Here’s a small selection of the horror and genre news that caught our eye during the last week …
After a hiatus, Apex Magazine returns in early 2021, with issue number 121, thanks to a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign. One of the perks that was met in that campaign was for a promo issue to be released absolutely free of charge ahead of the relaunch and that issue is available now. Featuring original fiction by Maurice Broaddus and Beth Dawkins, along with a round table discussion with the Apex Magazine slush reading team, this is a mini issue you are not going to want to miss. Available for free, to everyone, you can read this mini issue at the Apex Magazine website, right here, now.
A modern-day homage to the fairy tale, as well a love letter to the underworld of Chicago. Reminiscent of the “Bloody Mary” urban legend, the Pied Piper’s story can be traced back to the deaths of children for centuries and across the world—call to him for help with your problems, but beware when he comes back asking for payment. Chicago detective Lauren Medina’s latest call brings her to investigate a brutally murdered teenager in Humboldt Park—a crime eerily similar to the murder of her sister decades before. Unlike her straight-laced partner, she recognizes the crime, and the new graffiti popping up all over the city, for what it really means: the Pied Piper has returned. When more children are found dead, Lauren is certain her suspicion is correct. Still reeling from the recent death of her father, she knows she must find out who has summoned him again, and why, before more people die. Lauren’s torn between protecting the city she has sworn to keep safe, and keeping a promise she made long ago with her sister’s murderer. She may have to ruin her life by exposing her secrets and lies to stop the Pied Piper before he collects. Released 9 February 2021, you can pre-order your copy in eBook or hardcover format now, here.
Featuring stories by Brian Keene, Brian Quinn, Cullen Bunn, Michael Patrick Hicks, Adam Cesare and Heath Amodio, Centralia: Epicenter is the first in a series of shared world anthologies. Evil has a network beneath Earth’s surface and its name is CENTRALIA. Throughout the United States the name Centralia crops up again and again. A dozen towns where thousands of people live, never realizing that supernatural forces are aligning against them. Strange events have occurred in one Centralia or another since the 1800’s, but these events are growing more intense with every passing day. A powerful, malevolent force prepares to unleash its evil upon the world through Centralia gateways located in New York, Missouri, West Virginia, Kansas, Texas, and Washington. In this collection of short horror stories, these celebrated writers share the tales of six unlikely heroes who find themselves facing the forces of evil attempting to breach the gates and slither into the world. Centralia is the front line in an ultimate battle of good and evil. Pick up your copy in eBook or paperback, right here, now.
Max Patella just wants to do her job, which includes dealing with cases the corrupt police don’t want to dirty their hands with. When she stumbles on a bunch of skeletons found in different warehouses, all wearing mysterious rings, Max finds herself in a dangerous and deadly situation that leads back to her. Part of Demain Publishing’s mystery and crime series ‘Murder! Mystery! Mayhem!’The Bone Factory by Yolanda Sfestos (Breaking the Habit) will be released 27 November in eBook, with a paperback version to follow early in 2021. You can pre-order your copy here, now.
A Night of Ghost Stories for Christmas, hosted by Paul Childs and in aid of The MS Society, taking place Friday 18 December
In an online event in aid of The MS Society, writer Paul Childs presents a night of Christmas Ghost Stories, featuring Gemma Amor (White Pines), Jed Shepherd (co-writer of the hit horror film Host), Icy Sedgwick of The Fabulous Folklore Podcast and others. These writers and creatives will tell Christmas ghost stories, echoing the tradition stretching back to the time of Dickens and M. R. James, in a zoom event limited to just one hundred people. Tickets are available for £5.50, with the event starting at 7:30pm (GMT). Start your festive period in the spookiest way possible while supporting a worthy cause by buying your ticket for the event here, now.
Listen to the stories that are to terrifying to make it to the late night slumber parties or the crackling glow of a campfire. Make sure to lock the door and check it twice because these are the Skeletons in My Closet. Let the sleepless nights begin. Available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and wherever you get your podcasts, you can find out more about the Skeletons in my Closet podcast right here.
The Plague Confessor, a collection of short fiction by writer Meg Smith, out now from Emu books
A deadly disease presents a woman with unexpected power over bodies and souls. Two school children find within themselves the ability to create — and to destroy.A war camp prisoner finds a way out — but must take a path of even greater horrors. These and other journeys into darkness — and light — await in The Plague Confessor, Meg Smith’s first collection of short fiction. Available in paperback format from Emu Books, you can pick up your copy right now, here.