Rick Kleffel on The Literature of Fear: 12 High-Quality Horror Books for Sleepless Nights

masthead3The delightful and erudite Mr Rick Kleffel has selected twelve “high-quality horror books” for your delectation, including Nathan Ballingrud’s magnificent North American Lake Monsters, Dreams of Shadow and Smoke from Swan River Press, Michael Marshall’s We Are Here, and my Bitterwood Bible.

The literature of fear is not as hard to find as you might imagine. Literature itself began as a means of dealing with our fears of the unknown. Our first stories were those of gods and monsters, both with little regard for mere human lives. Henry James and Mary Shelley terrified us with literary classics. Stephen King has written his way to literary respectability.

But a visit to the book store might have you thinking that the horror genre is all vampires and serial killers, with gore and violence standing in lieu of character and insight. For those of us who enjoy the literature of fear, with a soupçon of the fantastic, there are still lots of great writers out there. Here’s a pocket guide to some first-rate literature with a macabre imagination.

The rest is here.

BB jacket frontHe is particularly kind about The Bitterwood Bible: Every story is nothing short of amazing, from the opening tale of “The Coffin-Maker’s Daughter” (forced to work with unhelpful shade of her father yelling at her) to “St Dymphna’s School for Poison Girls,” an academy that teaches the fine art of murder for vengeful teen angels. Slatter’s prose is often magnificent, and she’s able to craft characters as great as the powers they wield. Here you find beauty and terror in a marriage made in prose heaven.

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