Top 10 – Horror

These are the Top 10 horror titles borrowed from Leeds Libraries this month.

UndergroundUnder Ground by S L Grey

A global outbreak of a virus sends society spinning out of control. But a small group of people have been preparing for a day like this. Grabbing only the essentials, they head to The Sanctum, a luxury self-sustaining underground survival facility where they’ll shut themselves away and wait for the apocalypse to pass. All the residents have their own motivations for buying into the development. A mix of personalities, they are strangers separated by class and belief, all of them hiding secrets. They have only one thing in common: they will do anything to survive. The doors close, locked and secured with a combination that only one man knows. It’s the safest place they could be. But when a body is discovered, they realize that the greatest threat to their survival may be trapped in The Sanctum with them.

RevivalRevival by Stephen King

In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs – including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.

The house on cold hillThe House on Cold Hill by Peter James

Moving from the heart of the city of Brighton and Hove to the Sussex countryside is a big undertaking for born townies, Ollie Harcourt, his wife, Caro, and their twelve-year-old daughter, Jade. But when they view Cold Hill House – a huge, dilapidated, Georgian mansion – they are filled with excitement. Despite the financial strain of the move, Ollie has dreamed of living in the country since he was a child. Caro is less certain, and Jade is grumpy about being removed from all her friends. But within days of moving in, it soon becomes apparent that the Harcourt family aren’t the only residents in the house.

Bazaar of bad dreamsThe Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

A collection of twenty stories – some brand new, some published in magazines, all assembled in one book for the first time – with a bonus: in addition to his introduction to the whole collection, Stephen King gives readers an introduction to each story with autobiographical comments on their origins and motivation.

Night MusicNight Music by John Connolly

A decade after ‘Nocturnes’ first terrified and delighted readers, John Connolly gives us a second volume of tales of the supernatural. From stories of the monstrous for dark winter nights to fables of fantastic libraries and haunted books, from a tender account of love after death to a frank, personal and revealing account of the author’s affection for myths of ghosts and demons, this is a collection that will surprise, delight – and terrify.

A cold silenceA Cold Silence by Alison Littlewood

Ben Cassidy has strict instructions from his mother, Cass, never to return to his childhood home of Darnshaw. But when an old friend dies, he returns to investigate a computer game she was playing named Acheron. Acheron claims it will give you all that you ask for, something Gaila, Ben’s sister, knows all too well. But there is a price, and hers is to get Ben to London. As Ben and his friends delve ever deeper into the world of Acheron, good motivations and morality begin to slip, and they find themselves falling further into corruption. Ben and Gaila could save them all, but the price for doing so might just be too high to pay.

77 shadow street77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz

Old Silas Kinsley is the self-appointed resident historian of the Pendleton, a 19th-century building which has now been converted into a number of luxury apartments. He has discovered that there is a cycle of strangeness and tragedy in the Pendleton’s past – and it is about to head into another of its disturbing cycles.

BroodBrood by Chase Novak

Adam and Alice Twisden are not ordinary children. Along with hundreds of other rich and desperate couples, their parents tried an experimental fertility treatment, and paid a horrific cost. The twins’ aunt has finally won her fight for custody, and is determined to give them the love and stability that they have never known. But outside the refuge she is trying to create, dark forces are combining.

The undesiredThe Undesired by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

Aldis is working in a juvenile detention centre in rural Iceland. She witnesses something deeply disturbing in the middle of the night and soon afterwards two of the boys there are dead. Decades later, single father Odinn is looking into alleged abuse at the centre, following the unexplained death of the colleague who was previously running the investigation. The more he finds out, though, the more it seems the odd events of the 1970s are linked to the accident that killed his ex-wife. Was her death something more sinister?

The deepThe Deep by Nick Cutter

Part horror, part psychological nightmare, ‘The Deep’ is a novel fans of Stephen King and Clive Barker won’t want to miss.

NOS4R2: a novel by Joe Hill – review

NOS4R2: a novelHorror fans, you’ll love this:  NOS4R2: a novel by Joe Hill, best selling author of Horns and Heart shaped box 8 paperbacks just arriving

The Sunday Times called it ‘enthrallingly petrifying and creepily engrossing’

Summer. Massachusetts. An old Silver Wraith with a frightening history. A story about one serial killer and his lingering, unfinished business. Anyone could be next. We’re going to Christmasland. ‘NOS4R2’ is an old-fashioned horror novel in the best sense. Claustrophobic, gripping and terrifying, this is a story that will have you on the edge of the seat while you read, and leaving the lights on while you sleep

New Horror, Sci Fi , Paranormal, Fantasy

The bone seasonThe voices by Frank Tallis -In the scorching summer of 1976  Christopher Norton, & his family settle into their new home in north London. The faded glory of the Victorian house is the perfect place for Norton, a composer of film soundtracks, to build a recording studio of his own. But soon in the long, oppressively hot nights, his wife begins to hear something through the crackle of the baby monitor. First, a knocking sound. Then come the voices.

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris -Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. There’s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There’s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there’s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he’s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own). Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay a while, and learn the truthMidnight crossroad

Sworn in steel by Douglas Hulick – It’s been three months since Drothe killed a legend, burned down a portion of the imperial capital, and unexpectedly elevated himself into the ranks of the criminal elite. Now, as the newest Gray Prince in the underworld, he’s learning just how good he used to have it

The bone season by Samatha Shannon – Dystopian novel set in 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals, scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds.

Terra by Mitch Benn Comic scifi about Terra – now aged 11 – and her search for answers about her past, not stinting on spacey technology, alien battles and knowing comic asides. Mitch Benn works the comedy circuit and Radio 4 satirical programmes like The Now Show.

New Scifi, Fantasy and Horror

Here’s what’s new this week in these three genresThe concrete grove


Pick of the week – Gary McMahon won the ‘This is Horror’ Novel of the Year award with  The concrete grove  It’s the first of a trilogy, so if you like it, 2 more to follow with, Silent Voices and Beyond here lies nothing. Imagine a place where all your nightmares become real. Think of dark urban streets where crime, debt and violence are not the only things to fear. Picture a housing project that is a gateway to somewhere else, a realm where ghosts and monsters stir hungrily in the shadows. Welcome to the Concrete Grove. It knows where you live.

Joshi  Black wings of Cthulhu VolumeThis is a collection of 18 horrifying tales taking their inspiration from stories by H.P. Lovecraft

Sci fi

Lafferty  The ghost train to New Orleans  Zoe writes travel guides for the undead. And she’s good at it too – her new-found ability to talk to cities seems to help. After the success of ‘The Shambling Guide to New York City’, Zoe and her team are sent to New Orleans to write the sequel. Her career isn’t all that brings her to New Orleans. The only person who can save Zoe’s boyfriend from zombism is rumoured to live in the city’s swamps, but she’s out of her element in the wilderness. With her supernatural colleagues waiting to see her fail, and rumours of a new threat hunting citytalkers, can she stay alive long enough to finish her next book? 

Vandermeer  Annihilation For 30 years, Area X has remained mysterious, remote, and concealed by the government as an environmental disaster zone even though it is to all appearances pristine wilderness. For 30 years, too, the secret agency known as the Southern Reach has monitored Area X and sent in expeditions to try to discover the truth. Some expeditions have suffered terrible consequences. Others have reported nothing out of the ordinary. Now, as Area X seems to be changing and perhaps expanding, the next expedition will attempt to succeed where all others have failed. What is happening in Area X? What is the true nature of the invisible border that surrounds it?

Wood  No hero Oxford police detective Arthur Wallace is a good cop, but prefers that action and heroics remain on the screen, safely performed by professionals. But then secretive government agency MI12 comes calling, hoping to recruit Arthur in their struggle against the tentacled horrors from another dimension known as the Progeny

Wraight  Blood of Asaheim After half a century apart, in service to the Deathwatch and the Chapter, Space Wolves Ingvar and Gunnlaugr are reunited. Sent to defend an important shrine world against the plague-ridden Death Guard, the Grey Hunters clash with the pious Sisters of Battle, who see the Space Wolves as little better than the enemy they fight. As enemies close in around them and treachery is revealed, Gunnlaugr and his warriors must hold the defenders together – even as hidden tensions threaten to tear the pack apart


D’Lacey  The book of the Crowman  It is the black dawn, a time of environmental apocalypse, the Earth wracked and dying. It is the bright day, a time long generations hence, when a peace has descended across the globe. The search continues for the shadowy figure known as the Crowman, as the Green Men prepare to rise up against the forces of the Ward

Eddings  Guardians of the west   Set against a backdrop of fantasy and mystery and in a land of dangerous imagination, the kidnapping of the son of the Overlord of the West, leads an army to embark upon a fantastic journey – that journey is chronicled in the Books of the Mallorean

Kashina  Blades of the old empire Kara is a mercenary, a Diamond warrior, the best of the best, and a member of the notorious Majat Guild. When her tenure as protector to Prince Kythar comes to an end, custom dictates he accompany her back to her guild to negotiate her continued protection

Scifi, Horror and fantasy new this week in Leeds Libraries

Some nice new titles in these genres for fans this week.


Bach, RachelFortune’s pawn – Deviana Morris isn’t your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. One of those is going to get her killed one day – but not just yet. Not when she just got a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn’t misnamed: it likes to get into trouble. And with a reputation for bad luck that makes one year as security detail on this ship equal to five years everywhere else – Devi knows she’s found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn’t give up its secrets without a fight, and one year might be more than even Devi can handle

Banks, Iain M Feersum endjinn  – a science fiction novel of great imagination, from a highly celebrated author.

Herbert and Anderson – Hellhole awakening General Adolphus knows the Monarchy crackdown is coming. Now he needs to pull together all the resources of the Hellhole colony, the ever-expanding shadow-Xayan settlement, and his connections with the other Deep Zone worlds

image-medium (92)Horror/Paranormal

Condit, SonjaThe starter house – When Lacey moves into her dream house, she believes it will be the perfect place to raise her first, precious child. But she soon realises that old houses hold secrets … and some secrets can kill

Duncan, GlenBy blood we live paranormal Remshi is the oldest vampire in existence. He is searching for the werewolf named Talulla, whom he believes is the reincarnation of his long lost – and only – love. But he is not the only one seeking Talulla. Hunted by the Militi Christi, a religious order hell-bent on wiping out werewolves and vampires alike, Remshi and Talulla must join forces to protect their families, fulfil an ancient prophecy and save both of their lives


Dalglish, DavidA dance of cloaks  – The Underworld rules the city of Veldaren. Thieves, smugglers, assassins – they fear only one man. Thren Felhorn is the greatest assassin of his time. All the thieves’ guilds of the city are under his unflinching control. If he has his way, death will soon spill out from the shadows and into the streets. Aaron is Thren’s son, trained to be heir to his father’s criminal empire. He’s cold, ruthless – everything an assassin should be. But when Aaron risks his life to protect a priest’s daughter from his own guild, he glimpses a world beyond poison, daggers, and the iron rule of his fathe

Smith, A JThe black guard The Duke of Canarn is dead, executed by the King’s decree. The city lies in chaos, its people starving, sickening, and tyrannized by the ongoing presence of the King’s mercenary army. But still hope remains: the Duke’s children, the Lord Bromvy and Lady Bronwyn, have escaped their father’s fate. Separated by enemy territory, hunted by the warrior clerics of the One God, Bromvy undertakes to win back the city with the help of the secretive outcasts of the Darkwald forest, the Dokkalfar. The Lady Bronwyn makes for the sanctuary of the Grass Sea and the warriors of Ranen with the mass of the King’s forces at her heels. And in the mountainous region of Fjorlan, the High Thain Algenon Teardrop launches his Dragon Fleet against the Red Army

Tchaikovsky, Adrian War master’s gate Relentlessly advancing towards Collegium, the Empire is again seeking to break down its walls. The mighty imperial armies have learnt from their failures, and Empress Seda will brook no weakness in her soldiers. Yet the campaign may be decided far from marching armies. In an ancient forest, the Empress Seda is seeking lost magic. Some dangerous shadow of old night is locked up among these trees and she is wants its power. Cheerwell Maker must stop her – but will their rivalry awaken something far deadlier

Wilson, GeoffreyWar of the Grail The year is 1856. King John is dead and the war that will win or lose the English rebellion has finally begun. Regiments of Rajthanan troops are massing to the south of free Shropshire while to the north, refugees bring stories of attacks by the devil himself. A strange set of maps that Jack Casey discovered in Scotland could hold the key to England’s freedom. Kanvar, the rebel’s engimatic Sikh ally, believes the charts will unlock the secrets of the Rajthanans’ magic and perhaps guide Jack to the Holy Grail. But can Jack harness the power of the Grail before the conqueror’s overwhelming forces destroy the dream of a free England forever?

McKay, Emily – The lair fantasy/dystopian Twin sisters Lily and Mel have bravely escaped the Farm – a place where young people are bred to die. Now separated, they must continue the fight on their own. After making it to a resistance base camp, Lily decides to make the difficult trek north to Canada – and safety. Meanwhile, Mel is being taught how to survive by the vampire who turned her.But when a monstrous betrayal places Lily in mortal danger, Mel must set out to find her and save her sister, But in the fight against the ultimate evil, can both hope to survive?

Duncan, GlenBy blood we live paranormal Remshi is the oldest vampire in existence. He is searching for the werewolf named Talulla, whom he believes is the reincarnation of his long lost – and only – love. But he is not the only one seeking Talulla. Hunted by the Militi Christi, a religious order hell-bent on wiping out werewolves and vampires alike, Remshi and Talulla must join forces to protect their families, fulfil an ancient prophecy and save both of their lives

Fancy reading some horror ..

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Based on 5 star ratings from our readers and a bit of research, here’s our suggestions for horror stories you might like to read. Have you got any good suggestions?
Doctor Sleep: a novel by Stephen King – What happened to Danny Torrance, the boy at the heart of ‘The Shining’, after his terrible experience in the Overlook Hotel. Doctor Sleep picks up the story of the now middle-aged Dan, working at a hospice in rural New Hampshire, and the very special twelve-year old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

NOS-4R2: 1938: a novel by Joe Hill – Summer. Massachusetts. An old Silver Wraith with a frightening history. A story about one serial killer and his lingering, unfinished business. Anyone could be next. We’re going to Christmasland. ‘NOS4R2’ is an old-fashioned horror novel in the best sense. Claustrophobic, gripping and terrifying.

The Blood Gospel by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell – When an earthquake in Israel, reveals a buried tomb, a trio of investigators are sent to explore the macabre discovery, a subterranean temple holding the crucified body of a mummified girl. A brutal attack at the site sets the three on the run, in to a race to recover what was once preserved in the tomb, a book rumoured written by Christ

The classic horror stories by H P Lovecraft. This cult author’s collection of classic tales of metaphysical horror create. Prepare for a profound sense of dread and unease

Aftermath by David Moody – A killer disease wipes out 99% of the population and three months later the dead reanimate. The few survivors stick together to give themselves the best possible chance of continuing to stay alive and a band of refugees has taken shelter in a castle. Besieged by the dead, they only emerge only whennecessary. Autumn turns to winter and the balance of power begins to shift

House of small shadows by Adam Nevill – Creepy & weird horror in a large isolated house with dolls and stuffed anumals

Ash by James Herbert – David Ash is investigating a mysterious and secluded stately home, deep in the countryside

Brother Odd by Dean  Koontz – Odd, a charismatic young man with a sense for the otherworldly and the downright strange, is in self-imposed exile. The tragic events that took the love of his life have led Odd from his sun-bleached desert home of Pico Mundo to a monastery in the High Sierra

Feed by Mira Grant – 2014: We had cured cancer, beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no-one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over minds with one command: feed. 20 years after the rising, Georgia &Sean Mason are on the trail of the dark conspiracy behind the infected

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy  Every teenage girl thinks she’s different. When government agents kick down Claire Forrester’s front door and murder her parents, Claire realises just how different she is

Little Star by John Ajvide Lindqvist – Autumn 1992- former pop singer Lennart Cederström finds something unexpected in the forest: a baby girl in a plastic bag, partially buried. He gives her the kiss of life, and her first cry astounds him. He takes her to his wife, persuading her to keep this remarkable child. But she becomes a strange girl

Hitchers by Will McIntosh – Two years ago Finn Darby lost his wife Lorena, struck by lightning on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, and his abusive, alcoholic grandfather, Tom. After an attack on Atlanta Finn begins blurting things in a voice beyond his control. Countless other residents of Atlanta are suffering a similar bizarre affliction

Anno Dracula by Kim Newman – Peppered with familiar characters from Victorian history and fiction, this novel tells the story of vampire Geneviève Dieudonné and Charles Beauregard of the Diogenes Club as they strive to solve the mystery of the Ripper murders

A cold season by Alison Littlewood – Cass is building a new life for herself and young son Ben after the death of her soldier husband, returning to her native village. But their new home is not what she expected: the other flats are all empty and villagers are a bit odd. When a heavy snowstorm maroons the village, things get even harder.


Books that influenced game designers

image-medium (66)Keith Stuart writes in the Guardian blog about 10 books every gamer should read. He’s met game designers from all over the world –  US, Russia,  Japan,  France, Denmark,  Britain -while writing about technology for the last 17 years. He says while the cultural references can be hugely diverse, there are certain books / movies that come up in conversation over and over again. Game designers and developers have cited these most often as influences on their work. Links to our catalogue if you want to read them

Akira – Katsuhiro Otomo – Post-apocalyptic saga set in Tokyo charts the coming of the creature known only as Akira, a power both feared and prized for its potential to shake the recovering world. Influences from West (Star Wars) & East (Japanese author Seishi Yokomizo) Credited with introducing manga & through its animated movie translation, anime, to Western audiences. Other authors: Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns Alan Moore’s Watchmen

Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories – HP Lovecraft – reinvented the horror genre for the 20thC, dropping witches & ghosts and ‘envisaging mankind as an outpost of dwindling sanity in a chaotic and malevolent universe.’ Games  –Dungeons and Dragons, role-playing games since. Other authors: Michael Moorcock (especially the Elric books)Stephen King (The Dark Tower series 1 Gunslinger. 2 Drawing of the three 3 Waste Lands ); Robert Bloch.

Dragon Ball – Akira Toriyama Considered to be one of all-time great mangas  it ran as a serial in the weekly Japanese comic, Shōnen Jump, (230m copies sold worldwide). Based around the Chinese novel Journey to the West this epic combines exciting martial arts action and eccentric & fascinating characters. Mix of combat, mythology and comedy. Other authors ‘big 3’ manga – Naruto, Bleach One Piece

The Greek Myths – Robert Graves Ancient Greece inspired the heroic quest (Odysseus, Perseus), a central element in almost every role-playing game. Also influences ideas of prophesy, destiny and of ‘the chosen one’ who is born to vanquish evil. Myths include magic and vengeful gods.  Games: God of War and Altered Beast Other authors: the Norse and Celtic mythologies; the Bible.

The Hero With a Thousand Faces – Joseph Campbell (not got this one, but others by him) A study of world mythologies and the concept of the heroic archetype. The author argues that all mythological tales spring from a single monomyth in which a hero defeats a series of challenges to attain a life-changing gift. Other authors: Sir James George Frazer The Golden Bough

House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski – a cybertext, ‘a work of “ergodic” literature in which the formatting of the text becomes a puzzle the reader must solve. A story about how to tell stories in the digital age’. Other authors: Jorge Luis Borges

King Solomon’s Mines – H. Rider Haggard  Allan Quartermain is the archetypal flawed adventure hero and introduced the Lost World genre of fiction. Indiana Jones is the modern version.  Everything from Pitfall to Tomb Raider where hero and team locate a lost temple filled with treasures may have roots in this novel. Others:  Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island)  Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan),  Robert E. Howard (Conan)

Lord of the Rings – J.R.R Tolkien   Influenced  fantasy game designers about the importance of mythological back story e.g. Dungeons and Dragons and Japanese role-playing games such as Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, and onto World of Warcraft. Other authors: Michael Moorcock; Terry Pratchett; Brandon Sanderson;  Steven Erikson; Mervyn Peake Gormenghast 

Neuromancer – William Gibson  Gibson more anarchic writing about hackers, criminal corps, paranoia, busted up computer hardware, hard-drinking renegades and drugs appealed to bedroom programmers in the 80s /early 90s   Games= Syndicate, Beneath as Steel Sky and later Deus Ex, .hack// and Metal Gear Solid  Other authors: Bruce Sterling, Neal Stephenson or Pat Cadigan;  Manga – Ghost in the Shell

Starship Troopers – Robert A. Heinlein – eBook Gears of War, Halo, Killzone, Quake… owe a debt to the concept of the space marine brilliantly realised in Heinlein’s future war epic about the concept of a mechanised military defending humanity from invading aliens. Key elements in the biggest sci-fi games: troubled hero advancing through the ranks, an insect-like extra-terrestrial threat,  factional military.Other authors: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Iain M Banks’ Culture novels