screaming is available now from Penguin Random House at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever you buy your books.

★★★★ out of ★★★★★

Dust Jacket Description:

Holly Sherwin has been a struggling playwright for years, but now, after receiving a grant to develop her play Witching Night, she may finally be close to her big break. All she needs is time and space to bring her vision to life. When she stumbles across Hill House on a weekend getaway upstate, she is immediately taken in by the mansion, nearly hidden outside a remote village. It’s enormous, old, and ever-so eerie—the perfect place to develop and rehearse her play.
Despite her own hesitations, Holly’s girlfriend, Nisa, agrees to join Holly in renting the house for a month, and soon a troupe of actors, each with ghosts of their own, arrive. Yet as they settle in, the house’s peculiarities are made known: strange creatures stalk the grounds, disturbing sounds echo throughout the halls, and time itself seems to shift.  All too soon, Holly and her friends find themselves at odds not just with one another, but with the house itself. It seems something has been waiting in Hill House all these years, and it no longer intends to walk alone . . .

I love the Cass Neary series of novels that Hand has written so as soon as I read the description of this novel, I knew I wanted to read it. It was well written and very atmospheric. Perfect to curl up with on a dark and stormy night, it is a wonderful addition to the Hill House legacy.

A Haunting on the Hill is available now from Mulholland Books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever you buy your books.

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