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Recommended Dark Fiction Books/Stories
(Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Thriller/etc)
* They are in no particular order.
* The summaries are copied from Goodreads or my own reviews.
* Yes, several could be in multiple categories and I may have some in what you may consider the "wrong" category. It's okay. Pour yourself a drink and grab a book.
* Updated often.
Coming of Age
Single Author Collections
The Long Walk by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
Against the wishes of his mother, sixteen-year-old Ray Garraty is about to compete in the annual grueling match of stamina and wits known as The Long Walk. One hundred boys must keep a steady pace of four miles per hour without ever stopping... with the winner being awarded "The Prize" - anything he wants for the rest of his life. But, as part of this national tournament that sweeps through a dystopian America year after year, there are some harsh rules that Garraty and ninety-nine others must adhere to in order to beat out the rest. There is no finish line - the winner is the last man standing. Contestants cannot receive any outside aid whatsoever. Slow down under the speed limit and you're given a warning. Three warnings and you're out of the game - permanently...
These Violent Delights by Jessica Raney
Picture: Mad Max Thunderdome with a bad-ass female main character . Set in a post-apocalyptic world, THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS by Jessica Raney had me glued to the page with almost non-stop action and tension. AND the author is super nice, and a Texan! I had the privilege of meeting her at a book fair in Houston. I'm a sucker for a post-apocalyptic story and this one DELIVERS.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (a short story)
In a small American town, the local residents are abuzz with excitement and nervousness when they wake on the morning of the twenty-seventh of June. Everything has been prepared for the town’s annual tradition—a lottery in which every family must participate, and no one wants to win.
I am Legend by Richard Matheson
Written decades before the market was saturated with this genre, it's a definite classic. Well written, and will definitely be on my favorites list. I know "the book is always better" but this book is almost a completely different story than the Will Smith movie. Read it.
The Stand by Stephen King
First came the days of the plague. Then came the dreams. Dark dreams that warned of the coming of the dark man. The apostate of death, his worn-down boot heels tramping the night roads. The warlord of the charnel house and Prince of Evil. His time is at hand. His empire grows in the west and the Apocalypse looms.
Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans —though no one calls them that anymore. His wife has left him, his father is sinking into dementia, and Marcos tries not to think too hard about how he makes a living. After all, it happened so quickly. First, it was reported that an infectious virus has made all animal meat poisonous to humans. Then governments initiated the “Transition.” Now, eating human meat—“special meat”—is legal. Marcos tries to stick to numbers, consignments, processing. Then one day he’s given a gift: a live specimen of the finest quality. Though he’s aware that any form of personal contact is forbidden on pain of death, little by little he starts to treat her like a human being. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost—and what might still be saved.
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
I loved this book and read it in less than 24 hours. I did have to work, sleep, and eat at some point. :) Malerman is a master of suspense and tension, and only someone with a voice like his could write a book about an unseen creature. The heart of the book is the tightness of his writing, the edge-of-your-seat situations, and the palpable fear and necessary coldness of Malorie. I'm severely claustrophobic, and perhaps that's why this book resonated so deeply with me. Not that they were in tight spaces but they may as well have been, living their lives beneath blindfolds. And not much is scarier than that which you can't see. I did see the movie first and was underwhelmed by it. But after being told that the book was much better, I am happy to say I gave it a chance.
Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
An unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Refreshing take on the post-apocalyptic novel. A world of beauty and hope, not stuffed with fear and anger like so many others. St. John Mandel is a master storyteller; weaving in and out of places, times, and intimacies. I will re-read this in the future.
The Complex by Brian Keene
Non-stop gory fun! Loved the characters and their POV chapters. There are some fantastic death scenes in this one.
Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed
Years ago, just before the country was incinerated to wasteland, ten men and their families colonized an island off the coast. They built a radical society of ancestor worship, controlled breeding, and the strict rationing of knowledge and history. Only the Wanderers--chosen male descendants of the original ten--are allowed to cross to the wastelands, where they scavenge for detritus among the still-smoldering fires. The daughters of these men are wives-in-training. At the first sign of puberty, they face their Summer of Fruition, a ritualistic season that drags them from adolescence to matrimony. They have children, who have children, and when they are no longer useful, they take their final draught and die. But in the summer, the younger children reign supreme. With the adults indoors and the pubescent in Fruition, the children live wildly--they fight over food and shelter, free of their fathers' hands and their mothers' despair. And it is at the end of one summer that little Caitlin Jacob sees something so horrifying, so contradictory to the laws of the island, that she must share it with the others.
Where the Dead Go to Die by Aaron Dries and Mark Allan Gunnells
The authors did a fantastic job of bringing a fresh take to the zombie genre.
COMING NOV. 24th
A Short Christmas Horror Story
A deadly pandemic kills 100% of those affected, and a desperate father makes the most of his daughter’s final Christmas.
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