Horror Fiction Starter Kit

If you’re new to horror and you don’t know where to start, ask for this “horror starter kit” for Christmas. (Providing you have heard of Stephen King already and you know he’s the godfather. Also Dracula and Frankenstein and Shirley Jackson)
-N0S4A2 by Joe Hill
-My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
-The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
-Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones
-The Between by Tananarive Due
-A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
-The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
-The Ritual by Adam Nevill
-Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca
-Bird Box by Josh Malerman
-Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
-Books of Blood 1-3 by Clive Barker
-Seed by Ania Ahlborn
-The Hunger by Alma Katsu
-I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
I think this is a great start for any new horror fan. A proper beginning to your personal horror library. From here, an anthology is a great way to find authors who have a storytelling voice you enjoy. I think one of the best anthologies I’ve ever read is Hark the Herald Angels Scream. It’s perfect for this month, every story is a success and all of the authors have books that I would recommend. Check it out!

Here’s my review:

Christmas is antithetical to horror. It’s the season of good cheer, merriment, friends & family, and generosity. We even have this spokesperson for Christmas called Santa Claus who sneaks into homes, eating cookies, drinking milk, and leaving presents–he’s jolly and kindly.
Or–he’s ripping his good-natured face off and revealing the insidious creature that *really* enters your holiday home in the middle of the night! (that cover!!!)
This Christmas-themed anthology edited by Christopher Golden (I’m a fan of his anthologies) has some of the best names in the industry:
including Scott Smith, Seanan McGuire, Josh Malerman, Michael Koryta, Sarah Pinborough, and many more.
Sidenote: I will buy any anthology with a Scott Smith contribution because The Ruins and A Simple Plan are just not enough. MORE Scott Smith!
I was so pleasantly impressed with this collection. Usually, anthologies are a mixed bag ranging from a total dud, to just OK with a few standouts.
This is an exception. Almost all of the stories are well above 3 stars with several 4 and 5-star standouts. My favorites were:
Absinthe & Angles by Kelley Armstrong
Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith (that ending!)
Love Me by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Not Just for Christmas by Sara Lotz (animal lovers will dig this)
Tenants by Josh Malerman
It’s a Wonderful Knife by Christopher Golden
Yankee Swap by John McIlveen
The Hangman’s Bride by Sarah Pinborough
A substantial collection. I will for sure cherry-pick through this anthology every Christmas and re-read some of my favorites because it really put me in the perfect mood! I can’t recommend this one enough.

Sadie Hartmann

December 2022

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *