“Hex” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. Americana horror in translation from the Dutch? I have an irrational fear of all things in translation that I know is not fair. I suspect this is an Anglophone problem, and it’s lame. In my first sitting I read the first 55 pages, and went to bed stressed out. A lot of horror doesn’t really creep, and this did. But maybe that’s because there’s a monster, but everyone in the story can totally deal with that. The real horror is your neighbours.
It wasn’t a perfect book. I was trying to figure out what happened to the other two boys that were sent into the local dungeon, who were never really mentioned again (or if they were I missed it). And then the afterword! I kind of wish I read Dutch so I could see what the original was like. Though the boy told me (I forced this on him) what happened, since he googled for it. And then we had a big conversation about how we would have done the ending differently. Basically I think once Tyler was dead, we didn’t engage with any characters anymore.
“The Evil Wizard Smallbone” by Delia Sherman. Despite loving the only other Delia Sherman book I ever read (I even forced it on others, like you do), I never sought out her other writings. I quite liked it.
“Fingersmith” by Sarah Waters. I think I read a review of an Asian movie based on this book, and I never see movies, so I put this on my list. It was divided into three parts. Reading the first one, I really couldn’t guess how this book was going to be roughly 550 pages long. But then part 2 did it all again with a different character, explaining what had really happened, and part 3 was the conclusion. Ridiculous things happened in this book, proving that if you’re a good enough writer, you can make any event seem legitimate.