Spooky season book picks, new releases by Tahoe authors
The autumn shoulder season in the Tahoe Sierra marks the perfect time to cozy up with a pumpkin spice latte and a good book after a day of getting your house ready for another big snow season. There are lots of books to choose from, so here’s a snapshot of my favorite horror/murder mystery books, new releases by local authors, and a combination of scary books by local authors:
Scary Books To Keep You Up At Night
· Verity by Colleen Hoover: This book has received varied reviews and for good reason- the plot is bananas. I was on the edge of my seat with this book, it was so hard to put down. I think it could be considered a horror romance novel, but maybe not as graphic as some others written in those genres. It was well-written, intriguing, and there’s a huge plot twist at the end…so clear out a good chunk of time out of your day to get through it. One disclaimer- I loved it but my sister hated it (I think any mother out there would have mixed feelings about it). Luckily, it’s a quick, crazy cringy read.
· Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: The plot surrounds a pretty debutante who goes to a nice mansion to get to the bottom of her recently married cousin’s mysterious illness, unfolding the story of a suspicious family and enigmatic house that reveals itself in terrifying ways. I thought this book was captivating and suspenseful while some reviewers said that it was kind of slow and not a whole lot happened, but it was the perfect pace and level of scariness for me. It makes me want to visit a remote area of Mexico and find a house like this.
· How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix: This book is detailed, horrifying and original; it kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. I was so desperate for a resolution that I did not want to put it down. Puppets creep me out and mix that in with possessed dolls and dysfunctional family dynamics and now you’ve got yourself a horror story. And maybe listening to the audiobook made it worse because now I will forever have that Mr. Hanky-like voice stuck in my head.
· Episode Thirteen by Craig DiLouie: Episode Thirteen is a trip, in that I could see something like this actually happening. The plot is about a ghost hunting TV show camera crew going into a spooky house where weird experiments took place in the 1970s- and the house turns its attention towards placing the same psychological terror onto them. Incredibly suspenseful and smartly written, I couldn’t put this down.
Local Author New(ish) Releases Published In The Last Year
· Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail by Suzanne Roberts (new edition published 2023)- Described as part memoir, part travelogue, and part nature writing, South Lake Tahoe resident Suzanne Roberts shares her month-long journey of hiking 230 miles of the John Muir Trail with her two friends. I love her honest and straightforward narrative of her experience. National Geographic Traveler named Roberts “The Next Great Travel Writer” and she teaches in the MFA program at UNR at Lake Tahoe.
· 100 Things to Do in Reno Before You Die by Mikalee Byerman (published August 2023)- This short easy read by award-winning author and Nevada tourism expert Mikalee Byerman is funny, interesting, and you’re bound to find a place you’ll want to visit in Reno that you never knew about before. There are also some places in Tahoe mentioned, too.
· Moon Northern California Road Trips by Kayla Anderson and Stuart Thornton (2nd edition published September 2023)- Written by Stuart Thornton and yours truly, we have just released the second edition of Northern California Road Trips published by Moon Guides. Thornton covers the entire coastal region from Monterey to the Oregon border and then I pick it up in Ashland and carry readers through routes and scenic drives in Shasta/Lassen, Lake Tahoe, Eastern Sierra, and Yosemite inland regions.
· Refraction: An Arctic Memoir by Bruce Rettig (published November 2022)- Even though this book came out last year, it doesn’t get the credit it deserves. It tells the true story of South Lake Tahoe author Bruce Rettig and his time working in the harsh frozen environment of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and him living in two vastly different worlds. Beautifully written and interesting, I hope they make Refraction into a movie someday.
Scary Books By Local Authors Published In 2023 ·
Tahoe Flight by Todd Borg (published August 2023)- Recently completing his 21st Owen McKenna mystery, murder mystery writer and South Shore local Todd Borg goes back to a crime from one of his first novels from an ex-con who seeks revenge. In Tahoe Flight, Detective McKenna and his dog get kidnapped by a craze pilot who tries to drop them in Big Blue.
· The Ghostly Tales of Lake Tahoe by Kat Bryne (published May 2023)- In this not-too-scary book suitable for children, Kat Bryne shares stories about some of the lake’s favorite characters such as Tahoe Tessie and the ghosts of Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis.
· The Lonesome Dark by Lisa Michelle (published summer 2023)- Called a suspenseful and fast-paced thriller by another reviewer, The Lonesome Dark takes you through the terrifying world of Pearl White. She lived through her husband’s murder last Halloween and now the killer is back. This rural crime thriller writer, bestselling author, and former rodeo cowgirl lives in “the backwoods of the Sierra Nevada”.
· Sky Lake by Scott Lipanovich (published July 2023)- Based on our “Lake of the Sky”, this murder mystery plot involves the death of famous water skier Brett Boyd and his old childhood friend-turned-detective Jake who goes looking for answers. Jake is threatened while he’s at Brett’s “Sky Lake” enclave, and as more water skiers get killed, Jake becomes intent on finding the killer.
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