Set on Halloween night in 1984, and told primarily from the perspectives of the residents of Parameter Road, this horror tale about a sinister presence stalking children overflows with juicy suburban gossip. Families on the street are combusting as secrets, from infidelity to young sapphic love, are exposed on front lawns and crowded events. The story balances the drama that fills the neighborhood with the terror and mystery that haunts it. As once peaceful lives unravel, a gaggle of lost children in outdated costumes descends upon the chaos seeking protection from someone they call the Cunning Man. Some residents assume the lost children are just confused, but as the night goes on it’s clear the young people of Parameter Road are up against something far more sinister, and organized, than they could have ever imagined. Golden, a Bram Stoker Award winner, spins a tale that will leave you turning away next year’s trick-or-treaters while triple-checking that your windows are locked.
‘Bad Cree’ by Jessica Johns
Loss is a horror in itself, but “Bad Cree” turns grief into a macabre odyssey. Mackenzie, a young Cree woman, fled her home and family after the death of her grandmother. Shortly after she strikes out on her own in Vancouver, her sister dies. Unable to face the grief that awaits her in her rural Alberta hometown, Mackenzie stays away — not even returning for her sister’s funeral — until her nightmares begin to follow her into the real world. After waking up clutching a dead crow’s head and being haunted in sleep by her dead sister, Mackenzie turns to her family and Cree community, whose knowledge of dreams might help her make sense of her strange new afflictions. Author Johns, a member of the Sucker Creek First Nation in Northern Alberta, ties Cree beliefs about dreams and deep-rooted indigenous lore to how women in a family rally around one another to battle grief. Told entirely from Mackenzie’s perspective, the horror novel focuses on how loss crawls inside a body and makes a home there, driving out love and joy in the process. This would make a great self-help book for finding a new perspective on life — if it wasn’t for the ominous crows and looming danger.
‘Episode Thirteen’ by Craig DiLouie
Here’s a novel for fans of “Ghost Hunters” who actually want to experience the paranormal, not just watch folks fret over barely audible noises. “Episode Thirteen” follows the colorful cast and crew of the not-so-successful fictional ghost-hunting reality show “Fade to Black.” To keep the paychecks coming for its 13th episode, the gang (married lead investigators, a budding actress and mom, a grouchy ex-cop tech manager and a cameraman with childhood trauma) heads to the Paranormal Research Foundation, an abandoned mansion that was the site of mysterious experiments and disappearances in the 1970s. The crew must face the power that lurks within the house while dealing with their inner demons, which are scratching closer to the surface. In an innovative twist, the book consists of diary entries, emails, audio transcripts, text messages and other interpretations. The experience is reminiscent of found footage films, such as “The Blair Witch Project” — less like reading a book than following the breadcrumbs left in the wake of a terrifying discovery.
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