When I was younger, many moons ago, I used to browse the Coles bookstore in the Bramalea City Centre. I’d always been drawn to the horror section. The horror section was given a small shelf, obscured and hidden by the popular fiction and magazines surrounding it. Almost an embarrassing secret. Because of this, the selection of books was small. You’d only find the popular horror authors. The Stephen King’s, the Anne Rice’s the Dean Koontz’s and an eclectic mix of classic horror such as Dracula or Frankenstein. It took years for me to find a Richard Matheson.
The library wasn’t a hell of a lot better either. Now, not to take anything away from those amazing authors, but sometimes you want something different, something more over the top. I took to looking in old bookstores with a price tag stamped on the corner, significantly lower than the jacket price as the book appeared tattered and well used and probably well loved. This is where I found Jack Ketchum and Richard Laymon. Holy cow! Those guys wrote stories way off the rails! Great authors hidden in small bookstores, out of sight for no real reason I could fathom. Here were the Bentley Little’s, the Brian Keene’s, the Graham Masterson’s, the Edward Lee’s and the Brian Lumley’s pushed into a hidden nook, away from the big chain bookstores. It seemed insane to me, hiding such talent. Those big chains turned me into a crazed treasure hunter looking for valuable gems. And make no mistake, finding these authors was very much like finding buried treasure.
Why were they so hard to find? Authors supported and promoted by actual publishing houses? Well, I can only guess. I suspect it has something to do with putting your money on the proven winning horse. You want a return on your investment and you want it immediately. Any book written by Stephen King will get you your money back and more. Once again, I am a crazy fan of Stephen King. His writing is unbelievable. He can write anything. Like the way Eddie Vedder can make any song sound good. I bet he’d kill Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Still, what happens after you’ve read every book of Stephen King? Because I have and I know the answer. You want something different.
Now, with the advent of social media and the e-book, you can find anything. You can Google, best killer with a hook-hand chasing a ninja trained damsel novel and you’ll get a return. Maybe not exactly that, but something close. What the independent publishers and authors provide is variety. An enormous amount of variety. Some of these publishers offer their books for free if you provide an honest review of their book on Amazon. You don’t have to go to a bookstore (although I still love them). All you have to do is look online and find whatever obscure horror topic you’re interested in and I am sure you’ll find it. The indie’s are professional and hardworking people trying to bring the best product forward with the resources at hand. Let me tell you, they can be pretty resourceful. You don’t need a big publishing house to tell you what you should like. You can find out for yourself. From the comfort of your couch, sipping on a coffee with an iPad or computer in your lap. Give them a try. You won’t be disappointed.
Here are a few I know:
I know there are a crap-ton I’ve missed. There are more in the links to my published works. If you know of one you like and respect, please, please leave it in the comments.