*Since I average 225 books/collections a year, I’ve highlighted the Top 20 Novels/Novellas that stood out for me in 2016. Following that is my Top 5 Anthologies/Collections of the year.
MY TOP 20 NOVELS/NOVELLAS OF 2016
1. CHILDREN OF THE DARK, Jonathan Janz–emotional, coming-of-age, and fantastic characterization all across the board. This one stood out in so many areas that I had to list it as my #1.
2. UNIDENTIFIED, Michael McBride–the latest novella by Michael McBride; need I say more? (Available for purchase soon!)
3. LITTLE DEAD RED, Mercedes M. Yardley–a “fairy-tale” style novella, where the subject matter is anything BUT! This was the first I had read from Mercedes Yardley this year, and her distinctive writing style is one that I find beautifully poetic in form, and so “real” in terms of emotional content.
4. UNSEEMLY, Jason Parent–A supernatural novella with Lovecraftian undertones; I must admit, these are usually among my personal favorites all around.
5. THE CRONING, Laird Barron–a beautiful, complex tale that takes all kinds of twists and turns until you are able to piece together the entire picture. Any book that took me DAYS to formulate a review, is one that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon!
6. ODD ADVENTURES WITH YOUR OTHER FATHER, Norman Prentiss–A deeply emotional story at heart, with poignant, Lovecraftian, and just plain “human” attributes that I still remember vividly. This is one I need to add to the physical shelves!
7. THE CREATION: Let There Be Death, The Behrg–Although this is the second part of a projected three-part tale, the characterization and original content made this story a contender all on its own, and one of my most eagerly awaited sequels.
8. LOCH NESS REVENGE, Hunter Shea–I’ve really become a fan of Hunter Shea’s novels lately, and this one just hit the perfect balance between action, horror, and comedic dialog, in my opinion.
9. DARK MATTER, Blake Crouch–This was one of those “unexpected” extraordinary finds that I never wanted to put down once I began reading it.
10. ODD MAN OUT, James Newman–Just “wow”! This story is a difficult read in terms of subject matter, but one that I feel everyone should read. The points made through this powerful novella will stay in your mind, and are particularly relevant with what we face in today’s society.
11. THE JERSEY DEVIL, Hunter Shea–A novel that blends legend, great descriptive characters, and a unique touch that makes it stand out among other books dealing with this “creature-legend”.
12. HAPPINESS IS A COMMODITY, The Behrg–A unique look at a society in which “happiness” is something that can only be purchased in small increments from the government. A story that says much more with its deep-rooted meaning involving depression and the having–or not–of “happiness”.
13. LAST TRAIN FROM PERDITION, Robert McCammon–A Trevor Lawson story; do you really need to know anything more before grabbing this one??
14. WE EAT OUR OWN, Kea Wilson–an unabashedly unique story in both the way it is narrated, and the very tone it takes.
15. TIJUANA DONKEY SHOWDOWN, Adam Howe–Adam Howe is an author to keep an eye on! This action/comedic/horror novel simply never let up–I’m hoping that more adventures involving Reggie are in store for us in the future. 😉
16. THE HOUSE THAT DEATH BUILT, Michaelbrent Collings–This author is another that I seem to include in every year’s “Best Of” list. This particular tale had so many unexpected, memorable scenes, that I wasted no time in buying a physical copy to go up on my shelves.
17. WICKED STEPMOTHER, Michael McDowell–Another spectacular novel by McDowell, brought back into print and eBook form by Valancourt books.
18. (tie) CAS1TLE OF SORROWS, & HOUSE OF SKIN, Jonathan Janz–I know I’m cheating a little with this one, but I gave both titles the same rating. When it came down to it, I simply couldn’t decide which one I preferred over the other. (Trust me, both are worth your time).
19. THE NIGHT PARADE, Ronald Malfi–An apocalyptic novel with intense characterization and emotional attachment.
TOP FIVE ANTHOLOGIES/COLLECTIONS OF 2016
- WRATHBONE and Other Stories, Jason Parent
- THE VALANCOURT BOOK OF HORROR STORIES: Volume One, edited by James Jenkins & Ryan Cagle
- THINGS SLIP THROUGH, Kevin Lucia
- DIE DOG OR EAT THE HATCHET, Adam Howe
- THE YEAR’S BEST HARDCORE HORROR Volume 1, edited by Randy Chandler & Cheryl Mullenax