All Hallow’s Read (Day 9) – Lucifer’s Lottery

I could have picked any Edward Lee book for an All Hallows Read. Really. It’s all good. As far as Hell goes, I could recommend any of the City Infernal series. I could choo-choo-choose Black Train (a.k.a. Gast) for a creepy earth-bound tale. Monstrosity is another great one for budding crypto-zoologists. There is always The Bighead but that is getting enough press at the moment and really, I get to pick my favorite here.

Enter: Lucifer’s Lottery.

What more could a horror-hound want than a trip through Lee’s Hell with Howard Phillips Lovecraft as your guide? The amount of gore and perversion found in Lee’s work is more than enough to tickle your gag-reflex, should you still have one, and this one doles it out in spades. His books that feature Hell read like a Cenobite’s nightmare version of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But, you ought to see what they do to the Muggles there! Oh Mylanta!

This is one for the sicko. The perv. The blasphemer. The reader who delights in illustrated pathology texts or Gnostic tomes but spends as much time watching Saturday morning cartoons. You know, for the anvil drops.

It’s not all mutilated pubic mounds, effluent troughs, and burning bibles either. There are stories here. Even characters you meet for a flash are sketched so clear with intricate wording, you can’t help but adore even the most repulsive. And the bestiary! Well, that sort of crosses into the human and human-type characters too, depending. Fantasy for freaks. Science Fiction for sociopaths. If you are looking for something deeply disturbing with no holds barred page after page, this is your golden ticket.


All Hallow’s Read (Day 5) – Fortunately, The Milk

FortunatelyMilk_USJacketToday’s All Hallow’s Read recommendation is for the younger folks in your life, or maybe for the ones who are still young at heart. Give them something to read while they inhale sugar, and run around like loud, crazy hooligans. Or you could just give the book to a kid.

As you know, All Hallow’s Read is the brainchild of Neil Gaiman, the man who suggests that we all give each other books this Halloween, to go along with the always important candy and zombie teeth. In his honour, this is a book suggestion to spread the joy, and the terror, to those too young for books like Nightwhere. (This includes me.)

FortunatelyMilk_UKFortunately, The Milk is the latest book by Mr. Gaiman himself, just released in September. The US version (which I have) is illustrated amazingly, frantically and a bit creepily by Skottie Young, whereas the UK version (which I will pay someone to smuggle overseas for me) contains the beautifully detailed and somewhat more traditional illustrations of Chris Riddell. Gaiman has described this book as his silliest book ever, which he wrote for dads, and in which dads get to do all of the really cool things that they normally get to do on a daily basis. Gaiman has said that this is partly to make up for the oblivious father in The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish.

Now I can hear you thinking, “But Kendra, that book doesn’t sound scary at ALL”. But you’re wrong! It is absolutely terrifying. It starts off tragically, with 2 children facing the prospect of breakfast with nothing to put on cereal except orange juice. Their mother has abandoned them to go to a conference, and now they can’t even enjoy their Toastios. Heroically, Dad volunteers to go down to the shop on the corner to get milk. After an agonizing wait, Dad finally returns home, and begins the story of his dangerous and harrowing quest.

“I bought the milk,” said my father. “And I did indeed say a brief hello to Mister Ronson from over the road, who was buying a paper. I walked out of the corner shop, and heard something odd that seemed to be coming from above me. It was a noise like this: thummthumm. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road.” “Hullo,” I said to myself. “That’s not something you see every day. And then something odd happened.”

Now, if you’re not scared yet, then you are a far braver soul than most, but just wait! That is only the beginning of Dad’s tale… before he opens the spaceship door, and lets the space-time continuum in. What then? Captured by pirates! Rescued by a time-travelling stegosaurus in a balloon! Captured by jungle dwelling people who plan to sacrifice him to the volcano god, Spold! Ponies, piranhas, aliens, and wumpires! And through it all, that crucial question: Can Dad hold on to the milk, and bring it safely back to his hungry children?

So if you think that a child in your life can handle that kind of excitement and terror, then I strongly suggest that you give them Fortunately, The Milk this Halloween. And then you should probably read it too, to prepare yourself to soothe them when they wake from their nightmares of Toastios drowning in orange juice. Just make sure there is plenty of milk in the fridge for breakfast.

All Hallow’s Read 2013 (Day 3)


Today’s suggestion is for all of the newbies to the genre. No doubt you came to our dark neck of the woods from Mystery, Thriller, Crime, or some other sort of speculative fiction genre, but have you ever faced a piece of writing that combines pretty much all of the above?

Thirty Miles South of Dry County is not only a brilliant foray into Kealan Patrick Burke’s unique style of storytelling, but it’s also an amazingly fun romp through a crazy, far-out-there, dystopian world that, well, isn’t actually too far-out-there. 

One of the greatest things about helping new readers along the path of finding great stories is that I get to throw my absolute favorite reads at them. I read this novella when I was looking at the 2013 Stokers Finalists and, in all honesty, I think it should have won.

While Gene O’Neill’s winning novella, The Blue Heron, is a phenomenal piece of speculative fiction, Burke’s entry is so instantly memorable it would easily make incredible viewing as a TV show, a la The Walking Dead or The Killing. Easily. (Burke, if you’re reading, you need to pitch this, man. Pitch it!)

It also helps that Burke is a looker, and a good face to have at the forefront of the genre, right ladies? (Yeah. I went there)



All Hallow’s Read 2013 (Day 2)

Today’s suggestion is for the Hardcore Fan of true, unadulterated horror. And you know what? I’m gonna throw a wrench in your guesses. Because that’s what you’d least expect when you’re guessing what I’m… Yeah…

Anyway, I know what you’re thinking. You’re sitting there going “He’s going to throw down with Laymon. Or Ketchum. Yeah… he’s going that route. No? Then he’ll definitely pick one of the classics. Or Keene. Yeah, it’s gotta be Keene.”


Let’s bring it down a bit in age brackets, why don’t we…

ScowlerI want you to suggest Daniel Kraus’ Scowler to the next person who professes to be all Hardcore in their love of horror and dark literature. Not only is this novel horrifying, but it’s also a literary emotional endurance challenge. Reading this novel put me through my paces, and I’m sure it will do the same to all of you. Regardless of age.

Go get you some. And hell, while you’re at it, go out an buy his previous novel, Rotters – by far the best YA horror novel I’ve ever read. Bar none.


All Hallow’s Read (Day 30) A scary book for…

… a person who wants to think.

Of course, there are a slew of bizarro novels that will leave your brain in a knot but Andersen Prunty’s My Fake War explores the philosophy of war in a fun and very thoughtful way.  It is sure to give even the most jaded intellectual a mental workout.

All Hallow’s Read is a book-giving tradition thought up by author Neil Gaiman. We’ll be making book suggestions all month long in case you need ideas!


All Hallows Read (Day 26) A scary book for…

…people who like their fiction short.  Really short.


Fiction doesn’t come much shorter or more awesome than Half-Minute Horrors! This collection of super-short tales by a variety of well-known writers is aimed at kids around 10 and up. It’s also creepy as all get out! These little bites of literary terror even scared us a few times.


All Hallow’s Read is a book-giving tradition thought up by author Neil Gaiman. We’ll be making book suggestions all month long in case you need ideas!