I've been thinking about this post ever since Lady Gaga and Mayor Bloomberg hosted the New Year's ball drop, which made me think of her Monster's Ball tour, and of monsters, in general. Unfortunately, I have been a wee bit tardy in posting it, so some of these books are not exactly hot off the presses, but I think they are all great horror and science-fiction reads for 2012. As a bonus, some are available as e-book titles. Readers, engage!
The Night Eternal, the third novel in the vampire trilogy by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, has a pivotal scene in the “main branch” of The New York Public Library involving the fictional Occido Lumen, a tome that is, paradoxically, both eagerly sought by the evil vampire leader yet designed to repell all vampires with its silver-edged pages. It's described in the novel thusly, Occido Lumen (1667) — "A compleat account of the first rise of the Strigoi and full confutation of all arguments produced against their existence." There's also a librarian in his movie, new on DVD, Don't Be Afraid Of the Dark, who just happens to be the foremost authority on local creepy houses.
Micro, by Michael Crichton (rhymes with "frighten") and Richard Preston, is based on writings left posthumously by Crichton and owes as much to Isaac Asimov's Fantastic Voyage. The premise requires a hearty suspension of disbelief, but the strangeness of the microscopic world of insect life makes up for it. Andrea's previous blog post gives an excellent summary.
77 Shadow Street by Dean R Koontz takes a break from writing his Odd Thomas series to write this standalone novel, about an 18th-century mansion turned haunted luxury apartment building called the Pendleton. You can explore an interactive version of the Pendleton at 77shadowstreet.com. Watch out for his forthcoming Odd Thomas book, Odd Apocalypse.
Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes.
Okay, so this isn't a horror novel except in the sense of the horror of war, but the soldiers do struggle mightily against leeches, tigers, mosquitoes, and all manner of beasties, and the plot is gripping in the way that horror novels often are.
Zone One by Colson Whitehead.
This novel approaches the idea of a zombie apocalypse in a different, more literary way than most, focusing on urban planning and the nature of survival as much as anything. The New York Times Sunday Book Review does a great job introducing this unexpected sixth release from the 2002 MacArthur "genius" fellow, Colson Whitehead.