Updated: Aug 12
Mona Kabbani breaks down her favorite horror subgenres from the past three months.
Best Psychological Horror: When Darkness Loves Us by Elizabeth Engstrom
Sally Ann and Martha. Two women, searching for love. Finding terror.
During a terrifying storm, a gentle childhood is destroyed by a twisted man who promises love but delivers nightmare.
In the lightless depths of an underground labyrinth, unseen creatures lie in wait for an innocent traveler, cold skeletal hands stretched out in welcome.
This long-awaited reissue of Elizabeth Engstrom's 1985 horror classic features a new introduction by Paperbacks from Hell author Grady Hendrix as well as the original foreword by SF legend Theodore Sturgeon and the original cover painting by Jill Bauman.
Best Biological Thriller: The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey
Everything that lives hates us...
Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable landscape. A place where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don't get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will.
Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He believes the first rule of survival is that you don't venture too far beyond the walls.
Best Psychological Twist: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. But one evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him....
Best Noir Mystery: Night Film by Marisha Pessl
On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.
For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence.
Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world.
Best Psychological: Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (My personal favorite)
The first rule about fight club is you don't talk about fight club.
Chuck Palahniuk showed himself to be his generation’s most visionary satirist in this, his first book. Fight Club’s estranged narrator leaves his lackluster job when he comes under the thrall of Tyler Durden, an enigmatic young man who holds secret after-hours boxing matches in the basements of bars. There, two men fight "as long as they have to." This is a gloriously original work that exposes the darkness at the core of our modern world.
Best Sci-Fi Horror: Alien: The Cold Forge by Alex White
With the failure of Hadley's Hope, Weyland-Yutani has suffered a devastating setback--the loss of the Aliens they aggressively sought to exploit. Yet there's a reason the Company has risen to the top of the food chain. True to form, they have a redundancy already in place... the facility known as The Cold Forge.
Remote station RB-232 has become their greatest asset in weaponizing the Xenomorphs. However, when Dorian Sudler is sent to RB-232 to assess their progress, he discovers that there's a spy aboard--someone who doesn't necessarily act in the company's best interests. For Dorian, this is the most unforgivable of sins. When found, the perpetrator will be eliminated with extreme prejudice. If unmasked, though, this person may be forced to destroy the entire station... and everyone on board. That is, if the Xenomorphs don't do the job first...
Best Sci-Fi: The Institute by Stephen King
In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did.
In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts.
Best Psychological History: Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen by Dexter Palmer
In 1726, in the town of Godalming, England, a woman confounded the nation’s medical community by giving birth to seventeen rabbits. This astonishing true story is the basis for Dexter Palmer’s stunning, powerfully evocative new novel.
Surgeon’s apprentice Zachary Walsh knows that his master, John Howard, prides himself on his rationality. But John cannot explain how or why Mary Toft, the wife of a local journeyman, has managed to give birth to a dead rabbit. When this singular event becomes a regular occurrence, John and Zachary realize that nothing in their experience as rural physicians has prepared them to deal with a situation like this—strange, troubling, and possibly miraculous.
About The Author
Mona Kabbani is a horror fan, book reviewer, and writer obsessed with psychology and the human condition. She emulates the conflict of the good versus the bad and all the inbetween in her work while providing an entertainingly horrifying experience.