Night Film – Marisha Pessl

Synopsis: On a damp October night, 24-year-old Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror film director Stanislaus Cordova–a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.

Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world. The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more. Continue reading “Night Film – Marisha Pessl”

Our Lady of the Inferno – Preston Fassel

Synopsis: Spring, 1983. Sally Ride is about to go into space. Flashdance is a cultural phenomenon. And in Times Square, two very deadly women are on a collision course with destiny– and each other.

At twenty-one, Ginny Kurva is already legendary on 42nd Street. To the pimp for whom she works, she’s the perfect weapon– a martial artist capable of taking down men twice her size. To the girls in her stable, she’s mother, teacher, and protector. To the little sister she cares for, she’s a hero. Yet Ginny’s bravado and icy confidence hides a mind at the breaking point, her sanity slowly slipping away as both her addictions and the sins of her past catch up with her…

At thirty-seven, Nicolette Aster is the most respected woman at the landfill where she works. Quiet and competent, she’s admired by the secretaries and trusted by her supervisors. Yet those around her have no idea how Nicolette spends her nights– when the hateful madness she keeps repressed by day finally emerges, and she turns the dump into her own personal hunting ground to engage in a nightmarish bloodsport…

In the Spring of 1983, neither Ginny nor Nicolette knows the other exists. By the time Summer rolls around, one of them will be dead. Continue reading “Our Lady of the Inferno – Preston Fassel”

Blanky – Kealan Patrick Burke

Synopsis: In the wake of his infant daughter’s tragic death, Steve Brannigan is struggling to keep himself together. Estranged from his wife, who refuses to be inside the house where the unthinkable happened, and unable to work, he seeks solace in an endless parade of old sitcoms and a bottle of bourbon.

Until one night he hears a sound from his daughter’s old room, a room now stripped bare of anything that identified it as hers…except for her security blanket, affectionately known as Blanky.

Blanky, old and frayed, with its antiquated patchwork of badly sewn rabbits with black button eyes, who appear to be staring at the viewer…

Blanky, purchased from a strange old man at an antique stall selling “BABY CLOSE” at a discount.

The presence of Blanky in his dead daughter’s room heralds nothing short of an unspeakable nightmare that threatens to take away what little light remains in Steve’s shattered world.

Because his daughter loved Blanky so much, he buried her with it. Continue reading “Blanky – Kealan Patrick Burke”

Vultures – Chuck Wendig

Synopsis: Still reeling from the events of The Raptor and the Wren, Miriam must confront two terrifying discoveries: the Trespasser now has the power to inhabit the living as well as the dead, and Miriam is pregnant. 

Miriam knows her baby is fated to die, but Miriam is the Fatebreaker. And if the rules have changed for her nemesis, her own powers are changing as well. Miriam will do whatever it takes to break her curse and save her child. But as Miriam once again finds herself on the hunt for a serial killer and in need of an elusive physic, she can feel the threads of her past coming together—and the pattern they’re forming is deadly. 

To end the Trespasser’s influence in her world, Miriam must face her demon a final time. And, this time, one of them must die. Continue reading “Vultures – Chuck Wendig”

Dead of Winter – Kealan Patrick Burke

Synopsis: Winter it’s coming… it’s already here, and with it comes a horror no door can keep out. It’s there in the yard, in the faces of the snowmen a young boy doesn’t remember building. It’s in the oddly empty streets below Santa Claus’s crumbling sleigh. It’s in the unnatural movement of the snow that suffocates a widower’s town, and in the cold eyes of a lonely man’s estranged children.

Here, there is no holiday cheer, only spine-chilling fear, in the DEAD OF WINTER. Continue reading “Dead of Winter – Kealan Patrick Burke”

I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Iain Reid

Synopsis: You will be scared. But you won’t know why…

In this deeply suspenseful and irresistibly unnerving debut novel, a man and his girlfriend are on their way to a secluded farm. When the two take an unexpected detour, she is left stranded in a deserted high school, wondering if there is any escape at all. What follows is a twisted unraveling that will haunt you long after the last page is turned.  Continue reading “I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Iain Reid”

Mapping the Interior – Stephen Graham Jones

Synopsis: Walking through his own house at night, a twelve-year-old thinks he sees another person stepping through a doorway. Instead of the people who could be there, his mother or his brother, the figure reminds him of his long-gone father, who died mysteriously before his family left the reservation. When he follows it he discovers his house is bigger and deeper than he knew. 

The house is the kind of wrong place where you can lose yourself and find things you’d rather not have. Over the course of a few nights, the boy tries to map out his house in an effort that puts his little brother in the worst danger, and puts him in the position to save them . . . at terrible cost. Continue reading “Mapping the Interior – Stephen Graham Jones”

The Stepford Wives – Ira Levin

Synopsis: For Joanna, her husband, Walter & their children, the move to beautiful Stepford seems almost too good to be true. It is. For behind the town’s idyllic facade lies a terrible secret–a secret so shattering that no one who encounters it will ever be the same.

At once a masterpiece of psychological suspense & a savage commentary on a media-driven society that values the pursuit of youth & beauty at all costs, The Stepford Wives is a novel so frightening in its final implications that the title itself has earned a place in the American lexicon. Continue reading “The Stepford Wives – Ira Levin”

The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

Synopsis: First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own. Continue reading “The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson”

Dead Leaves: 9 Tales from the Witching Season – Kealan Patrick Burke

Synopsis: Two brothers find themselves drawn to the only house in the neighborhood not decorated for Halloween…

A man returns to his hometown to bury his overbearing mother, and finds more than memories awaiting him in the shadows of his childhood home…

A young girl walks a lonely country road, recalling a rhyme that brings with it memories of death…

A teenager hoping for romance gets more than he bargained for when the object of his desire introduces him to the object of hers…

An aging millionaire awakes buried in a cheap coffin with only a lamp and a bell for company…

The son of a woman accused of being a witch accepts the villagers’ peace offering at her funeral, but all is not quite as it seems…A woman with a violent past realizes that this year’s Halloween party may be coming for her…

And a lonely trick-or-treater awakes in a house rumored to be a place of death.

From Bram Stoker Award-winning author Kealan Patrick Burke comes the second in his series of seasonal collections. Featuring seven reprints, a brand new story “The Toll”, an introduction, and rounded out by the author’s recommended reading and viewing lists, DEAD LEAVES makes for the perfect autumnal read. Continue reading “Dead Leaves: 9 Tales from the Witching Season – Kealan Patrick Burke”