Books Worth Your Time is a new quarterly feature where the Apex Magazine editorial team discuss some of the good stuff they’ve read recently. We hope you find something good to read, too!
ANDREA JOHNSON (Contributing Editor)
Spells of Blood and Kin
Thomas Dunne Books
A compelling page turner with intertwining plots that combine practical magic, the cost of keeping your commitments, and the secrets of a dead woman. The pacing is spot on, the characters are intense and vulnerable, and the writing is finely honed.
The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria
A collection of near-future short stories that deal with everything from parent-child relationships, to eldercare therapies, to animal conservation. An accessible look at where technology might take us, and what we’ll do when we get there. In this collection, you’ll find emotional depth alongside laugh out loud humor, this volume is chock full of unforgettable stories.
The Last Days of Jack Sparks
Excellently paced thriller about a journalist who sets out to prove the supernatural doesn’t exist. If a botched exorcism followed by a viral video won’t make Sparks come clean about what’s really going on, is there anything that can save him? A fun and satisfying read where the reader knows what’s going on, but the protagonist doesn’t!
A.C. WISE (Contributing Editor)
The second book in the Bone Universe series expands the world and characters first introduced in Updraft. Shifting to a new point of view allows Wilde to explore new depths, both literally and figuratively. The political intrigue remains gripping, and the flight and action sequences are every bit as breathtaking as the first book, if not more so.
Certain Dark Things
Thomas Dunne Books
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a tense crime thriller, which just happens to include vampires. Rather than overplayed and run-of-the-mill vampires, Moreno-Garcia offers something fresh in creatures that feel truly other. Dominigo and Atl, along with a supporting cast of cops, gang members, spoiled rich boys, and hired muscle, are fully rounded and compelling. This is the perfect vampire book for those who think they’re sick of vampires.
Hammers on Bone
Hammers on Bone, a novella from Cassandra Khaw, combines slick noir styling with Lovecraftian fiction. The language is beautiful, the story is dark, and they blend perfectly for a quick, satisfying read.
The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales
Edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe
The Starlit Wood edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe is a beautiful anthology of re-told fairy tales, both as a physical object, and for the stories it contains. A stellar lineup of authors brings new twists to well-worn tales, along with some lesser known ones, with each story illustrated just like a classic book of fairy tales.
LESLEY CONNER (Managing Editor)
My Best Friend’s Exorcism
My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix—More campy than horrifying, this is a story that will make you ask yourself what you would do to save your best friend. It’s a combination of awkward high school moments, friendship, and possession by a demon—all with an 80s flare that will leave those of us who lived through the decade with a nostalgic grin.
JASON SIZEMORE (Editor-in-Chief)
The City of Mirrors
The conclusion of Cronin’s vampire trilogy becomes weighed down in its mythology, but fans of the series will receive satisfactory closure. All the hallmarks of Cronin’s writing are here: exciting set pieces, strong characterization, and a pinch of the magical.
A Head Full of Ghosts
William Morrow Paperbacks
A worthy winner of the Stoker Award for Outstanding Novel, A Head Full of Ghosts impressively covers the many frightening aspects of unemployment, religion, reality television, and the terror of raising a teenage girl. In dialogue with William Peter Blatty’s classic The Exorcist, Tremblay isn’t quite so harsh, but all the frights are there, and the novel walks the fine line of “Is she possessed or not” brilliantly.