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The Night Worms Team Favorite Books of 2019

The Night Worms Team Favorite Books of 2019

To compile this list, I asked each member of the Night Worms team to submit two choices for their favorite books of 2019. The only guidance was that the books chosen needed to have been read but not necessarily published during 2019. As with any list, tough decisions had to be made, but as of this moment, these are our favorite books that we read in 2019. -Matt Redmon

Castaways by Brian Keene

Let it be known, 2019 was the year I discovered Brian Keene, and my soul is happy. Castaways was the first book I read by Keene, and I loved how he holds NOTHING back. Castaways is like if the show Survivor was a horror story. Gruesome. Awesome. Ghoul was also on my favorites list so read that one too.

Grind Your Bones to Dust by Nicholas Day

The brilliance of it all is breathtaking; literally, the most masterful climax and conclusion--I have never read its equal. He writes like a man possessed. As if the very story you're reading has somehow taken over Day's being and poured itself out onto the page. I don't know if Nicholas Day sold his soul at a crossroads to bring us Grind Your Bones to Dust but this book feels like a pact made with the Devil to bring us the finest horror has to offer.

In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson

This book is, for me, the new gold standard for contemporary vampire novels. This novel does for vampires what Mongrels does for werewolves. It makes them seem completely real and believable.

Summer of Night by Dan Simmons

In “Summer of Night,” Simmons masterfully combines a beautiful coming of age story with absolutely terrifying horror. If you enjoyed King’s “IT,” you will absolutely love “Summer of Night.”

The Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn Kiste

The Rust Maidens holds all the things that attract me to a book; it’s set in the 80s, it is full of abandoned houses and abandoned steel mills, strong friendships, creepiness, and gut-wrenching emotions. It deals with topics such as being different and never really belonging, grief, feeling lost and empty, and also of finding purpose and a sense of closure. A definite 5 star read.

Into the Jungle by Erica Ferencik

Lush, action-packed, and atmospheric. Your National Geographic brought you life.

Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias

Gabino Iglesias' Coyote Songs is a very moving read. Beyond horror. It is an important book. Heavy beyond words, dealing with topical, worldly problems, it takes root in your gray matter and starts to sprout nightmares. I’m grateful that I picked it up.

Stirring the Sheets by Chad Lutzke

Stirring the Sheets by Chad Lutzke is a heartbreaking look at grief. Sometimes those left behind are haunted without the need for a ghost.

A Penny For Your Thoughts by Robert Ford and Matt Hayward

A high-speed novel chock full of humor, darkness, and heart.

Just One Bite by Jack Heath

Cannibal procedural - great taste, ALL filling

The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen

HOLY MOLY! This book grips you from beginning to end!! It's definitely a fast-paced book. There are some intense and creepy scenes that leave you gasping and sometimes physically hurting. BRILLIANT! I highly recommend it.

Dear Laura by Gemma Amor

It has an inventive concept, and Gemma Amor's writing is superb. The story is tight and crisp, and, at only 97 pages, it punches way above its weight class.

Choking Back the Devil by Donna Lynch

Never have I read a poetry collection where the author ripped her own heart out and wrote the words with her blood. Dark. Raw. Real, at times, surreal. Will leave you with a devilish smile and awe-struck all in the same breath.

Of Foster Homes and Flies by Chad Lutzke

A deeply emotional novella about loneliness, grief, depression, abuse, and (in the end) hope.

Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

The Cabin at the End of the World grasped my interest and held it tight with an unrelenting feeling of paranoia. Paul Tremblay is a master of manipulation and suspense.

The Window by Glenn Rolfe

An excellent blend of coming of age and possession horror. It’s sad; it’s intense, it’s graphic. It will leave you battered yet hopeful. The best I’ve read from Rolfe.

Walk the Darkness Down by John Boden

By far, my favorite read of the year and is now just one of my favorite books. Boden’s writing is absolutely exquisite. I have never read anything quite like this. 

To Be Devoured by Sara Tantlinger

Sara Tantlinger has such a gift for taking horrible, ugly, heartbreaking things and making you ache for them and with them. Her descriptions are full of color and texture, making things feel tangible in a way that other writers just aren’t able to do.

Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

Mongrels is pure werewolf solid gold! I have never read a book that humanizes such a creature that didn’t go over the top with some eye-rolling moments. I am now absolutely convinced that WEREWOLVES ARE REAL.

My Hungry Friend by Daniel Barnett

This is an author that you need to introduce yourself to and keep an eye on. Find yourself a cozy spot, devoid of shadows, and peel back the cover of this one. Just mind the cracks...

Cricket Hunters by Jeremy Hepler

Hepler’s writing is engaging and accessible while remaining completely original, from the twist ending to the beautiful blend of cultures and languages. This could easily be adapted into a movie, and I hope that someday it is because the story is amazing. It’d be incredible on-screen – although I’m not positive that any director could capture the atmosphere and ambiance to Hepler’s writing.

The Fisherman by John Langan

A somber reflection on grief and loss, Langan's The Fisherman is an S-Tier novel.  It's beautiful, haunting, and a must-read for anyone who appreciates the horror genre.  

The Drive In by Joe Lansdale

This novel is like sucking on a Warhead with a razor blade in the middle.  It’s sour, then it’s sweet, and the whole time it hides the power to cut you at a moment's notice.  Even at the point when you can clearly see the razor blade, it's so delicious that you no longer care about the danger.  You must keep licking. The Gods demand it.

The Acolyte by Nick Cutter

The Acolyte is my favorite Nick Cutter book. It is weird and brutal. Some scenes still stick with me, months after reading it.

A Place for Sinners by Aaron Dries

A Place for Sinners is the scariest book I read in 2019. It’s scary on so many different levels that it’s sure to have a scare for even the most seasoned horror vets.

The Martuk Series Vol. 1 by Jonathan Winn

Jonathan Winn is one of my favorite writers on the scene, and the contents of The Martuk Series Vol. 1 will show you the exact reason why. These five novellas (expanding the lore of his Martuk novels) are haunting, crushing, and beautiful. This is what I read when I read for me.

The Devil’s Dreamland by Sara Tantlinger

The Devil's Dreamland is a horror/true crime poetry MASHUP. A history lesson and murder and poetry?? I didn’t know I needed it, but OH I needed it. In fact, gimme all the horror poetry.

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

Chosen by two Night Worms

Wanderers is the work of a genius madman. Chuck Wendig has got to have an unparalleled work ethic. His dedication to the story bleeds through the pages; it's fantastic!

This easily not only became my favorite book of the year, but the entire decade, and perhaps of all time. A must for those who have been paying attention to the world around them, living in the now, but sometimes fear the future.

Whispers in the Dark by Laurel Hightower 

Chosen by two Night Worms

You’ve got a strong, compelling female protagonist, an extremely interesting story and enough creepiness spread throughout to keep you second-guessing turning the lights off. Laurel Hightower has proven herself as an author to keep on your radar with this debut.

Full of strong, relatable, and realistic characters, Whispers in the Dark is especially good when read alone at night so Hightower's creepy descriptions can really crawl around in your brain.

The Reddening by Adam Nevill

Chosen by three Night Worms

Wow, Nevill sure knows how to write folklore and HORROR. This book hit every mark for me. The writing is exquisite, the storytelling incredible, and the horror unapologetic. And oh my goodness, do I love Kat and Helene.

I was sincerely on the edge of my seat for a good part of this book, and I had no idea how Nevill was going to wrap the whole thing up. I enjoyed this book so much and cannot recommend it enough to all horror-loving readers. Pick this one up for the gore, high tension, and superb writing

I hated putting it down. I was engaged, rapt with attention the whole time. I was emotionally invested--terrified, anxious, heartbroken, overcome with feelings most of my time in this book. This is what quality horror feels like when you’re done reading it: Exhilarating.

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