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The MalevolentDark.com Horror Fiction Top 25 December 2023 Edition

The MalevolentDark.com Horror Fiction Top 25 December 2023 Edition

MALEVOLENT DARK HORROR FICTION TOP 25 DECEMBER 2023 EDITION

Check out the charts for November and October Editions

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1. Mister Lullaby by J.H. Markert

At an abandoned train tunnel entrance, a deputy sheriff finds two corpses with strange calling cards inscribed with old lullabies. A young boy injured in the tunnel wakes from his coma long enough to deliver a message of his imprisonment with hundreds of other coma patients in a grotesque dream world inhabited by evil mythical creatures. The coma patients are desperately fighting to keep the evils of the dream world from escaping into the waking world. Elsewhere, a troubled man starts doing what the voice in his head is telling him — kill any coma patient he can find. “Something is waking up in the tunnel — something is trying to get through. And Mister Lullaby is coming.”

2. 1939 by Amy Cross

The tenth book in the Haunting of Hadlow House series continues telling the story of one haunted house over the centuries from its construction to the present day. In 1939, Europe is again on the brink of war as a local pub manager in an English village struggles to hold onto her sanity, while realizing that she might be the only person who can stop Hadlow House’s evil forever.

3. Gollitok by Andrew Najberg

In a post-nuclear Eastern Europe, a man on a journey to redeem his family’s reputation joins a survey team cataloguing the abandoned Gollitok island prison, where he finds dangers beyond his worst nightmares.

4. Dread by Kevin Bachar

A collection of 22 tales of terror offering up horrifying reasons why people go missing in the wild. National Geographic cinematographer Bachar weaves together terrifying true stories from his real-life adventures with twisted fiction from the depths of his imagination.

5. Splintered: The Labyrinth, Book 3 by Brian Keene

The 2014 World Horror Grand Master continues his magnum opus following the aftermath of The Seven’s confrontation with Behemoth, Leviathan, and Nodens.

6. Night Plague: The Night Warriors 3 by Graham Masterton

The Bram Stoker Awards Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for 2018, Masterton continues his series as the defenders of humanity, the Night Warriors, face their most terrifying enemy yet — a witch and mistress of Satan who carries the seeds of a disease that twists souls into madness.

7. Blender Babies by Jon Athan

One of the Splatterpunk Award-winning authors of Beyond Reform, Athan presents a disturbing post-apocalyptic vision about The Craze, a phenomenon where people kidnap babies and blend them to drink their highly potent and highly addictive essence. With society collapsed, a man finds himself trapped in a police station with his family, including his newborn daughter, and must find a way to protect his family from The Craze-infected horde outside.

8. Santa vs. Satan by D.W. Hitz

Book 4 in the Custer Falls Extreme Horror series is a Christmas novella where three worlds collide — a boy wanting a drone to help make his first horror movie, a general of Satan’s army wanting to invade Earth, and a Santa distracted by more than Christmas. Hitz is the founder of Fedowar Press and one of the Splatterpunk Award-winning editors of Camp Slasher Lake: Volume 1.

9. Billy the Kid and the Lazarus Stone by Kevin Lucia

Billy the Kid and his band of Regulators are on the run, but when they take a job to “hunt a big cat” menacing a border town mining operation, they discover something ancient and evil with a taste for human flesh instead. They also learn the true purpose of the mining operation as they find themselves in the midst of a man’s obsessive search for the Lazarus Stone, a mythical gem believed to have the power to resurrect the dead but also a magnet for monsters.

10. Slay by Laurell K. Hamilton

Book 30 in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series finds the necromancer prepared to walk down the aisle with her fiancé, the newly crowned vampire king of America. As Anita tries to balance her religious human relatives and her supernatural family, dark forces take advantage of the chaos in her life.

11. Dark Disasters: A Dark Dozen Anthology edited by Candace Nola

The theme of the third installment of the Dark Dozen series is the real-life horror of Mother Nature. Features tales by Kristopher Rufty, Tim Meyer, Caitlin Marceau, Lucas Mangum, Rebecca Rowland, Andre Duza, Brennan LaFaro, Judith Sonnet, Bridgett Nelson, Michael Moore, Tony Evans, and Kate Kingston, plus a foreword by Patrick R. McDonough.

12. Dead Letters: Episodes of Epistolary Horror edited by Jacob Steven Mohr

An anthology of 21 epistolary tales blending gothic horror and contemporary dread and featuring contributions from Gemma Files, Ai Jiang, Gordon B. White, J.A.W. McCarthy, Red Lagoe, and more.

13. Hail Santa! by John McNee

The dying mining community of St. Nicholas in northern Canada is buzzing after their town is sold to a Chinese-American conglomerate with plans to transform it into the most popular ski resort and holiday destination in North America. However, there is something cruel and inhuman that laid claim to the land long ago and does not intend to give it up without a fight. The children call him Santa Claus.

14. The Light of a Black Star by C.S. Humble

Book Three of That Light Sublime Trilogy is set in 1872 after the valiant members of the Peregrine Estate failed to stop a ritual by the Society of Prometheus in Chicago. The result of that failure: an unknowable celestial body is eclipsing the Sun, throwing the world deeper into an unending winter and emboldening the vampire armies of The Red Kingdom to attack humanity in the epic conclusion to the trilogy.

15. Forbidden Knowledge by Tony LaMalfa

Subtitled Two Tales of Lovecraftian Terror, this collection features novellas titled “The Face on the Floor” about a young man’s involvement with a fellow student whose quest to read the Necronomicon engulfs him in a web of horror and tragedy; and “If Only Skin Deep,” which is set in New Zealand, where a young scholar investigates a remote tribe that seems to have anomalous relations with nameless entities from the sea.

16. A Beast Within by Aidan Lucid

A novella about a man fresh out of prison who vows to steer clear of a life of crime before plunging back into his old ways after realizing the world will always consider him an ex-con. When he, his best friend, and girlfriend are identified after a failed bank robbery, they find refuge in the home of a Christian family who are hiding dark secrets of their own.

17. Echoes in the Night by Ian Fortey and Ron Ripley

Book 4 in the Cult of the Endless Night series continues the investigations of retired Marine/ghost hunter Shane Ryan as he searches the homeless encampments of Boston for an evil spirit that strikes without warning and kills without a sound. His discovery forces Shane into an uneasy alliance with a cult member and into a fight with the ultimate supernatural predator.

18. Rathcrog by Neil T. Jacobs

A man explores an abandoned West Virgina mining town that is home to an ancient evil, forcing a small-town police chief to face an unimaginable monster.

19. A Different Kind of Magic by T.W. Grim

This collection of 14 horror and supernatural tales includes stories about a man who becomes trapped in a ghastly parallel dimension; a radical scientist who unleashes an experimental drug on the world to devastating consequences; an intergalactic intelligence that makes a decision to destroy humanity; and an elderly man who shares stories of horror around the campfire.

20. Little Horrors: Vol. 4 by Steven Jenkins

This collection of eight twisted short stories includes tales about a man on a plane overrun with zombies; a girl who searches for her missing brother in the darkness because monsters rule the daytime; and an elderly woman who lives alone but hears footsteps and voices upstairs.

21. Dominion by Tom Marturano

Book 3 of the Sinister series follows a woman with her children on the run from a vengeful entity, while racing against time and across nations to save the ones she cares about and the world from an impending apocalypse.

22. The Eldritch Arms by Barry K Gregory

Book one in the Biff Stone: Monster Hunter for Hire series introduces the legendary hunter who reappears after a long absence to embark on a journey of redemption. Billed as “Magnum P.I. meets The Dresden Files in a tale of cosmic horror.”

23. The Horror Collection: Monster Edition edited by Ann Keeran and Kevin J. Kennedy

KJK Publishing presents an anthology of 13 short stories where the monsters are in charge. Includes tales by Kyle M. Scott, Brian Moreland, Mak Young, Daemon Manx, Ash Ericmore, Christina Bergling, Veronica Smith, Chris Panatier, George Daniel Lea, Frederick Pangbourne, Heather Miller, Brennan LaFaro, and Scott Paul Hallam.

24. The Dead Collection by Scott Wilson

This collection of 30 stories features a variety of horror ranging from magic to monsters, including tales of alien life, fatal kisses, flying saucers, Bigfoot, killer cats, and demon worship.

25. Vicarious by Chloe Spencer

A novella about a girl who seeks revenge after the return of her school bully years later brings long-buried trauma back to the surface. However, she learns vengeance is a messy game.

THE NEXT TEN

The next 10 releases just outside the chart: Crybaby Bridge: Slaughter in a Small Town by C.B. Jones; They Never Find the Bodies in Whispering Pines by Sean Malia Thompson; The Devil’s Debt by Rick Wood; Battle for Sanctuary: The Infected Chronicles: Book 6 by Ryan Casey; My Little Black Book of Horror by Cassandra L. Thompson; Cancelled by Alex Anders; Bloody Thanksgiving by Jonathan Tripp; AL-13N FLU by Holly Rae Garcia; Santa’s Space Station of Slaughter: The Raven Hill Butcher: Book Eight by Nasser Rabadi; and Sherlock Holmes and the Arcana of Madness: A Horror Mystery: Dark Tide Book 11 by Naching T. Kassa, Angela Yuriko Smith, and John Linwood Grant.

HOW THE CHART WORKS

The MalevolentDark.com Horror Fiction Top 25 is compiled by senior contributor Lionel Ray Green and only includes releases from the previous month (i.e., December chart is for November releases). His chart is independent and subjective but partly based on a personally developed point system using a combination of factors, including media buzz, reviews, and ratings. The Top 25 is released monthly to rank original works and does not include anniversary, author’s preferred, definitive editions, or re-releases. Authors, editors, and publishers with upcoming releases in December 2023 can email the titles of their works to ensure consideration for the next Top 25 to lionelraygreen@gmail.com.

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