2 Book Lovers Reviews
Guest Post: L.X. Cain
I’m happy to be on the 2 Book Lovers Reviews site, and
I think Greg has come up with a great question for his
October 2016 Horror series:
Which five books would you want to survive to be
studied in 500 years time, as representing early 21st
century horror? Why?
It’s never easy to pick “best” books, since that’s rather
subjective, but I can give you my favorites with a bit of
an explanation of why I picked them.
I think the 21st century has rocked the publishing world
because of the rise of the Indie author—“Indie” meaning
both self-published and small press published authors.
For a long time, publishing’s gatekeepers (agents, publishers, editors) chose the books that got released to the public, and unless your last name was King or Patterson, it was hard to get your foot in the door. But indie publishing has brought an abundance of new authors and varied choices. No longer do readers have to content themselves with what the mainstream houses feel is “good enough” to be published. This has been especially great for horror authors. Now, they can write in every niche imaginable, get their work out into the world, and attract fans.
The five books I’ve chosen to keep safe for readers 500 years in the future are all from indie authors and reflect my personal taste for sympathetic heroes, fast-paced action, and fresh, frightening stories.
Afraid by Jack Kilborn (aka J.A. Konrath; 2012). I also love his book Origin, but I chose
Afraid because frankly, it scared me more! It’s a genre mash-up combining horror, action
and science fiction and explores the ideas of the super-soldier and what can happen to a
small town when all contact is broken with the outside world. What if your cell phones and
landlines don’t work? What if surrounding towns were told that anyone exiting your town
is abnormal and dangerous? What if, under the guise of military authority, all the people in
your town were being rounded up and killed? The dark desperation, multiple POVs, and
heroic characters in this novel kept me flipping pages as fast as I could.
Darkness Rising by Brian Moreland (2015). There are many things to love about Brian
Moreland’s works. He presents sympathetic characters, writes extremely well, and always
surprises the reader with plot twists. The hero of the novella, Darkness Rising, is Marty, a
college janitor who’s been bullied his whole life. Things go from bad to worse to horrendous
when he crosses paths with a trio of killers. Marty goes down, but he’s not out! This story
evolves from a revenge gorefest into a deep psychological drama. Marty’s innermost guilt
and desires are spawned by secrets in his dark past. Every time I thought I had the plot
figured out, Moreland took it down a different path, revealing layers of complexity and evil
I’ve never seen before.
Sea Sick by Iain Rob Wright (2012). Iain Rob Wright is one of the few indie horror authors
who makes his living from writing. He’s quite prolific. The thing I like best about his works
are his original premises. He has a way of turning classic plotlines on their head. Sea Sick is
about a vacationing cop fighting zombies. Average fare? Think again. The cop is on a cruise
ship when the zombie outbreak occurs. There’s literally nowhere to run. And have I
mentioned the time-travel element? There’s nothing average or predictable about Sea Sick,
and it’s riveting!
Zombies v. Ninjas by R.A. Barnes (2015). I’m not usually a fan of zombie novels (or any
“classic” monsters) but a very few are so different and so good that they give new life to the
over-saturated market. Barnes is an Irish writer and definitely has the charming gift for
blarney going on! His loveable, witty, and completely relatable hero reminds me of the
James Herriot (All Creatures Great and Small) series of novels I read as a kid. In addition to
loving the hero and being impressed by the fine writing, I found the scientific explanation of
how the zombies came to be very original and realistic.
Asylum by Amy Cross (2013). Amy Cross is an anomaly in a world where indie authors
increase their readership through publicity and self-promotion. You have to dig hard to find
out much about her. She’s written 97 novels/novellas since 2011. Yes, that’s 97 books in 5
years—or approximately 20 books a year! She’s currently ranked #7 Kindle Horror Author
on Amazon. Her novels and novellas are like potato chips—you can’t read just one. The
stories are always unique, the characters are fresh and fascinating, and the writing is
hospital for the criminally insane where the staff are just as disturbed, and disturbing, as
the patients. With the cast of bizarre characters in this novel, mysteries abound, including
secret experiments and brains in glass jars!
About L.X. Cain
Lexa Cain lives a stone’s throw (if you throw it really hard) from the beautiful beaches and turquoise waters of the Red Sea. Despite the scenic delights, she’s an indoor gal *cough* couch potato *cough* and can usually be found hunched over her computer, working on new projects. (Pen name L.X. Cain, novel and short story author)