The Cabin at the End of the World (2018)
Written by Paul Tremblay
Wen is on a summer vacation to a lake cabin in rural New Hampshire where her fathers want the family to be disconnected from the internet and their phones for a little while. She’s out collecting grasshoppers when a strange, imposingly large man shows up, introducing himself as Leonard. He seems very kind and quiet, telling her she is a great little girl and implying that he’ll be speaking with her parents very soon. Wen feels conflicted, safe at moments and then wary. Then the other emerge from the tree line, and Wen feels a strong sense of dread. Over the next two days, Wen and her dads will experience a confusing and terrifying series of events, forcing them to question the very reality of the world around them.
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The Grip of It by Jac Jemec
Julie and James feel a strong need to leave their urban apartment and purchase a home in the suburbs. They find a large house that is surprisingly affordable but even during their first walk through something is off. There is a hum coming from somewhere beneath them, inside the walls, never becoming too loud but always ringing in their ears. The couple shakes it off and goes on with moving in and making this home their own. Things just get worse though, rooms that didn’t exist before suddenly appear, stains appear on the walls that won’t seem to go away, and even the neighbor and boys playing in the woods nearby start to become figures of menace and dread. James and Julie start lying to each other which only increases their paranoia and disconnect, leading to a horrific conclusion.
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Vernon God Little (2003)
Written by D.B.C. Pierre
Vernon Little is a teenager living in the nowhere town of Martirio, Texas. After a life of mundanity, one day his friend Jesus up and shoots 18 of their classmates and then kills himself. Without anyone to heap their collective anger and rage on due to the suicide, suspicious immediately turn to Vernon. Everyone becomes convinced he must have known Jesus had this planned and therefore his hands are covered in blood. A reporter rolls into town who is named Eulalio Ledesma (Lally for short), and he claims to work for CNN with a promise he will help clear Vernon’s name. This is just the beginning of the foul-mouthed teen’s manipulations, and Vernon quickly learns everyone is out to claim their own piece of him. Events begin to spiral out of control, and Vernon is confronted with the fact life as he knew it is effectively over.
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The Shadow Year (2008)
By Jeffrey Ford
It’s the mid-1960s on Long Island, New York, and an unnamed preteen narrator is beginning a year of his life he will never forget. This is his last year in elementary school and he, his brother Jim, and little sister Mary become embroiled in a mystery that no one else in their neighborhood seems to take note of it. It starts with the disappearance of a local boy and then rumors of a peeping tom carousing the backyards at night. The narrator spies a strange white car driven by a man dressed all in white whose presence seems to correlate with the prowler. Then his sister Mary, an odd one who allows her imaginary friends to speak through her, begins to show the possibility of clairvoyance, knowing where neighbors are at precise moments when she should not be able to. This shadow year will linger for our protagonist and what he learns will haunt him decades later.
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My Favorite Books and Comic Books of 2017
Click the book cover for my full review of each book.
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
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Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier
Flatiron Books, 2017
Written by Mark Frost
The final piece of Twin Peaks, for the time being, has been released. This comes in the form of co-creator Mark Frost’s meta-novel The Final Dossier. The Final Dossier continues the investigation of Tamara Preston from The Secret History of Twin Peaks. In the previous volume, she is pouring through an archive of documents about events in the Twin Peaks area dating back to the time of Lewis and Clark. In The Final Dossier, she has remained behind in the town after the events of the finale to debrief Director Gordon Cole on what has become of the townspeople and her own thoughts on what exactly happened. Beneath the surface, I read this as co-creator Mark Frost’s personal interpretation of the series. David Lynch is known for creating incredibly enigmatic art that he wants everyone involved from the actors to the viewers to interpret for themselves. It’s not too big of a jump to assume even though Frost contributed to The Return he may have different readings of what happened in the show.
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The Third Parent (Thought Catalog)
By Elias Witherow
Everything changed in Jack’s life the day his family heard an unexpected knock on the door. For the next four years, they lived in abject terror at the cruel hand of Tommy Taffy. Tommy was an inhuman creature, resembling a life-size Ken doll, who insisted he was there to help the parents raise their children right. At night he would force them to sit in the living room and listen to his lectures on being good people. Then Tommy would debase, violate, and forever scar the four helpless residents of this home. Jack is an adult now, and he doesn’t know it, but his path is hurtling towards a bloody, violent reunion with Tommy very soon.
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