Hey friends, remember me? Zakk Madness, Z-dubbz, the eyes of madness, yeah it’s be a while. Much too long, really. I fell off the face of the earth a bit. With 2020 being what it was, and every single person being adversely affected in some form or fashion, here’s a little smile and eHug for every one who has made it through this horrible year. I’m glad to see you.
Also, a sincere and heartfelt moment of silence for those kind souls who didn’t make it.
May peace be with you, and your kin. You will not be forgotten.
My 2020 was a constant knot of anxiety, having to work with the public day after day in a retail setting. For a retailer who claimed to have my safety at heart, and maybe they did initially. Praying that I didn’t bring something home to infect the family. It was harrowing. It still is.
But if I’m being honest, 2019 was worse, for myself personally and the Madness clan. The family got closer to the breaking point, closer to the edge, than I really want to think about. I’d like to say it was all in my head, but, you know. Sometimes it’s not. It’s scary to think back at how much darkness there was at home and in my soul. Seen and unseen. This accumulated in a drastic drop in family time, in reading, reviewing, and I ended up not posting a “Best-Of” year end favorites list for the first time since I’ve been doing this book thing.
I’d like to rectify that, with the first of many posts for 2021. That’s the plan anyway. The strongest year ever for The Eyes of Madness, earn my share of the market back. If not, then this will be my Swan Song. I’d rather go out with a bang than trudge through another half-assed year.
Today, in grand fashion, I present my 2019-2020 Favorite Reads EXTRAVAGANZA! Gathering my personal selections for 2019 & 2020’s favorite reads, respectively. And not necessarily a best-of list because, let’s be honest, I’m not the authority on what’s best, also these selections may or may not have been released in the corresponding categorical year, I don’t know, time is broken.
For each year, my top three selections are pretty static. These are the books that took my breath away and made me feel everything. After the top three it’s a mad rush for placement, a running of the gauntlet, if you will. The remaining titles can be rearranged into any order and still be pretty accurate. These 29 titles are fucking solid, in my humble opinion.
Let get to it, shall we? I’m gonna let the covers do the talking, for now. I may come back and add a word or a synopsis. But there’s something exciting about having a photo here catching your eye enough to spark a bit of discovery. So for now, just visuals. I really hope you find something new. **Note: I am lacking a couple a photos so I’ve got Cover pics as a placeholder. I’ll update when I’m able.**
2019’s Favorite Reads
Devil’s Creek by Todd Keisling from Silver Shamrock Publishing.
Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias, published by Broken River Books.
The Martuk Series Vol. 1 by Jonathan Winn, independently published.
The Fearing vol 1-4 by John F.D. Taff, from Gray Matter Press.
Walk the Darkness Down by John Boden, published by Crossroad Press.
Nope, this dude has shown numerous times that he is a prick. I can’t in good conscience recommend his work any longer.
Night Shoot by David Sodergren, independently published.
Where Stars Won’t Shine by Patrick Lacey, published by Grindhouse Press.
Us by John Shupeck jr, published by Necro Publications.
Carnivorous Lunar Activities by Max Booth III, published by Cinestate.
The Same Deep Water as You by Chad Lutzke, independently published.
The Bedding of Boys by Edward Lorn, published by Lornagraphic Material.
And lastly, my honorary non-horror selection…
Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin, published by Ecco.
2020’s Favorite Reads
Ring Shout or Hunting Ku Kluxes in the End Times by P. Djèlí Clark, published by Tordotcom.
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones, published by Galley/ Saga Press.
Crossroads by Laurel Hightower, published by Off Limits Press.
Dead Girl Blues by David Sodergren, independently published.
The Magpie Coffin by Wile E. Young, published by Death’s Head Press.
The Fearing: Fire and Brimstone by John F.D. Taff, published by Saturday Morning Scenarios.
The Plumbers by Terry M. West, published by Too Much Weird.
Until Summer Comes Around by Glenn Rolfe, published by Flame Tree Press.
Dead Inside by Chandler Morrison, published by Death’s Head Press.
Benny Rose Canibal King by Hailey Piper, published by Unnerving.
Dear Laura by Gemma Amor, independently published.
Captain Clive’s Dreamworld by John Bassoff, published by Eraserhead Press.
Standalone by Paul Michael Anderson, published by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.
The Girl in the Video by Michael David Wilson, published by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.
And lastly, my honorary non-horror selections…
Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Crosby, published by Flatiron Books.
The Neon Owl book 1: When the Shit Hits the Van by Chad Lutzke, published by Static Age Books
There you have it, the favorite things I stuffed into my eye holes over the last two years. And as I type this, I’m staring at a phat stack of books that I didn’t get to, the first mountain I’ll climb in 2021. And I honestly believe it’s gonna be a better year, and I’m gonna kick it off with some great reads.
I look forward to seeing what you’ve picked as favorites, find me on the socials and tag me. Let’s take this 2021 journey together. Stay safe out there.
Zakk is a big dumb animal!
While I’ve got you here, come and find me in the ether, stop by and say hello.
Also go say hello to my buds, the NightWorms.
About Zakk Madness
Zakk Madness is a 40 something horror nerd and yo-yo enthusiast. Not a critic, but a fan of horror fiction. Former reviewer for The Mouths of Madness Podcastshow, he dabbles with the Night Worms crew. When not reading or yo-yoing, he is spending time his with his lovely wife and their three sons.