Guest Blog Post: Jason Parent

Here’s a guest blog post from Jason Parent author of What Hides Within. To find out more about Jason’s work check out his website at: http://authorjasonparent.com/

Jason Parent’s Best Read in 2017

Closing up 2017, a lot of readers share their “Best of” lists. As a reader, my year was stacked! In a year that included a re-read of It, a first read of Ghost Story, and a half-dozen McCammon books, picking a best of list is going to be next to impossible.

But here goes anyway. These books represent the best I’ve read in 2017, regardless of their publication date, and why:

1. Best Novel by a Reigning Horror Master: Mister Slaughter, by Robert McCammon – Rich, well-crafted characters, a murderous psychopath creating more than enough horror to please even the most die-hard of the genre, and a plot that keeps on moving, rivaling the first book for best in a series without a dud among them.

Honorable Mentions: Straub’s Ghost Story; McCammon’s The Providence Rider; King’s It

2. Best Novel by a Rising Horror Master: Bird Box, by Josh Malerman – A mysterious evil; a desperate solution; an all-out perfect story. Why I waited as long as I did to read this, I’ll never know. Reminiscent thematically of The Road.

Honorable Mentions: Shea’s We Are Always Watching; Cutter’s The Troop; Schweigart’s Northwoods; Golden’s Ararat; Langan’s The Fisherman; Gifune’s Kingdom of Shadows

3. Most Enjoyable, Fun and Fast-Paced Read: Kutter, by Jeff Strand. Humorous yet somehow touching, no one does horror-comedy better than Strand.

Honorable Mentions: Curran’s Grimweave; Lawson’s Bad World

4. Best Novella: Odd Man Out, by James Newman. This was one powerful, disturbing, all-too-real and incredibly well-written story. If it doesn’t make you feel, you don’t have a heart.

Honorable Mentions: Burke’s Sour Candy; Prentiss’ Invisible Fences

5. Best Anthology or Collection: Black Pantheons, by Curtis Lawson – All of the stories in Lawson’s collection were good, but four of them were some of the best short stories I have ever read. The only other single author I can recall having that many tales that blew me away in one collection is the man called King.

Honorable Mention: Finn’s Dreaming at the Top of My Lungs

6. Most Beautifully Written Prose: Detritus in Love, by Mercedes Murdock Yardley and John Boden – This tale is beautiful melancholy, heart-wrenching loneliness, and smothering horror. Each word is perfectly chosen, every image laced with impending dread.

Honorable Mentions: Langan’s, The Fisherman; Vandermeer’s Annihilation

7. Best Short Story: Tie – Lawson’s “Demons of Manzanar,” Lawson’s “The Carousel Horse,” and Finn’s “Stranded.”

Honorable Mention: Smales’ “Carol of the Bells”

8. Best Non-Horror Novel: Theft of Swords, by Michael Sullivan – Good old-fashioned fantasy fun that follows two thieves and somewhat reluctant heroes (more so on Royce’s part). Sure to entertain.

Honorable Mentions: Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress; Fleming’s Casino Royale; Sullivan’s Heir of Novron

9. Biggest disappointments – I don’t usually focus on the negative, but as these three books have huge followings, I’ll just lay them out a give you my reason why:

a. Swan Song, by Robert McCammon – every horror reader just simultaneously spit on me. Don’t get me wrong, I LIKED THIS BOOK and would even recommend it. But the hype it gets – how many people cite to it as the best of the genre – I guess I went in with high expectations and came out tempered.

b. Final Girls, by Riley Sager – This was just one of those books that sounded like it was my thing, but when I started reading it, I soon realized it wasn’t my thing. It’s a standard horror-thriller, akin (to me) to something by James Patterson (but nowhere near as good as Kiss the Girls)

c. Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie – It was free on Audible, so I figured I’d give it one more try in my middle life. But what I hated as a kid, I still can find no appreciation for today.

All in all, I’ve had a stellar year of reading. What were some of your favorites?

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4 thoughts on “Guest Blog Post: Jason Parent

  1. Great list! McCammon’s “Boy’s Life” is my favorite novel of all time, but I recently read “Mine” and that was the most suspenseful I’ve ever read. Strand is one of my top five favorite authors, and “Dweller” is an all-time favorite. Like “Kutter,” “Dweller” hits you with a blast of emotion you never expected. Thanks for posting the list. I saw at least four I plan to check out.

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