This is THE must-read horror/thriller novel of 2021. After a young girl goes missing during a family beach trip, her older sister goes on a hunt for the man she suspects is the kidnapper. Full of twists and turns and truly terrifying imagery, The Last House on Needless Street will keep you guessing until the last page.
The third of Stephen King’s contributions to the Hard Case Crime publisher imprint, Later is part classic-King horror, part old school crime thriller, and part coming-of-age story. A boy with the unique gift of being able to see and speak with the dead uses his supernatural talents to help his literary agent mother, struggling after her star author passes away. But his gifts don’t go unnoticed, and now the wrong people are after him. Fans of Stephen King’s created universes will find plenty of familiar ideas here.
The Project is the story of Lo Denham, a girl who goes looking for her older sister, recently indoctrinated by what she believes to be a sinister cult with dark intentions. But when Lo finally gets there and sees how things run, she’s left with more questions than answers. This is a YA book with plenty of bite for older readers, one of my favorites of the year.
Based on the hit podcast of the same name, Bubble is a graphic novel about a small group of people trying to balance their social lives with their job - destroying monsters and other weird creatures for an app called Huntr. Bubble is full of fun and relatable characters, hilarious situations and beautiful art throughout.
Elliot Kalan’s Maniac of New York comic is half police procedural, half Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan. If that sounds fun to you, order this now, it does not disappoint. A killer known as Maniac Harry is loose in NYC. It’s gotten so bad it’s become a public health crisis and thus far no one seems to be able to capture or bring down the machete-wielding murderer. But now we’ve got a mayor’s aide and a disgraced cop on the job, so you know things will go smoothly! A funny and thoughtful book about a community in (bloody) turmoil.
The newest from thriller writer William Boyle, Shoot the Moonlight Out is all about the choices people make - good, bad, well-intentioned or not - and what happens as a result. What makes Boyle’s books so damn enjoyable is the cast of characters, each one feeling so alive and written with enormous compassion. Taking place in South Brooklyn in the 90s, this novel cements William Boyle as one of the best crime writers of today.
Fresh on the heels of one of my favorite books of 2020 (Mexican Gothic) Silvia Moreno-Garcia is back with another book I absolutely devoured. Set during the student riots of 1970s Mexico City, Velvet Was the Night adeptly mixes action, romance, crime, politics, and plenty of Mexican history to tell a beautiful story about love and responsibility in the face of deep and brutal governmental corruption.
Grady Hendrix's new novel is a driving tour down Elm Street, through Camp Crystal Lake and around Haddonfield, Illinois. And don't forget about that creepy old house in Texas. When the masked maniac has been defeated and the credits roll, what happens next? The Final Girl Support Group is about the last few surviving 'final girls' who meet up monthly to work through their trauma and help each other move on. But now there's new murders and a new final girl who needs their help. My favorite Grady Hendrix so far!
I grew up loving Elvira and I’m lucky enough to live in a world where I can still enjoy her work twenty-five years later. She’s been in the business for so long and has been so consistently wonderful, it’s easy to forget how important she was and still is in the world of horror. Her memoir is full of new information, framing an iconic character in a new light. The best part though is that the book can only be read in Elvira’s voice, with her trademark timing and humor. This whole book was a true pleasure to read and I loved every page.
One of my favorite books of the year, Tom Scharpling’s It Never Ends is full of funny, insightful, and sometimes heartbreaking accounts from a life of working in television and radio. From learning to deal with mental illness and discovering the parts of yourself worth fighting for to creating the Best Show - it’s the best show - and carving out a space in popular culture, this book tells a unique and unforgettable story.