By Terri Schlichenmeyer — A long, dark winter demands a number of things: warm clothes, a fireplace, warm cocoa and books you can really sink your fangs into.
Sitting alone in a dark room on a moonlit night, Abraham Stoker reflects on his life—his illnesses, the nanny who saved him, and on the thing that howls on the other side of the door. He has a gun, roses to bless, holy wafers that he’s attached to the doorframe, and in “Dracul” by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker, he’s also got an old wound—a bite, really—that itches intensely as the thing bashes hard against the door. Yes, Dacre Stoker is distantly related to Bram Stoker, the author who penned “Dracula” more than a century ago. Yes, this is somewhat of an update to that classic novel. Yes, it’ll scare the pants off you.
The Dark Descent
of Elizabeth Frankenstein
If a nice little gothic novel is more to your liking, try “The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein” by Kiersten White. Victor had always had a temper—at least, as long as Elizabeth had known him. She was brought to the Frankenstein estate when he was a small boy and she, a young orphan. Her task then was to civilize him, but as they grew up side-by-side, they fell in love. Now it was her mission to make him think he needed her; if she didn’t, she might find herself out on the streets. But when Victor disappeared with little communication, Elizabeth had no choice but to find him. And find him, she did—as well as a secret she never wanted the world to know …
Too fantastical? Let’s try a scare that’s closer to home: It’s 1963 and the president has just been shot. Frank Guidry doesn’t know who did it, but he knows it was someone within Carlos Marcello’s organization. And in “November Road” by Lou Berney, when Frank is sent to Houston to clean up the mess, he knows he’s next. So he runs—right into a young housewife who’s traveling across Oklahoma with her daughters, escaping a dead-end marriage. A mother traveling alone is a great cover for Frank, and he’s good protection for Charlotte Roy, but maybe not good enough. Someone’s following them, and his orders are to kill.