Excerpt: THE FRIGHTENERS by Peter Laws (Icon Books)

LawsP-TheFrightenersUKI hadn’t heard of Peter Laws‘s new book before the publicist reached out to me. It is the story of a minister’s investigation into our fascination with the macabre, scary and horrific. I thought it sounded quite interesting, and so today Icon Books have allowed me to share with you an excerpt from The Frighteners. But first, here’s the synopsis:

The Frighteners follows the quest of Peter Laws, a Baptist minister with a penchant for the macabre, to understand why so many people love things that are spooky, morbid and downright repellent. He meets vampires, hunts werewolves in Hull, talks to a man who has slept on a mortuary slab to help him deal with a diagnosis, and is chased by a chainsaw-wielding maniac through a farmhouse full of hanging bodies.

Staring into the darkness of a Transylvanian night, he asks: What is it that makes millions of people seek to be disgusted and freaked out? And, in a world that worships rationality and points an accusing finger at violent video games and gruesome films, can an interest in horror culture actually give us safe ways to confront our mortality? Might it even have power to re-enchant our jaded world?

Grab your crucifixes, pack the silver bullets, and join the Sinister Minister on his romp into our morbid curiosities.

Read on for an excerpt from the chapter “Sisters”…

Continue reading


Upcoming: BLOOD COMMUNION by Anne Rice (Chatto & Windus/Knopf)

RiceA-VC13-BloodCommunionUKHCIn 2014, Anne Rice marked a welcome return to her Vampire Chronicles with Prince Lestat. A long-time fan of the series, I was eager to read more about Lestat, Louis, and the ever-growing cast of colourful characters Rice had created. Then, in 2016, Rice’s Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis dramatically altered our understanding of the undead mythology she had created. This October, the thirteenth novel in the series, Blood Communion will arrive. I can’t wait to read it. Here’s the synopsis:

From his meticulously restored ancestral château, high up in the mountains of France, Prince Lestat is grappling to instil a new ideology of peace and harmony among the blood-drinking community. Accustomed to welcoming all of the Undead – from far and wide – into his court, one night he awakes to news of a ruthless attack by a group of maverick blood-drinkers.

After fleeing to investigate the terror, Lestat learns of several new enemies who despise his rule over the blood-drinking realm, and who are intent on disrupting the harmony he tries so hard to maintain. One enemy in particular, the infamous Rhoshamandes, is notoriously powerful. But is Lestat strong enough to take on such evil alone or will sacrifices have to be made? Will his cry for peace be heard in a world riddled with violence?

An enthralling, sweeping adventure, full of drama and suspense, Blood Communion will have readers gripped to the very end. It is not just a compelling tale of a troubled leader, but a novel about the power of ambition, as well as a timely reflection on the struggle of individuals to find and defend their place in the world.

It was recently announced that Bryan Fuller has been tapped to run the new TV adaptation of the series, more on which can be found here. Blood Communion will be published in the UK by Chatto & Windus, and in North America by Knopf.

Also on CR: Reviews of Prince Lestat and Prince Lestat and the Realm of Atlantis

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: HOLLYWOOD DEAD by Richard Kadrey (Voyager)

KadreyR-SS10-HollywoodDeadUSThis August, Kadrey’s fan-favourite anti-hero Sandman Slim returns in Hollywood Dead, his tenth novel! I’m a big fan of the series (although, I have fallen a little behind), and I’m really looking forward to reading this one. Here’s the synopsis:

Life and death takes on an entirely new meaning for half-angel, half-human hero James Stark, aka, Sandman Slim.

James Stark is back from Hell, trailing more trouble in his wake. To return to L.A., he had to make a deal with the evil power brokers, Wormwood — an arrangement that came with a catch. While he may be home, Stark isn’t quite himself… because he’s only partially alive.

There’s a time limit on his reanimated body, and unless Stark can find the people targeting Wormwood, he will die again — and this time there will be no coming back. Even though he’s armed with the Room of Thirteen Doors, Stark knows he can’t find Wormwood’s enemies alone. To succeed he’s got to enlist the help of new friends — plus a few unexpected old faces.

Stark has been in dangerous situations before — you don’t get named Sandman Slim for nothing. But with a mysterious enemy on the loose, a debt to pay, and a clock ticking down, this may truly be the beginning of his end…

Hollywood Dead is due to be published by Voyager in the US and UK, in August 2018.

Also on CR: Reviews of Sandman Slim, Kill the Dead, Aloha From Hell, Devil in the Dollhouse, Devil Said Bang and Kill City Blues

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter


Upcoming: A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE VAMPIRE UPRISING by Raymond A. Villareal (Mulholland)

VillarealRA-APeoplesHistoryOfTheVampireUprisingUSStumbled across this on Hachette’s website the other day, and thought it sounded really interesting. A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising will be published by Mulholland Books in North America and in the UK, in June 2018. It looks like something rather unusual for Mulholland, venturing as it does into the horror/urban fantasy sandbox. Here’s the synopsis:

A virus that turns people into something somehow more than human quickly sweeps the world, upending society as we know it.

This panoramic thriller begins with one small mystery. The body of a young woman found in an Arizona border town, presumed to be an illegal immigrant, walks out of the town morgue. To the young CDC investigator called in to consult the local police, it’s a bizarre medical mystery.

More bodies, dead of a mysterious disease that solidifies their blood, are brought to the morgue, and disappear. In a futile game of catch-up, the CDC, the FBI, and the US government must come to terms with what they’re too late to stop: an epidemic of vampirism that will sweep first the United States, and then the world.

Impossibly strong, smart, poised, beautiful, and commanding, these vampires reject the term as derogatory, preferring the euphemistic “gloamings.” They quickly rise to prominence in all aspects of modern society: sports, entertainment, and business. Soon people are begging to be ‘re-created,’ willing to accept the risk of death if their bodies can’t handle the transformation. The stakes change yet again when a charismatic and wealthy businessman, recently turned, decides to do what none of his kind has done before: run for political office.

This sweeping yet deeply intimate fictional oral history — told from the perspectives of several players on all sides of the titular vampire uprising — is a genre-bending, shocking, immersive and subversive debut that is as addictive as the power it describes.

The novel has already been optioned by Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen of 21 Laps, the production company Arrival and Stranger Things.

Follow the Author: Goodreads

Excerpt: ONE THOUSAND MONSTERS by Kim Newman (Titan)

NewmanK-AD-OneThousandMonstersToday, we have an excerpt from Kim Newman‘s fifth Anno Dracula novel, One Thousand Monsters. Published by Titan Books, here’s the synopsis:

From London to Tokyo…

In 1899 Geneviève Dieudonné travels to Japan with a group of vampires exiled from Great Britain by Prince Dracula. They are allowed to settle in Yōkai Town, the district of Tokyo set aside for Japan’s own vampires, an altogether strange and less human breed than the nosferatu of Europe. Yet it is not the sanctuary they had hoped for, as a vicious murderer sets vampire against vampire, and Yōkai Town is revealed to be more a prison than a refuge. Geneviève and her undead comrades will be forced to face new enemies and the horrors hidden within the Temple of One Thousand Monsters…

Now, read on for the extract!

Continue reading

Upcoming: THE BARROW WILL SEND WHAT IT MAY by Margaret Killjoy (Tor.com)

KilljoyM-DC2-BarrowWillSendWhatItMaySo, yesterday I published my review of Margaret Killjoy’s first Danielle Cain novella, The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion. I ended that review by saying that I “am very much looking forward to the author’s next book”. Well, as it happens, Tor.com are due to publish the author’s next novella in April 2018: The Barrow Will Send What it May. Here’s the synopsis:

Now a nascent demon-hunting crew on the lam, Danielle and her friends arrive in a small town that contains a secret occult library run by anarchists and residents who claim to have come back from the dead. When Danielle and her crew investigate, they are put directly in the crosshairs of a necromancer’s wrath — whose actions threaten to trigger the apocalypse itself.

I’m really looking forward to this.

Also on CR: Interview with Margaret Killjoy

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter


RiceA-VC12-PrinceLestat&RealmsOfAtlanticUSPBThe twelfth Vampire Chronicle novel upends, once again, the origin story

“In my dreams, I saw a city fall into the sea. I heard the cries of thousands. I saw flames that outshone the lamps of heaven. And all the world was shaken…”

Lestat de Lioncourt is no longer alone.

A strange, otherworldly spirit has resurfaced, taking possession of his body and soul. All-seeing, all-knowing, its voice whispers in his ear, telling the hypnotic tale of Atlantis, the great sea power of ancient times…

Prince Lestat is seduced by the power of this ancient spirit, but is he right to trust it? Why has Lestat, leader of the vampires, been chosen as its bodily host?

And what of Atlantis, the mysterious heaven on earth? Why must the vampires reckon so many millennia later with the terrifying force of this ageless, all-powerful Atalantaya spirit?

It falls to Lestat to discover the truth.

I do love this series. As I have written (so very many times) on the site, I consider Rice’s The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned to be one of my favourite books — I always read them together, so I think of them as one. With each novel, Rice has built on the impressive vampire mythos she’s created. In Prince Lestat, the author took a pretty bold step in developing the mythology: in fact, she pretty much upended everything we’ve come to learn so far. I was surprised, and a little nervous, when I realized that, in Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis, the author was going to do it again… Continue reading