Ginger Nuts of Horror
by Kit Power
My name is Kit Power, and I have a confession to make: I basically quit reading new horror in 2001.
I moved over to crime, primarily, and became obsessed with James Ellroy, Elmore Leonard, Dom Winslow, and Jonathan Kellerman in particular (as well as diving into the back catalog of Jim Thompson). I don’t regret that - I think good, dark crime fiction and horror are kissing cousins, and the line between them increasingly blurred, and anyway, it’s good to read more widely - but it does mean I missed out on the big horror trends and writers of the 00’s. In general, Splatterpunk basically passed me by entirely (though I could make a case for James Herberts’ early work being at least proto-Splatterpunk, in some respects. But I won’t because this isn’t that article).
In particular, I missed Brian Keene. Entirely.
Through various sources - mainly fellow writers and critics, though also through Mr. Keene’s podcast - it’s became clear to me that I should probably, in the words of the man himself, un-fuck that situation. So, I picked up the The Girl on the Glider, because it was on sale in Kindle format for .99p, and well, I was blown away.
Like, knocked out. Like, as I said in my review, this-book-is-as-important-as-On-Writing knocked out. And then I realised that if I was going to do this thing, I should do it properly.
So the plan is to read Keene’s entire catalogue* and talk about how I find them, starting at the beginning and running in (rough) chronological order of publication. Nothing quite as definite as a review series, I don’t think - in most cases, these books have all been critically evaluated to death and back - more a journal of my own exploration of this writer's work, and my responses to it.
The aim is to keep to a bi-monthly schedule with this, but, well, that’s schedule permitting - of necessity this will be catch-as-catch-can, as perhaps befits a passion project. Still, I’m really looking forward to the journey, and I hope you get something out of it, too. These discussions will be spoiler filled, so please bare that in mind.
We’ll start in December 2017, with a prologue of sorts covering Clickers (which Keene didn’t write, but which is so integral to the rest of his output that it would been wrong not to include it) and then the series proper will commence January 2018 with Keene’s debut novel The Rising. And whether you’re a Keene fan of old, or a new reader like me, I hope some of you join me on the journey, and share your own thoughts on these books.
I’m looking forward to it.
If you are interested in playing along, here’s the list of publications this series will be covering, in order.
Prologue: Clickers (J.F. Gonzalez, Mark Williams)
*entire in-print catalogue. Also, the order of not-yet-released titles is obviously subject to change, as schedules are firmed up - will update if needed.