When I was younger I loved to read the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books. I can’t recall any of the stories or why I liked them so much. I can’t even say that I ever attempted to search for any other books in the genre. Of course, this was back in the day when all I had to rely on was the library card catalog. Some of you remember those days. Imagine that. No internet, Amazon, or library computer searches.
This Halloween, instead of talking about the usual stuff (candy, costumes, and tricks), I figured I’d enhance my black horror/suspense writer knowledge. I only know a few titles and authors off the top of my head, but I do own a few anthologies edited by Brandon Massey. If you’re looking for a horror/suspense read this Halloween, check out one of the following books:
The Between by Tananarive Due
When Hilton was just a boy, his grandmother sacrificed her life to save him from drowning. Thirty years later, he begins to suspect that he was never meant to survive that accident, and that dark forces are working to rectify that mistake.
When Hilton’s wife, the only elected African-American judge in Dade County, FL, begins to receive racist hate mail, he becomes obsessed with protecting his family. Soon, however, he begins to have horrible nightmares, more intense and disturbing than any he has ever experienced. Are the strange dreams trying to tell him something? His sense of reality begins to slip away as he battles both the psychotic threatening to destroy his family and the even more terrifying enemy stalking his sleep. Chilling and utterly convincing, The Between follows the struggles of a man desperately trying to hold on to the people and life he loves, but may have already lost. (Read an excerpt . . . )
At just thirty-one, Andrew Wilson has it all: close friends, a great house in an Atlanta suburb, and a successful career as a mystery writer. Only one thing is missing-a special woman to share it with. Then one day he meets someone new, a woman who seems almost too good to be true.
Beautiful, smart, and sophisticated, Mika Woods is everything that Andrew has ever wanted and more–at first. After one night of passion, soon Andrew discovers that Mika isn’t quite who she appears to be. Or even, what she appears to be. But it’s too late to turn back. Mika has been waiting a lifetime for a man like Andrew. And what she wants, what she desires, she will have–no matter who has to die . . .
The Ancestors by L.A. Banks, Tananarive Due, & Brandon Massey
DEAD. Some evils are so great that they transcend death. In Brandon Massey’s “The Patriarch,” a young writer travels to the hushed backwoods of Mississippi, where dangerous secrets surface as a generations-old feud comes to bone-chilling new life…
BURIED. The souls of the mistreated always find a way to be heard. In L.A. Banks’s “Ev’ry Shut Eye Ain’t Sleep,” violent visions haunt a man-until he’s handed an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past and prevent unspeakable acts from occurring once again…
FORGOTTEN. When horrors are covered up and lost, our ancestors must find a way-even in death-to tell their tales. In Tananarive Due’s “Ghost Summer,” ancestors haunt the nights of two children. And when a grisly discovery is made, these ancestors will make their mark on both the dead and the living…
Teratologist by Edward Lee & Wrath James White
Billionaire John Farrington is obsessed with the idea of offending God to the point that God would want to confront him in person. Farrington has abducted priests and nuns to commit sexual atrocities with the most grievously genetically deformed people he can find. People that he’s also abducted and kept in such a high state of sexual intensity, with a drug his company produces, that they are just ravenous for physical contact. The abductees, with basically no self control, commit some of the most depraved sex acts, over, and over again. Westmore and Bryant, a photographer and journalist, are given the rare opportunity to interview the reclusive Farrington and see inside his mansion and operation. Only to find the horrors within, and who have become pawns in the mysteries they find behind every door. Farmington’s plan may work, and to make sure he’s successful, he will do whatever it takes to have the deity of man face him.
Fledgling by Octavia Bulter
They need human blood to survive, but they don’t kill unless they have to, and (given several hundred years) they’ll eventually die peacefully of old age. They are Ina, and they’ve coexisted with humans for millennia, imparting robust health and narcotic bliss with every bite to their devoted human blood donors, aka “symbionts.” Shori is a 53-year-old Ina (a juvenile) who wakes up in a cave, amnesiac and seriously wounded. As is later revealed, her family and their symbionts were murdered because they genetically engineered a generation of part-Ina, part-human children. Shori was their most successful experiment: she can stay conscious during daylight hours, and her black skin helps protect her from the sun. The lone survivor, Shori must rely on a few friendly (and tasty) people to help her warn other Ina families and rediscover herself. Butler, keeping tension high, reveals the mysteries of the Ina universe bit by tantalizing bit. Just as the Ina’s collective honor and dignity starts to get a little dull, a gang of bigoted, black sheep Ina rolls into town for a species-wide confab-cum-smackdown. In the feisty Shori, Butler has created a new vampire paradigm—one that’s more prone to sci-fi social commentary than gothic romance—and given a tired genre a much-needed shot in the arm. (Read an excerpt . . . )
The Tempest by Walter Mosley
Set in Harlem, Tempest Landry is gunned down `accidentally’ by the police for a robbery he did not commit. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. As the story opens we see him standing in a terminally long line, waiting for St. Peter to pass judgment. Tempest is a bit upset, to say the least, when St. Peter advises Tempest that his sins outweigh his good deeds and he is condemned to damnation. But Tempest does not go quietly. He refuses to accept the judgment and this causes no end of consternation in heaven. No soul has ever refused to accept St. Peter’s judgment and Tempest soon finds out that he cannot be compelled to damnation without his consent. The rules, such as they are, require that Tempest accept the judgment that has been passed on him. St. Peter decides to send Tempest back down to earth along with a guardian angel who is is tasked with the job of convincing Tempest to accept St. Peter’s judgment. Tempest (now in another soul’s body) and the guardian angel end up back in Harlem. The rest of the story focuses on the relationship between Tempest and the guardian angel . . .
Dark Thirst Edited by Angela C. Allen
A haunting anthology of vampire fiction – one that brings a colorful new dimension to one of the world’s most erotic and enduring myths.
Omar Tyree – The Old South falls prey to a terrifying handsome young vampire with a real taste for the ladies. Love at first bite never hurt so good. Angela C. Allen – The mafia is no match for the wicked charms of a beautiful young vampire once she’s let loose on the New York City Streets. Monica Jackson Jackson – Can a pair of fangs help a sister burn more calories? A full-figured woman goes on a thirst-quenching search for the perfect low-carb diet. Linda Addison – It’s a matter of life and the living dead for a half-vampire whose greatest wish is to save lives… and become human again. Donna Hill – A sensous vampire thirst for something more… but can she find it without getting a dagger in her own heart? Kevin S. Brockenbrough – A vengeful vampire pushes one woman to the edge, unaware that her family secret gives her the power to fight back.
I know what you’re thinking. Some of these books are old. Some of these books don’t fit into the horror/suspense genre. Well, so what. This is my blog and I run things around here. I do what I want. And if you know so much, why not make some other suggestions? 😛
Happy reading, ya’ll.