A horror book recommendation: The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror by Joyce Carol Oates

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2acvPil.
Overall, it’s a collection that displays Oates’s ability to inhabit distinctive voices to chilling effect.
Book description from Google Books:
Winner of the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection Including “Big Momma,” winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Short Story From one of our most important contemporary writers, The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror is a bold, haunting collection of six stories. In the title story, a young boy becomes obsessed with his cousin’s doll after she tragically passes away from leukemia. As he grows older, he begins to collect “found dolls” from the surrounding neighborhoods and stores his treasures in the abandoned carriage house on his family’s estate. But just what kind of dolls are they? In “Gun Accident,” a teenage girl is thrilled when her favorite teacher asks her to house-sit, even on short notice. But when an intruder forces his way into the house while the girl is there, the fate of more than one life is changed forever. In “Equatorial,” set in the exotic Galapagos, an affluent American wife experiences disorienting assaults upon her sense of who her charismatic husband really is, and what his plans may be for her. In The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror, Joyce Carol Oates evokes the “fascination of the abomination” that is at the core of the most profound, the most unsettling, and the most memorable of dark mystery fiction.
The book is rated 3.36/5 at goodreads.com, from 948 ratings. See 238 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2adsjY0.
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A horror book recommendation: Foreign Agent: A Thriller by Brad Thor

A critic review (source Washington Times) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2afEoZO.
…this rare added value — sets Brad Thor far apart from and above nearly every other writer of such enjoyable spy and political thrillers. Most readers will come away from reading this entertaining thriller with a considerably deeper and significantly more accurate understanding of the nature of ISIS…
Book description from Google Books:
“The best thriller of the year…an exciting and entertaining read.” —The Washington Times “A top-notch thriller.” —Bill O’Reilly From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brad Thor—a brilliant thriller as “current as tomorrow’s headlines.” Terrorism in Europe has spun out of control. The United States has decided on a dramatic response. Now, the CIA needs a very special kind of operative.Scot Harvath has exactly the skills the CIA is looking for. He’s a former U.S. Navy SEAL with extensive experience in espionage. Working for a private intelligence company, he will provide the CIA, and more important, the President, with absolute deniability. But deep within the Russian Caucasus, Moscow also has its own special kind of operative. As a child, Sacha Baseyev endured an unimaginable horror. Today, he lives and breathes for only one reason—to kill. And he will kill as many Americans as it takes to accomplish his mission. When a clandestine American operations team is ambushed near Syria, all signs point toward a dangerous informant in Brussels. But as Harvath searches for the man, he uncovers another actor—a rogue player hell-bent on forcing America’s hand and drawing it into a confrontation deadlier than anyone could have imagined. As the attacks mount, and terror is brought to the very doorstep of the White House, Harvath finds himself in the race of his life. From Vienna, Brussels, and Berlin, to Malta, Jordan, and Syria—he will push himself beyond the edge in order to confront one of the greatest evils the world has ever known. Filled with action, intrigue, and edge-of-your-seat suspense, Foreign Agent is a nonstop thrill ride that reaffirms Thor’s position as the “master of thrillers.”
The book is rated 4.21/5 at goodreads.com, from 7557 ratings. See 485 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2afEsIK.
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A horror book recommendation: Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George Saunders

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2tBiPk2.
In language reminiscent of James Joyce’s inventive interior monologues, and contentious scenes recalling the graveyard bickering of fellow Irish novelist Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s Cré na Cille…Lincoln in the Bardo fulfills the promise of Saunders’ twisted, inventive, and compassionate short stories.
Book description from Google Books:
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December: a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body. From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state–called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo–a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul. Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end? Praise for Lincoln in the Bardo “A luminous feat of generosity and humanism.”–Colson Whitehead, The New York Times Book Review “A masterpiece.”–Zadie Smith “Ingenious . . . Saunders–well on his way toward becoming a twenty-first-century Twain–crafts an American patchwork of love and loss, giving shape to our foundational sorrows.”–Vogue “Saunders is the most humane American writer working today.”–Harper’s Magazine “The novel beats with a present-day urgency–a nation at war with itself, the unbearable grief of a father who has lost a child, and a howling congregation of ghosts, as divided in death as in life, unwilling to move on.”–Vanity Fair “A brilliant, Buddhist reimagining of an American story of great loss and great love.”–Elle “Wildly imaginative”–Marie Claire “Mesmerizing . . . Dantesque . . . A haunting American ballad.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Exhilarating . . . Ruthless and relentless in its evocation not only of Lincoln and his quandary, but also of the tenuous existential state shared by all of us.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “It’s unlike anything you’ve ever read, except that the grotesque humor, pathos, and, ultimately, human kindness at its core mark it as a work that could come only from Saunders.”–The National
The book is rated 3.92/5 at goodreads.com, from 26716 ratings. See 5895 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2p1u5DC.
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A horror book recommendation: Disappearance at Devil’s Rock: A Novel by Paul Tremblay

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2d4Rrim.
In spite of all its unusual and multifaceted touches, make no mistake: Disappearance at Devil’s Rock is a true and powerful mystery novel, full of twists and horrors that will keep even the most jaded genre reader silently turning its pages late into the night.
Book description from Google Books:
A family is shaken to its core after the mysterious disappearance of a teenage boy in this eerie tale, a blend of literary fiction, psychological suspense, and supernatural horror from the author of A Head Full of Ghosts.“A Head Full of Ghosts scared the living hell out of me, and I’m pretty hard to scare,” raved Stephen King about Paul Tremblay’s previous novel. Now, Tremblay returns with another disturbing tale sure to unsettle readers.Late one summer night, Elizabeth Sanderson receives the devastating news that every mother fears: her thirteen-year-old son, Tommy, has vanished without a trace in the woods of a local park.The search isn’t yielding any answers, and Elizabeth and her young daughter, Kate, struggle to comprehend Tommy’s disappearance. Feeling helpless and alone, their sorrow is compounded by anger and frustration: the local and state police have uncovered no leads. Josh and Luis, the friends who were the last to see Tommy before he vanished, may not be telling the whole truth about that night in Borderland State Park, when they were supposedly hanging out a landmark the local teens have renamed Devil’s Rock.Living in an all-too-real nightmare, riddled with worry, pain, and guilt, Elizabeth is wholly unprepared for the strange series of events that follow. She believes a ghostly shadow of Tommy materializes in her bedroom, while Kate and other local residents claim to see a shadow peering through their windows in the dead of night. Then, random pages torn from Tommy’s journal begin to mysteriously appear—entries that reveal an introverted teenager obsessed with the phantasmagoric; the loss of his father, killed in a drunk-driving accident a decade earlier; a folktale involving the devil and the woods of Borderland; and a horrific incident that Tommy believed connects them.As the search grows more desperate, and the implications of what happened become more haunting and sinister, no one is prepared for the shocking truth about that night and Tommy’s disappearance at Devil’s Rock.
The book is rated 3.60/5 at goodreads.com, from 4112 ratings. See 740 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2anS201.
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A horror book recommendation: The Witches of New York by Ami Mckay

A critic review (source Globe and Mail) can be read at: https://tgam.ca/2uGyyuz.
There’s room for a sequel, though, and McKay can surely go another round with the witches if she chooses. As she notes, “If there was ever a place where one could start again, it was Manhattan.”
Book description from Google Books:
The beloved, bestselling author of The Birth House and The Virgin Cure is back with her most beguiling novel yet, luring us deep inside the lives of a trio of remarkable young women navigating the glitz and grotesqueries of Gilded-Age New York by any means possible, including witchcraft…The year is 1880. Two hundred years after the trials in Salem, Adelaide Thom (Moth from The Virgin Cure) has left her life in the sideshow to open a tea shop with another young woman who feels it’s finally safe enough to describe herself as a witch: a former medical student and gardien de sorts (keeper of spells), Eleanor St. Clair. Together they cater to Manhattan’s high society ladies, specializing in cures, palmistry and potions–and in guarding the secrets of their clients. All is well until one bright September afternoon, when an enchanting young woman named Beatrice Dunn arrives at their door seeking employment.     Beatrice soon becomes indispensable as Eleanor’s apprentice, but her new life with the witches is marred by strange occurrences. She sees things no one else can see. She hears voices no one else can hear. Objects appear out of thin air, as if gifts from the dead. Has she been touched by magic or is she simply losing her mind? Eleanor wants to tread lightly and respect the magic manifest in the girl, but Adelaide sees a business opportunity. Working with Dr. Quinn Brody, a talented alienist, she submits Beatrice to a series of tests to see if she truly can talk to spirits. Amidst the witches’ tug-of-war over what’s best for her, Beatrice disappears, leaving them to wonder whether it was by choice or by force.      As Adelaide and Eleanor begin the desperate search for Beatrice, they’re confronted by accusations and spectres from their own pasts. In a time when women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds, were any of them safe?
The book is rated 3.78/5 at goodreads.com, from 3100 ratings. See 497 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uGemZL.
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A horror book recommendation: Certain Dark Things: A Novel by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2mXoTwO.
Smart, tender and insightful, I enjoyed this tremendously, and hope to see Moreno-Garcia write more stories in this world.
Book description from Google Books:
Welcome to Mexico City… An Oasis In A Sea Of Vampires…Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eeking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, must feast on the young to survive and Domingo looks especially tasty. Smart, beautiful, and dangerous, Atl needs to escape to South America, far from the rival narco-vampire clan pursuing her. Domingo is smitten.Her plan doesn’t include developing any real attachment to Domingo. Hell, the only living creature she loves is her trusty Doberman. Little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his effervescent charm. And then there’s Ana, a cop who suddenly finds herself following a trail of corpses and winds up smack in the middle of vampire gang rivalries. Vampires, humans, cops, and gangsters collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive?
The book is rated 3.68/5 at goodreads.com, from 1073 ratings. See 337 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2mwvUaS.
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A horror book recommendation: Universal Harvester: A Novel by John Darnielle

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2uAVRLe.
Perhaps this book isn’t for everyone. Perhaps it doesn’t always succeed in achieving what it sets out to do. This will no doubt be a polarizing read, but perhaps that’s exactly what Mr. Darnielle put pen to paper to create.
Book description from Google Books:
New York Times Bestseller“Brilliant . . . Darnielle is a master at building suspense, and his writing is propulsive and urgent; it’s nearly impossible to stop reading . . . [Universal Harvester is] beyond worthwhile; it’s a major work by an author who is quickly becoming one of the brightest stars in American fiction.” —Michael Schaub, Los Angeles Times“Grows in menace as the pages stack up . . . [But] more sensitive than one would expect from a more traditional tale of dread.”—Joe Hill, New York Times Book Review“The most unsettling book I’ve read since House of Leaves.” —Adam Morgan, Electric LiteratureLife in a small town takes a dark turn when mysterious footage begins appearing on VHS cassettes at the local Video Hut. So begins Universal Harvester, the haunting and masterfully unsettling new novel from John Darnielle, author of the New York Times Bestseller and National Book Award Nominee Wolf in White VanJeremy works at the Video Hut in Nevada, Iowa. It’s a small town in the center of the state—the first a in Nevada pronounced ay. This is the late 1990s, and even if the Hollywood Video in Ames poses an existential threat to Video Hut, there are still regular customers, a rush in the late afternoon. It’s good enough for Jeremy: it’s a job, quiet and predictable, and it gets him out of the house, where he lives with his dad and where they both try to avoid missing Mom, who died six years ago in a car wreck.But when a local schoolteacher comes in to return her copy of Targets—an old movie, starring Boris Karloff, one Jeremy himself had ordered for the store—she has an odd complaint: “There’s something on it,” she says, but doesn’t elaborate. Two days later, a different customer returns a different tape, a new release, and says it’s not defective, exactly, but altered: “There’s another movie on this tape.”Jeremy doesn’t want to be curious, but he brings the movies home to take a look. And, indeed, in the middle of each movie, the screen blinks dark for a moment and the movie is replaced by a few minutes of jagged, poorly lit home video. The scenes are odd and sometimes violent, dark, and deeply disquieting. There are no identifiable faces, no dialogue or explanation—the first video has just the faint sound of someone breathing— but there are some recognizable landmarks. These have been shot just outside of town.In Universal Harvester, the once placid Iowa fields and farmhouses now sinister and imbued with loss and instability and profound foreboding. The novel will take Jeremy and those around him deeper into this landscape than they have ever expected to go. They will become part of a story that unfolds years into the past and years into the future, part of an impossible search for something someone once lost that they would do anything to regain.“This chilling literary thriller follows a video store clerk as he deciphers a macabre mystery through clues scattered among the tapes his customers rent. A page-tuning homage to In Cold Blood and The Ring.”—O: The Oprah Magazine“A stellar encore after the success of [Darnielle’s] debut novel, Wolf in White Van . . . Beneath the eerie gauze of this book, I felt an undercurrent of humanity and hope.”—Manuel Roig-Franzia, The Washington Post“[Universal Harvester is] so wonderfully strange, almost Lynchian in its juxtaposition of the banal and the creepy, that my urge to know what the hell was going on caused me to go full throttle . . . [But] Darnielle hides so much beautiful commentary in the book’s quieter moments that you would be remiss not to slow down.”—Abram Scharf, MTV News“Universal Harvester is a novel about noticing hidden things, particularly the hurt and desperation that people bear under their exterior of polite reserve . . . Mr. Darnielle possesses the clairvoyant’s gift for looking beneath the surface.”—Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal “[Universal Harvester is] constantly unnerving, wrapped in a depressed dread that haunts every passage. But it all pays off with surprising emotionality.” —Kevin Nguyen, GQ.com“Darnielle writes beautifully . . . He builds a deep sense of foreboding by giving pieces of the puzzle in such a way that you really can’t see the solution until that final piece is in place.” —Salem Macknee, News & Observer
The book is rated 3.27/5 at goodreads.com, from 6031 ratings. See 1183 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uAVK2d.
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A horror book recommendation: The Trespasser: A Novel by Tana French

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2euXoWI.
“The Trespasser” is brisk but not breathless. It would be a pity if Ms. French raced through such beautifully conceived and executed material.
Book description from Google Books:
New York Times bestselling author Tana French is “required reading for anyone who appreciates tough, unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting” (The New York Times). She “inspires cultic devotion in readers . . . (The New Yorker) and is “the most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years” (Washington Post). “Atmospheric and unputdownable.” – People An Amazon Best Book of the Year In bestselling Tana French’s newest “tour de force,”* being on the Murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point. Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her catalogue-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her–except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before. And that her death won’t stay in its neat by-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette’s road. Aislinn’s friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be. Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can’t tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?
The book is rated 3.97/5 at goodreads.com, from 30559 ratings. See 3826 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2ev33vA.
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A horror book recommendation: The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2fTh7E0.
…the effect is both strikingly assured and authentic, while also comprehensively destabilising any assumptions the reader may have had about all three.
Book description from Google Books:
WINNER OF THE 2015 COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016 ‘Modern classics in this genre are rare, and instant ones even rarer; The Loney, however, looks as though it may be both’ Sunday Telegraph If it had another name, I never knew, but the locals called it the Loney – that strange nowhere between the Wyre and the Lune where Hanny and I went every Easter time with Mummer, Farther, Mr and Mrs Belderboss and Father Wilfred, the parish priest. It was impossible to truly know the place. It changed with each influx and retreat, and the neap tides would reveal the skeletons of those who thought they could escape its insidious currents. No one ever went near the water. No one apart from us, that is. I suppose I always knew that what happened there wouldn’t stay hidden for ever, no matter how much I wanted it to. No matter how hard I tried to forget . . .
The book is rated 3.28/5 at goodreads.com, from 8105 ratings. See 1251 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1GutV6C.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2f0YCeo.

A horror book recommendation: The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2fTh7E0.
…the effect is both strikingly assured and authentic, while also comprehensively destabilising any assumptions the reader may have had about all three.
Book description from Google Books:
WINNER OF THE 2015 COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016 ‘Modern classics in this genre are rare, and instant ones even rarer; The Loney, however, looks as though it may be both’ Sunday Telegraph If it had another name, I never knew, but the locals called it the Loney – that strange nowhere between the Wyre and the Lune where Hanny and I went every Easter time with Mummer, Farther, Mr and Mrs Belderboss and Father Wilfred, the parish priest. It was impossible to truly know the place. It changed with each influx and retreat, and the neap tides would reveal the skeletons of those who thought they could escape its insidious currents. No one ever went near the water. No one apart from us, that is. I suppose I always knew that what happened there wouldn’t stay hidden for ever, no matter how much I wanted it to. No matter how hard I tried to forget . . .
The book is rated 3.28/5 at goodreads.com, from 8100 ratings. See 1249 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1GutV6C.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2f0YCeo.