Honor roll: International Horror Guild Award for First Novel

Each of these books has been nominated for an International Horror Guild Award for First Novel. They are ranked by honors received.

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:Dawn Song

Dawn Song

Michael Marano

Dawn Song is a darkly erotic exploration of supernatural evil in very human circumstances. Lawrence is an invisible bookstore clerk in Boston, drawn through no choice of his own into the greatest conflict of all—a struggle for dominance between two of the most powerful devils in Hell.

As the media frenzy of the Gulf War buildup enthralls the city, Lawrence feels the presence of something ethereal and beautiful that has come to Boston, as he has, in search of fulfillment and love everlasting. If he only knew what it was…

Book:The Safety of Unknown Cities

The Safety of Unknown Cities

Lucy Taylor

“Lucy Taylor’s The Safety of Unknown Cities is one of the most impressive debut novels centered around relationship-driven fiction catalyzed by horrific events mostly realistic, sometimes supernatural. The Safety of Unknown Cities is very much a supernatural horror novel. Indeed it’s sexual, it’s graphically written, but it’s also an affecting and powerful novel about heartbreak and the untimely destruction of childhood. If reading the book strikes familiar chords, the resonance’s might be with either Clive Barker for an unflinching approach to highly charged subject matter, or with Poppy Z. Brite for sheer candor…an adventurous novel of a quality that absolutely demands an audience.”—Edward Bryant, Locus Magazine

Book:Grave Markings

Grave Markings

Michael A. Arnzen

Living in pain, an insane, egomaniacal tattoo artist is obsessed with the mad images in his mind and the need for recognition, so he seeks new flesh to fulfill his ambition…

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.

Book:Run

Run

Douglas E. Winter

The buyers find us. Establish their bona fides. Then, and only then, we run.

Burdon Lane is a businessman living out the American Dream in a shiny suburb of Washington, D.C. His business card lists him as Executive VP of UniArms, Inc., a legitimate arms dealer that’s a front for a gunrunning empire. His girlfriend thinks he’s a salesman. His best friend thinks he’s a role model. His boss thinks he’s a good soldier.

This weekend’s run should be business as usual—guns for money, money for guns—moving the product north on the Iron Highway from Dirty City to Manhattan. But this weekend is going to teach Burdon something he doesn’t yet know about who he is…and isn’t. When the meet in Manhattan turns into a five-alarm fire and an all-out war on the tenth floor of a New York hotel, there is only one way out: an uneasy alliance with a hard case named Jinx and the street gang known as the U Street Crew. And once…[more]

Book:House of Leaves

House of Leaves: A Novel

Mark Z. Danielewski

Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth—musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies—the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children.

Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices. …[more]

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]

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: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.

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