American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett
Mona Bright inherits a house in the small, practically unknown town of Wink, New Mexico, and moves there in the hopes of discovering more about her mother’s mysterious past. However, the townspeople of Wink don’t take kindly to strangers and Mona begins asking questions that they don’t want answered. A deliciously claustrophobic book that is equal parts Lovecraft and Koontz as dread-filled suspense make the pages fly. Bennett does a great job of juggling cosmic horror and small town characterization that feels fresh, even as it pays homage to past masters of horror.
The Lords of Salem by Rob Zombie
A centuries old curse from the murdered witches of Salem comes back to haunt radio DJ Heidi Hawthorne when a strange record addressed to her appears and the vile music produces strange effects on the female population. Rob Zombie has proven himself a true devotee of horror through both his music and his filmmaking, so it definitely makes sense that horror literature would be the next field he’d want to leave his rancid mark on. Long on atmosphere and gritty satanic rituals, Lords is a splatterpunk-styled gore fest reminiscent of Richard Laymon and Poppy Z. Brite, but with that winking sense of humor that makes Zombie’s endeavors so appealing.
Domino Falls by Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due
After surviving Freak Day, where large portions of the population went insane and began biting and infecting others, a group of young friends finds sanctuary in Domino Falls, California, a town that has survived the apocalypse. But just as they are getting comfortable, the happy façade of Domino Falls gives way to dark secrets and hidden agendas that may prove to be more dangerous than the hordes of zombies outside the compounds walls. A pulse-pounding sequel to the equally excellent Devil’s Wake, Domino Falls brings the creeping menace of a zombie book, but its true strength is its characters. While they may not move the zombie genre in a totally new direction, Barnes and Due make a worthwhile contribution full of clever action scenes and realistic consequences.