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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Becky Favorite Horror Published in 2018

Today was the end of the 10 days #LibFaves18 countdown on Twitter where library workers listed their top 10 books published in 2018. As I have done in years past, I used the countdown to put a spotlight on #HorrorForLibraries [a hash tag I have created and used often]. So my tweets had both hashtags.

Every single book that gets mentioned in the 10 day #LibFaves18 Tweet fest is put into a spreadsheet that is accessible to all. The titles are then put in order based on the number of votes each gets to make an overall Top 10, but even titles with only 1 mention make it open the overall list of library favorites.

In order to help shine a spotlight on horror, I am doing my part to make sure at least 10 horror titles end up on this annual "best" list. If I don't make this effort, there would be maybe one horror titles total on the spreadsheet, and some years none without me.

That means I do not put out my main "best" list on Twitter, but I am fine with that.  Horror needs me during this 10 period, and I have plenty of readers over on the main blog who will see my overall "best" list [which will be going live next week because I wait until the last possible day of the year to publish it every year].

Below is my top 10 #HorrorForLibraries as I counted it down on Twitter with a few addition and my honorable mentions.  Every title has my three words and then links to the longer review by me.

Finally you can find this year's list and my favorite horror title going back to 2005 on the blog on my Becky's Original Lists, Articles and Publications page because even older great horror picks are still a great "best" option.

Now here are the books!

Honorable Mentions:

First I want to mention the three books that just missed my #LibFaves18 Top Ten:

  • Husk by Dave Zeltserman-- unreliable narrator, thought provoking, anxiety. I loved this book, but in the end since it was a little less straight up horror and more psychological suspense and I wanted to spotlight more pure horror.
  • Widow's Point by Richard and Billy Chizmar-- cursed place, found footage, intense. This book is fantastic but it is a novella. I made the choice to not put novella's on the overall list this year in order to focus on novels. 
  • The Listener by Robert McCammon-- intricate plot, class/race issues, character centered. This one came down to the final spot and ultimately I picked my #10 book over this one because of its overall importance to the genre.

And then there is my final honorable mention which actually was one of the top 5 horror stories I read this year, it is just that it is not available through libraries so I could not possibly include it in a #HorrorForLIbraries list-- Silverwood: The Door presented by Serial Box. It is a serialized story that is very close to PERFECT, but you have to buy it for yourself. It is written by Brian Keene, Stephen Kozeniewski, The Sisters of Slaughter, and Richard Chizmar. Click here for the details on the story and Serial Box. You can read the chapters in electronic form or listen to them as an audiobook. I have done both and loved it.

Becky's Countdown of her Top 10 Horror from 2018:

10. Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker: epistolary, methodically paced, menacing. This official Dracula prequel was so much better than it needed to be. True to the original with modern touches.

9. The Siren and the Specter by Jonathan Janz: haunted house, repulsion, unrelenting terror. Janz is an author whose books every library should own. His backlist is being re-released by Flame Tree Press in perfect for libraries paperbacks that will be easily available through your normal ordering channels.

8. The Hunger by Alma Katsu: anxiety, multiple points of view, riveting. Historical fiction-horror hybrid. Perfect for fans of either.

7. The Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn Kiste: unsettlingly beautiful, two time frames, atmospheric. The best horror bed I read all year.

6. Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman: magical, sinister, intricately plotted. A weird western retelling of Sleeping Beauty where she saves herself. [I read in 2017 but it came out in 2018]

5. Officially on the #LibFaves18 Countdown I listed Clickers Forever: A Tribute to J.F. Gonzales edited by Brian Keene: heartwarming, educational, and just plan fun. It is a beautiful tribute to the man, his work, and his legacy. Also, that cover! It is perfect for library displays.

...but, that is an anthology and 100% horror based. There is also a single author collection that needs to be on this list. Since it was not 100% horror and encompasses all of the speculative genres, I left it off the countdown but need to include it here as...

5a. The People's Republic of Everything by Nick Mamatas: genre blend, thought provoking, unsettling. What makes this collection rise to the top, however, are the author notes which Mamatas includes for each story. They reveal the history behind the business of speculative fiction as well as offer a peek into his own life and personal evolution. Taken together, those notes create what read like a 16th bonus story.

4. We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix: pulp, satire,. terrifyingly realistic. A great female heroine who rocks and kicks ass.

3. Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias: raw, honest, and beautifully written horror on the southern border. It will make you uncomfortable in every way and you cannot, will not, and should not look away.

2. Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi: haunting, darkly humorous, compelling. Part fable, part homage to a classic, and part cautionary tale. It's a moving story about life in a war zone.

1. Cabin At the End of the World by Paul Tremblay: family-centered, thought provoking, menacing. Is it real of supernatural? You decide. But warning, this book will break you.


  1. I love this list, and am so happy to see these books & authors represented in the library world! I've read 6 of your 10 and I guess have 4 more to go! Thank you, Becky for all you do for the genre in libraries. Happy Holidays!

  2. Just got back into horror,Becky,and though anthologies remain my favourite format will try a couple of these.Loved A Headful of Ghosts so the Tremblay's a must and Unbury Carol and The Rust Maidens are my other picks.I agree with the other commentator in being thankful for this service.