Much like my list for Top 20 Films of 2015, this list is comprised of books that may have been released in 2015, re-released, or saw significant mass distribution in 2015. Some the following books are full length, novella, poetry, and even short fiction collections. Regardless of length or style, this represents the very best writing of 2015.
This is my personal opinion, of course. Please keep in mind that reviewing books is more challenging and time consuming than a film, given the time investment, so please understand that there are tons of tremendous books that came out in 2015 that I did not read due to time constraints. Go find them and then tell me about them!
20. Amazing Punk Stories – David Agranoff
19. The Best of Horror Library Volumes 1-5
18. Fresh Meat 2015 – Tony Cella, Liam Dunson, Jason Murphy, Matthew Weber, Joshua Rex, Neko Lilly, Michelle Garza, Melissa Lason
17. Skinner – David Bernstein
16. Adrift – K.R. Griffiths
15. Scavengers – Nate Southard
14. A God of Hungry Walls – Garrett Cook
13. Darkness: Poems of Extreme Horror – Eric Kapitan
12. Good Neighbors – Russell C. Connor
11. Bone White – Tim McWhorter
10. Seeing Evil – Jason Parent
Despite the horrors that lie within these pages, this is a fun read. The brisk pace is held together with Parent’s ability to tie knots quickly. Any fan of thrillers and psychological horror should be grabbing this one.
9. Cut Corners Volume 2 – Ray Garton, Monica J. O’Rourke, Shane McKenzie
In this second volume of Sinister Grin Press’ Cut Corners, we are once again swept away into the insanity and viciousness of mankind. The ultra realistic approach of these stories makes them even more appealing than your standard splatter faire. This one is not to be missed. I cannot stress how much fun I had reading all three stories. This is a must own for any horror collection.
8. Darkness Rising – Brian Moreland
Moreland has assembled a masterpiece novella that I cannot recommend enough. The thin line between horror and beauty in this story is one that must be read. Upon first reading, this I easily one of my favorite horror release of the year. On second reading, it may be one of my favorite of the decade.
7. Wet and Screaming – Shane McKenzie
The introductions to the stories makes this a must own on their own. The fact that there isn’t a bad one among them, I would even go so far as to say there isn’t even an average story in this book, makes this for an outstanding read. If you are not a fan of Shane McKenziealready, you will be after reading this.
6. The Weight of Chains – Lesley Conner
Lesley Conner’s debut novel is easily one of my favorite of the year. The unfiltered look at extremes while presenting a fresh new story is something to behold. The novel is a bit long, but trust me, the ending is worth your patience. The tension builds and twists along, giving glimpses of things to come as each plot line develops. Not a fun read, but damn is it good.
5. Answers of Silence – Geoff Cooper
If you have not had the pleasure of reading Geoff Cooper’s work, now is the time. This brilliant collection is the fastest, easiest way to get into one of the most talked about writers in horror. Fans of Brian Keene and Jack Ketchum will not be disappointed.
4. Dark Avenging Angel – Catherine Cavendish
Dark Avenging Angel is a fantastic read. This novel will consume you and your free time. It is a standout story that reminds me why I love horror literature. Samhain is releasing some of the best horror fiction in recent memory and this novel is one of the best from their great run of books and authors
3. Blood and Rain – Glenn Rolfe
If you are not already a fan of Rolfe then you clearly haven’t been reading his work. Blood and Rain is a monumental piece of horror fiction. It represents everything I love about werewolves, creature features, siege films, and everything else in between. It is still early in the year, but this is a clear cut candidate for my favorite book of 2015.
2. Head Full of Ghosts – Paul Tremblay
Novels this good, in any genre, only come around once in a great while. The ability to frighten and challenge is something this genre has not seen in 15 years. Thought provoking indeed, the ending to this novel is going to be debated over for years to come. The best horror novel since Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves and the best possession book since William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist. Yes, this book deserves all of those comparisons. I have read it twice now and still feel as though I need to give it another read to see what I missed.
- The Scarlet Gospels – Clive Barker
The Scarlet Gospels may not be Clive Barker’s best work, mainly due to the heavily edited feel of the narrative, but it is easily one of my personal favorites. The loving resolution is a fitting end to some of the best characters in horror. Barker manages to use tricks and tools he has developed over the last 30 years and even brings some new ones. This book marks the first time that I can recall a hefty amount of humor used in a Barker book. There is also a significant amount of cursing, which has never been as prominent in one of his works as it is here. Obviously, there are missing sequences, we do not see Christ’s Crucifixion and other previously mentioned segments that were originally supposed to be in this book. But, what we do get is one fantastic ride through the mind of one of horror’s greatest masters. One that has evolved beyond standard horror and uses this ability to tell a tale that is grand, magical, and terrifying.