One of the advantages of taking the bus when your commute is 45 minutes to an hour? Well, besides stealing all sorts of interesting characterization from your fellow bus-riders, you can read. A lot.
Pathfinder RPG: Horror Adventures
I’ve been getting back into tabletop roleplaying, specifically the Pathfinder RPG, with a group of coworkers. I picked this 2016 release up last month (before I started riding the bus, admittedly), and I don’t regret it. It’s a great supplement to the game (think Dungeons & Dragons) that takes Pathfinder one step closer to Call of Cthulhu territory. I also recommend this as an inspiration tome for horror writers. Every page has awesome horror ideas and hooks. Check out our most recent episode of Spooklights for the full take: Spooklights #13: The Book of Blasphemous Words
Zero Saints by Gabino Iglesias
I’d seen this cover a few times, popping up in Facebook and Twitter feeds. It’s got strong underground buzz, and it lives up to the hype. Zero Saints is a short, tough, street-beautiful piece of work. A small-time drug pusher runs up against some really bad dudes—think demonic bad—and we follow him throughout the course of this small-scale, but no less suspenseful, conflict. There’s a few scenes of gangster action, a lot of tension, and plenty of insight into the dark, occult-ridden underbelly of Austin, Texas. A fun read with a unique setting.
After the People Lights Have Gone Off by Stephen Graham Jones
Colorado’s favorite adopted son/horror writer is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I know I’m late to the game here—I didn’t discover him until I read his story in Nightmare Carnival—but damn, if his style of literary-meets-pulp ain’t something to marvel at, nothing is. Jones’ collection is everything you’d want out of a weird-horror anthology. There were a pair of stories that didn’t quite stick the landing for me, but I always admired the characterization, setting, and sense of voice each story possessed. The majority of the stories are creepy and emotionally intense, with a few that stuck with me well after my own people lights went out… That’s rare for me to say these days. I’ve listened to a few of his recent interviews and he strikes me as the kind of guy you could drink a couple of tall boys with and talk about the finer points of 80’s shlock horror cinema. (It was my pleasure to interview him via email a while back.) I’ll be picking up his novel Mongrels because my favorite story in this collection (“Doc’s Story”) apparently is chapter one of that novel. If that’s how it starts, I can’t wait to see where it goes.
Altar by Philip Fracassi
This chapbook from Dunhams Manor Press is a sharp, button-pushing tale of one very bad afternoon at a community pool. I was clenching my fists in anger at what was happening on the page, then pulling back in horror as the painful climax erupted. No spoilers; just give it a read. If you enjoy Altar, check out his previous release, Mother.