A horror book recommendation: Brimstone by Cherie Priest

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2yCCH85.
Full of charm and care, with light-hearted fun woven gently into compassionate renderings of sorrow and loss, Brimstone is equal parts affectionate romp and affecting story…
Book description from Google Books:
A new dark historical fantasy from the “supremely gifted”* Cherie Priest, author of Mapelcroft and Boneshaker.In the trenches of Europe during the Great War, Tomás Cordero operated a weapon more devastating than any gun: a flame projector that doused the enemy in liquid fire. Having left the battlefield a shattered man, he comes home to find yet more tragedy—for in his absence, his wife has died of the flu. Haunted by memories of the woman he loved and the atrocities he perpetrated, Tomás dreams of fire and finds himself setting match to flame when awake….   Alice Dartle is a talented clairvoyant living among others who share her gifts in the community of Cassadaga, Florida. She too dreams of fire, knowing her nightmares are connected to the shell-shocked war veteran and widower. And she believes she can bring peace to him and his wife’s spirit.   But the inferno that threatens to consume Tomás and Alice was set ablaze centuries ago by someone whose hatred transcended death itself….*Christopher Golden, #1 New York Times Bestselling AuthorFrom the Trade Paperback edition.
The book is rated 3.67/5 at goodreads.com, from 338 ratings. See 97 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xT77zb.
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A horror book recommendation: The Kept Woman: A Novel (Will Trent) by Karin Slaughter

A critic review (source Financial Times) can be read at: http://on.ft.com/2auw8F8.
More proof that Karin Slaughter remains one of the most authoritative thriller writers in the field. She is adroit at taking readers to the darker reaches of the human psyche.
Book description from Google Books:
The Skimm Reads calls it “a thriller that’s part True Detective, part The Girl On the Train. All parts gripping.”Husbands and wives. Mothers and daughters. The past and the future. Secrets bind them. And secrets can destroy them. The author of Pretty Girls returns with an electrifying, emotionally complex thriller that plunges its fascinating protagonist into the darkest depths of a mystery that just might destroy him. With the discovery of a murder at an abandoned construction site, Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is brought in on a case that becomes much more dangerous when the dead man is identified as an ex-cop. Studying the body, Sara Linton—the GBI’s newest medical examiner and Will’s lover—realizes that the extensive blood loss didn’t belong to the corpse. Sure enough, bloody footprints leading away from the scene indicate there is another victim—a woman—who has vanished . . . and who will die soon if she isn’t found. Will is already compromised, because the site belongs to the city’s most popular citizen: a wealthy, powerful, and politically connected athlete protected by the world’s most expensive lawyers—a man who’s already gotten away with rape, despite Will’s exhaustive efforts to put him away. But the worst is yet to come. Evidence soon links Will’s troubled past to the case . . . and the consequences will tear through his life with the force of a tornado, wreaking havoc for Will and everyone around him, including his colleagues, family, friends—and even the suspects he pursues. Relentlessly suspenseful and furiously paced, peopled with conflicted, fallible characters who leap from the page, The Kept Woman is a seamless blend of twisty police procedural and ingenious psychological thriller — a searing, unforgettable novel of love, loss, and redemption.  
The book is rated 4.09/5 at goodreads.com, from 20104 ratings. See 1679 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2avzXxg.
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A horror book recommendation: Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2arXj3j.
…for all their dark imaginings, Ligotti’s fictions – like those of Poe and Nabokov, the cruel, brilliant, manipulative writers he most resembles – are absorbingly constructed little works of art.
Book description from Google Books:
Two terrifying classics by “the best kept secret in contemporary horror fiction” (The Washington Post) Thomas Ligotti’s debut collection, Songs of a Dead Dreamer, and his second, Grimscribe, permanently inscribed a new name in the pantheon of horror fiction.  Influenced by the strange terrors of Lovecraft and Poe and by the brutal absurdity of Kafka, Ligotti eschews cheap, gory thrills for his own brand of horror, which shocks at the deepest, existential, levels.Ligotti’s stories take on decaying cities and lurid dreamscapes in a style ranging from rich, ornamental prose to cold, clinical detachment. His raw and experimental work lays bare the unimportance of our world and the sickening madness of the human condition. Like the greatest writers of cosmic horror, Ligotti bends reality until it cracks, opening fissures through which he invites us to gaze on the unsettling darkness of the abyss below.For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The book is rated 4.04/5 at goodreads.com, from 1058 ratings. See 148 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2sKpTXS.
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A horror book recommendation: White Tears: A novel by Hari Kunzru

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2xYAi3S.
There’s no denying that Kunzru can write. His prose has great flow, and the pace of his storytelling has a compelling urgency. Dialogue is mostly on the strong side, and he tackles some tough questions (and even harder answers). But the delivery of his message is heavy-handed and often poorly executed.
Book description from Google Books:
White Tears is a ghost story, a terrifying murder mystery, a timely meditation on race, and a love letter to all the forgotten geniuses of American music and Delta Mississippi Blues. “An incisive meditation on race, privilege and music. Spanning decades, this novel brings alive the history of old-time blues and America’s racial conscience.”–Rabeea Saleem, Chicago Review of Books Two twenty-something New Yorkers. Seth is awkward and shy. Carter is the glamorous heir to one of America’s great fortunes. They have one thing in common: an obsession with music. Seth is desperate to reach for the future. Carter is slipping back into the past. When Seth accidentally records an unknown singer in a park, Carter sends it out over the Internet, claiming it’s a long lost 1920s blues recording by a musician called Charlie Shaw. When an old collector contacts them to say that their fake record and their fake bluesman are actually real, the two young white men, accompanied by Carter’s troubled sister Leonie, spiral down into the heart of the nation’s darkness, encountering a suppressed history of greed, envy, revenge, and exploitation.
The book is rated 3.73/5 at goodreads.com, from 1882 ratings. See 401 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2wFWLlI.
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A horror book recommendation: The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2xAZz3W.
Reading as much as I do for review and analysis, I’m always grateful for books that captivate me to the point that I forget my surroundings, or what purpose I had in reading them beyond enchantment.
Book description from Google Books:
One of NPR’s Best Books of 2016 and a Hugo, Nebula, John W. Campbell, and Locus Award finalist for Best NovellaProfessor Vellitt Boe teaches at the prestigious Ulthar Women’s College. When one of her most gifted students elopes with a dreamer from the waking world, Vellitt must retrieve her. “Kij Johnson’s haunting novella The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe is both a commentary on a classic H.P. Lovecraft tale and a profound reflection on a woman’s life. Vellitt’s quest to find a former student who may be the only person who can save her community takes her through a world governed by a seemingly arbitrary dream logic in which she occasionally glimpses an underlying but mysterious order, a world ruled by capricious gods and populated by the creatures of dreams and nightmares. Those familiar with Lovecraft’s work will travel through a fantasy landscape infused with Lovecraftian images viewed from another perspective, but even readers unfamiliar with his work will be enthralled by Vellitt’s quest. A remarkable accomplishment that repays rereading.” —Pamela Sargent, winner of the Nebula Award
The book is rated 3.95/5 at goodreads.com, from 1875 ratings. See 436 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2yiZq8U.
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A horror book recommendation: Night School: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2lhP3MK.
Unlike most Reacher books, which start at breathless velocity and then wind up having to work through huge, empty action scenes later, this one gets better as it goes along. Its complexity pays off with a better than usual MacGuffin and real teamwork against a global enemy.
Book description from Google Books:
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER – The incomparable hero of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back takes readers to school in his most explosive novel yet. After eleven straight global #1 bestsellers, discover the thrillers that The New York Times calls “utterly addictive.” It’s 1996, and Reacher is still in the army. In the morning they give him a medal, and in the afternoon they send him back to school. That night he’s off the grid. Out of sight, out of mind. Two other men are in the classroom–an FBI agent and a CIA analyst. Each is a first-rate operator, each is fresh off a big win, and each is wondering what the hell they are doing there. Then they find out: A Jihadist sleeper cell in Hamburg, Germany, has received an unexpected visitor–a Saudi courier, seeking safe haven while waiting to rendezvous with persons unknown. A CIA asset, undercover inside the cell, has overheard the courier whisper a chilling message: “The American wants a hundred million dollars.” For what? And who from? Reacher and his two new friends are told to find the American. Reacher recruits the best soldier he has ever worked with: Sergeant Frances Neagley. Their mission heats up in more ways than one, while always keeping their eyes on the prize: If they don’t get their man, the world will suffer an epic act of terrorism. From Langley to Hamburg, Jalalabad to Kiev, Night School moves like a bullet through a treacherous landscape of double crosses, faked identities, and new and terrible enemies, as Reacher maneuvers inside the game and outside the law. Praise for Night School “The prose is crisp and clean, and the fighting is realistic. . . . This latest installment has all the classic ingredients: a great setting (Hamburg), a good villain, and a mystery that draws you in efficiently, escalates unpredictably, and has a satisfying resolution.”–The New Yorker “Another timely tour de force . . . The taut thriller is textbook [Lee] Child: fast-paced and topical with a ‘ripped from the headlines’ feel.”–Minneapolis Star-Tribune “As gripping as ever.”–The Florida Times-Union Praise for #1 bestselling author Lee Child and his Jack Reacher series “Reacher [is] one of this century’s most original, tantalizing pop-fiction heroes.”–The Washington Post
The book is rated 3.96/5 at goodreads.com, from 30225 ratings. See 2611 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2kvawh4.
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A horror book recommendation: Little Sister: A Novel by Barbara Gowdy

A critic review (source Globe and Mail) can be read at: https://tgam.ca/2xOMTXk.
Little Sister is all depth and grace and yet never more than a sentence away from a playful nudge in the ribs.
Book description from Google Books:
Thunderstorms are rolling across the summer sky. Every time one breaks, Rose Bowan loses consciousness and has vivid, realistic dreams about being in another woman’s body. Is Rose merely dreaming? Or is she, in fact, inhabiting a stranger? Disturbed yet entranced, she sets out to discover what is happening to her, leaving the cocoon of her family’s small repertory cinema for the larger, upended world of someone wildly different from herself. Meanwhile her mother is in the early stages of dementia, and has begun to speak for the first time in decades about another haunting presence: Rose’s younger sister. InLittle Sister, one woman fights to help someone she has never met, and to come to terms with a death for which she always felt responsible. With the elegant prose and groundbreaking imagination that have earned her international acclaim, Barbara Gowdy explores the astonishing power of empathy, the question of where we end and others begin, and the fierce bonds of motherhood and sisterhood.
The book is rated 3.26/5 at goodreads.com, from 491 ratings. See 98 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xPjTyF.
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A horror book recommendation: Break In (Kit Fielding) by Dick Francis

A critic review (source Dear Author) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2bdWfAB.
Even though I did not think of the book as a mystery (there was no murder, even though there was a murder attempt or two), I did not think it hurt the story in the slightest. It moved fast, I could not put it down and I was rooting for Kit to win all the way.
Book description from Google Books:
Steeplechase jockey Christmas “Kit” Fielding has had more than his share of close calls both on and off the course. But trouble hits close to home when a grudge between his family and his sister’s in-laws turns into a blood feud.
The book is rated 4.00/5 at goodreads.com, from 3820 ratings. See 142 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2bd2O9Q.
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A horror book recommendation: The Suicide Motor Club by Christopher Buehlman

A critic review (source AV Club) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2qLL8Yo.
Such a high-velocity story could easily come to a screeching halt after its fiery climax, but Buehlman shows the same talent for writing a haunting ending he demonstrated in Those Across The River. He slows down just enough in the book’s final pages to provide a deeply satisfying conclusion that hints at stories yet to be told.
Book description from Google Books:
Rising horror star * Christopher Buehlman, author of “The Lesser Dead,” returns with a chilling and thrilling tale of dark evil lurking on the lonely, open road… “Bram Stoker, quoting the ballad Lenore, said, The dead travel fast. ” “” “Those words have never rung more true…” Remember that car that passed you near midnight on Route 66, doing 105 with its lights off? You wondered where it was going so quickly on that dark, dusty stretch of road, motor roaring, the driver glancing out the window as he blew by. “Did his greedy eyes shine silver like a coyote s? Did he make you feel like prey?” “You can t remember now.” You just saw the founder of the Suicide Motor Club. Be grateful his brake lights never flashed. Be grateful his car was already full. They roam America, littering the highways with smashed cars and bled-out bodies, a gruesome reflection of the unsettled sixties. But to anyone unlucky enough to meet them in the lonely hours of the night, they re just a blurry memory. That is to all but one… Two years ago, they left a witness in the mangled wreck of her family car, her husband dead, her son taken. She remembers their awful faces, despite their tricks and glamours. And she s coming for them her thirst for vengeance even more powerful than their hunger for blood. On the deserted highways of America, the hunters are about to become the hunted…”
The book is rated 4.02/5 at goodreads.com, from 463 ratings. See 117 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2s4YcvX.
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A horror book recommendation: Fever Dream: A Novel by Samanta Schweblin

A critic review (source The Economist) can be read at: http://econ.st/2yzOtjy.
THIS small debut novel packs a mighty, and lingering, punch. In “Fever Dream” Samanta Schweblin…an Argentinian short-story writer based in Berlin, wraps contemporary nightmares, both private and public, into a compact, but explosive, package.
Book description from Google Books:
“Genius.” –Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker “Samanta Schweblin’s electric story reads like a Fever Dream.” –Vanity Fair Shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize! Experience the blazing, surreal sensation of a fever dream… A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family.         Fever Dream is a nightmare come to life, a ghost story for the real world, a love story and a cautionary tale. One of the freshest new voices to come out of the Spanish language and translated into English for the first time, Samanta Schweblin creates an aura of strange psychological menace and otherworldly reality in this absorbing, unsettling, taut novel.
The book is rated 3.72/5 at goodreads.com, from 3988 ratings. See 832 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xnZNP8.
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