Best Reads Of 2019
I have read so many books this year that it feels like an impossible task to really sift through them all and rank my favourites … I have truly loved so many. Still, there are always those twinkling little exceptions when it comes to books, those tales that grab your attention and remain rooted in your mind. Here I have selected just six titles that have really impressed me this year. They aren’t all necessarily published this year (although some were released in 2019) – a few of the titles are older ones that I have only recently gotten around to reading. Some of the books are even non-fiction, though they are dark and creepy in nature.
So without keeping you waiting, here are just some of my favourite reads of 2019. I highly recommend each and every title.
The Cranes that Build the Cranes – Jeremy Dyson
The Cranes That Build The Cranes contains nine short stories, each of them solid little gems in their own right. Many collections – quite naturally – vary in how much they hit the target for the reader, but this book contains so many solid tales that it’s easily one of my personal favourite reads of 2019 (though the book itself was published several years ago – I am late to the game, I’m afraid!)
Jeremy Dyson writes beautifully and has a way of making words come to life from the page; his stories are so engaging and easy to get into, yet they are always so dark and foreboding. He has a way of capturing the fears of our everyday lives and making it all seem so scarily plausible.
The Cranes That Build The Cranes is a book that I recommend to anyone who enjoys a creepy read – they don’t come much better than this.
You can read the full Kendall Review HERE
Aokigahara – Tara A Devlin
I am – hands down, big time – a massive fan of author Tara A Devlin. I have been a fan of her work since I discovered it a couple of years ago, and have been reading each of her releases with eagerness. Yes, I am a horror fan, but I am also fascinated by Japan, and Devlin’s work has it all. She truly knows her stuff. Having lived in Japan and studied the country, she has an insight that few can offer – particularly in relation to the country’s ghosts, myths, legends and history.
When I realised she had written a book exclusively exploring the infamous ‘Suicide Forest’ of Japan, I suspected it’d be a solid read, and I was right. Of course, a creepy forest that people go to die is always going to be an unsettling and eerie location to read about, but in this book, Devlin pulls apart every historical fact, every rumour and every myth in an engaging and interesting style.
In this book, Devlin tackles chapters on why the forest is popular for suicidal people; the history of the landscape and how the forest developed; the way police tackle suicide in Japan, and how bodies are removed from the place once they are uncovered. I loved this book and highly recommend it!
You can read the full Kendall Review HERE
Dark Echo – Francis Cottam
If you like your stories to feel absolutely drenched by fear and creepy atmosphere, look no further than author Francis G Cottam (author of several books, including House of Lost Souls and The Magdalena Curse). His work is exceptional in that he seems to deliver the scariest tales without ever letting go of the reader… his work is utterly haunting and addictive.
Dark Echo tells the creepy tale of a very unlucky legendary ship, and how it falls into the hands of a collector of cursed items. Of course, such a tale isn’t going to be a happy one, and Dark Echo is full of horror, creepiness and lots of twists and turns.
You can read a fascinating Kendall Reviews interview with Francis G. Cottam HERE
Baby Teeth (AKA Bad Apple in the UK) – Zoje Stage
Baby Teeth By Zoe Stage is a really addictive read – as cliché as that sounds, it really was book I tore through in just a few short days, because it leaves you wanting to constantly know what happens next. It’s a very dark, psychological tale exploring the nature of love, family and fear – and what happens when a child turns your life upside down… in the most utterly terrifying way!
I love a good read about scary children and this doesn’t disappoint. It’s excellently written and very disturbing.
Ghoster – Jason Arnopp
Jason Arnopp has written a masterful novel with Ghoster. Of course, I had high expectations of it – because of how much I’d enjoyed Jack Sparks – and I was ever so slightly nervous that his follow-up wouldn’t quite hit the same spot. I needn’t have worried – Ghoster has it all. A solid and twisted story, frequent scares, creepy chapters and lots of mystery. There is a depth to the novel, a reflection of society’s obsession with mobile phones, and how damaging this can be to the human psyche. Ghoster opens the reader’s eyes to the horror of our modern-day gadget addiction and does for mobile phones what Blair Witch has done for camping: it almost puts you off for life!
I feel confident in saying that anyone who enjoyed Jack Sparks will enjoy Ghoster. The stories are entirely different, yet they contain the same level of horror, unease and atmosphere. I’m a fully-fledged Jason Arnopp fan and I know you will be too if you pick up a copy of any of his titles!
The Led Zeppelin Curse – Lance Gilbert
The Led Zeppelin Curse was a really fascinating read. I’ll admit it from the outset – I don’t personally own any music of this much-loved group but I have had more than a passing interest in the long-running rumours connected to the band’s occult links.
Thankfully, Lance Gilbert’s book doesn’t require you to have any in-depth knowledge of the music or the group’s history – it remains focussed on discussing all aspects of the paranormal, occult and curses involved in the band’s biography.
The book is very well written, in a free-flowing conversational style; it doesn’t bog down the reader in too much detail, but instead sweeps through all of the creepy subjects with ease. Having said that, I did find it a very unsettling read. Once I began the book, I quickly devoured it from beginning to end, because it was so addictive and intriguing. I found it to be creepy – it does touch on many areas of some very dark subjects.
Fiona Dodwell has been writing fiction for almost 10 years, with several horror/paranormal titles released under various publishers. Alongside this, she is a freelance writer for various websites and magazines. She has written features for Warner Music, Made In Shoreditch Magazine, Music-news.com and Tremr.
Fiona has studied Psychology, Film Studies, Theology and Health & Social Care.
Her biggest passion is reading dark fiction, as well as creating new stories of her own – the creepier the better!
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