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Friday, October 11, 2013

31 Days of Horror: Day 11-- Booklist Guest Posy by Joyce Saricks

Today marks the official end of the Booklist sponsored week on 31 Days of Horror. But like any writer worth their salt, I have a transition guest lined up for tomorrow.

Today's Booklister guest post is by Joyce Saricks:
Joyce Saricks, Audio Editor, headed the Readers' Advisory department at the Downers Grove (IL) Public Library for many years. In addition to overseeing our audiobook coverage, she writes the column "At Leisure with Joyce Saricks." But she's addicted to audiobooks; when she's not reading a book, she's listening to one, while she enjoys her hobbies—cooking, walking, and traveling.
When Becky first asked me to write about a favorite Horror novel for her blog, I was excited. I love Horror! Well, not all Horror but a pretty wide range from M. R. James’s chilling short stories to novels like David Wong’s John Dies at the End, which may or may not actually be Horror but is certainly horrific. (And filled with black humor.) I still remember where I was as I first read the scene in Bram Stoker’s Dracula with Dracula climbing the castle walls, and I still shiver when I think of it. Deciding what to share is tricky; so many possibilities. Also, I like to listen to Horror audiobooks, and until recently, these were few and far between. As the genre has blended, reaching its tendrils outward into Thrillers, Suspense, Mysteries, and more, I benefit. More for me to enjoy, and there’s an elemental pleasure in hearing a scary story that’s so satisfying.

Michael Koryta’s The Ridge contains the elements I love in Horror: a creepy, growing menace; not too much blood and gore; and a style that takes us inside the characters’ minds so everything that happens is intensified—we’re right there participating in it all.  The narrator, Robert Petkoff, does a great job of building the menace and making it personal. 

The mysterious death of a lighthouse keeper in an isolated section of Kentucky (really? A lighthouse in Kentucky? This is Horror; don’t ask) spurs an investigation and the discovery of something very old and very evil loose in the wilderness and bound to the ridge. That’s the basic plot and telling you much more would involve spoilers.

I like the ancient evil theme and the lovely literary motif: characters escape terrible deaths by making Faustian pacts with the devil—a life for a life. And because I experienced the story on audio, I also got spooky music to underline the tension. There’s a wild game preserve in the area, and the various cats sense the presence of evil, and they become a more physical threat—but honestly not nearly as dangerous as what lurks below. Koryta also offers lots of local history—fascinating stuff—to ground his story. 

If you’re a fan of Clive Barker’s Coldheart Canyon, you might also enjoy this. Both feature an ancient evil, rich historical back stories, isolated locales, and really creepy and gritty tones. I knew I couldn’t stop with one book! 

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