My Top Ten of 2020 features books released in the calendar year of 2020. This was an incredibly difficult task to whittle it down to only ten. So, in no particular order, here we go!
The Residence by Andrew Pyper.
Fantastic historical-fiction set in the White House where First Lady Jane Pierce deals with the grief of losing her son. Pyper not only gives us an emotion-filled book but also some of the best creeps he’s ever delivered. Time and time again, Andrew crafts some of the best written, dark fiction books on the planet.
Armageddon House by Michael Griffin.
God what a book. I had no idea what I was getting into when I accepted a digital ARC from Undertow Publications. Griffin sends us sailing headfirst into a claustrophobic, chaotic place where so many questions are asked but so few are answered. Stunning.
Night Train by David Quantick.
A woman wakes on a train. No memory of who she is, or why she’s here. This book sails along at a break-neck pace and I loved how it continued to evolve and introduce new train cars and environments. Fantastic.
Eden by Tim Lebbon.
Lebbon’s latest was an ecological based thriller. Set in the future, we follow a group of ultra-marathon runners attempt to set a new record running across one of the reclaimed areas on Earth. I loved the setting as well as the mystery that played throughout. Great stuff.
The Mud Ballad by Jo Quenell.
Good grief what a read. This novella follows a side-show performer who is attempting to reconnect with his former attached twin who he murdered. Aided by a disgraced physician, Quenell keeps this book brutal and bleak. Amazing.
Crossroads by Laurel Hightower.
Hightower is a fantastic author, as evidenced by ‘Whispers in the Dark,’ but with ‘Crossroads’ we get her take on the ‘what would you do to get your child back’ narrative and jumping Jesus does she go places that many wouldn’t. Loved this.
The Midwives by Duncan Ralston.
Ralston continues to deliver some truly dark stories and ‘The Midwives’ was no exception. Watching how the group of characters had control over the small town and seeing each piece of the puzzle connect was fantastic.
Juniper by Ross Jeffery.
For me this was a very great surprise. A story with heart and intrigue that was centered on a small town during the time just post an apocalyptic event. Ross really delivers a book that had me guessing the entire time. Great stuff.
The Blood Beast Mutations by Carl John Lee.
Just who the hell is Carl John Lee and where did he come from. The reclusive author blew my mind with his debut novella, one filled with just as much gore and carnage as venom towards the orange president. I couldn’t believe how fantastic this read was and keep trying my best to get more folks to read it.
Maggie’s Grave by David Sodergren.
The world was blessed to have two releases from Sodergren this year and frankly I struggled to not put both on this list. I’ve given the nod to ‘Maggie’s Grave’ purely because it was a book that ticked more boxes for my personal tastes than ‘Dead Girl Blues’ did and honestly, any book that has a senior citizens home orgy/death party scene should have a place on your Top Ten List.
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
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