2013 was a good year for reading in general and horror in particular, so our current set of 365 days has some big shoes to fill. Here are a handful of titles coming out this year that I think are going to help 2014 meet those expectations.
January 28, 2014 - Titan Books
Tim Lebbon has a deft hand when it comes to working in established properties, having written novelizations and original books for fan favorites including 30 Days of Night, Cabin in the Woods and the Hellboy and Star Wars universes. Now he's taking on one of my favorite franchises – the Alien films. Out of the Shadows is an original novel that revisits the character of Ellen Ripley, who was of course brought to vivid life in the film series by Sigourney Weaver. It's the start of a new trilogy, the events of which lead directly into James Cameron's film ALIENS. The remaining two books – Sea of Sorrows by James A. Moore and River of Pain by Christopher Golden – are due in July and November respectively, so we might as well go ahead and add them to this list as well.
February 18, 2014 - IDW Publishing
Hill and Rodriguez bring the curtain down on their masterpiece. Locke and Key ranks right up there with Neil Gaiman's Sandman, Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing, and any other horror/dark fantasy comic you want to name. It's a terrific (and terrifying) story about demons, ghosts, regrets, family, magic, mystery, love, and about a million other things. The series ended its run last year, and this hardcover collects the final issues in one beautiful package. If you haven't read this series, grab the first volume, Welcome to Lovecraft, right now - you'll have just enough time to get through the first five books before the conclusion arrives.
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
June 3, 2014 - Scribner
Now, I know this is a crime novel rather than horror, but it's Stephen King, so you know there will be nastiness involved. Besides, you've got a serial killer with eight victims under his belt and a plan to take out thousands more, which sounds pretty horrific to me. King has been on fire as of late; last year's Joyland was a beautiful piece of writing, and Doctor Sleep was a more than worthy follow up to his horror classic The Shining. One of our best writers continues to explore new avenues and stretch his skills, and I'm more than happy to plunk down my dough to see what he comes up with next.
The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
October 2014 (Tentative) - Ballantine Books
In 2006, Cronin's daughter asked him to write a book about a girl saving the world. In 2010 he released The Passage, the first of a trilogy that would fulfill his daughter's request while giving readers an epic, apocalyptic twist on vampires we all could enjoy. Both The Passage and its follow-up, The Twelve, are sprawling novels with big casts and bigger ambitions. Cronin has a lot of loose ends to tie up in this concluding chapter, and I can't wait to see how he pulls it off.
The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker
Release date currently unknown - publisher currently unknown
We’ve been teased with this one for quite some time, but there’s been a lot of movement on it lately and I’m thinking there’s a chance we’ll see it before the end of the year. Barker posted on his Facebook page on January 17 that he’s about to begin working on his final pass at the book, which brings his detective character Harry D’Amour face-to-face with Pinhead. Word is that it is an epic piece of writing. Let’s hope we all get to find out for ourselves soon.
This is, of course, far from a comprehensive list of all the goodness that's coming our way this year. With enough space to ramble, I would have also written about Night Falls on Memory Lane by Kealan Patrick Burke, and A Cracked and Broken Path by Gary A. Braunbeck, and Revival by Stephen King, and probably a dozen more. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to write about them after they come out. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what books you are looking forward to reading this year, so feel free to share your list in the comments section.
Blu Gilliand is a freelance writer of fiction and nonfiction. He covers horror fiction at his blog, October Country, and contributes interviews to the Horror World website. Follow him on Twitter at @BluGilliand.