The Phantom Coach, edited by Michael Sims: I've made a point to try to read more classics recently (with limited success), so I was delighted when I saw Sims' new anthology: a collection of Victorian ghost stories boasting authors such as Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, Amelia Edwards, Elizabeth Gaskell and Henry James. The stories range in subject, from truly creepy to mere frights, but make for perfect jumping-off point for anyone wanting to explore the Victorian era's fascination with death and dying.
Horrorstor, by Grady Hendrix: I was hooked from the moment I saw the galley for this book, which (like the finished edition) is perfectly sized to mimic an IKEA catalog's dimensions. The dimensions and feel of the book are perfect for the somewhat-gimmicky hook for the story (note that "gimmicky" is in no way a bad thing in the context of this review): The hook here is gimmicky (in the best way imaginable): Orsk, a faux-IKEA furniture depot meant to compete with the real IKEAs of the world, has been riddled with strange break-ins and damaged products, so a zealous manager recruits a team of employees to spend the night in the store to "catch the bad guys," as it were. But the bad guys turn out to be more than just bad guys--they're ghosts. Or something else that is like a ghost but isn't a ghost, but is just as dead and vicious as a ghost.
Horrorstor will reel readers in with the haunted-IKEA hook, but will keep them reading by delivering what turns out to be a very scary, surprisingly layered story. And Hendrix delivers even more than that, managing to cram not only a thoroughly creepy ghost story between the pages of IKEA-like furniture, but a story of a young woman trying to find her place in a grown-up world.
What are your favorite Halloween reads this year?
Copies of both titles were provided by the publishers for review.