Top 5 of 2018!

It’s that time again. Time to shine a spotlight on my favourite books of the year! I really get a kick out of doing this post at the beginning of each year because, A) I’m a book nerd, and any chance to talk books is a good thing; and B) because I think the books I’m gonna talk about were super rad and deserve your attention. 

*Note: None of these books were actually released in 2018, but were new to me.

Last Days

To kick things off, I’m gonna start with a dynamite book by Adam Nevill. I love me a good cult story, and 51LRqN2hAFLthankfully (just to please me, I assume) Adam Nevill wrote one.

The story follows a documentary crew making a film about a sinister cult which seemingly has been dead and gone for like, forty years. Of course, that turns out to be false, and bad shit starts to happen.

One of the things I really dug about Last Days was that it almost has a ‘found footage’ vibe to it (found footage, another thing I love). The pacing is great and the horror is palpable.

Adam Nevill is quickly becoming ‘must-read’ for me, so I won’t be surprised if he’s back on this list next year.

A Head Full of Ghosts

23019294Speaking of a ‘found footage’ vibe, A head Full of Ghosts is all kinds of that.

Now, I usually like to go into books knowing as little of the plot as possible. I don’t even read the entire back cover synopsis most times. And because of this, I had some very different ideas as to what this book was about before cracking it open. As always, my ignorance paid off, as I was happily surprised by what I read.

Although Tremblay’s writing isn’t as memorable as some of the other authors on this list, his writing is perfectly suited for this type of story. The plot flows at a great pace and the twists were fantastic.

Lost Girls

Speaking of memorable writing lol. Lost Girls, the first novel from Andrew Pyper is a lyrical stroll through 1681118some very dark places.

I’ve read a number of Pyper’s books and I am always left in a somewhat depressed state afterward. As a writer, there is nothing better than reading a book and thinking to yourself, hell, I could do that! Well, that doesn’t happen after reading Pyper. Instead, I’m usually thinking, with writers like Pyper out there, why am I wasting my time.

Besides my own personal issues, Lost Girls is a great descent into small town Ontario. And boy, that writing!

Annihilation

220px-annihilation_by_jeff_vandermeerI know, I know, you’re all saying, “But Christian, this isn’t even a horror novel” And I would look you in the face and say, “I don’t give a crap what Annihilation is classified as, this is a God damn horror novel if ever there was one!”

Bleak. Harrowing. Depressing. Terrifying. All these perfectly describe VanderMeer’s Annihilation.

Now, full discloser, I had seen the (amazing!) movie before reading the book, and that may have tainted my overall opinion. Even if that is the case, I still loved this book. The ever-deepening mystery of Area X kept me flipping pages like crazy. I haven’t read the following books in the trilogy, but I certainly will.

And that brings us to the what I consider the best book I read this year…

N0S4A2

I’ve been a fan of Joe Hill since reading his short story collection 20th Century Ghosts, but have always felt like something was missing from his books. That all changed with his horror epic N0S4A2!

This time spanning novel is a masterpiece. As much as I’m sure he hates it, I can’t help but to compare Hill to his dad (a small indie author named…Stephen King!). And if I am going to make comparisons between their work, then I would call N0S4A2 Joe Hill’s It.

There is apparently a television show in the works adapting this fantastic novel, but I would highly recommend reading the book.

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So, that’s what I liked last year, how about you??

-Chrisitan

 

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3 Writers!

I was going to get into some of the music I listen to while writing but decided that I would save that for a later date. Instead, I thought I would shine a spotlight on three authors who inspire me.

12977531I’ll get the obvious one out of the way first. Stephen King. Listen, if you are a horror writer, you have probably been influenced by King’s work (whether you like his stuff or not). The man is synonymous with horror fiction. My first experience with King’s work came through my brother. He was (and still is) and avid reader of Stephen King. Because of that, even though it would be years before I would pick up a horror novel (King’s or otherwise) I was seeing his books lying around our house. Since then I’ve read about twenty or so of his books (with many more in the ‘to-read’ pile). My personal favs are The Shining, Bag of Bones, The Talisman and Desperation. But to be honest, I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by him (except for The Colorado Kid. That book sucked hard).

219635Next up is one of two Canadians. Michael Slade (AKA John Banks, Jay Clark, Rebecca Clark and Richard Covell). Confused yet? Let me explain. Michael Slade is the pen name of several writers (most of them lawyers), but the biggest contributor, and only one currently writing under the name, is Jay Clark. The Slade books (with only one exception) all follow a division of the RCMP called Special X. Special X are tasked with catching psychopaths who have connections with other countries, requiring the unit to often times work with other law enforcement agencies from around the world. The thing I like the most about Slade’s work is how unapologetic it is. It is vicious, violent, sexy and unfiltered. Although I enjoy all of the early Slade books (some of the later ones aren’t the best), my favs are: Headhunter, Ripper, Bed of Nails and Ghoul. I actually consider Ghoul one of my all-time favourite books.

24497842And that brings me to the second Canadian: Craig Davidson (AKA Nick Cutter). I met Craig a few years ago when I was asked to host The Dark Side Tour on its stop in my hometown. The tour was a cross-North American book tour with Craig Davidson and Andrew Pyper. At the time, I had just taken my first fledgling steps into my writing career and felt immediately out of my depth talking to these two guys. Luckily, they were both awesome and the night went off without a hitch. A perk of playing host was that I was given copies of their new books at that time (The Deep from Craig and The Damned from Pyper), so that I could ask some relevant questions. And although I loved both books, something about Craig’s visceral horror really grabbed me. I went back and read his other offering under the Cutter name (The Troop) and was outright hooked, and have greedily devoured everything since. I’ve been fortunate enough to hang out with Craig a bunch of times over the last couple years, and now consider him a friend. I’ve yet to be disappointed with any of his work, but hands down my favourite is the literary kick to the face called The Acolyte. This book resonates with me on every level. I fucking love it.

So, there you have it. Three authors who have shaped my own writing style and inspire me to keep plugging away. There are many more, of course, but if I started going through them all, we’d be here all day.

-Christian

I had an immeasurably good time chatting with horror maestros Andrew Pyper and Nick Cutter during the Windsor stop of the The Dark Side 2 tour.

Being at the beginning of my own writing career, it was an invaluable experience to sit down with these guys (who, by the way, were super nice) and hear what they had to say about the craft.

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The Dark Side comes to Windsor

I’ve been asked to host an evening with two big names in horror, Andrew Pyper (The Demonologist, The Damned) and Nick Cutter (The Troop, The Deep), when they come through Windsor on their Dark Side II: Highway of Horror tour.

The event will be held at the Windsor Star Café, located in downtown Windsor, on March 4th at 7pm. There’s no charge to get in.

I’ll be asking these two gentlemen questions, as well as taking some from the audience. After which, they will be doing readings from their newest novels. It should be a fun night.

For more info, check out the event page on facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/643632582431153

And this cool poster below. Poster_DarkSideII_Windsor