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pictures. An editor would have not only taken a pair of hedge clippers to the thing, but also demanded citations and concrete examples for many of the points made in Magus’ chapters on the early history of horror music, and forced him to properly attribute the long quotations he frequently lifts from “a blogger” or “a different blogger.”


It works slightly better if you reframe this as a music fanatic’s guided tour through genre music. The era from the dawn of humanity to 1957 is covered in a lean 101 pages, leaving the remainder for the period between 1958 and 2019. But while Magus surveys spooky music from a broad swath of musical genres, from popular to novelty, he's prone to falling into a list-like style, and by the latter years, the omissions become more glaring, almost as if he ran out of steam – and why wouldn’t he, given the size of this? The writing is serviceable but strongly fa- vours information (and density of info) over style, so much so that the author leaves al- most no imprint of himself on the contents, outside of the introduction and conclusion.


Semi-frequently, the descriptions of the music itself, along with the his- torical background for the songs and recordings – the most interesting bits here – come from those sometimes multiple-paragraph-long uncredited quotes (again, yikes!).


While horror music undeniably deserves in-depth coverage, unless you’re seeking an exhaustive list of mid- to late-century releases (which Monster Jukebox does provide), this is not the book you’ve been waiting for.


MONICA S. KUEBLER THE HIDDEN TRUTH


Armand Rosamilia and Jay Wilburn Crossroad Press and Macabre Ink Digital


After getting canned from their twenty-year gig at a tabloid rag, Cull and Jackson are desperate to save their hides, get their jobs back, and become the lucrative schmucks they always dreamed of being. When fate (and no shortage of bad luck) puts Steve – an Uber-driving, computer-programming whiz kid – in their path, the hapless duo convince the gullible cabbie to create an app that’s all but guaranteed to revolutionize the way news is spread, earning them their fortune. The app lets members publicly post the deepest, dark- est secrets of their peers, co-workers, neigh- bours, and everyone in between. Members have the “opportunity” to confirm or deny any post about them. For the politically inclined or social elite preferring not to be ruined by the app, VIP memberships with slander-purging privileges can be negotiated.


As the pair’s road to riches is looking all but secured, the veil of secrecy is ripped to shreds and it’s clear that some skeletons can’t be stuffed back in their closets. That’s when Kathryn, Jackson and Cull’s former boss, fur-


ther complicates matters by taking control of the app and its unprecedented windfall. With no shortage of backstabbing, double-crossing, and general douche-baggery, the narrative builds to an over-the-top adrenaline-fuelled race to the bitter end as societies across the world crumble. Now, who can live long enough and become rich enough to care less once the ashes have settled?


By combining their talents, authors Armand Rosamilia and Jay Wilburn have sparked a literary maelstrom packaged in a massively fun experience. Violent anarchy and global corruption in the name of the almighty buck? There’s an app for that.


RICK HIPSON W


THE LITERARY LANDSCAPE OF 2020


ith a new decade well underway, there are resolutions to be made and kept – or not – and plenty to look forward to as the year unfolds. Here are a few titles I have my eye on for


the coming months.


THE HAUNTED LIBRARY OF HORROR CLASSICS This new “Horror Writers Association presents” reprint series, pro- duced in collaboration with Sourcebooks and Poisoned Pen Press, sees genre classics reissued with fresh introductions, as well as Suggested Dis- cussion Questions for Classroom Use and Suggested Further Reading at the back. The first two releases in the series are Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera (based on Alexander Teixeira de Mattos’ 1911 English translation), avail- able now, and Richard Marsh’s 1897 novel of jealousy and revenge, The Bee- tle (in its original published form), which lands in bookstores in April. The latter’s foreword comes courtesy of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, while Phantom’s is handled by Nancy Holder. The third book in the series, William Beckford’s Vathek, with introduction by Joe R. Lansdale, is due in August.


PAPERBACKS FROM HELL: WAVE TWO


I’ve mentioned these before, but I really can’t say enough good things about the ongoing reprint effort from Valancourt Books, in- spired by Grady Hendrix’s 2017 non-fiction look at ’70s and ’80s horror novels, which the series shares its name with. (Hendrix, in fact, introduces many of the volumes.) What makes these books particularly noteworthy is that most have been out of print and ex- tremely hard to find (at affordable prices) for years. While Wave Two kicked off back in October, it warrants inclusion here because one of the three titles that will drop in 2020 is Let’s Go Play at the Adams’; a dark, mean story that was once one of my own Holy Grail books as a collector of genre fiction and curator of this column. I wrote about it back in RM#171. The other 2020 releases are Lisa Tuttle’s A Nest of Nightmares and David Fisher’s The Pack. Most wanted this year? An announcement about Paperbacks From Hell: Wave Three.


THE STAND MINISERIES


This upcoming adaptation from CBS All Access marks the latest take on Stephen King’s postapocalyptic 1978 novel of the same name. Previously produced as a TV miniseries by ABC in 1994, the new one casts James Marsden as Stu Redman and Alexander Skarsgård in the role of Randall Flagg. With no official release date as of press time, buzz has it landing sometime later this year. It’ll be interesting to see what series co-creator/director Josh Boone (best known for adapting YA property The Fault in Our Stars) does with the story out- side of the constraints of network television.


Tweet me @damnedlibrary and tell me what you’re most looking forward to.


MONICA S. KUEBLER THE NINTH CIRCLE 51 R M


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