Written by: Matt Molgaard
Sadly, I only read about 25 novels in 2015. The schedule is picking up and the family is growing. A new business is being outlined and planned for a 2016 launch. It’s been a hectic 2015. All that said, of the 25 books I read, I found some genuine masterpieces. From a few of the names I’ve come to rely on to a few new discoveries, there were enough wonderful works released this year to comfortably assemble a solid top 10 list for you.
This list may have been a bit less predictable, and might very well have featured a few names you’re not accustomed to seeing here, but unfortunately, when I took to Facebook to call on HNR’s contributors for their top picks of the year, I got crickets. Nada in regards to input. So, this list comes straight from yours truly with next to zero input (sadly) from the HNR crew.
If I picked a piece of fiction you loathe, please refrain from bombarding my inbox with hate mail. I get enough of that from angry directors on the receiving end of less than favorable reviews.
Ronald Malfi – Little Girls: Ronal Malfi continues his habit of chilling readers to the bone. Hell, this one seeps through the bone and swims in the marrow. A bit of a gothic feel courses through the book, but whether gothic reads are your thing or not, Little Girls is probably going to scare the hell out of you and hit a melancholy little nerve. There’s real sadness in this story, and there are real scares as well. Malfi seems to get a bit better with each outing, and that only makes we wonder where the man will be in a few years; his fiction is already top notch, elite and engaging. Little Girls is a winner through and through.
Tim Lebbon – The Silence: Tim Lebbon’s approach to post-apocalyptic horror is unique in a whole lot of different ways. First, this one is isn’t cluttered by cliché zombies. It isn’t an outright war of the savage survivors of the world. It’s basically none of the things you’d expect from a book that is (basically) about the end of the world. Instead, it’s something of a monster story with a magnetic and versatile lineup of protagonists. These are protagonists we love, and the manner in which Lebbon handles this material is nothing short of genius.
Hunter Shea – The Dover Demon: Okay, so earlier this year I’d pegged Island of the Forbidden as my favorite Hunter Shea novel of 2015. Then I strained the hell out of my eyes, tearing through the pages of The Dover Demon on my phone while on a recent business trip. The persisting headaches and spells of vertigo were worth it. This is Hunter Shea doing what Hunter Shea does best: Crafting chilling monster stories with memorable and likable characters. Another excellent read that I vow to get around to reviewing here on HNR soon, The Dover Demon is more proof that Shea’s books belong sitting right beside those of Stephen King and Dean Koontz, the industry leaders.
Guillermo del Toro & Daniel Kraus – Trollhunters: I cannot possibly make you understand how much I enjoyed this book inside of a single paragraph. Why? Because the novel is as close to perfect as it gets these days. Trollhunters is going to appeal to audiences young and old alike, and has a stunning Amblin Entertainment vibe to it. Buy this book, read this book… and then read it again. It’s awesome in every way imaginable!
Lee McGeorge – The Thing: Zero Day: Lee McGeorge is fast making his way into my list of must-read authors. He’s got a stellar new piece about the infamous Slenderman headed our way very soon (you’ll see a review surface in the very near future!), and he absolutely slayed the fan fiction corner of the market in 2015 with The Thing: Zero Day, a prequel to John Carpenter’s classic 1982 film. The story plays faithful to the picture you know, but gives us some great insight into what occurred before R.J. MacReady found his ass in a serious bind. Brilliant, brilliant fan fiction.