The Horror Writers Association announced the 2017 Bram Stoker Awards Final Ballot.
“This year’s slate of nominees truly demonstrates the breadth and quality of the horror genre,” said Lisa Morton, HWA president and multiple Bram Stoker Award winner, in a press release February 5. “Once again, our members and awards juries have chosen outstanding works of literature, cinema, non-fiction, and poetry.”
Ms. Morton is dead right.
There are 11 categories; however, my blog entry will highlight the novel category, which features an eclectic mix of five dynamic books. You can check out the rest of the nominees in the other ten categories here.
The nominees and plots for Superior Achievement in a Novel are wide-ranging, and you should be able to find at least one to your liking amid the excess of talent on the list. You can click on the book titles to visit the Amazon page for each novel.
Here’s the breakdown:
Ararat by Christopher Golden (St. Martin’s Press, 320 pages)
- Amazon Teaser: The heart-pounding tale of an adventure that goes wrong … on a biblical scale. When an earthquake reveals a secret cave hidden inside Mount Ararat in Turkey, a daring, newly engaged couple are determined to be the first ones inside … and what they discover will change everything.
- The Stats: Ararat has 122 reviews on Amazon. 5 star (46%), 4 star (20%), 3 star (13%), 2 star (14%) and 1 star (7%).
- First Line: “Just past eight o’clock on the last morning of November, the mountain began to shake.”
Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King (Scribner, 720 pages)
- Amazon Teaser: Something happens when women go to sleep: they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent. And while they sleep they go to another place, a better place, where harmony prevails and conflict is rare. Abandoned, left to their increasingly primal urges, the men divide into warring factions.
- The Stats: Sleeping Beauties has 1,279 reviews on Amazon. 5 star (50%), 4 star (14%), 3 star (12%), 2 star (11%) and 1 star (13%).
- First Line: “Ree asked Jeanette if she ever watched the square of light from the window.”
Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman (Ecco, 304 pages).
- Amazon Teaser: The Danes, the band known as the “Darlings of Detroit,” are washed up and desperate for inspiration, eager to once again have a number one hit. Then an agent from the U.S. Army approaches them. Will they travel to an African desert and track down the source of a mysterious and malevolent sound? Under the guidance of their frontman, Philip Tonka, the Danes embark on a harrowing journey through the scorching desert … a trip that takes Tonka into the heart of an ominous and twisted conspiracy.
- The Stats: Black Mad Wheel has 43 reviews on Amazon. 5 star (46%), 4 star (19%), 3 star (26%), 2 star (9%) and 1 star (7%).
- First Line: “The patient is awake.”
I Wish I Was Like You by S.P. Miskowski (JournalStone, 249 pages)
- Amazon Teaser: Greta didn’t set out to solve a murder. But if the first thing you see when you come home after a long day at a lousy job is your own dead body, it can make even the most cynical non-starter in 1994 Seattle take an interest.
- The Stats: I Wish I Was Like You has 7 reviews on Amazon. 5 star (100%).
- First Line: “On a Friday afternoon, at the end of a shitty week, after waiting for a bus in merciless rain for a quarter of an hour, trudging the final six blocks and stomping up three flights of stairs to my lousy, cramped apartment in a building reeking of mouse turds and tomato soup, the last thing I expected to find waiting for me was a dead body.”
Ubo by Steve Rasnic Tem (Solaris, 320 pages).
- Amazon Teaser: Daniel is trapped in Ubo. He has no idea how long he has been imprisoned there by the roaches. And now each day they force Daniel to play a different figure from humanity’s violent history, from a frenzied Jack the Ripper to a stumbling and confused Stalin to a self-proclaimed god executing survivors atop the ruins of the world. The scenarios mutate day after day in this camp somewhere beyond the rules of time. As skies burn and prisoners go mad, identities dissolve as the experiments evolve, and no one can foretell their mysterious end.
- The Stats: Ubo has 9 reviews on Amazon. 5 star (33%), 4 star (56%) and 3 star (11%).
- First Line: “Now in Ubo, he felt as if he’d not just fallen into but passed through the rabbit hole.”
There you have it. The five nominees for Superior Achievement in a Novel. Good luck to the authors. If you’ve read any of the nominated books, let me know what you thought about them in the comments below.