Annal: 2003 International Horror Guild Award for First Novel

Results of the International Horror Guild Award in the year 2003.

Book:Jinn

Jinn: A Novel

Matthew B.J. Delaney

It is May 1943. On the remote island of Bougainville, in the South Pacific, a squad of United States Marines beats their way through the thick jungle. They’ve landed to do battle with the Japanese soldiers on the island, but in short order, they begin to realize that the forbidding battleground holds an ancient secret a hundred times more terrifying than any enemy army—especially when they start finding the bodies.

Flash-forward to July 2008. In the slums—and the skyscrapers—of Boston, a new kind of depraved serial killer is stalking human prey and terrifying the city. The bodies have been found posed and mutilated in bizarre ways that the two police officers in charge of the case have never seen before—and never want to see again. Are the two scenarios connected?

Detectives Jefferson and Brogan have no idea that to solve the biggest case of their careers, their investigation must…[more]

Book:The Dante Club

The Dante Club: A Novel

Matthew Pearl

In 1865 Boston, the literary geniuses of the Dante Club—poets and Harvard professors Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, and James Russell Lowell, along with publisher J. T. Fields—are finishing America’s first translation of The Divine Comedy and preparing to unveil Dante’s remarkable visions to the New World. The powerful Boston Brahmins at Harvard College are fighting to keep Dante in obscurity, believing that the infiltration of foreign superstitions into American minds will prove as corrupting as the immigrants arriving at Boston Harbor.

The members of the Dante Club fight to keep a sacred literary cause alive, but their plans fall apart when a series of murders erupts through Boston and Cambridge. Only this small group of scholars realizes that the gruesome killings are modeled on the descriptions of Hell’s punishments from Dante’s Inferno. With the lives of the Boston elite and Dante’s literary future…[more]

Book:Echo & Narcissus

Echo & Narcissus

Mark Siegel

Mark Siegel’s Echo and Narcissus is a tragicomic downbound train powered by hi-octane rock ‘n’ roll voodoo. From the John Fogarty swampedelic riffs of Part One, to the Jim Morrison Lizard King squalor of Part Two, to the Elvis-in-a-gold-jumpsuit decadence of Part Three, this novel chronicling the lives and hard times of Max, the wasted guitarist with a mind too nimble for his own good, and Echo, his naive yet wise child bride with pipes of gold, covers more quintessential American pop culture terrain than anything by Salmon Rushdie or Don DeLillo. Siegel is the Bad, Bad Leroy Brown of slipstream writing: meaner than a junkyard dog, but you can’t help petting his razorback fur.” —Paul Di Filippo, author of Strange Trades

Book:The Etched City

The Etched City

K.J. Bishop

“Have you seen a split cranium, growing flowers like a window box? I saw that, a mere hour ago…”

Fleeing the ghosts of their past, a healer and a killer escape from the ruined Copper Country to the city of Ashamoil. But as they salvage new lives from the debris of the old, they will discover that the ghosts of the past are also the ghosts of the future. As tragic and comic destinies play out in the city, art will infect life, dream and waking fuse, and splendid and frightening miracles will bloom.

Book:Tropic of Night

Tropic of Night

Michael Gruber

Jane Doe was a promising anthropologist, an expert on shamanism. Now she’s nothing, a shadow: after faking her own suicide, she’s living under an assumed identity in Miami with a little girl to protect. Everyone thinks she’s dead. Or so she hopes.

Then the killings start, a series of ritualistic murders that terrifies all of Miami. The investigator is Jimmy Paz, a Cuban-American police detective. There are witnesses, but they can recall almost nothing of the events, as though their memories have been erased—as if a spell has been cast on each of them. Equally bizarre is the string of clues Paz uncovers: a divination charm, exotic drugs found in the bodies of the victims, a century-old report telling of a secret place in the heart of Africa.

These clues point Paz inexorably toward the fugitive, Jane Doe, and force Jane to realize that the darkness she has fled is seeking her out, hunting her down. By the time her path intersects with Jimmy Paz’s, the two will be thrust into a cataclysmic battle between good and an evil unimaginable to the Western mind.

Book:Veniss Underground

Veniss Underground

Jeff VanderMeer

Jeff VanderMeer’s last book, City of Saints & Madmen, explored the limits of literary fantasy, garnering raves from critics, including a starred review in Publishers Weekly. Now, with Veniss Underground, VanderMeer explores the limits of love, memory, and obsession in a far future SF novel that combines the grotesque and the sublime in a rousing adventure-mystery.

On a far future Earth where vast deserts—ecological disaster areas—surround walled city-states slowly losing their grip on advanced technology, the mysterious Quin manipulates biological engineering to create sentient species as both toys and a growing source of manual labor. When Nicholas, a failed holo artist, decides to visit Quin, he, his programmer sister, Nicola, and her former lover, Shadrach, will all discover what it really means to know Quin, in the place known as Veniss Underground.

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