Best of 2015

Happy December,

It’s that time of year when reviewers such as myself start putting together a list of their favorite reads of the year. I won’t bore you with a long list since I usually review my favorites anyway, but there are 5 books that stand out as some of the best horror of the year. Each offers readers a little something different and I will certainly read each of these books again in the future.

Given how much I read in an average year – between 80 and 100 books – coming up with this list was a little tough. So, let’s get to it.

5. A Head Full of Knives – Luke Smitherd

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Book Description:

Let’s imagine you’re waiting to catch a train.
Would you wonder about the people standing next to you on the platform? Ordinary people, business types. Respectable. Normal. People that you don’t need to worry about.
How do you know that they aren’t going to suddenly push you in front of an oncoming train?
Of course, they’re strangers. They could be capable of anything … but what if you couldn’t even trust the people you loved?
What if even your pets acted strangely? If you found yourself being watched by other animals that come and wait outside your house at night, staring up at your windows in the dark?
Martin Hogan doesn’t have to imagine this. It’s all happening to him right now; his life is about to spiral further and further into the terrifying and inexplicable as he finds out why.
Because even though he doesn’t know it yet, Martin Hogan is the man that has to decide the fate of humanity …
Why I loved it:
Well-written and incredibly imagined, A Head Full of Knives demonstrates brilliant characterization and addresses the question of what happens when we die.
4. The Last Plague – Rich Hawkins
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Book Description:

A pestilence has fallen across the land. Run and hide. Seek shelter. Do not panic. The infected WILL find you.

When Great Britain is hit by a devastating epidemic, four old friends must cross a chaotic, war-torn England to reach their families. But between them and home, the country is teeming with those afflicted by the virus – cannibalistic, mutated monsters whose only desires are to infect and feed.

THE LAST PLAGUE is here.

Why I loved it:
This is not your typical end of the world story. Truly unique and captivating, Hawkins does a great job making the characters realistic and throwing some truly terrifying moments in the mix.
3. Monster – Matt Shaw and Michael Bray
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Book Description:

WARNING: THIS IS AN EXTREME HORROR NOVEL. There is gore. There is bad language. There are scenes of a sexual nature. There are scenes of domestic abuse. But hidden underneath it all is also a chilling story. Please do not purchase this book if you are easily shocked, disgusted or offended. This book is not for you.

Teaming up together for the first time since ‘ART’, Michael Bray (Whisper) and Matt Shaw (Sick B*stards) bring you MONSTER; the haunting tale of a normal woman who wakes up to find herself part of a nightmare.

“He’s there, standing in the doorway. Seven foot tall, a face hidden beneath a mask of stretched, rotting skin. He isn’t saying anything. He’s just watching me, his head cocked to one side as though judging me. I pulled on the restraints but they didn’t budge. I was trapped. I was his prisoner. I asked him what he wanted but he just repeated my sentence in a childish voice. I asked him for a second time and, for a second time, he repeated me. When I screamed, he screamed, raising his hands to his ears and closing his eyes as though my panicked yelling scared him. Who is he? What does he want with me? I begged for him to let me go and he responded by repeating me – again – word for word. Frustrated I started screaming. He turned and ran from the room. He didn’t go far though. I can hear him out there. I can hear his heavy, wheezy breathing. A couple of seconds went by and he stuck his head around the corner. He didn’t move from that spot. He just stood there, watching me once more.”

Why I loved it:
Heartbreaking, realistic and disgusting, Monster takes a look at something that happens to many people all over the world every day. Although most domestic cases don’t get quite this extreme, this is the only horror story I’ve found that made me tear up. Note: This is extreme so heed the cover warning if you’re squeamish.
2. High Moor 3: Blood Moon – Graeme Reynolds
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Book Description:
The war has begun…
As the humans make their move against the werewolf threat in their midst, and civil war threatens to break the pack apart, John and Marie struggle to free the only person who can unite the werewolf factions against their common enemy: Marie’s brother, Michael.
However, their efforts may be for nothing. As tensions mount, the Moonborn prepare to combat the human aggression with an assault of their own. An attack that could spell doom for both man and werewolf alike.
Why I loved it:
Unlike a lot of other trilogy finales, Blood Moon answered all my questions and didn’t leave me wanting more. I got the closure from the characters I needed and yes, it made me cry. Note: Although this book stands well on its own, you really need to read the first two in the series to truly appreciate this outstanding finale.
1. GodBomb! – Kit Power
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 Book Description:

Somebody wants answers.

North Devon, England. 1995. A born-again revival meeting in a public building. The usual mix of the faithful, the curious, and the desperate. And one other – an atheist suicide bomber. He’s angry. He wants answers. And if God doesn’t come and talk to him personally, he’s going to kill everyone in the building…

Why I loved it:
With a simple plot and only a handful of characters, Kit Power manages to tell a poignant, thrilling story that reads nothing like a first novel. This is a character-driven story that will blow you away. (No pun intended)
Note: The audio book for GodBomb! is absolutely phenomenal. Check it out here.
I wish you all peace and love for the upcoming holiday season. Be good to each other.
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