Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Chris Previews the Horror Section

You know we were super excited for a bunch of our events which have since been cancelled or postponed, and one of those was with Danielle Trussoni, author of The Ancestor (out 4/7), who was going to help us inaugurate our new horror section. We thought Trussoni, the horror columnist for The New York Times, to be the perfect person to dive into the dark with us, and her latest, a novel of family secrets, genetic mysteries, and inheritance was just the gothic kickoff we needed. Daniel says, “the twists and turns of The Ancestor are as tortuous as a ragged mountain pass, and Bert is just the companion for this exciting journey into the land of gothic horror.” We’ll have copies of The Ancestor available for curbside pickup and delivery, and you can preorder it online or by phone.

So maybe you’re thinking, a new Horror section at Boswell? Just what might we find?  How about some new (and new-ish) horror that we love? Like:

Bunny, by Mona Awad. This one made it onto a few staff recommendation shelves when it landed last summer, after being passed around the staff. If I recall correctly, Parker, Rachel, and Margaret all read it, and I’m pretty sure someone else is going to say to me “I did too!” when they see this sentence. Rachel sums it up pretty nicely – “full of frat boys running around who are so cute and so headless,” and really, what more could you want?

Paul Tremblay is arguably one of the buzziest horror writers of the moment, and his new novel, Survivor Song (out July 7 - mark your calendar! preorder! celebrate!), is definitely not going to stop that. I was a big fan of his Cabin at the End of the World (I say it’s The Strangers meets Sophie’s Choice, ay yi yi). I think what Tremblay does best is take a classic high horror concept and execute it with intimate, frightening, this-is-all-too-real surgical precision, and his new virus novel is no exception.

A Cosmology of Monsters was one of Jason’s favorites of this past fall. Stephen King says “If John Irving ever wrote a horror novel, it would be something like this.” And Jason calls it “the ultimate homage to classic horror like HP Lovecraft and his kind. Hamill brilliantly unravels the story over the course of many encounters, which caused me to doubt what I thought I knew about the story, and the end was a sucker punch!”

I really liked Iain Reid’s first novel, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, a creepy psychological horror, and Kay was a big fan of his second, Foe. Kay says, “A couple live in an almost dream-like state. Their world feels off-kilter from the beginning. Then a man makes an unannounced late night visit. Tension in the household becomes almost unbearable even as it remains explicitly unrecognized. Just when it looks like the story will turn left, it turns upside down. This is a delightfully disturbing book.”

In our horror section, you’ll also see the classic monster mash – Dracula, Frankenstein, and say hello, Cthulhu. Plus, Stephen King, the most-adapted-to-film author alive, and all his pals. His family, too – hi, Joe Hill. How about taking a stab (get it?!) at a cult-y writer like Thomas Ligiotti or Stephen Graham Jones? Or, if you prefer your screams of terror blended with chuckles, there’s books like My Best Friend’s Exorcism and Meddling Kids, a couple of books that Margaret and I love, and believe me, if the two of us can agree on them, it’s proof pretty much anyone will dig them.

Right now, the real world is a little too much like some horror novels, but we’re looking forward to the day when we can show everyone our favorite new section of the store. And don’t worry, we’re still going to have that problem of what goes in the section and what doesn’t – the original reason we didn’t separate out the books in the first place!

PS – let me give shoutout to the Horror Writers Association, which cosponsored the Trussoni event. Members Anthony Hains and Dean M King were going to join us to read short excerpts of their work. Why not check them out here ( and here ( ?

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