Annal: 2004 International Horror Guild Award for First Novel

Results of the International Horror Guild Award in the year 2004.

Book:The Ghost Writer (John Harwood)

The Ghost Writer

John Harwood

A tantalizing tale of family secrets hidden in spine-tingling ghost stories—that have started to come true.

Growing up in a small Australian town, Gerard Freeman loves to hear his mother talk about her idyllic childhood in an English country manor. But she swears that she will never return to England, and refuses to tell him what happened to her family, though she is clearly terrified of some invisible yet ever-present threat. One hot afternoon, he waits until she is napping, then creeps into her bedroom to break open the drawer that’s always locked, the one that he hopes holds all her secrets….

Twenty years later, Gerard has not left home—he works as a librarian—but he lives for just two things: his English penfriend Alice, for whom he yearns with all his heart, and the ghost story he found in his mother’s drawer all those years ago. Written by his great-grandmother Viola, it hints at the terrible crime that haunted his mother, and, finally, destroyed her. And…[more]

Book:Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel

Susanna Clarke

English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

But at Hurtfew Abbey in Yorkshire, the rich, reclusive Mr Norrell has assembled a wonderful library of lost and forgotten books from England’s magical past and regained some of the powers of England’s magicians. He goes to London and raises a beautiful young woman from the dead. Soon he is lending his help to the government in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte, creating ghostly fleets of rain-ships to confuse and alarm the French.

All goes well until a rival magician appears. Jonathan Strange is handsome, charming, and talkative-the very opposite…[more]

Book:Move Under Ground

Move Under Ground: A Novel

Nick Mamatas

The time is the early 1960s. Jack Kerouac is hiding in his Big Sur shack and drinking off his latest nervous breakdown when he stumbles upon the rise of R’lyeh right off the shore of the Pacific. Jack must get back on the road to find his old friend, the holy fool Neal Cassady, whose cryptic letters suggest that he might be the key to saving the world from Cthulhu’s immense power. The duo, together with pistol-packin’ nerd William S. Burroughs, fight, drink, and love their way across the country to face down the cult that has spread its darkness to the heart of the American Dream. But is Neal along for the ride to save the world, or to help destroy it, just so that he’ll have an ending for his book?

Book:The Quick

The Quick

Dan Vining

Private investigator Jimmy Miles works the Hollywood nights. His new client is the desperate daughter of a dead man. Her father was executed for a long-ago murder—and she wants Jimmy to find out the truth about the crime and the real killer’s identity. But this case isn’t the only mystery keeping Jimmy up at night.

The shadowy world Jimmy inhabits is full of secrets, shared with a restless few who also roam the L.A. nightworld. They call themselves Sailors. Jimmy Miles is one of them. And he is about to discover the truth about himself.

And for a Sailor that can be a frightening thing.

Book:The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves

Barcelona, 1945—just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother’s face. To console his only child, Daniel’s widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona’s guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Daniel’s father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax’s work. To his shock, he discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written. In fact, he may have the last one in existence. Before Daniel knows it his seemingly innocent…[more]

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