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The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 24
Edited by Stephen Jones
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I WOULD LIKE to thank David Barraclough, Kim Newman, Vincent Chong, Mandy Slater, Amanda Foubister, Rodger Turner and Wayne MacLaurin (sfsite.com), Peter Crowther and Nicky Crowther, Ray Russell and Rosalie Parker, Gordon Van Gelder, Andy Cox, Ellen Datlow, Charles Black, Debra L. Hammond, Douglas A. Anderson, Merrilee Heifetz and Sarah Nagel of Writers House, Nicholas Royle, Johnny Mains, Andrew I. Porter and, especially, Duncan Proudfoot, Max Burnell and Dorothy Lumley for all their help and support. Special thanks are also due to Locus, Ansible, Entertainment Weekly and all the other sources that were used for reference in the Introduction and the Necrology.
INTRODUCTION: HORROR IN 2012 copyright © Stephen Jones 2013.
WITCH WORK copyright © Neil Gaiman 2012. Originally published in Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron. Reprinted by permission of the author and the author’s agent.
THE DISCORD OF BEING copyright © Alison Littlewood 2012. Originally published in Where Are We Going? Reprinted by permission of the author.
NECROSIS copyright © Dale Bailey 2012. Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, No. 701, May/June 2012. Reprinted by permission of the author.
THE HUNT: BEFORE, AND THE AFTERMATH copyright © Joe R. Lansdale 2012. Originally published in Trapped in the Saturday Matinee. Reprinted by permission of the author.
THE COTSWOLD OLIMPICKS copyright © Simon Kurt Unsworth 2012. Originally published in Terror Tales of the Costswolds. Reprinted by permission of the author.
WHERE THE SUMMER DWELLS copyright © Lynda E. Rucker 2012. Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction No. 703, September/October 2012. Reprinted by permission of the author.
THE CALLERS copyright © Ramsey Campbell 2012. Originally published in Four for Fear. Reprinted by permission of the author.
THE CURTAIN copyright © Thana Niveau 2012. Originally published in From Hell to Eternity. Reprinted by permission of the author.
THE FALL OF THE KING OF BABYLON copyright © Mark Valentine 2012. Originally published in Terror Tales of East Anglia. Reprinted by permission of the author.
NIGHTSIDE EYE copyright © Terry Dowling 2012. Originally published in Cemetery Dance Magazine Issue #66, 2012. Reprinted by permission of the author.
THE OLD AND THE NEW copyright © Helen Marshall 2012. Originally published in Hair Side, Flesh Side. Reprinted by permission of the author.
WAITING AT THE CROSSROADS MOTEL copyright © Steve Rasnic Tem 2012. Originally published in Black Wings II: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror. Reprinted by permission of the author.
HIS ONLY AUDIENCE copyright © Glen Hirshberg 2012. Originally published in The Raven of October. Reprinted by permission of the author.
MARIONETTES copyright © Claire Massey 2012. Originally published in Marionettes. Reprinted by permission of the author.
BETWEEN FOUR YEWS copyright © Reggie Oliver 2012. Originally published in The Ghosts & Scholars Book of Shadows. Reprinted by permission of the author.
SLICK BLACK BONES AND SOFT BLACK STARS copyright © Gemma Files 2012. Originally published in A Season in Carcosa. Reprinted by permission of the author.
THE OTHER ONE copyright © Debra L. Hammond 2012 as literary heir to Evangeline Walton. Originally published in Above Ker-Is and Other Stories. Reprinted by permission.
SLOW BURN copyright © Joel Lane 2012. Originally published in Where Furnaces Burn. Reprinted by permission of the author.
CELEBRITY FRANKENSTEIN copyright © Stephen Volk 2012. Originally published in Exotic Gothic 4: Postscripts 28/29. Reprinted by permission of the author.
BLUE CRAYON, YELLOW CRAYON copyright © Robert Shearman 2012. Originally published in Remember Why You Fear Me: The Best Dark Fiction of Robert Shearman. Reprinted by permission of the author.
OCTOBER DREAMS copyright © Michael Kelly 2012. Originally published in Supernatural Tales 22, Winter 2012. Reprinted by permission of the author.
THE EYES OF WATER copyright © Alison Littlewood 2012, 2013. Originally published in slightly different form in The Eyes of Water. Reprinted by permission of the author.
NECROLOGY: 2012 copyright © Stephen Jones and Kim Newman 2013.
USEFUL ADDRESSES copyright © Stephen Jones 2013.
Horror in 2012
FOLLOWING THE ABRUPT departure at the end of January of its sole remaining editorial staff member, Dorchester Publishing finally closed its doors after seventy-five years. Amazon Publishing acquired the rights to more than 1,000 titles from the bankrupt publisher, as authors who chose to go with the new company received the full back royalties they were owed.
Those who did not want to sign with Amazon had the rights to their titles reverted back to them, although Dorchester apparently found it difficult to track down some of the (long-dead) authors on its list.
Amazon also purchased the Avalon Books imprint, founded in 1950, including its backlist of around 3,000 titles.
At the end of May, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co., whose authors include Mark Twain and J. R. R. Tolkien, sought bankruptcy protection with estimated debts of more than $3 billion.
That same month Terry Pratchett told a newspaper that text messaging and Twitter were damaging children’s ability to write sentences correctly. He suggested that parents should consider restricting access to mobile phones and social networking sites to encourage their offspring to go back to talking to each other face-to-face.
Despite a reported last-minute decision by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation make a bid, in late October it was announced that Pearson’s Penguin imprint would be merged with Bertelsmann’s Random House to create Penguin Random House. The deal was not expected to be finalised until the second half of 2013, and the new company would control a 25% market share of book sales in the English language and generate estimated annual revenues of around £2.5 billion.
Meanwhile, Poland’s Catholic Archbishop Andrzej Dziega branded Hallowe’en “irresponsible and anti-Christian fun”. Despite the growing popularity in his home country for carving pumpkins and dressing up on October 31st, he complained that the celebration introduced young people to “a world of darkness, including devils, vampires and demons”.
As that was kind of the point, in 2012 a record $8 billion was spent by Americans – notably an increasing numbers of adults – at Hallowe’en, making it the second biggest consumer spend for decorations after Christmas.
James Herbert brought back his psychic investigator David Ash from Haunted and The Ghosts of Sleath to investigate a series of hauntings at Scotland’s Comraich Castle in Ash. In the UK, publisher Macmillan issued a free chapbook sampler of the novel.
About an all-American family hiding a terrible secret involving their twin children, Stephen King praised Breed by Chase Novak (aka best-seller Scott Spencer) as “a total blast”.
R. L. Stine’s first adult novel, Red Rain, was about a woman who took a pair of orphaned twins into her home with gruesome results, and a young captive fought back against his sadistic abductor in Joyce Carol Oates’s harrowing Daddy Love.
Strange happenings surrounded an archaeological dig at an Egyptian pharaoh’s tomb in Lincoln Child’s thriller The Third Gate, while Vlad the Impaler ended up in modern-day Mexico City in Carlos Fuentes’s literary novel Vlad, originally published in Spanish in 2010.
A former journalist may have murdered his wife in Gillian Flynn’s best-seller Gone Girl, which relied on the trick of an unreliable narrator.
Odd Apocalypse was the fifth in the series by Dean Koontz, while the author’s Odd Interlude was originally serialised in three parts in e-book format.
The Wrath of Angels was the eleventh in John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series.
Tim Powers’s historical chiller Hide Me Among the Graves was a sequel-of-sorts to his 1989 novel The Stress of Her Regard, as Pre-Raphaelite siblings Christina Rossetti and Dante Gabriel were haunted by the vampiric ghost of their uncle, John Polidori, and the undead incarnation of Dante’s late wife.
Photographer Cass Neary found herself involved in ancient Icelandic myths and the hunt for a serial killer in Elizabeth Hand’s Available Dark, a sequel to the author’s Generation Loss, while the schizophrenic narrator of Caitlín R. Kiernan’s The Drowning Girl: A Memoir was haunted by a ghostly woman she found wandering naked near a river.
A sixteen-year-old boy searched for his missing father amongst a vaudeville show that hid a terrible secret in Robert Jackson Bennett’s The Troupe.
A film-maker was commissioned to make a documentary about a notorious cult in Adam Nevill’s Last Days, and police detective Cass Jones finally discovered the true origins behind the shadowy cabal of The Network in The Chosen Seed, the third volume in Sarah Pinborough’s ambitious The Dog-Faced Gods trilogy of crime/supernatural thrillers.
A paranoid schizophrenic started to believe his monsters were real in The Hollow City by Dan Wells, while a hungry devil stalked the halls of a medical institution in Victor LaValle’s The Devil in Silver.
A new manager and his daughter found themselves dealing with the ghostly inhabitants of the Deadfall Hotel in Steve Rasnic Tem’s often touching novel.
Chaz Brenchley’s House of Bella was the third in the Keys to D’Esperance series and, under his pseudonym Ben Macallan, Pandaemonium was the urban fantasy follow-up to Desdaemona.
Simon R. Green’s Live and Let Drood was the sixth volume in the Secret Histories series about the Drood family and their ongoing battle against the forces of darkness.
Dave Zeltserman’s Monster: A Novel of Frankenstein was a revisionist version of Mary Shelley’s novel, as narrated by the scientist’s creation, while a group of teens teamed up to track down a monster killing high school girls in Brian McGreevey’s Hemlock Grove.
An old Hollywood movie monster came to life and started killing in Heather Graham’s The Unholy, featuring FBI paranormal forensics investigator Sean Cameron. Meanwhile, paranormal investigator Katya Sokolov investigated a series of undersea deaths around a legendary shipwreck in the same author’s The Unspoken.
Guy Adams’s Sherlock Holmes: The Army of Dr. Moreau pitted the great detective against the beast-men from H. G. Wells’s novel.
The formula that created Jack the Ripper was rediscovered in Ripper, the latest thriller in David L. Roper’s Event Group series, and a super-secret military force protected the USA against supernatural threats in Seal Team 666 by Weston Ochse.
Survivors of the sinking of the Titanic found greater horrors awaiting them on the rescue ship in Matt Forbeck’s Carpathia, and Harper Blaine investigated the reappearance of a mysterious lost ship in Kat Richardson’s Seawitch, the seventh title in the Greywalker series.
People were vanishing from a mist-shrouded northern town in Simon Bestwick’s The Faceless, while Gary McMa-hon concluded his Concrete Grove Trilogy, about the eponymous haunted housing estate, with Silent Voices and Beyond Here Lies Nothing.
A series of bizarre suicides and an outbreak of gruesome murders by children were linked in Liz Jensen’s horror/SF novel The Uninvited, and a tattoo artist found himself involved in the hunt for a serial killer in Aric Davis’s A Good and Useful Hurt.
A “Collector” of souls for Hell had to prove that a woman accused of torturing and killing her family was innocent in Chris F. Holm’s Dead Harvest.
A San Francisco detective hunted a serial killer beneath the city in Scott Sigler’s Nocturnal, and a witch-turned-Boston cop used her magical heritage to investigate a series of ritual killings in The Thirteenth Sacrifice by Debbie Viguié.
In Kate Griffin’s Stray Souls, the first novel in the Magicals Anonymous series, an apprentice shaman and her crew of magical misfits had to find London’s soul and save the city from supernatural creatures. Orbit published a chap-book excerpt from the book back-to-back with an extract from Francis Knight’s Fade to Black.
A backwoods woman was believed to be a witch in The Cove by Ron Rash, and a young woman discovered that she was a “Necromancer” in Michelle Sagara’s Silence, the first volume in the Queen of the Dead series.
Witchy historian Diana and her 1,500-year-old vampire husband Matthew travelled back in time to 16th-century England to search for an enchanted manuscript in Shadow of Night, Deborah Harkness’s sequel to her best-seller, A Discovery of Witches.
A woman discovered that her house contained a dark history linked to a famous singer in The Ghost of Lily Painter by Caitlin Davies, and an American teenager discovered that his English public school was haunted by The White Devil in Justin Evans’s ghostly novel.
Daniel Polansky’s Tomorrow the Killing was the second in the author’s Low Town series, Wayne Simmons’s Doll Parts was a sequel to Drop Dead Gorgeous, and Juggernaut by Adam Baker was a prequel to the author’s Outpost.
Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson and Tim Waggoner collaborated on the novel Ghost Town, and Wayne Simmons had two new horror novels published, Parts and Fever.
The Apocalypse Index was the fourth volume in Charles Stross’s humorous Laundry series about British spies battling Lovecraftian horrors, and Seth Grahame-Smith re-imagined the birth of Jesus as a fantasy adventure with Egyptian zombies and black magic sorcerers in Unholy Night.
Orange Prize-winning historical novelist Helen Dunmore’s The Greatcoat, a ghost story set in early 1950s Yorkshire, was the first new book from Random House/Arrow’s Hammer imprint. It was followed by Jeanette Winterson novella The Daylight Gate, based on Lancashire’s seventeenth-century Pendle Hill witch trials, and Tim Lebbon’s novel Coldbrook.
Kronos by Guy Adams was the second novelisation based on the 1974 Hammer movie Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter, featuring an introduction by creator Brian Clemens, and an updated version of the 1971 film Hands of the Ripper from the same author came with a foreword by Hammer expert Jonathan Rigby. Mark Morris pulled the same stunt with his contemporary version of the 1972 film Vampire Circus, while Shaun Hutson novelised Hammer’s obscure 1958 SF movie X the Unknown.
Alan Goldsher’s My Favourite Fangs: The Story of the Von Trapp Family Vampires was a humorous mash-up of bloodsuckers with The Sound of Music.
A vampire William Shakespeare was stranded on a mystical isle in Lori Handeland’s Zombie Island, the follow-up to Shakespeare Undead, and a vampire Jane Austen found her wedding plans disrupted by murder and the supernatural in Jane Vows Vengeance, the final volume in the trilogy by Michael Thomas Ford.
Gena Showalter’s Alice in Zombieland was a YA mashup and the first in The White Rabbit Chronicles.
* * *
Deadlocked was the penultimate Sookie Stackhouse novel by Charlaine Harris, while US Marshall Anita Blake was on the trail of a fifteen-year-old girl abducted by vampires in Kiss the Dead, the twenty-first book in the series by Laurell K. Hamilton. Beauty, a deleted scene from Hamilton’s novel, was available as a bonus “eSpecial” and was added to the paperback edition.
Twin sisters planned to escape the blood camps set up to feed hordes of vampires in The Farm by Emily McKay, and surviving humans battled virus-created vampires in a post-apocalyptic world in The Twelve, Justin Cronin’s sequel to his 2010 best-seller The Passage.
John Redlaw travelled to America to investigate a series of attacks on vampire immigrants in Redlaw: Red Eye, the second in the series by James Lovegrove.
In Incarnation, the second book in the historical vampire history series by the pseudonymous Emma Cornwall, Lucy Weston set out to discover why Bram Stoker lied about her in Dracula.
Daughter of Light was the second book in the Kindred vampire series, following Daughter of Darkness. It was credited to the long-dead V. C. Andrews®.
Red White and Blood by Christopher Farnsworth was the third in The President’s Vampire series, and former cop Laura Caxton concluded her war with ancient vampire Justinia Malvern in 32 Fangs, the fifth and final book in David Wellington’s series that began with 13 Bullets in 2006.
Jeanne C. Stein’s Haunted was the eighth in the series about vampire Anna Strong, while Undead and Unstable was the eleventh volume in Mary-Janice Davidson’s humorous Betsy the Vampire Queen series and the third in a trilogy.
Set during the French Revolution, Commedia della Morte was the twenty-fourth volume in Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s series about vampire Count Saint-Germain.
Titan Books continued its reprint series of Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula alternate history series with The Bloody Red Baron and Dracula Cha Cha Cha. Both attractive trade paperbacks contained exclusive bonus material, including new novellas in both.
Need was an erotic gay vampire novel by Todd Gregory.
Anne Rice turned to the werewolf genre with markedly less success than she enjoyed with vampires thirty-six years earlier. Based on a forty-page TV treatment, The Wolf Gift involved the transformation of a young newspaper reporter into a lycanthrope.
The Craving was Jason Starr’s humorous follow-up to The Pack, featuring former family-man turned werewolf Simon Burns, while Gregory Lamberson’s The Frenzy War was the second book in the Frenzy Wolves Cycle following The Frenzy Way.
The Germans used “corpse gas” to create an army of zombies during the First World War in Joseph Nassise’s By the Blood of Heroes, the first in the Great Undead War alternate history series.
Kevin J. Anderson’s humorous Death Warmed Over was the first in a series about zombie PI Dan “Shamble” Chambeaux, and Plague Town was the first volume in Dana Fredsti’s Ashley Parker series.
Deck Z: The Titanic by Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon featured zombies on the famous sinking liner, a struggling actor woke up as a zombie in Husk by Corey Redekop, and a young man was being groomed to lead the human survivors in the post-apocalyptic zombie novel This Dark Earth by John Hornor Jacobs.
Created by Stephen Jones, Zombie Apocalypse! Fight-back was the second volume in the “mosaic novel” series, with contributions by Peter Atkins, Anne Billson, Jo Fletcher, Christopher Fowler, Brian Hodge, Reggie Oliver, Sarah Pinborough, Robert Shearman, Michael Marshall Smith, Lisa Tuttle and others, including an original comic strip by Neil Gaiman and Les Edwards that was adapted into a short animated film available online.
Variations on the zombie apocalypse continued in Devil’s Wake by Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due, while Madeleine Roux’s latest heroine was stuck in Seattle following the zombie apocalypse in Sadie Walker is Stranded, a companion volume to the author’s Allison Hewitt is Trapped.
K. Bennett’s The Year of Eating Dangerously was the second legal thriller featuring Mallory Caine, Zombie at Law. It was followed by I Ate the Sheriff, which also featured a werewolf fighting a difficult child custody battle.
Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues was the second in Diana Rowland’s series about zombie Angel Crawford.
Day by Day Armageddon: Shattered Hourglass was the third book in J. L. Bourne’s zombie series, Survivors was the third volume in Z. A. Recht’s The Morningstar Strain series, and Siege was the third in Rhiannon Frater’s originally selfpublished As the World Dies trilogy.
Autumn: Aftermath was the fifth and final volume in David Moody’s zombie series, as an army of corpses attacked the human survivors taking refuge in a fortified castle, and Blackout was the final volume in the nearfuture Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire), set decades after the zombie apocalypse changed the world.
I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus was a humorous novella by S. G. Browne set in the same world as Breathers.
A gay actor came back as a cannibal zombie in Corey Redekop’s literary comedy Husk, while Eat Your Heart Out was a lesbian zombie novella by Dayna Ingram.
A man searched for a possible cure to a zombie plague in a US split into two hemispheres of the living and the dead in The Return Man, a first novel by V. M. Zito that was originally serialised on the Internet.
Susan Dennard’s first book, Something Strange and Deadly, was a YA steampunk zombie novel set in the 1800s, while Cannibal Reign was a post-apocalypse horror novel by debuting author Thomas Kolonair.
Stephen McGeagh’s debut urban horror novel Habit from Salt Publishing came with a glowing cover blurb from Ramsey Campbell.
A young woman found herself caught up in an escalating war between the angels and the Fallen in Lou Morgan’s debut novel Blood and Feathers, the first in a series.
Alison Littlewood’s first novel, A Cold Season, followed the classic Faustian bargain format, a couple tracked supernatural creatures in Lee Collins’s The Dead of Winter, and A. G. Howard’s debut Splintered was a dark Gothic retelling of Alice in Wonderland.
A young girl feared that she would succumb to the supernatural homicidal madness that affected random female teens in her hometown in Mary Atwell’s YA debut novel Wild Girls.
A vampire fan was ready to become the real thing in Helen Keeble’s humorous YA debut, Fang Girl, a werewolf enforcer fell in love with a wild woman who had lost her powers to shift in Rhiannon Held’s debut Silver, and a boy believed he was transforming into a worm-like creature in Mary G. Thompson’s debut YA novel Wuftoom.
Curious Warnings: The Great Ghost Stories of M. R. James was a 150th Anniversary Edition edited by Stephen Jones and illustrated by Les Edwards. The handsome leather-bound hardcover from Jo Fletcher Books included all James’s supernatural stories, along with the children’s novel The Five Jars, a number of articles by the author, the most definitive versions to date of various story fragments, and an extensive illustrated afterword by the editor.
M. R. James’s Collected Ghost Stories from Oxford University Press contained thirty-three stories (three more than in the original 1931 edition) along with an introduction and story notes by editor Darryl Jones.
Constable & Robinson published a numbered and slipcased facsimile edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula to commemorate the hundred-year anniversary of the author’s death. The book contained a new introduction by author Colm Tóibín (which was more concerned with Stoker’s life than the novel’s place in horror history), and as an added bonus there was a colour reproduction of the original 1897 hand-written contract between Stoker and his publisher.
Yet another new edition of Dracula from Harper Design was illustrated by Becky Cloonan.
With historical introductions by Stephen Jones, The Lost Novels of Bram Stoker was an omnibus of the author’s not-very-lost novels The Jewel of Seven Stars, The Lady of the Shroud and The Lair of the White Worm.
The Great God Pan/Xelucha was an omnibus of the two short novels by Arthur Machen and M. P. Sheil, respectively, from Creation Oneiros. Illustrated by Austin Osman Spare, the book came with three different introductions plus a foreword by H. P. Lovecraft.
From the same imprint, Skullcrusher: Selected Weird Fiction Volume One collected eleven stories by Robert E. Howard along with an introduction by editor James Havoc, a foreword by D. M. Mitchell and a memoriam by Love-craft.
Barnes & Noble reissued Stephen King’s Three Novels: Carrie, Salem’s Lot, The Shining in an attractive leather-bound, silver-edged edition.
In a poll to celebrate World Book Day on March 1st, Roald Dahl was chosen as Ireland’s favourite children’s author of all time.
A Monster Calls,
- On Sale
- Oct 29, 2013
- Page Count
- 512 pages
- Running Press