Great Horror Reads: Bram Stoker Award Winners

stoker award winners

Looking for a great horror read to sink your teeth into?  How about picking a title from the winners of horror’s premier literary awards, the Bram Stoker Awards ? These awards have been presented annually since 1987, and the winners are selected by ballot of the active members of the Horror Writers Association (HWA). They are named after Irish horror writer Bram Stoker, author of the novel Dracula, among others. The award itself is an eight-inch replica of a fanciful haunted house, designed specifically for HWA by sculptor Steven Kirk. The door of the house opens to reveal a brass plaque engraved with the name of the winning work and its author. Any work of horror first published in the English language may be considered for an award during the year of its publication. The thirteen Bram Stoker Award categories are: Novel, First Novel, Short Fiction, Long Fiction, Young Adult, Middle Grade (added in 2022), Fiction Collection, Poetry Collection, Anthology, Screenplay, Graphic Novel, Nonfiction, and Short Nonfiction. Here are some award winners from past years in the novel, fiction collection and anthology categories available in the Livingston Library collection. The Cabin at the End of the World: A Novel by Paul Tremblay (2018 Novel) Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.  One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen, but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, “None of what’s going to happen is your fault.” Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: “Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world.” Thus begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined. The Devil Takes You Home : Barrio Noir by Gabino Iglesias ( 2022 Novel) A genre-defying thriller about a father desperate to salvage what’s left of his family–even if it means a descent into violence. Buried in debt due to his young daughter’s illness, his marriage at the brink, Mario reluctantly takes a job as a hitman, surprising himself with his proclivity for violence. After tragedy destroys the life he knew, Mario agrees to one final job: hijack a cartel’s cash shipment before it reaches Mexico. Along with an old friend and a cartel-insider named Juanca, Mario sets off on the near-suicidal mission, which will leave him with either a cool $200,000 or a bullet in the skull. But the path to reward or ruin is never as straight as it seems. As the three complicated men travel through the endless landscape of Texas, across the border and back, their hidden motivations are laid bare alongside nightmarish encounters that defy explanation. One thing is certain: even if Mario makes it out alive, he won’t return the same. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (2013 Novel) King, his unforgettable and terrifying sequel to The Shining.  Years ago, the haunting of the Overlook Hotel nearly broke young Dan Torrance’s sanity, as his paranormal gift known as “the shining” opened a door straight into hell. And even though Dan is all grown up, the ghosts of the Overlook–and his father’s legacy of alcoholism and violence–kept him drifting aimlessly for most of his life. Now, Dan has finally found some order in the chaos by working in a local hospice, earning the nickname “Doctor Sleep” by secretly using his special abilities to comfort the dying and prepare them for the afterlife. But when he unexpectedly meets twelve-year-old Abra Stone–who possesses an even more powerful manifestation of the shining–the two find their lives in sudden jeopardy at the hands of the ageless and murderous nomadic tribe known as the True Knot, reigniting Dan’s own demons and summoning him to battle for this young girl’s soul and survival…  Growing Things and Other Stories by Paul Tremblay (2019 Fiction Collection) This anthology features nineteen pieces of short fiction. From global catastrophe to the demons inside our heads, Tremblay illuminates our primal fears and darkest dreams. As he lowers the sky and yanks the ground from beneath our feet, we are compelled to contemplate the darkness inside our own hearts and minds. My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones (2021 Novel) Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, an absent mother, and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies…especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. And Jade narrates the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us into her dizzying, encyclopedic mind of blood and masked murderers, and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold.  Yet, even as Jade drags us into her dark fever dream, a surprising and intimate portrait emerges…a portrait of the scared and traumatized little girl beneath the Jason Voorhees mask: angry, yes, but also a girl who easily cries, fiercely loves, and desperately wants a home. A girl whose feelings are too big for her body.  The Only Good Indians : A Novel by Stephen Graham Jones (2020 Novel) Four American Indian men from the Blackfeet Nation, who were childhood friends, find themselves in a desperate struggle for their lives, against an entity that wants to exact revenge upon