October is my favorite month, not only for the horror love getting amped up but because the season bares some strange and mystic fruit of times long gone, it implores us remember our dead and in the wind change can be felt climbing up your back to whisper in your ear the tragedies of the past and mysteries of the future. It’s a time when the veil between worlds grows thinner and threw it slips visions of other realities, shadows of beings unhindered by flesh and bone, and echoes of times that never existed here. It’s a time when myth melds with reality and old wives’ tales grow legs and walk the earth. During the whole month there are more than just frights in store but trickery and witchcraft, creating an atmosphere of living in the pages of a Grimm fairytale. It’s also the perfect time to grab some spooky reads, specifically those that do more than just creep me out, not there’s anything wrong with that, but these special Halloween reads also capture the magical weirdness and terror of the season as a whole. Recently I have been blessed by a treasure trove of such reads, making the months leading into October feel as if it was already here, and I couldn’t have been more pleased. Here are a few of the collections and collaborations that gave me that old October-y feeling!
Out Behind The Barn by Chad Lutzke and John Boden left me with a haunted feeling after I found out the truth about what really takes place on Maggie’s farm. Two young boys seemingly living the good life with old Maggie unravel the truth as to why she keeps bringing the strangers and why they’re never quite right, why they need to learn how to live again. There was a trope buried in this story that didn’t reveal itself too soon and dare I say, I didn’t want to classify it at all alongside so many other stories dealing with the topic because this tale was beyond damn near all of them. Out Behind The Barn blew me away and left me saying Lawdy Mercy. Both Boden and Lutzke have been on my radar for quite some time because they both wield some pretty mighty writing chops, they know how to put a story on the page, how to breathe life into it and how to make it change in your imagination into twisted beautiful monsters. I highly recommend checking them out if you dig stories that cut to the bone with such vivid nostalgia and heartache, tales that make death seem beautiful and horrific all at once.
Your Arms Around Entropy by Brain Fatah Steele is a stellar collection of terror dancing with the strange. His writing is strong and conjures some dark and beautiful pictures in my mind. He has a talent that takes your average ghost story to the next level and leaves you grinning. This collection showcases his talent for storytelling, from ghosts to mimes to rock bands, a little something for everyone! He draws you in and holds you until the last word. I can’t wait to read more by Mr. Steele…which by the way will be heading our way soon from Bloodshot Books.
Occasional Beasts by John Claude Smith is a fantastically creepy read. Smith has a talent for blending the weird with the horrific and this collection is another crowd pleaser. His tales encapsulate the pain and beauty in life and wrap them in shadows of supernatural forces and human monsters. From the opening story of psychics and frauds, to a heartbreaking glimpse at forbidden love between two girls, and the darkness waiting in strange places, Occasional Beasts is a definite October read!
Love For Slaughter by Sara Tantlinger is a collection of gruesomely beautiful poetry dedicated to death and twisted love. Tantlinger captures the darkness of heart and mind and translates it into a raw and morbidly alluring glimpses bled onto the page. Offerings like Muse Incarnate, Letters On Your Spine, and Fun House will leave your bloodlust aching for more from the lady behind the pen. This collection fulfilled my want for an October read both sensual and deadly.
Within these pages there’s something that hits every genre’s sweet tooth, there’s gore, macabre beauty, the magical feeling of masquerading in the darkness, and the lonesome touch of those long gone. The month goes by too fast and before you know it our beloved October will be have flown by faster than a weird sister on her broom, but with this gathering of ghouls you can be certain to feel the magic of the season all year around. Grab them and bask in the glory of Halloween forever.
Want another read that I’ve heard is perfect for the Halloween season? Check out Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason’s new one from Sinister Grin Press: Twin Lakes: Autumn Fires.
A campfire in the distance should be a relief to a victim on the run, but instead, it signals darkness and the doorway to evil….When Liz accepts a ride from a stranger, she ultimately becomes the victim of a heinous crime. After fighting off her attacker, she stumbles towards a campfire in the distance and onto the scene of a violent murder. The terror of discovering a decapitated young woman is only the beginning, as when the shadows begin to move, she finds that this new killer has set his sights on her. He wants her to share in an autumn fire.Meanwhile local law enforcement, along with a secret group of town founders, are working to solve the murders and end to the autumn fires. Can they stop the perpetrator in time before he gets to Liz? The ancestors have centuries of wisdom on their side, and yet, will it be enough to stop a murderer calling upon the power of demons to guide him? After generations of hiding, will their identity be revealed to the unsuspecting citizens of Twin Lakes?From the Bram Stoker nominated authors of Mayan Blue comes a new tale woven to introduce you to the creepiest of towns. For fans of Twin Peaks, Wayward Pines, or the new Castle Rock, this one is sure to draw you in.