Gabino Iglesias Reviews Anybody Home? by Michael J. Seidlinger

Anybody Home?, Michael J. Seidlinger (CLASH Books 978-1-95590-409-4, $18.95, 234pp, tp) August 2022.

Writing a novel using second person is tricky. Writing a creepy, bizarre novel in which the use of second person pulls the reader into a dark, violent world where laws are broken and people die is much harder. Michal J. Seidlinger pulls off the latter brilliantly in Any­body Home?, and readers actually end up enjoy­ing ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Mary by Nat Cassidy

Mary, Nat Cassidy (Nightfire 978-1-25026-523-4, $21.99, 416pp, tp) August 2022.

Nat Cassidy’s Mary is an outstanding debut horror novel. It’s also a novel that shouldn’t work. Take, for example, just a few of the ele­ments present in this novel’s wild mix of ideas: ghosts, anxiety, serial killers, an abusive aunt, depression, reincarnation, and insects that aren’t really there. Might sound like too much but, in Cassidy’s capable hands, it ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews The Last Storm by Tim Lebbon

The Last Storm, Tim Lebbon (Titan 978-1-80336-042-3, $15.95, 352pp, tp) July 2022.

One of the most amazing things about horror is that tropes can become fresh, unique beasts in the hands of the right writer. Years ago I was sure the zombie genre was dead, no pun intended. Literature about the undead had already done it all and there was no way a new zombie horror novel could make ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey

The Mermaid of Black Conch, Monique Roffey (Peepal Tree 978-1845234577, £9.99, 320pp, tp) April 2020. (Knopf 978-0-59353-420-5, $26.00, 240pp, hc) August 2022. Cover art by Sophie Bass.

The Mermaid of Black Conch reads like a fable mixed in with elements of contemporary fiction, a bizarre version of a love story, and a novel about oth­erness and politics. With Caribbean flavor, culture, speech idiosyncrasies, and history permeating the narrative, it’s ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews The Nectar of Nightmares by Craig Laurance Gidney

The Nectar of Nightmares, Craig Laurance Gidney (Underland 978-1-63023-063-0, $16.99, 166pp, tp) July 2022. Cover by Firebird Creative with elements by deryart.

One of the coolest things about reading books with reviewing in mind is that you think about them critically, looking for ways to talk about them once you finally sit down to write your review. I did a quick trip to New York City recently, and Craig ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Black Mouth by Ronald Malfi

Black Mouth, Ronald Malfi (Titan 978-1-78909-865-5, $15.95, 448pp, tp) July 2022.

Ronald Malfi is one of the most consistent pur­veyors of great horror fiction, and Black Mouth is a superb addition to his outstanding oeuvre. A creepy novel about a man getting kids to kill other kids, Black Mouth is a gritty narrative about battling alcoholism and inner demons, leaving the past behind, and the power of friend­ship. It’s ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Helpmeet by Naben Ruthnum

Helpmeet, Naben Ruthnum (Undertow 978-1-98896-438-6, $11.99, 94pp, tp) May 2022. Cover by Caspar David Friedrich.

Naben Ruthnum’s Helpmeet is one of those rare books that is simultaneously grotesque, weird, and beautiful. With a dark mystery at its core, precise prose, and a healthy dose of body horror, Helpmeet offers a lot, and it does so in less than 100 pages, which makes it even more impressive.

The year is ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Upgrade by Blake Crouch

Upgrade, Blake Crouch (Ballantine 978-0-59315-753-4, $28.00, 352pp, hc) July 2022. Cover by Chris Brand.

Blake Crouch’s Upgrade is a wildly enter­taining narrative that reveals its shape-shifting nature as the story progresses. It begins as the sad story of a man trying to rebuild his life, quickly becomes a story of try­ing to save the world from something that could end up killing a large portion of humanity, and eventually ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak

Hidden Pictures, Jason Rekulak (Flatiron Books 978-1-250-81934-5, $27.99, 384pp, hc) May 2022. Cover by Donna Sinisgalli Noetzel.

Jason Rekulak’s Hidden Pictures is one of those rare horror novels that manages to rake a few tired clichés and turn them into something fresh and incredibly engaging. At once a novel about ghosts, murder, and possession and a narrative that deals with overcoming addiction and finding a way to navigate life ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Dark Factory by Kathe Koja

Dark Factory, Kathe Koja (Meerkat 978-1-94615-475-0, $17.95, 300pp, tp) August 2022. Cover by Tricia Reeks.

Talking about Kathe Koja’s work is never easy, and that’s a good thing. Koja brings a constant explosion or language and ideas to the page, and Dark Factory, a novel that combines her skills as a writer with her experience as a performance artist, is no different. Complex, fast-paced, bi­zarre, and walking a ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Echo by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Echo, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor Nightfire 978-1-250-75955-9, $29.99, 416pp, hc) February 2022.

Reviewing the work of Thomas Olde Heuvelt is no easy task, and Echo, his latest, is no different. Translated from the Dutch by Moshe Gilula, this is a complex, creepy, atmospheric, labyrinthine monster that comes in at more than 400 pages.

Echo by Thomas Olde Heuvelt is a novel about many things; grief, trauma, unconditional love, ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Mage of Fools by Eugen Bacon

Mage of Fools, Eugen Bacon (Meerkat Press 978-1-94615-484-2, $15.95, 220pp, tp) May 2022. Cover by Tricia Reeks.

Eugen Bacon’s Mage of Fools is the kind of too-close-to-reality science fiction nar­rative that manages to simultaneously awe with its use of language and imagination and serve as a warning of what things could become.

Mafinga used to be a great place to live, a place where free speech and freedom of ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews No Second Chances by Rio Youers

No Second Chances, Rio Youers (Morrow 978-0-06300-105-3, $27.99, 400pp, hc) May 2022.

Rio Youers’s No Second Chances is many things: a thriller, a story of redemption, a crime novel, a tale of friendship, and a narrative about identity, influence, and power that sometimes dips its toes into the realm of horror. However, the important thing is that it’s wildly entertaining, and that it might be Youers’s best book yet. ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews El Porvenir, ¡Ya!: Citlalzazanilli Mexicatl, a Chicano Sci-fi Anthology by Scott Russell Duncan, Armando Rendón, Jenny Irizary, eds.

El Porvenir, ¡Ya!: Citlalzazanilli Mexicatl, a Chicano Sci-fi Anthology, Scott Russell Duncan, Armando Rendón, Jenny Irizary, eds. (Somos en escrito Literary Foundation Press 979-8-409-93671-6, $10.00, 220pp, pb) May 2022. Cover by Polaris Castillo.

El Porvenir, ¡Ya!: Citlalzazanilli Mexicatl offers readers a surprisingly comprehensive look at what contemporary Mexican-American science fiction has to offer. With a mix of up-and-coming writers and sea­soned veterans of the genre, this anthology celebrates diversity ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews The Fervor by Alma Katsu

The Fervor, Alma Katsu (G.P. Putnam’s Sons 978-0-59332-833-0, $27.00, 320pp, hc) April 2022.

Fantasy, spy thrillers, horror; Alma Katsu can do it all. A quick glance at her oeuvre, which includes titles like Red Widow, a 2021 spy thriller that changed the game by focusing on women; the Taker Trilogy, which brings together the supernatural with elements of fantasy, romance, and suspense; and The Hunger, a truly ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews The Unfamiliar Garden by Benjamin Percy

The Unfamiliar Garden, Benjamin Percy (Mari­ner Books 978-0-35833-271-8, $26.00, 224pp, hc) January 2022. Cover by Chrissy Kurpeski.

Benjamin Percy can apparently do it all. From novels to comics to television, Percy seems to be everywhere, but as a reader, I selfishly wish he would just sit at his desk (or wherever he writes) and crank out a novel every three months or so. Yes, The Unfamiliar Garden is that ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews All the Wrong Ideas by Jeremy Robert Johnson

All the Wrong Ideas, Jeremy Robert Johnson (Coevolution Press 978-1736781524, $13.99, 272pp, tp) August 2021. Cover by Dave Cordia.

Picture this: one of your favorite bands – one you started listening to when they were doing rough demos in the drummer’s garage, kept listening to when they put out their first few records on an indie label, and ended up screaming their songs alongside thousands of fellow fans once ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Milk Teeth by Helene Bukowski

Milk Teeth, Helene Bukowski (The Unnamed Press 978-1-95121-335-0, $26.00, 223pp, hc) September 2021. Cover by Chrissy Kurpeski.

Helene Bukowski’s Milk Teeth, which has been beautifully translated from the German by Jen Calleja, is an enigmatic narrative about three women that succeeds as much because of what’s on the page as it does thanks to the questions left unanswered at the core of the story. Atmospheric, dark, a bit ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Road of Bones by Christopher Golden

Road of Bones, Christopher Golden (St. Martin’s Press 978-1-25027-430-3, $27.99, 240pp, hard­cover) January 2022.

Christopher Golden’s Road of Bones packs a mixture of horror and adventure its 240 pages that makes it feel like a 100-page novella. Full of memorable characters and taking place in a truly unique and inhospitable location, the narrative walks a fine line between an all-out horror story about impossible creatures threatening a group of ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Spontaneous Human Combustion by Richard Thomas

Spontaneous Human Combustion, Richard Thomas (Keylight Books 978-1-68442-755-0, $29.99, 250pp, hc) February 2022.

Richard Thomas is a seasoned professional and one of the best short story writers out there. Spon­taneous Human Combustion might be his best yet. As dark as a pool of black ink at midnight on a moonless night, the fourteen stories that make up this collection bring together noir and horror in ways that explore humanity ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Mickey7 by Edward Ashton

Mickey7, Edward Ashton (St. Martin’s 978-1-25027-503-5, $27.99, 304pp, hc) February 2022.

One of the most impressive things about genre fiction is its ability to surprise and entertain regardless of how long we’ve been reading it. Edward Ashton’s Mickey7, his third novel, is a multilayered, wildly entertaining story that takes readers into a human colony fighting to survive on a truly inhospitable planet of rock and extreme cold that ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn

Flowers for the Sea, Zin E. Rocklyn (Tordot­com 978-1-25080-403-7, $13.99, 108pp, tp) October 2021.

Zin E. Rocklyn’s Flowers for the Sea is one of those rare narratives that somehow manages to be fantastical, smart, and hor­rific, all in just over 100 pages. An impressive debut, the latest from a strong, unique new voice in science fiction, this is the kind of novella that’s read in a single sitting not ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

How High We Go in the Dark, Sequoia Naga­matsu (Morrow 978-0063072640, $27.99, 304pp, hc) January 2022.

Reading Sequoia Nagamatsu’s How High We Go in the Dark is not always a pleasurable experience. Emotionally gritty, uncomfortably plausible, and incredibly timely, this novel is packed with pain, grief, loss, and the kind of possibilities that make you want to forget how much you don’t know about the future. However, it’s also ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes

Dead Silence, S.A. Barnes (Tor Night­fire 978-1250819994, $27.99, 352pp, hc) Febru­ary 2022.

S.A. Barnes’s Dead Silence is a creepy and incredibly at­mospheric horror novel that bridges the gap between Gothic horror and extreme horror while simultaneously exploring the role that past trauma and PTSD can play when someone who suffers from them is exposed to fresh trauma.

Claire Kovalik is about to be forcefully retired and has no idea ...Read More

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The Year in Review 2021 by Gabino Iglesias

Well, the world didn’t stop burning and COVID refused to go away, but 2021 was slightly better than 2020, and it was a superb year for speculative fiction. It was also a year in which I found great balance while reading outstanding work from Big Four publishers, independent presses, and self-published authors. This matters because it speaks volumes about the quality of work out there and the fantastic way in ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling

The Death of Jane Lawrence, Caitlin Starling (St. Martin’s Press 978-1250272584, $27.99, 368pp, hc) October 2021. Cover by Colin Verdi.

Caitlin Starling’s The Death of Jane Lawrence is a horror Gothic with romance elements that relies on much more than atmosphere and a crumbling manor to hook readers and keep them glued to the pages. Between dark magic and gore, this is a novel with a historical angle that ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews The All-Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw

The All-Consuming World, Cassandra Khaw (Erewhon 978-1645660200, $25.95, 288pp, hc) September 2021. Cover by Ashe Samuels.

Once in a while a debut novel comes along that deserves to be on every radar, and Cassandra Khaw’s The All-Consuming World is that kind of book. An explosive, lyrical, foul-mouthed science fiction novel in which tech­nological advances fail to silence the most basic human emotions, The All-Consuming World is an interstellar trip ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews The Seven Visitations of Sydney Burgess by Andy Marino

The Seven Visitations of Sydney Burgess, Andy Marino (Redhook Books 978-0316-62948-5, $16.99, 352pp, tp) September 2021.

Andy Marino’s The Seven Visitations of Sydney Burgess is a creepy, tense narra­tive that exists somewhere between vio­lent psychological thriller and supernatural horror novel. However, while most of the elements of those two subgenres are present here, the novel also delves deep into serious topics like guilt, substance abuse, and mental health. The ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Midnight, Water City by Chris McKinney

Midnight, Water City, Chris McKinney (Soho Crime 978-1-64129-240-5, $27.95, 312pp, hc) July 2021. Cover by Vlado Krizan and Janine Agro.

What would happen if the world was turned upside-down and submerged in the ocean? That’s the first guiding question in Chris McKinney’s Midnight, Water City, an SF novel with one foot in whodunits and the other one in classic noir. There are more questions, of course, but that ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Radiant Apples by Joe R. Lansdale

Radiant Apples, Joe R. Lansdale (Subterranean 978-1645240419, $40.00, 160pp. hc) November 2021. Cover by Ken Laager.

Two of the elements that make Joe Lansdale one of the best storytellers of our time are his ability to make a story flow with the ease of a large river after heavy rains and the way in which he mixes action, violence, and humor to deliver wildly entertaining narratives. Both of those ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Body Shocks by Ellen Datlow

Body Shocks, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Tachyon Pub­lications 978-1-61696-360-6, $17.95, 384pp, tp) October 2021. Cover by John Coulthart.

Once in a while, an anthology comes along that demands we alter the standard review format. Body Shocks, edited by Ellen Datlow, is one of those rare books. Yes, there are stories that will get individual attention later, but this book accomplishes two things that deserve to be mentioned first. The ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Near the Bone by Christina Henry

Near the Bone, Christina Henry (Berkley 978-0-59319-976-6, $17.00, 336pp, tp) April 2021. Cover by Spencer Fuller.

Christina Henry’s Near the Bone is a horror novel that brings together real life horrors and monsters that walk a fine line between the supernatural and the what-if world of cryptozoology. At once a narrative about abuse and survival and a tale of creatures stalking people up on a snow-covered mountain, Near the ...Read More

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