Spookman Spiff said:
Glad it helped.
In addition to the things I've mentioned above, I'm now reading 20th Century Ghosts
, the first short story collection by Joe Hill. Hill's real name is Joseph Hillstrom King; he's Stephen King's son, but started writing under a pen name so as not to trade on his father's influence. He made a big splash earlier this year with his first novel, Heart-Shaped Box
. I read it after my mom was bowled over by it. She thought he was a better writer than his father. I wasn't so sure. On a sentence-by-sentence level he's probably better at prose than his father, but there's more originality in King's best work than in the rather conventional Heart-Shaped Box
I'd heard that the stories in 20th Century Ghosts
were more inventive, but I've read about half of them so far and I'm not seeing it. That said, a couple of the pieces are effective as traditional horror. "Best New Horror" has a nicely-executed description of creepy backwoods life, and the spirit in "20th Century Ghost" has the chilling effect of the best ghost stories. Not all the stories in the collection are horror, or even genre; there are a couple of slice-of-life pieces, though in my opinion they tend to mark the low points of the book.