Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Blog: Book Review: Paperbacks from Hell

While browsing through a bookstore a year and a half ago I had the delight of discovering author Grady Hendrix, who's book My Best Friend's Exorcism was both a delightful look at high school in the eighties and a really effective horror novel focusing on demonic possession. Last year I read his earlier work Horrorstör which, although not quite as good as exorcism was still a fun read and had some really great moments of tension as his characters worked their way through a haunted IKEA-style store. In some ways it reminded me of China Mieville's 2005 short story "The Ball Room", both in subject matter and high tension.

Then last year I found Hendrix's nonfiction work Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction and was simply blown away. The book covers the boom of Horror paperbacks that started in the late sixties with Rosemary's Baby and ended in 1988 with Silence of the Lambs (which re branded Horror as Thriller).

The book includes everything from monsters and Satan through to V.C. Andrews and apocalypses, and although Stephen King and Anne Rice (who dominate the Horror section in any bookstore), the book is a treasure trove of the crazy stories that were published over these two decades and as a long-time horror fan I wasn't sure if I was more delighted when Hendrix examined books I loved or introduced me to titles (and series) I had never heard of before.

A really fascinating read and the cover art of these stories is well displayed and makes for a great book to dig into or just browse through.

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