Springtime for Horror Novel Releases

This March and April will feature two horror novels crossed with mystery and one that’s making its way across the pond that I’m excited to read.

The Devil’s Detective: A Novel by Simon Kurt Unsworth (March 3, 2015)

Thomas Fool is an Information Man, an investigator tasked with cataloging and filing reports on the endless stream of violence and brutality that flows through Hell. His job holds no reward or satisfaction, because Hell has rules but no justice. Each new crime is stamped “Do Not Investigate” and dutifully filed away in the depths of the Bureaucracy. But when an important political delegation arrives and a human is found murdered in a horrific manner—extravagant even by Hell’s standards—everything changes. The murders escalate, and their severity points to the kind of killer not seen for many generations. Something is challenging the rules and order of Hell, so the Bureaucracy sends Fool to identify and track down the killer. . . . But how do you investigate murder in a place where death is common currency? Or when your main suspect pool is a legion of demons? With no memory of his past and only an irresistible need for justice, Fool will piece together clues and follow a trail that leads directly into the heart of a dark and chaotic conspiracy. A revolution is brewing in Hell . . . and nothing is what it seems.
The Devil’s Detective is an audacious, highly suspenseful thriller set against a nightmarish and wildly vivid world. Simon Kurt Unsworth has created a phantasmagoric thrill ride filled with stunning set pieces and characters that spring from our deepest nightmares. It will have readers of both thrillers and horror hanging on by their fingernails until the final word. In Hell, hope is your worst enemy.

Werewolf Cop by Andrew Klavan (March 15, 2015)

Zach Adams is one of the best detectives in the country. Nicknamed Cowboy, he’s a soft-spoken homicide detective from Houston known for his integrity and courage under fire. He serves on a federal task force that has a single mission: to hunt down Dominic Abend, a European gangster who has taken over the American underworld.

After a brutal murder gives them a lead, Zach and his tough guy NYPD partner Martin Goulart feel like they’re finally on Abend’s trail. But things get complicated—and very, very weird. Goulart’s on-the-job enemies are accusing him of corruption. And Zach is beginning to suspect that Abend’s evil goes beyond crime—perhaps to the edge of the supernatural. As his investigation continues in Germany, Zach finds himself lured into the impossible. In a centuries-old forest under a full moon, a beast assaults him, cursing him forever. In the aftermath, Zach is transformed into something horrible—something deadly.

Now, the good cop has innocent blood on his hands. He has killed—and he will kill again—in the form of a beast who can’t be controlled or stopped. Before he can free himself, he’s going to have to solve the greatest mystery of all: How can you defeat evil when the evil is inside you?

No One Gets Out Alive: A Novel by Adam Nevill (April 28, 2015)

When Stephanie moves to the notoriously cheap Perry Bar neighborhood of Birmingham, she’s just happy to find an affordable room for rent that’s large enough not to deserve her previous room’s nickname, “the cell.” The eccentric — albeit slightly overly-friendly — landlord seems nice and welcoming enough, the ceilings are high, and all of the other tenants are also girls. Things aren’t great, but they’re stable. Or at least that’s what she tells herself when she impulsively hands over enough money to cover the first month’s rent and decides to give it a go.
But soon after she becomes uneasy about her rash decision. She hears things in the night. Feels them. Things…or people…who aren’t there in the light. Who couldn’t be there, because after-all, her door is locked every night, and the key is still in place in the morning. Concern soon turns to terror when the voices she hears and presence she feels each night become hostile. It’s clear that something very bad has happened in this house. And something even worse is happening now. Stephanie has to find a way out, before whatever’s going on in the house finds her first.
Adam Nevill’s No One Gets Out Alive will chill you straight through to the core — a cold, merciless, fear-inducing nightmare to the last page. A word of caution, don’t read this one in the dark.
What else is coming out this spring? Anybody read an ARC of these?

#AmericanHorrorStory–Curtain Call

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The Details

  • Dandy kills almost all the freaks when they decide to quit.
  • The twins, Desi, and Jimmy drown Dandy in the Houdini chamber. They tell him that he is the biggest freak of them all.
  • Elsa becomes a successful TV star. She says that she has always been cursed. First by having her dreams taken from her, then by having them all come true. Elsa asks Mossimo to run away with her, but he has radiation poisoning…so that’s not going to work out.
  • The TV exec discovers how Elsa lost her legs and what happened to the Jupiter freak show, and he terminates her contract. Elsa agrees to give her final performance on Halloween.
  • She summons Mordrake to kill her, and he sends her to freak heaven.
  • Ethel tells Elsa that she doesn’t have to pay for her sins–she was only performing her role.

The Big Q

What’s your role?

The Impact

Often, we consider a “role” as a negative concept, that we are cast and limited. In show business, all roles are essential and valuable. It’s your performance that’s unlimited. Performing your role to the best of your ability brings you acclaim. The trouble with real life is our role is not as obvious as a playbill. And yet, once you know your role, you can shine.

Cheers to another great season!

Watch or Don’t: The Tall Man

The Tall Man caught my eye on Netflix, because not only does it star Jessica Biel, she also produced it. I don’t tend to imagine her as a horror fan, so her belief in the script intrigued me.

Summary

Children have been disappearing in the struggling mountain town of Cold Rock. Many people believe it’s the legendary Tall Man. When the son of the only “doctor” (nurse, Jessica Biel) goes missing, we embark on a journey to a conflicting discovery.

Entertainment Value

  • Jessica Biel fights a rabid dog in the back of a runaway truck!
  • The setting. This isn’t “entertaining” so much as it is realistic and gritty. Schools have closed down. Children wander around. The poverty weighs over the people.
  • Plot twists. While there’s a little too much exposition surrounding some of the twits, I appreciate that the writers know this is something viewers won’t see coming, and they’ll need help adjusting.

Dark Muse Value

  • Why are we so afraid to face the monster of greed?
  • Can the cycle of poverty be broken without significant actions?
  • When is wrong right?

Verdict: WATCH

Have you seen this movie? What did you think?

American Horror Story–“Show Stoppers”

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The Details

  • Stanley gets turned into a bird Freaks style (the allusion I’ve been waiting for!).
  • Dandy sweetly informs the twins about Chester.
  • Maggie gets sawed in half. Nobody cares, because, as Desi says, “She had it coming.”
  • Chester turns himself in for murdering Marjorie (and not Maggie).
  • The twins tip Elsa off that the freaks are going to get their revenge for Ethel, so she sells the show again. This time, to Dandy.
  • Elsa’ doctor makes Jimmy new lobster hands. We find out that Dr. Arden from Asylum (a.k.a. Hans Gruper) is the one who removed Elsa’s legs.

The Big Q

Going into the finale, the violence has been amped up. Most of the people who “had it coming” get it this episode. The only two left are Dandy, who has made a remarkably untrustworthy turn toward sweetness, and Elsa, who we know makes it big in L.A. and ultimately was more good than bad. The Big Q this week is “What do we deserve?”

The Impact

With the body count mounting, we find ourselves judging more and more: this death = good; this death = bad. But who the heck are we to justify deaths in this manner? I certainly hope that when I die, the same formula isn’t used.

Any predictions for the finale? Also, is anyone happy that Dandy finally gets to be a thespian?

Watch or Don’t: The Babadook

This one finally made it to my town, so I had to see what all the fuss was about.

Summary

A woman, dealing with the stress of raising a child alone after her husband’s death, comes face-to-face with the Babadook, a monster that has been haunting her son.

Entertainment Value

  • The sound editing makes this movie scary. It’s been a long time since I’ve said that.
  • At times, the mom and her kid drive you crazy, and at other times, you’re terrified of them.
  • The pop-up book containing Mr. Babadook is scary and beautiful.
  • The son makes all his own monster-killing inventions and also does magic. He’s pretty adorable.

Dark Muse Value

We all have our own Babadooks, the evil that rules our lives because of our past griefs. This movie calls out that practice, especially through how we talk about grief with children. Kids say, “There are monsters.” We say, “There’s no such thing.” There is such a thing, and we know it! We know the world if full of hardship, and instead of acknowledging its existence, we deny it to “protect” them from the truth they already know. The real truth? You can’t get rid of the Babadook. Your scars will stay with you. You can name them and choose to move forward in spite of them, or you can let them drag you under. You can’t pretend they don’t exist.

Verdict: WATCH

Anyone else seen The Babadook yet?