A line from one of this year’s best books reads, “Life was a horror movie, but only if you looked for it.” No one needs to look for horror now; it’s all around us. The U.S. is morphing into Gilead, and we’re coining words like tripledemic and permacrisis. The real monsters walk among us. Fortunately, this year’s Best of Indieland saw a slate of killer made-up horror—involving giant, deadly insects; rotting, grasping limbs; and apocalyptic plots—that’s a solid diversion from the real stuff.   

Craig Buchner’s grisly short story collection depicts a world turned even weirder than our own. A young couple’s baby is born a zombie; a family is tormented by evil flies; and a distant relative reappears looking skeletal and dangerous. Brutal Beasts “crosses boundaries and traverses genres with seamless ease,” says our reviewer, who describes the stories as “transgressive, audacious tales steeped in gritty human struggles and otherworldly oddity.”

In Alan Lastufka’s eerie thriller, Face the Night, the lead tries to stabilize her life, obtain custody of her son, and find the meaning behind a creepy recurring nightmare that involves a lake, a disintegrating arm, and a message for the dreamer. Our reviewer calls the book “an impressive, complex horror tale—two (rotting) thumbs up.”

An “audacious mix of dark fantasy, horror, apocalyptic fiction, and Finnish folklore,” Alex Grass’ A Boy’s Hammer “pits a lost boy against a mythic goddess of death who is trying to remake the world in her dark vision.” Finnish folklore sounds like an ideal escape, however fleeting, from the permacrisis. But wait, there’s more! “Along with the genre elements and bombshell-laden storyline, the richly described worldbuilding helps create a wildly immersive read.”

Posted by Karen Schechner Nov 18, 2022

Read the full list below!


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