Book Club Nominees

5 Horror Novels that Surf the Audio/Visual Waves

by @serpymatt, curator of HOWLS Book Club nominees for August’s “Hitting the Waves” category

Summer is here and it’s time for some Beach Reads Recs for relaxing between sweet surf outings – right? Nah, wrong waves, dude! Stay Inside with Some Audio/Video Alternatives! We’re popping in that old mislabeled tape, tuning the dial until we get the station just right, and just looking for something spooky to rot our brains a little more before summer’s over!

Episode Thirteen by Craig DiLouie

Fade to Black is the newest hit ghost hunting reality TV show. It’s led by husband and wife team Matt and Claire Kirklin and features a dedicated crew of ghost-hunting experts.

Episode Thirteen takes them to Matt’s holy grail: the Paranormal Research Foundation. This crumbling, derelict mansion holds secrets and clues about the bizarre experiments that took place there in the 1970s. It’s also, undoubtedly, haunted, and Matt hopes to use their scientific techniques and high tech gear to prove it.

But, as the house begins to slowly reveal itself to them, proof of an afterlife might not be everything Matt dreamed of.

A story told in broken pieces, in tapes, journals, correspondence, and research files, this is the story of Episode Thirteen — and how everything went horribly wrong.(StoryGraph)


One of the best ways to beat the summer heat is with some found footage! Those waves have already happened, but that doesn’t mean we might find something intriguing there — or will it find us? (this one is near the top of my TBR pile)

Bookshop* | StoryGraph | Goodreads | Amazon

Agony’s Lodestone by Laura Keating

A grave could be visited. Ashes could be scattered.

But simply

That ripped a hole in the world the size of a life, and through that hole sighed a terrible wind repeating a single note:


For years, Aggie had forgotten the real Joanne; the way her sister had laughed, fought, been.

But now that the videotape made her real again—no matter how many times the recording changed, no matter how terrifying the flickering images—it was all Aggie wanted.

To trade the Gone for the One. She owed Joanne that much. To say she was sorry.

That it had been her fault.

It had been all their faults.


If you’ve ever experienced the joys of VHS, there’s not much else I need to say. If you haven’t, imagine a big hunk of plastic loaded with entertainment (or terror) that brings you to a magical place for a little while… unless the VCR decides it hungers for the tape. Then you move to your next escape. (this one is near the top of my TBR pile)

Bookshop* | StoryGraph | Goodreads | Amazon

FOUND: An Anthology of Found Footage Horror Stories edited by Andrew Cull and Gabino Iglesias

Between April and August 2021 eighteen horror writers disappeared. Gathered together for the first time, these are the stories they were writing at the time of their disappearances.

Reader caution is advised. Advance readers of this anthology have reported nausea, feelings of anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations after reading the texts included.

Stories by: Holly Rae Garcia, Jeremy Hepler, Bev Vincent, Ally Wilkes, Clay McLoed Chapman, Nick Kolakowski, Tim McGregor, Alan Baxter, Angela Sylvaine, Josh Rountree, Georgia Cook, Ali Seay, Donna Lynch, Kurt Fawver, Robert Levy, Joe Butler, Fred Fischer IV, Aristo Couvaras. (Goodreads)


As I said above, found footage can be a great way to find those new waves, but what if you could get your hands on a bundle of found footage examples in one place? That’s what you’re looking at right here. A fun ride through many different styles of found footage horror all under one awesome cover! (I finished this collection recently – some great stories inside!)

Bookshop* | StoryGraph | Goodreads | Amazon 

Chasing the Boogeyman by Richard Chizmar

In the summer of 1988, the mutilated bodies of several missing girls begin to turn up in a small Maryland town. The grisly evidence leads police to the terrifying assumption that a serial killer is on the loose in the quiet suburb. But soon a rumor begins to spread that the evil stalking local teens is not entirely human. Law enforcement, as well as members of the FBI are certain that the killer is a living, breathing madman–and he’s playing games with them. For a once peaceful community trapped in the depths of paranoia and suspicion, it feels like a nightmare that will never end.

Recent college graduate Richard Chizmar returns to his hometown just as a curfew is enacted and a neighborhood watch is formed. In the midst of preparing for his wedding and embarking on a writing career, he soon finds himself thrust into the real-life horror story. Inspired by the terrifying events, Richard writes a personal account of the serial killer’s reign of terror, unaware that these events will continue to haunt him for years to come. (StoryGraph)


Maybe when you’re working your way through all those waves, you come across a documentary. Is it true crime? It sounds like something that maybe happened in your neighborhood. Or maybe your cousin told you about it. You know you’ve heard this story. What happens when you decide to start digging? What will you find? (I’ve read this one before – outstanding!)

Bookshop* | StoryGraph | Goodreads | Amazon 

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

Life in a small town takes a dark turn when mysterious footage begins appearing on VHS cassettes at the local Video Hut.

Jeremy works at the counter of Video Hut in Nevada, Iowa. It’s a small town—the first “a” in the name is pronounced ay—smack in the center of the state. This is the late 1990s, pre-DVD, and the Hollywood Video in Ames poses an existential threat to Video Hut. But there are regular customers, a predictable rush in the late afternoon. It’s good enough for Jeremy: It’s a job; it’s quiet and regular; he gets to watch movies; he likes the owner, Sarah Jane; it gets him out of the house, where he and his dad try to avoid missing Mom, who died six years ago in a car wreck.

But when Stephanie Parsons, a local schoolteacher, comes in to return her copy of Targets, starring Boris Karloff—an old movie, one Jeremy himself had ordered for the store—she has an odd complaint: “There’s something on it,” she says, but doesn’t elaborate. Two days later, Lindsey Redinius brings back She’s All That, a new release, and complains that there’s something wrong with it: “There’s another movie on this tape.”

So Jeremy takes a look. And indeed, in the middle of the movie the screen blinks dark for a moment and She’s All That is replaced by a black-and-white scene, shot in a barn, with only the faint sounds of someone breathing. Four minutes later, She’s All That is back. But there is something profoundly disturbing about that scene; Jeremy’s compelled to watch it three or four times. The scenes recorded onto Targets are similar, undoubtedly created by the same hand. Creepy. And the barn looks a lot like a barn just outside of town. (StoryGraph)


Sometimes there’s more than meets the eye to that person behind the counter who hands over your latest horror fix. Maybe use some of the final days of summer to find out what’s being hidden from us all. (I haven’t read this one yet)

Bookshop* | StoryGraph | Goodreads | Amazon 

And The Winner Is…

Out of these five books, HOWLers voted to read Agony’s Lodestone by Laura Keating. Discussion starts on August 14, and you can read along by joining the Discord!

*The HOWLS affiliate storefront pays a 10% commission to HOWL Society and gives a matching 10% to independent bookstores

Leave a Reply