Monday, January 03, 2022

Ten game-changing Southern gothic novels

Daryl Gregory is the author of Revelator, Spoonbenders, Afterparty, The Devil's Alphabet, and other novels.

[My Book, The Movie: Afterparty; The Page 69 Test: AfterpartyDaryl Gregory's five top books about psi powers]

At Publishers Weekly he tagged ten "favorites books that do something remarkable with Southern gothic," including:
Moon Lake by Joe R. Lansdale

And now, something brand new from a master of Southern gothic. Lansdale has written upwards of 30 novels (I lost count on Wikipedia) and who knows how many novellas and short stories. I’ve loved his work ever since reading his short story “Night They Missed the Horror Show.” Moon Lake had me in the first two sentences: “My name is Daniel Russell. I dream of dark water.” In 1968, when Daniel was 13, his grief-stricken father tried to kill them both by driving off an East Texas bridge. The father died, but Daniel, who’s white, was taken in by a Black family. Years later, a local sheriff calls with new information and Daniel returns to the scene of the crime. Like any excellent Southern gothic, the secrets are juicy, the characters vivid, and the atmosphere is as thick as an East Texas night.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue