Check out these new titles available in bookstores just in time for Halloween.
What if lost souls lived in the vinyl grooves of old record albums? Could you release them or would you even want to do so? In Richard Kadrey's "Dead Set" (Harper Voyager, $22.99) a lonely teen pays a high price to try to rescue her dead father. Zoe's father died unexpectedly and all records of his life were lost. With no resources she and her mother have to move to a grubby apartment in the city. At night Zoe dreams of her dead big brother Valentine, who comforts her and tries to keep a mysterious dark force from hurting her. During the day she hides out in the back room of Ammut Records, where the owner offers to open the netherworld to her, if she is only brave enough to risk her future. Will she?
Fans of "Bones" and "CSI" will want to read Jefferson Bass's "Cut to the Bone" (William Morrow, $26.99). In 1992, before the era of DNA testing, Bill Bass, a University of Tennessee forensic anthropologist, founded the Body Farm. The Knoxville property was used by experts to study the decomposition rates of the human body. Just as he was beginning his work at the Body Farm, the police called Bass in to work on a case which resembled other cases he had investigated. Based on the case of Thomas Huskey, a serial killer who abducted and killed Knoxville prostitutes, "Cut to the Bone" offers an inside look at the early days of forerensic antrhopology.
The eleventh novel in "The Hallows" series has just been released in paperback. In Kim Harrison's "Ever After" (Harper Voyager, $7.99, also available on Harper Audio) heroine Rachel Morgan has ripped the line between the demonic world and this universe. To restore balance she must team up with demons Algiarept, Newt and Dallkarackint. She does not dread this as much as does having to ask the aid of evil businessman Trent Kalamack. Meantime she must do something about soul eater Ku' Sox Sha-Ku'ru who has kidnapped her god daughter and friend and says he will kill them if she doesn't turn herself in to him. With two more books to go before the serial is complete, the results should be fiery.
Can haunted souls find peace? "Help for the Haunted" (William Morrow, ($26.95) by John Searles answers this question in a novel told through the voice of its teenage heroine. Sylvie Mason is the daughter of a couple who use paranormal activities to help the living understand their losses. Their own situation is not ideal; older daughter Rose believes herself to be homosexual and her parents sent her away to a "special" school to resolve her issues. One dark February night Rose calls and asks her parents to meet her at the village church. Sylvie, clad in her night clothes, goes along and stays in the car. She hears the gunshots which killed her parents. The book slowly spins out the story of what actually happened at the church and also exposes the fraudulence of her parents' practice. The ending is both unexpected and shocking.
Set in the borderlands of the U.S. and Mexico, "The Dead Run" (Harper Voyager, $25.99) is Adam Mansbach's latest supernatural thriller. Jess Galvan, wrongfully imprisoned in Mexico, strikes a bargain with El Cucuy, a legendary violent killer. He will carry an iron box to the U.S. to cult leader Aaron Seth. In exchange, El Cucuy will see that he reunites with his estranged daughter. Other prisoners accompany him, some as companions, but many with the goal of killing him before he can reach safety. Soon the desert comes alive with dangerous and sinister life and Galvan begins to wonder if he is losing his mind and could lose his life.
In a chilling nod to vanity license plates, "NOS4A2" (William Morrow, $17.99) by Joe Hill is a pure classic horror story. Charles Manx drives a 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith with plates that underscore his otherworldly identity. He comes from Christmasland, a dark world where children live forever but lose their souls. Only one child ever escaped: Victoria McQueen rode her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike over a rickety bridge back to home, grew up and became a mother . Everyone thought Manx had died in prison, but he escaped and kept capturing children. Still angry at Victoria, he kidnapped her son Wayne, and Victoria takes up the fight to end Manx's evil work once and for all time.
Now for a new look at a classic: "The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creations of Mary Shelley's Masterpiece" (William Morrow, $13.99) by Roseanne Montillo. Everyone knows the story of Dr. Frankenstein and how he created and reanimated a monster using body parts. Few know the story has its base in real events in 19th century scientific history. Luigi Galvani tried to resurrect dead frogs using electrical currents. His nephew Giovanni Aldini tried to restart a convicted felon's heart also using currents. Both of course failed. However, their efforts and those of other scientists led to a public rise in body snatching, public dissections and public hysteria about the possibility of reanimation. Shelley's own dark imagination led to the writing of the world renown classic.