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Horror Diary 2009 - ongoing list

Phantom Matt "real-life ghost"
 
Infernal (Repairman Jack Novels)
Infernal (Repairman Jack Novels)
"4/5 - not the best Repairman Jack, still extremely readable and exciting, more scumbags get their comeuppance when Jack is struck by a tragedy that reunites him with his shady brother."
20th Century Ghosts
20th Century Ghosts
"4/5 - very promising indeed! A couple of the short stories here washed blandly over me, but the rest blend great writing, macabre humour and some pleasing surreality. "Voluntary Commital" is classic!"
Keepers
Keepers
"3.5/5 - Braunbeck takes weighty, emotionally-charged subjects and moulds well-written dark fantasy allegories from them - here he's a bit too cryptic in this animal cruelty themed novel"
The Hollower
The Hollower
"3/5 - some good writing and genuinely creepy set-pieces just elevate this one from the mass of identikit "strangers band together to battle supernatural evil" stories. A solid, but safe, debut."
Head Injuries (Frontlines)
Head Injuries (Frontlines)
"4.5/5 - the influence of Ramsey Campbell is very strong in Williams' first novel. That's no bad thing, he creates a claustrophobic, hallucinatory tale of revenge from the grave, in bleak Morecambe...."
Teatro Grottesco
Teatro Grottesco
"4/5 - Ligotti is not easy reading, i struggled and gave up on him a few years ago - but i'm glad i decided to give it another go. Densely written bizarre short stories, with real style."
Dreamsongs: A RRetrospective: Bk. 1 (Gollancz)
Dreamsongs: A RRetrospective: Bk. 1 (Gollancz)
"4/5 - a history of Martin's short stories. The fantasy and sci-fi stuff is great, but it's the collection of horror classics that make this book worthwhile."
Heart-Shaped Box
Heart-Shaped Box
"4/5 - the vengeful ghost story is brought into the Microsoft age, as a rock star buys a spirit online with grim consequences. Better than most things from Dad recently, a very promising debut."
The Servants
The Servants
"4.5/5 - very simple, but beautifully written tale of a boy coming to terms with loss. Michael Marshall Smith can write quality work in any genre, this being a gentle ghost story."
Thieving Fear
Thieving Fear
"4/5 - Just under his usual standard, there is a choking miasma of misunderstanding, injustice and claustrophobia pervading this (deliberately) gloomy tale of a magick-practitioners curse."
One
One
"4/5 - a shame that Virgin are stopping the horror line - this is the latest, an unremittingly grim and upsetting end-of-world story, piled high with horror and misery - great!"
Black Wind
Black Wind
"4/5 - the small but important supernatural element, plus the historical interest save this book from the melodramatic love quadrangle(!) which is pure soap opera."
Dead Man's Song
Dead Man's Song
"4/5 - The second in a trilogy, Maberry continues his bid to create a Citizen Kane of horror. Standard horror characters are thrown in the mix to damn entertaining effect!"
Through a Glass, Darkly
Through a Glass, Darkly
"4.5/5 - demonic possesion & religious horror has always been the spookiest type, if occasionally a little hackneyed. Hussey's debut is both fresh and scary, a potential successor to Campbell or Barker"
My Work Is Not Yet Done
My Work Is Not Yet Done
"4/5 - the title novella is fantastic, a tale of supernatural corporate revenge, the other  two shorts are interesting oddities, continuing the theme of big business menace."
The Dark
The Dark
"4/5 - the usual issues of quality variation affect this ghost story anthology - but the presence of Campbell, Grant and Shepard elevate this one above the usual. Shepard's tale just wins the prize."
Garbage Man
Garbage Man
"4/5 - eco-friendly subject and literate writing collide with high-trash sex and gore, as discarded rubbish comes to life! Could have been laughable, but skilfully written."
Bad Things
Bad Things
"3/5 - the least satisfying MM(S) book I've read - the exciting ending doesn't compensate for the extremely slow start, in this witchcraft curse thriller."
Bad Moon Rising
Bad Moon Rising
"2.5/5 - the final of the trilogy and probably the worst. The well-handled scares are smothered by a liberal dose of cheesiness. Awful macho dialogue and naff horror star cameos add to corniness."
Memoirs of a Master Forger
Memoirs of a Master Forger
"5/5 - Beautifully written, this "autobiographical" account of a man who can see demons everywhere, due to a university occult pact, shows that Graham Joyce is a national treasure!"