Posts Tagged ‘nightmare’

Man in the Picture

August 1, 2012

Author: Hill, Susan

Title: The Man in the Picture: A Ghost Story

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 160 p.

Geographical Setting: Cambridge, England and Venice, Italy

Time Period: Unspecified, but likely in the 1900s

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: This fast-paced, old-fashioned ghost story begins with the narrator, Oliver, visiting his old tutor, Theo Parmitter, at Cambridge on a cold winter night.  While the two friends have had many conversations over the years, Theo chooses this night to tell Oliver the tale of his acquisition of an 18th century painting of Venetian revelers.  While his story starts as a regular trip to an art auction, it soon becomes evident that the painting is more than meets the eye.  As Theo tells Oliver the story of Lady Hawdon and the full history of love, revenge, and death behind the painting, the present starts to mirror the past in dangerous and mysterious ways.  Can Theo and Oliver escape the curse of the painting before it’s too late?  The novel alternates between the points of view of Oliver, Theo, Lady Hawdon, and Oliver’s fiancée, Anne.  Susan Hill uses concise chapters and descriptions to create an atmospheric, eerie, chilling, and suspenseful story of a painting that may be more real and powerful than anyone can imagine.

Subject Headings: Spirits; Carnival; Auctions; Wedding Presents; Portraits; Revenge; Universities and Colleges—England— Cambridge; Cambridge, England; Venice, Italy; Suspense Stories; Horror Stories; Ghost Stories;

Appeal: fast-paced, atmospheric, chilling, creepy, dangerous, darker, disturbing, foreboding, haunting, menacing, mysterious, nightmare, suspenseful, familiar intelligent characters, quirky and dangerous secondary characters, cinematic, layered, plot twists, tragic, atmospheric gothic setting, classic language, concise, dramatic, polished, restrained, vivid

3 Terms that Best Describe This Book: mysterious, atmospheric, haunting

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Lore of the Ghost: The Origins of the Most Famous Ghost Stories Throughout the World by Brian Haughton and illustrated by Daniele Serra is a thought-provoking and vivid book about the history of ghost stories and an analysis of people’s fascination with the supernatural.  Like The Man in the Picture: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill, this haunting book focuses on the subject of spirits and old-fashioned gothic ghost stories.

Haunted England: Royal Spirits, Castle Ghosts, Phantom Coaches, and Wailing Ghouls by Terence Whitaker is an eerie book about various hauntings throughout England’s history.  Like The Man in the Picture: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill, this creepy book highlights the subjects of spirits and ghost stories in the same setting of England.

Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R. A. Scotti is a fascinating book about the disappearance and return of one of the most famous portraits of all time.  Like The Man in the Picture: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill, this book tells a mysterious and suspenseful story about a portrait

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier is a classic horror story about a woman, Mrs. Maxim de Winter, moving into the eerie home of her new husband, where the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, constantly reminds the new Mrs. Maxim de Winter of how inferior she is to the deceased first wife, Rebecca.  Like The Man in the Picture: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill, this well-written book with plot twists focuses on an atmospheric and haunting story in England about disturbed women as secondary characters who cannot cope with past events and attempt to destroy other women’s lives as a result.

The Uninvited by John Farris is a suspenseful ghost story about a woman, Barry Brennan, who finds a man one day who may or may not be real as she mourns the death of her boyfriend.  Like The Man in the Picture: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill, this book tells a fast-paced disturbing ghost story about art, characters who cannot forget tragic relationships, and how fantasy can become reality.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is a gothic horror story about a handsome man who never ages while a portrait of him reflects his moral decline.  Like The Man in the Picture: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill, this book is a horror story with plot twists focused on a haunted portrait with special powers that takes place in England and contains characters who gradually give in to evil activities.

Dead Love

April 4, 2012

Author: Linda Watanabe McFerrin

Title: Dead Love

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 304

Geographical Setting: Tokyo, Haiti, Amsterdam, Malaysia, Singapore

Time Period: Present

Series (If applicable): n/a

Plot Summary: Okay, here goes: Eighteen year old dancer Erin Orison (our narrator), a gloomy – but incredibly hot – product of European boarding schools, is summoned to Tokyo by her (evil!) father, also the U.S. Ambassador to Japan (as well as an important cog in the Consortium, an international secret society intent on unleashing supernatural evil upon the world), to appear in a production scripted by a famed Japanese choreographer.  After being somewhat murdered by Ryu, her bodyguard come lover and Yakuza assassin, Erin awakens in a hospital morgue a not-quite zombie, the full transformation having been botched by an unknowing hospital intern.  Erin is now caught in between a human and zombie existence, possessing consciousness and self-will, albeit in a hazy, dream-like state.  Enter Clement, the puppet master behind all these doings.  Clement is a ghoul (a ghoul being an eternal yet formless being that inhabits, and feeds upon, recently deceased corpses) and has been stricken from afar for Erin since she was an infant.  What ensues is a hunt around the globe for Erin (and the microchip inside her body that would unveil the Consortium’s dastardly plans).

Subject Headings:  Zombies, Conspiracies, Supernatural, Dance, Voodoo, Vampires—Dutch, Yakuza, Ghouls, Tokyo, Haiti, Amsterdam, Malaysia, Singapore, Secret societies, Assassination, Manga, Nightclubs, Pursuit.

Appeal:  Dreamlike, surreal, psychedelic, atmospheric, dark, foreboding, otherworldly, melancholy, moody, mystical, nightmare, eccentric, complex, well-crafted, literary, aggressive, brooding, menacing, weary, gloomy, bleak, eerie, ominous, stylish.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Surreal, atmospheric, eerie.

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Theories of International Politics and Zombies by Daniel W. Drezner

A professor of international politics, Drezner attempts to explain different theories on international political systems by supposing the various schools supposed reactions to the world being overrun by zombie hordes.  For instance, how would a realpolitik reaction to zombies differ from, say, a neoconservative one.  Could there be human-zombie alliances for political gain or security?  And would shock and awe be so shocking to the already dead?

The Epic of Kings: Hero Tales of Ancient Persia by Firdausi

This book is suggested by McFerrin in a footnote contained in Dead Love regarding the origins of ghouls.  These myths and legends from the ancient world include ghouls, demons, jinn, and many other supernatural rabble-rousers.

Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting by W. Scott Poole

From colonial times, monsters have always loomed large in American culture.  This compendium examines the various things that have scared our nation senseless over the course of generations.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service by Eiji Ōtsuka and Housui Yamazaki

Not only is one of Dead Love’s chapters presented in manga form, the prose does well in evoking the visual moodiness of some supernaturally concerned manga.  In this on-going horror series, a group of students at a Buddhist college, each of whom possesses a special “power”, go into business collecting corpses while acting out the last wishes of the dead.

Thirsty by M.T. Anderson

Chris’s only desire is to be a normal teenager: hang out with friends, pursue his high school crush, etc.. Chris also lives in a world where vampires are hunted down and killed like vermin.  Much like Erin, Chris has embarked on a slow, agonizing descent toward supernatural damnation, this time by way of vampirism.  Much like Clement, Chris has his own other-dimensional puppet-master in Chet the Celestial Being, a servant of a vampire lord.  This book is also hilarious.

Magic For Beginners by Kelly Link

This very highly acclaimed collection of bizarre and humorous short stories includes the likes of zombies, witches, ghosts, superheroes and a whole bevy of supernatural delights.

Name: Bill S.

World War Z

April 4, 2012

Author: Max Brooks

Title: World War Z

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 2006

Number of pages: 320

Geographical Setting: Global

Time Period: not too distant future

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: This book takes place after the zombie war has already occurred. Compiling interviews from all sorts of people from many different countries, Brooks attempts to piece together exactly what happened when the dead began to rise. Interviews range from doctors to American housewives to body guards to war veterans, detailing where they were when they discovered this disease wasn’t “rabies” like they were told, and how the world eventually conquered over two million walking corpses. The pacing is moderate, but the short interviews from so many different types of people make this a page turner. Highlights include the doctor in China who discovers “Patient Zero”, a twelve-year old boy who had been bitten while swimming, the body guard assigned to protect a mansion full of rich people and celebrities from zombies while they get filmed to the masses, and a Japanese warrior monk who recounts how he escaped a high rise full of zombies back when he was a socially awkward computer nerd. Part war novel and part survival guide, this book will keep the reader up at night planning out his/her escape route for when the undead come scratching at the door.

Subject Headings: undead, zombies, diseases, epidemics, supernatural, survival (after epidemics) war.

Appeal: builds in intensity, measured, chilling, darker, nightmare, deadpan, intriguing, multiple points of view, explicitly violent, action-oriented, political, stark, conversational, journalistic, straight-forward, well-crafted, well-researched.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: chilling, multiple points of view, explicitly violent.

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1. Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Family Safe in a Crisis by Peggy Layton.

If after reading World War Z, you are feeling less than prepared for the zombie apocalypse, or any other disaster, this book will teach you how to equip your home with food, water, medical supplies and fuel.

2. The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic–and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson.

One of the terrifying aspects of zombie lore is that it begins as a disease and turns into an epidemic that no one knows how to cure. The Ghost Map chronicles such an epidemic when cholera breaks out over London in 1854.

3. Passage of Darkness: The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie by Wade Davis.

Zombie mythology originates from Haitian voodoo (voudon), and is an unfortunate stereotype of a complex religion. Davis explains how one goes about making a zombie (a harsh punishment exacted to someone found guilty of a heinous crime), as well as the politics of Haitian culture.


3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1. Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

Twelve-year-old Oskar has a crush on the new girl (“I’m not a girl,” she keeps telling him) living next door, who only comes out at night. Both bone-chilling and heart-warming at the same time, this updated take on classic vampires who drink real blood and don’t sparkle, compels the reader to fall in love with Eli and root for her no matter how gruesome her actions become.


2. Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz and Kevin J. Anderson

In Koontz’s take on Frankenstein, 7 foot monster Deucalion is living peacefully in a Tibetan monastery when he discovers that his creator is still alive and living in New Orleans. Deucalion must track him down before he creates an army of “posthumans” that take over the world.


3, The Wolfen by Whitley Streiber.

Two detectives in New York discover a secret pack of werewolves preying on weak humans who won’t be missed. Streiber plays with the werewolf myth to create a separate race of wolf-men with heightened sense of smell and hearing and superhuman intelligence.


Name: Jessica


August 17, 2011


Author:  Frank Peretti

Title:  Monster

Genre:  Christian fiction, Horror, Suspense

Publication Date:  2005

Number of Pages:  419

Geographical Setting:  Abney, Idaho and surrounding forested area

Time Period:  Present day (not explicit)

Series (If applicable):  N/A

Plot Summary:  Reed and Rebecca (“Beck”) Shelton head to Abney, Idaho to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.  However, plans for a peaceful escape into the wilderness soon become dashed as Reed and Beck discover that the forest contains much more than your typical wildlife.  As night falls, they begin to hear strange noises, and the sound of giant steps in the surrounding forest.  They quickly realize these creatures aren’t there to make friends, and flee into the surrounding darkness.  They’re not quick enough; Beck falls and is kidnapped by one of these hairy, hulking, smelly creatures and carried off into the night.  When Reed returns to the nearby town of Abney to get help, no one believes his story involving giant, ape-like, foul-smelling, hairy beasts with unbelievable speed and agility; they assume that they’re dealing with a bear attack.  However, evidence mounts up to the contrary, and soon others begin to realize that they may be dealing with a legendary beast: Bigfoot…or are they?  Are these beasts actually man-made, the result of altering chimpanzee DNA to create a super creature?  Suspense builds in this fast-paced tale of horror that is both action-oriented and issue-oriented, centering around the discussion of man’s involvement in DNA splicing and the concept of evolution.  A quick, exciting read, even fans that hold beliefs contrary to Peretti’s won’t be able to put down this cinematic tale.

Subject Headings:  Northwest, Pacific—Fiction, Wilderness areas—Fiction, Supernatural—Fiction, DNA research, Evolutionary beliefs, missing persons investigations, supernatural

Appeal:  fast-paced, menacing atmosphere, chilling tone, dangerous, didactic, foreboding, nightmare, scary, suspenseful, uneasy, familiar characters, action-oriented storyline, cinematic, investigative, issue-oriented, linear, detailed setting, details of Pacific Northwest forests, accessible

3 terms that best describe this book:  fast-paced, suspenseful, chilling

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America’s Soul—Edward Humes (religion and evolution, novelistic approach, accessible style)

Bushwhack: A Serial Story of Off-Trail Hiking & Camping in the Pacific Northwest Wilderness—Gerald M. Chicalo (similar setting, also about a hiking trip gone awry, suspenseful elements)

Bigfoot!: The True Story of Apes in America—Loren Coleman (supernatural element, investigative aspects, accessible style)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Prodigal Son—Dean R. Koontz (man messing with creation aspect, fast-paced, horror aspects)

Adam—Ted Dekker (fast-paced, Christian fiction/horror, suspenseful tone)

Double Helix—Sigmund Brouwer (DNA experimentation theme, Christian fiction, suspenseful tone, scary, issue-oriented)


In the Flesh, by Clive Barker

April 1, 2011

bob5ush1.JPG (300×448)Author: Clive Barker

Title: In the Flesh

Genre: Horror, Fantasy

Publication Date: 1986

Number of Pages: 182

Geographical Setting: Britain and Greece

Time Period: contemporary (to when it was written – the 80s)

Series: Books of Blood, vol. 5 (works as a stand-alone title)

Plot Summary:

In the Flesh contains four elegantly chilling novellas.  In the title story, a prisoner watches in fear as his young cellmate is slowly transformed into a monster by his murderous dead grandfather. “The Forbidden” tells a story of urban decay, as a young woman is repeatedly drawn to the graffiti in a decaying tenement complex.  The theme of urban decay is again present in “The Madonna,” as two businessmen scheme to revitalize a decrepit bathhouse, unaware of the mysterious and terrifying creatures within.  The last story, “Babel’s Children,” is unique within the collection for its lack of supernatural beings; it tells the story of a young woman who decides to explore off the beaten path, and quickly runs into trouble when she discovers an isolated compound in the Greek countryside.

Subject Headings: Good and evil; Ghosts; Graffiti; Grandfathers; Murderers; Politics; Poverty; Prisons; Urban legends

Appeal: Atmospheric, chilling, compelling, dark, foreboding, intellectual, nightmare, sophisticated, stark, supernatural, suspenseful, violent, well-crafted

3 terms that best describe this book: chilling, intellectual, violent

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Urban Legends: A Collection of International Tall Tales and Terrors, by Gillian Bennett and Paul Smith – Readers who liked “The Forbidden” for its urban setting and the outlandish tales and conspiracy theories of the tenement residents will appreciate this collection of urban legends.

Peninsula of Lies: A True Story of Mysterious Birth and Taboo Love, by Edward Ball

Sexuality and sexual transformations make frequent appearances in Barker’s work, including “The Madonna.”  Readers drawn to this aspect of Barker’s writing will appreciate this compelling true tale of a gender switch in the 1960s.

Supernatural Murders: Classic True-Crime Stories, by Jonathan Goodman

This anthology of thirteen true crime stories with purported supernatural elements will capture the attention of those who appreciate the elements of violence and the supernatural in In the Flesh.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Just After Sunset, by Stephen King – like In the Flesh, this is a collection of horror stories with a suspenseful tone and compelling writing.

What the Night Knows, by Dean Koontz – a horror novel with suspenseful, compelling writing, a supernatural elements, and murderers.

Something Wicked this Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury – a horror and fantasy novel with an atmospheric tone, compelling writing, and a focus on good and evil.

Mysterious Skin

April 21, 2010

Author:Scott Heim

Title: Mysterious Skin

Genre: Gay/Lesbian

Publication Date: 1995

Number of Pages: 292

Geographical Setting: Hutchinson, Kansas

Time Period: Segments of the book are set in each of the years 1981, 1983 and 1987

Series (If applicable):n/a

Plot Summary: In 1981 eight year old Brian wakes up in the crawlspace of his house, bleeding and not able to remember the last five hours. He comes to believe he has been abducted by a UFO. At the same time, in the same town Neil, also eight years old, is molested by his little league coach. Over the next several years the two take drastically different paths but ultimately are drawn to each other in an attempt to understand the traumatic events that have shaped their lives.

Subject Headings: Gay/Lesbian issues, child sexual abuse, male prostitution, repressed memories, coming of age

Appeal: dramatic, interior, reflective, sympathetic, well-drawn, detailed setting, small-town, stark, darker, emotionally-charged, introspective, nightmare, uneasy, thoughtful, frank, stark,

3 terms that best describe this book: Graphic, Disturbing, Moving

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Why I killed Peter. By Olivier Ka. A graphic novel depicting the author’s confronting the priest who abused him when he was twelve.

Young Man from the Provinces: A Gay Life Before Stonewall by Alan Helms. This memoir traces the author’s journey from a difficult childhood, growing up gay in 1950’s small town Indiana to a career as an actor and model in the significantly more open New York City.

Why I Didn’t Say Anything: The Sheldon Kennedy Story by Sheldon Kennedy and James Grainger. I

A memoir of a famous Canadian hockey player who reveals the childhood abuse he suffered at the hands of his former coach.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley. A coming of age story focusing on a budding relationship between two young men in the rural south.

Heart is Deceitful Above All Things by J. T. LeRoy. A series of stories focusing on a young person suffering from gender confusion and set in the rough world of truck stop prostitution.

The World of Normal Boys by K. M. Soehnlein. A coming of age novel set in 1978 about a thirteen yearl old boy and his explorations of his homosexuality.

Name: Kris Harrison

Fahrenheit 451

March 17, 2010

Author:  Ray Bradbury

Title:  Fahrenheit 451

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 1953

Number of Pages: 167

Geographical Setting: Future America

Time Period: In the future

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Guy Montag is a firefighter. This book is all about how firefighters are the people who start the fires. They burn the home of people who possess books whether they are in them or not. Books are highly dangerous because they make people think. Montag secretly hides the books that he should be burning and the action really starts when people find out what he has done. He must then decide what is worth fighting for and if books truly are that important?

Subject Headings: Book burning, Science fiction, Political fiction, Totalitarianism, Satire, Censorship, State-sponsored terrorism

Appeal: engrossing, intriguing, insightful, complex, literary references, thought-provoking, political, bittersweet, dangerous, nightmare, academic, classic, smart, sophisticated, well-crafted

3 terms that best describes this book: Dystopia, submission, censorship

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

  • Burning Books and Leveling Libraries: Extremist Violence and Cultural Destruction by Rebecca Knuth. It is about preserving our world’s cultural, intellectual and artistic heritage.
  • Television: Technology and Cultural form by Raymond Williams. It is about how television has become a part of everyday society.
  • Television and American Culture by Jason Mittel. It is about how American culture is influenced by television.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. It is about a utopian world state in which everyone is provided for and the people are all drugged to make it easier to rule them.
  • 1984 by George Orwell. It is about a future of totalitarianism in which one man attempts to find individuality.
  • Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers. It is about a Harlem teenager who joins the service after not getting into college and his attempt to find virtue as he wonders why blacks are given the most dangerous missions in the Vietnam War.

Name: Emily

The Strain

November 4, 2009

Authors: Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Title: The Strain

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 401

Geographical Setting: New York City

Time Period: Present Day with a few flashbacks to the 1940s

Series: 1st book of the Strain Trilogy

Plot Summary: A plane lands in New York and immediately stops responding to air traffic control. Dr. Eph Goodweather of the Center for Disease Control is called to the scene to investigate. After boarding the plane he discovers that only four passengers are still alive and the rest have died under mysterious circumstances. The survivors do not remember what happened and are beginning to feel sick. Dr. Goodweather finds himself following a trail of bizarre clues, as the dead bodies do not display the normal characteristics of the dead, when all the bodies disappear. Soon he teams up with Holocaust survivor Abraham Setrakian, who has seen all of this before. They are the only ones who have realized that a vampiric virus is threatening to take over the entire city.

Subject Headings: Vampires –Fiction. Virus diseases — Fiction. Epidemics — New York (State) — New York — Fiction. New York (N.Y.) — Fiction.

Appeal: fast-paced, relentless, multiple points of view, action-oriented, cinematic, explicitly violent, flashbacks, investigative, plot twists, plot-centered, tragic, contemporary, urban, chilling, dangerous, darker, foreboding, menacing atmosphere, nightmare, suspenseful, jargon

3 Terms that best describe this book: cinematic, violent, suspenseful

3 Relevant Fiction Titles

Night Blood by James Thompson – A vampire disguises himself as a doctor as he attempts to cure his blood disease while his colleagues search for a killer who drains his victim’s blood. (another medical drama featuring doctors and vampires)

Fangland by John Marks – A television producer travels to Romania to investigate a story, and wakes up several months later in a Transylvanian monastery with no memory of what happened (a contemporary take on Dracula written by a former television producer which should appeal to readers who enjoyed the cinematic aspects of The Strain)

Hater by David Moody – A British man struggles to protect his family as people around him suddenly and inexplicably develop homicidal tendencies (another lone man fighting against a possible epidemic and Del Toro has bought the film rights)

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Titles

Stiff: the curious lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach – A funny history of the many ways cadavers have benefited the living (for readers intrigued by the morgue scenes)

Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City’s Most Unwanted Inhabitants by Robert Sullivan – A detailed history of rats in New York City (this title was recommended by Del Toro and Hogan and should appeal to readers intrigued by rat’s roles in crisis situations)

Subwayland: Adventures in the World beneath New York by Randy Kennedy – Stories of what actually goes on underground (for readers who wonder what the subway system is like when vampires aren’t using it for their lair)

Bonus Title

The Vampire Survival Guide: How to Fight, and Win, against the Undead by Scott Bowen – Let’s face it Del Toro and Hogan’s vampires are seriously scary and the epidemic will spread fast if we’re not prepared!

Name: Elizabeth

Empathy is the Enemy

October 21, 2009

See full size image

Author: Denise Mina, writer; Leonardo Manco, artist; Jared K. Fletcher, letterer.

Title: Empathy is the Enemy

Genre: Graphic Novel

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: 168

Geographical Setting: London/Glasgow

Time Period: Present Day/Flashbacks of ancient times

Series: John Constantine Hellblazer Series

Plot Summary: John Constantine is minding his own business in a London pub when he is approached by a man named Chris Cole, who is desperately seeking his help. Cole tells Constantine the story of his tumultuous relationship with a woman named Charlie and how he was approached at a party that the two were at by a woman who revealed a spell to him. The spell was meant to be used for the purpose of getting others to do as one desires. Chris had used the spell to send home a couple and their baby, who were annoying Charlie at the party. Coincidentally, the family was killed by a fire in their apartment that night. Meanwhile, Cole is being driven mad by “empathy.” He feels responsible for the death and an entire series of events is seemingly unleashed from actions that he takes to try to correct the situation. The novel moves forward with the journey of the two men who travel up to Cole’s native Glasgow in order to get to the root of the spell and end Cole’s suffering. Will the curse rub off on Constantine too? Running parallel to the Cole/Constantine storyline are flashbacks to a secret religious cult in ancient times. These two plots tie together in the end.

Subject headings: Constantine, John (Fictitious character) –Comic books, strips, etc; Science fiction — Comic books, strips, etc.; Horror –Comic books, strips, etc.; Magicians –Comic books, strips, etc.; Occulists; Wizards; Magic; Curses; Empathy; Occultists; Supernatural; Psychic ability; London, England; Graphic Novels

Appeal: engrossing, fast-paced, dramatic, eccentric, series (characters), cinematic, complex, explicitly violent, flashbacks, layered, tragic, bleak, dangerous, darker, dramatic, foreboding, gritty, haunting, menacing atmosphere, moody, nightmare, suspenseful.

Three terms that best describe this book:  macabre, supernatural, dark.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Cal McDonald Series by Steve Niles are graphic novels containing themes of the supernatural. The main character is a hard-boiled detective who fights zombies and vampires. This falls into the Horror Comic book genre (fast-moving, gruesome, and humorous).

Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher; illustrated by Ardian Syaf – occult detective Harry Dresden is described as “scrappy” and “rough and tumble.” He investigates a murder involving the supernatural at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. The format of the book is a graphic novel (includes supernatural, mystery, and a strong main character; is fast-paced and quirky).

Sandman Series by Neil Gaiman contains the supernatural. It is a dark horror comic taking place in modern U.S, and UK.  John Constantine guest stars in Preludes and Nocturnes (main character at beginning of series, Dream, is a tragic hero, storylines are fantastical, and deal with occultist themes: hell, magical realms, gods and demons).

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Magic and superstition in Europe: a concise history from antiquity to the present by Michael D. Bailey contains subject matter of the occult, magic, superstition, against the backdrop of Europe throughout time.

Secret societies: Gardiner’s forbidden knowledge: revelations about the Freemasons, Templars, Illuminati, Nazis, and the serpent cults by Philip Gardiner may be a good read for those who enjoy learning about beliefs and rituals of underground groups. The elements of mythology, history, and religion may also attract readers.

Mirroring People: the new science of how we connect with others by Marco Iacoboni, a leading neuroscientist, discusses empathy among other aspects of human personality. The book explains how we seem to know what others are thinking and feeling and reproduce these experiences within ourselves. He defines and describes “mirror neurons” and describes how they work. Iacoboni also tells of instances in which these neurons do not operate as they should and explains what this means for the person. Lastly, he shows how all of this knowledge can be used to improve society.

Name: Susan

Le Horla

October 21, 2009
 Le Horla et autres nouvelles fantastiques , de Guy de MAUPASSANT

Author: Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant

Title: Le Horla (The Horla)

Genre: Bestseller/Horror

Publication Date: 1887

Number of Pages: 56

Geographical Setting: Tiny town near Rouen on the Seine

Time Period: Late 19th century.

Series: No

Plot Summary: Le Horla was written in the age of Louis pasture’s new microscopic world, Charcot’s lectures on hysteria, the birth of hypnotism, and the discovery of canals on mars. The scientific advances of the late 19th century brought about an obsession with other worlds, parallel worlds, and the possibility of non human creatures. Our reclusive author is writing his journal entries during this uncertain time. After moving back to his childhood home nestled on the out skirts of a small French village his life takes a turn for the worse. The man first begins to feel an air of dizziness, uneasiness, something thick in the air, then moments of unexplainable confusion, panic and paranoia…the feeling that someone or something is watching. He believes that he is being haunted by an otherworldly beast who has to ability to control his thoughts. He sees shadows. Nightmares plague our author and wake him in the middle of the night, and later nightmares come during the day. Doors open and close by themselves, the milk and bread are consumed in the middle of the night. The man feels claws going down his back and rough fur covered hands strangling his neck, however the creature is never seen, does he exist?, or if it is all just a product of fear, paranoia, or mental insanity. Within a few journal entries our author goes from a wealthy, educated aristocrat, to a mumbling, drooling shell of a person. How can our author rid himself of the beast? What if the beast is is his head?

Appeal: Terrifying, fast paced, epistolary, menacing, interior, delirious, introspective, inconclusive, suspenseful, unsettling, small town, paranoia, claustrophobic, fantastical, skeptical, loss of control, vulnerable, destruction, nightmare, suicidal, doubt,

Subject Headings: Literary Fiction, 19th century, Horror, Short Story

3 Terms Describing the Book: Dark, paranoid, insanity.

Three Relevant Fiction Books & Why:

Diary of a Madman by Nikolai Gogol

(A similar epistolary style story of civil servant, and his decent into insanity)

The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft

(Inspired by Le Horla, written in a documentary style, tells an account of an extra terrestrial creature that wreaks havoc on three generations.)

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

(A similar tale of a haunting, however like Le Horla it is unclear whether they are actually real ghosts or figments of the imagination.)

Three Relevant Non Fiction Books & Why:

100 Questions & Answers About Schizophrenia by Lynn E DeLisi

(In Le Horla the reader never knows if the creature exists in real life or just in the authors head, some literary critics have mentioned that there are tell tale signs of schizophrenia present in the book, check out DeLisi’s book to find out what those signs are)

Syphilis by Brian Shmaefsky

(Many believe that Guy de Maupassant was suffering from syphilis induced mental insanity when Le Horla was written, readers might be interested in exploring the link between the STD and mental instability)

Hauntings by Peter Hepplewhite

(Perhaps the Horla was real?, this book tells the tale of other real life accounts of hauntings across the U.S.)

Name: Laura Bartnik