Best Reads Of 2019
Note: These are my top READS of 2019, not top RELEASES of 2019. These lists are based on whatever I read, regardless of publication date.
Top 10 Reads
This one is pretty self-explanatory. These ten books were my ultimate favorites of the year, regardless of type (whether it be novel, novella, or collection). Due to the difficulty in choosing these ten titles, I have included a few of my Runners Up.
1. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
2. Cruel Works of Nature by Gemma Amor
3. Nightfall (Nightmareland Book 1) by Daniel Barnett
4. Dear Laura by Gemma Amor
5. 69 by Tim Meyer
6. Kind Nepenthe by Matthew V. Brockmeyer
7. Under Rotting Sky by Matthew V. Brockmeyer
8. The Pale White by Chad Lutzke
9. In the Scrape by James Newman and Mark Steensland
10. The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
Mad Hallelujah and Other Oddities by Owen Morgan
Remains by Andrew Cull
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Most Disturbing Read
A Place for Sinners by Aaron Dries
This novel is so dark, gruesome, and startling that I was thoroughly grossed out time and time again. As for that Coke bottle scene with the lead villain…dear Lord, it gave me nightmares. She was one of the most frightening characters I read this year.
Best Graphic Novel / Comic Arc
Wraith by Joe Hill
Though I’m not a fan of the artwork, the story here is wonderfully crazed. Of course, spending so much time in Christmasland certainly helped in my enjoyment, but the action in general is over-the-top and deeply satisfying.
Best Short Story Collection
Cruel Works of Nature by Gemma Amor
For the last seven months, I’ve known this would be a hard collection to beat. I expected it to land my number one spot and it did. Not only did Cruel Works of Nature introduce me to one my new favorite authors, it also scared and excited me repeatedly in ways no other collection could top.
Under Rotting Sky by Matthew V. Brockmeyer
Various States of Decay by Matt Hayward
Till the Score is Paid by Gemma Amor
Dear Laura by Gemma Amor
Read in one breathless sitting, this novella snapped up my attention with ease. I devoured it hungrily and it did not disappoint at all.
In the Scrape by James Newman and Mark Steensland
The Pale White by Chad Lutzke
The Highwayman by Craig Johnson
Most Poetic And Dark
Grind Your Bones to Dust by Nicholas Day
A Place for Sinners just barely beat out this title for Most Disturbing Read, but there’s a scene in Grind Your Bones to Dust that nearly made me burn the damn thing. This story is not only hellishly dark and horrific, it’s also achingly beautiful in its writing. It’s unlike anything else I’ve read by Day, which is part of its charm. Think Shakespeare meets Poe during a deep, personal depression.
To Be Devoured by Sara Tantlinger
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
This was my first read of the year and I absolutely loved it. Hill is right up there competing against his father with this one in regards to a perfect read. Not only is the villain great, but Christmasland is hauntingly enticing. You also have to love all the nods and connections to the King universe scattered throughout.
69 by Tim Meyer
Kind Nepenthe by Matthew V. Brockmeyer
Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
Best New Author Finds
I read a slew of authors new to me this year, and these five were repeated due to their brilliance. Not only did Gemma Amor get two of her releases in my Top 10, she also won Best Novella and Best Short Story Collection. That’s a helluva way to get someone’s attention. And then there was Brockmeyer right there at her heels with his collection, Under Rotting Sky, and novel, Kind Nepenthe. Oh, but don’t forget Tim Meyer (69 was engrossing and feverish, and The Switch House was also a blast), Chad Lutzke (The Pale White was fantastic, as well as are his numerous short story collections), and Aaron Dries (who nabbed Most Disturbing Read with A Place for Sinners, though all of his work has messed with my head so far). These five new favorites will surely follow me into 2020. I know I have another new release from Gemma left to read (as well as new novel on the way), as well as stacks on my shelf from Lutzke, Meyer, and Dries. The only writer I need to release something new is Brockmeyer – come on, brother!
Matthew V. Brockmeyer
Aiden Merchant is an independent author of horror, suspense, science fiction, and whatever else crawls out of his head. In 2019, he appeared in the writing community with the release of two story collections, Dead as Soon as Born and Kill for Them. In the months that surrounded those debuts, he also made several singles and website exclusives available, including “Out at Sea” and “Nummy Fingers.” He has been praised by readers and writers alike as having a diverse range in style and genre. Under his real name, Merchant has more than a decade of experience in music journalism, having regularly appeared in Alternative Press, Outburn Magazine, New Noise Magazine, and more. He is also a certified nursing assistant, husband, and father. In 2020, he looks to find a publisher and agent for the various projects he has in the pipeline.