Kendall Reviews found 2017 to be a strong year for horror/dark fiction. I’ve read books that have made me fall back in love with the genre and reinvigorated my passion for reading, I’ve also had the pleasure of reading books that have opened my eyes to newer sub-genres. Of all the books I started to read only two were unfinished (is it wrong to name and shame?) and my TBR pile is at a healthy yet manageable level thanks to the support of the brilliant authors and publishers that I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with over the last 12 months. It’s been an absolute pleasure running Kendall Reviews. The blog will be a year old on the 8th January and it has grown beyond my wildest expectations in that time. Thank you!
I’ll post my book of the year and then follow it with nine titles, in no particular order to make up the ten best books I’ve read in 2017. To say it’s been tough to whittle these down is an understatement.
Kendall Reviews Book Of 2017 is...
Josh Malerman has not only written the best book I’ve read this year, with Goblin he’s written the best book I’ve read in the last few years. The pages couldn’t be turned quickly enough, I was completely under his spell, so much so I was upset once I had finished reading.
Goblin is an absolute triumph, wonderful characters, fantastic stories and in Goblin, a place you will want to return to again and again.
Kendall Reviews Best Books Of 2017
Chizmar’s writing style just demands you to keep reading. In A Long December I have a collection of stories that I’ll return to again and again, and in Chizmar an author that has now moved into the ‘must buy’ category.
34 short stories, 1 novella, 519 pages, a rollercoaster of emotions AND NO FILLER!
The writing is punchy, with short chapters that help towards the ‘just one more’ form of reading. I felt like I was on a hook, being reeled in towards the books infamous twist, I was totally under Pinboroughs control, the books pacing was spot on. I’m delighted to say that knowing there was a twist didn’t detract from the story at all. In fact I was so engrossed in the story that the twist was almost forgotten due to what was developing on the page. As for the twist, I would be very surprised if anyone guessed the ending, I thought I was very close at one point, but then Pinborough whipped the rug from under me, but I didn’t feel cheated, it was a proper ending, a fantastic conclusion to a wonderfully dark story of obsession. I was smiling like a lunatic as I closed the book, the ending did match up to the hype for me, Sarah Pinborough really should be applauded for that. Subtle clues litter the book, but it’s only once finished, you can think back and reflect on how cunning Pinborough has been in creating this twisted story.
Final Girls is a psychological thriller that’s also an homage to those classic slasher movies of the 80s & 90s. What happens to the girl at the end of the movie, with the blanket round her shoulders, covered in blood, sitting in the back of the ambulance? In Final Girls, Riley Sager has managed to keep an old slasher film fan like me enthralled, and kept me guessing right till the end. This would make for a superb movie, the books slow build , snappy dialogue and excellent set pieces would be perfect for the big screen.
Secrets Of The Weird is not a book I would have ordinarily picked up. I don’t believe I have read much in the way of ‘weird’ fiction and after Secrets I feel I may be missing out on something. In Sweetville, Stroup has created a City full of adventure, danger and eroticism populated with a range of characters that simply jumped off the page and with his lead Trixie, he has created a strong female character that I absolutely want to read more about.
Hekla’s Children is a thrilling read, the very definition of a page turner. Believable characters populate worlds you would want to return to.
I’m not ashamed to say that there was a tear in my eye after finishing this book, the epilogue is some of the most emotion packed writing I’ve read. Brilliant!
One of the joys of running this blog is discovering authors that become ‘must read’ Apologies to the author but I was totally new to Kealan Patrick Burke before this book arrived at Kendall Reviews. Backed by very favourable reviews online I dipped into this novella early December for a quick read. In only 67 pages Kealan Patrick Burke has created a fantastically dark story, with a lead you utterly feel for…a masterclass in characterisation. The scream mechanic is utterly terrifying! Hopefully I’ll be reading a lot more of this authors work in 2018.
The story is certainly not an easy read, but the elegant way in which it’s written pulls you through the blood and filth.
The Truants is a remarkable piece of work that demands to be read.
Paul Kane can certainly tell a story! To be able to keep the reader engaged across multiple settings, eras and genre can only be classed as a triumph. Before mixes action adventure, horror and the supernatural skillfully. I burned through nigh on 500 pages in only a few days. Before may not have been as epic a story as I was expecting, but it was a fast paced enjoyable read that kept me hooked till its thrilling conclusion.
New Fears is a stunning collection of 19 tales that will both terrify and delight you. The quality of writing is brilliant with every contributor, and the editor, Mark Morris, deserving congratulations. This is a special anthology that I hope to see run and run. The bar has been set very high.