A riveting and unsettling horror story with a compelling hero.

CRAZY TIME

A BIZARRE BATTLE WITH DARKNESS AND THE DIVINE

A novel presents a woman’s strange and surreal journey.

Cooper’s story starts with a tragedy. While driving one night, Lily Henshaw and her three best friends are accosted by two men in a truck. “It’s crazy time!” one of them says. Lily’s pals end up dead, but she somehow survives. Months later, she deals with physical and psychological scars—her trauma is palpable, and her survivor’s guilt is debilitating. But Lily carries on until people around her die (her brother, David, who chooses suicide), get diagnosed as terminally ill (her mom), or are attacked (her boss, Burt, whose business is destroyed in a break-in). Lily’s house is invaded by locusts, which she may or may not be hallucinating. They appear just before she is sexually assaulted. Then her next-door neighbor commits a violent crime. The locusts could be a portent, but of what, Lily wonders: Is she cursed? Is this the apocalypse? To get answers, Lily, with Burt by her side, consults a psychic and Satan worshipers until she finally meets with the higher-ups of a corporation that does work for God himself. Cooper’s dark horror story is an uncomfortable, trippy, and original roller-coaster ride with a side of romance. Readers will find the tale vastly disorienting at first. But once Lily’s investigation starts, they will decide to shadow her, wanting to find answers alongside the protagonist. Remarkably for a novel that poses big questions about God, the devil, and the meaning of life, the story manages to bypass the dangers of religious pontification. Instead, the tale concentrates on Lily’s bravery as she makes her way through the madness around her. Unfortunately, there is an important part of the work that looks at death by suicide and suicide clusters with less consideration than the topic deserves. Still, despite the big chunks of expository monologues in some places, the narrative flows smoothly to its gripping finale.

A riveting and unsettling horror story with a compelling hero. (images, photos illustrate a few chapters.) (Horror. 18-Adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-977250-43-8

Page Count: 346

Publisher: Outskirts Press

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hits the marks for spooky thrills and mysterious chills.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BOOK OF NIGHT

A former thief who specialized in stealing magical documents is forced back into her old habits in Black's adult debut.

Charlie Hall used to work as a thief, stealing for and from magicians—or rather, “gloamists.” In this world, gloamists are people with magical shadows that are alive, gaining strength from the gloamists' own blood. A gloamist can learn to manipulate the magic of their shadow, doing everything from changing how it looks to using it to steal, possess a person, or even murder. Gloamists hire nonmagical people like Charlie to steal precious and rare magical documents written by their kind throughout history and detailing their research and experiments in shadow magic. Gloamists can use onyx to keep each other from sending shadows to steal these treasures, but onyx won't stop regular humans from old-fashioned breaking and entering. After Charlie’s talent for crime gets her into too much trouble, she swears off her old career and tries to settle down with her sensible boyfriend, Vince—but when she finds a dead man in an alley and notices that even his shadow has been ripped to pieces, she can’t help trying to figure out who he was and why he met such a gruesome end. Before she knows it, Charlie is forced back into a life of lies and danger, using her skills as a thief to find a book that could unleash the full and terrifying power of the shadow world. Black is a veteran fantasy writer, which shows in the opening pages as she neatly and easily guides the reader through the engrossing world of gloamists, magical shadows, and Charlie’s brand of criminality. There's a lot of flipping back and forth between the past and the present, and though both timelines are well plotted and suspenseful, the story leans a touch too hard on the flashbacks. Still, the mystery elements are well executed, as is Charlie’s characterization, and the big twist at the end packs a satisfying punch.

Hits the marks for spooky thrills and mysterious chills.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-81219-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

It's almost enough to make a person believe in ghosts.

HIDDEN PICTURES

A disturbing household secret has far-reaching consequences in this dark, unusual ghost story.

Mallory Quinn, fresh out of rehab and recovering from a recent tragedy, has taken a job as a nanny for an affluent couple living in the upscale suburb of Spring Brook, New Jersey, when a series of strange events start to make her (and her employers) question her own sanity. Teddy, the precocious and shy 5-year-old boy she's charged with watching, seems to be haunted by a ghost who channels his body to draw pictures that are far too complex and well formed for such a young child. At first, these drawings are rather typical: rabbits, hot air balloons, trees. But then the illustrations take a dark turn, showcasing the details of a gruesome murder; the inclusion of the drawings, which start out as stick figures and grow increasingly more disturbing and sophisticated, brings the reader right into the story. With the help of an attractive young gardener and a psychic neighbor and using only the drawings as clues, Mallory must solve the mystery of the house's grizzly past before it's too late. Rekulak does a great job with character development: Mallory, who narrates in the first person, has an engaging voice; the Maxwells' slightly overbearing parenting style and passive-aggressive quips feel very familiar; and Teddy is so three-dimensional that he sometimes feels like a real child.

It's almost enough to make a person believe in ghosts.

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-81934-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more