Welcome to April’s Book of the Month! I feel like I say this every month, but I am especially excited about April’s book because this was one of the first titles I bought when I was exploring contemporary / modern horror fiction.
Until 2007, the only horror literature I was really familiar with was H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker… you know, the classics. Hell, I hadn’t even read any Stephen King. While the above-mentioned authors are of course essential horror reading, I was still anxious to move onto more modern works. I found Clive Barker on my own having been a fan of Hellraiser and other adaptations of his work. There was a really cool bookstore in the tiny town of Footloose where I was living at the time which had a “Weird Room” and an employee shelf with recommendations. (the store unfortunately closed not long after its opening)
One employee had The Hellbound Heart on his shelf so I figured he’d be a good person to ask about horror titles – this was before I discovered The Mortuary (at that time Rue Morgue’s message board) and its voracious readers – and he suggested…
I had every intention of reading John Dies At The End right away, but somehow it kept getting pushed to the bottom of my stack. Also, right about late 2008 or early 2009, not too long after buying this title, I was heavy into The Mortuary book forum (previously known as The Grim Reader when it was Rue Morgue’s message board). I became fast friends with Colum and Dark Mark in particular and their suggestions, as well as some book swaps, kept me plenty busy. Before you know it 6 years had passed and John Dies At The End was being made into a movie with Don Coscarelli in the director’s chair!
I hadn’t touched that book since 2007, so I literally had to dust this one off. I was giving it the once over, reading the blurbs, and checking out the cover. Turns out I have the first edition from Permuted Press, a publisher I wouldn’t have known in 2007 but of course am familiar with now. Not only that, there is a blurb from Jeff Strand, now one of my favorite authors and a name that would have been foreign to me at the time.
This is my copy of John Dies:
That’s a bit of a long-winded introduction to the book of the month, but I find it fascinating how my journey through horror fiction seems to have come full circle.
I got a head start a couple days ago and I can tell I am going to burn through this one. So witty, an offbeat modern crime noir with all manner of monsters.
I look forward to sharing another great title with y’all this month. Pick up your copy anywhere cool books are sold and chat with the gang here.