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Top 25 Horror Comedy Books

If you like a little laughter with your terror, horror comedy is the genre for you. The titles on this list are a wonderful blend of scary and funny. Some are scarier than others, and some are amusing while others are sure to inspire riotous laughter. Many different subgenres of horror are represented in this list, as well. Terrors such as demons, Lovecraftian monsters, vampires, and, of course, zombies stalk the pages of these stories, but you’ll also find all manner of comedy from clever wordplay and sarcasm to over-the-top characters and situations.

Horror comedy began as a genre in 1849 with the publication of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which chronicled the misadventures of a bumbling schoolteacher as he encounters a frightening ghost. The subgenre gained popularity during World War I, when people needed laughter to temper their horror. A silent film adaptation of the 1909 play, The Ghost Breaker, was the first horror comedy in film, and since then, the subgenre has largely been associated with stage and film. A Google search of horror comedy will turn up titles like Gremlins and Shaun of the Dead.

It wasn’t until the 1990’s that horror comedy in literature became a popular subgenre with Christopher Moore’s zany tales of terror. Since then, the horror comedy subgenre has grown into a robust subgenre encompassing many types of both horror and comedy.

Because the horror genre has many distinguishing tropes and characteristics, many horror comedy novels will often spoof these well-known traits. For example, a characteristic of vampire horror is the suave, sexy vampire, and this is lampooned in stories like Gil’s All-Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez as well as Andrew Fox’s Fat White Vampire Blues.  Other types of horror comedy will find a way to make the horrific relatable, human, and often laughable. This can be seen in titles like Tom Holt’s Faus Among Equals.

Horror comedy originally used comedic elements to allow readers or viewers to laugh at their fears, and so, this subgenre is also a great place to find satire which makes elements of the realistic world into something monstrous, but also humorous. In stories like Resume with Monsters by William Browning Spencer, the reality of dead-end jobs is turned into something truly sinister, and Joe R. Lansdale’s Bubba Ho-Tep deals with the terrible realities of aging. As such, this subgenre can also contain a surprising amount of depth and heart.
Here are the top twenty-five horror comedies.

 

 

A mix of horror, adventure and comedy, packed with the titular futuristic violence, and of course, fancy suits, Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits is set in a disturbing near future, where everything is broadcast via social media,.Zoey Ashe is yanked from her boring, trailer park life when a maniac attacks and attempts to eat her. With the help of some men in fancy suits, whom she discovers are her estranged father’s business associates, Zoey and her cat flee to the desert town of Tabula Ra$a, a haven for the criminal and the super-rich, where Zoey’s father has built a nefarious empire. But in the wake of his mysterious death, nowhere is safe for Zoey, and everyone wants something from her, something she doesn’t even know she has.

 

Wong is best known for his Soy Sauce series, but he does not disappoint when tackling this mashup of science fiction, horror, and comedy. This adrenaline fueled, action-packed read offers up searing satire in this roller-coaster techno- thriller. Wong’s dystopian future is as chilling as it is comical, as it depicts a society where the wage gap is a caricature of the present day issue, and social media rules over all. These cynical underpinnings lay the foundation for a weird,  madcap science fiction adventure with some truly terrifying moments that feels like it has been pulled straight from the pages of an old comic book.

 

Written in 1994 for the Elvis anthology, The King is Dead, this raunchy novella chronicles an aging Elvis’s battle against evil. In this alternate history, Elvis is not dead, merely retired, and spending his last days waiting to die in a forgotten Texas rest home. That is, until strange things start happening and residents start dying of unnatural causes in the Mud Creek Shady Grove Convalescent Home. Determined to put a stop to it, Elvis teams up with a black man who is convinced that he is John F. Kennedy, Jr. and that his brains are still in Washington, to find the cause of the odd deaths. They discover that an Egyptian mummy, who wears an over-sized hat and cowboy boots, is preying on the residents and stealing their souls, and Elvis and JFK are the only ones who can stop it.

 

This bizarro take on the mummy genre is weird, fun, and a not a little bit gross, with some laugh-out-loud moments and a lot of heart, as you’ll grow to love the cantankerous, larger-than-life characters even though the outside world has forgotten about them. Beneath the campy romp is a biting satire on society’s treatment of aging, thick with cynicism. In the end, the story is oddly uplifting.

 

Poignant is not often a word associated with the horror comedy subgenre, but it is an apt description of this engaging series opener. Mild mannered Charlie Asher is happy as the owner of a secondhand store in San Francisco until his wife passes away shortly after the birth of their daughter. When Charlie witnesses a death merchant claiming his wife’s soul, he, too, is recruited to the profession. His new job is to collect the souls of the recently deceased and pass them on to their new bodies before they can be claimed by the forces of Darkness. At first, Charlie chalks his newfound responsibilities up to grief and too many sleeping pills, but when the Big Book of Death arrives, detailing the situation, Charlie is forced to come to terms with its reality. Soon, this mild-mannered shopkeeper is juggling the responsibilities of managing his store, raising his infant daughter, and doing battle with evil gods, harpies who stalk him in the sewers, and an army of zombie squirrels.

 

The story is full of strange happenings, and quirky characters. There are a few scares and plenty of laugh-out loud moments.  Despite all the chaotic silliness of the plot and Moore’s pointed, and often irreverent humor, the subjects of hospice and terminal illness are handled with compassion and genuine warmth, which gives this horror comedy a good dose of heart.

 

Similar to the Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks, this book is the ultimate survival guide for the unlikely event that someone will find themselves trapped in a situation that feels like it’s been torn from the reels of movies like The Shining or Children of the Corn.  The two combined will ensure safety from any situation that a horror fan would be familiar with. How to Survive a Horror Movie is less informative than its zombie counterpart, but what it lacks in “real world” information, it makes up for in humor. The guide starts with a primer on how to recognize if you are in a horror movie, and breaks down advice by each type of movie. This advice often induces giggles, if no laugh out loud moments with its witty and sarcastic comments about every type of horror movie in the genre. 

 

With a foreword by Wes Craven and creepy illustrations by Nathan Fox that evoke old school comic books, this tongue-in-cheek guide covers every horror movie trope from how to tell whether or not you are actually in a horror movie to confrontations with the devil.  Despite the smart humor, How to Survive a Horror Movie approaches its film subject matter with all the reverence of an adoring fan. The guide is the perfect blend of humor and horror for anyone that appreciates classic horror movies and their tropes.

 

In an imaginative and weird take on detective fiction, Chew offers plenty of humor and tension with a healthy dose of gross-out moments. Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. He’s a Cibopath, which means he gets psychic flashes of the history of whatever he eats… except for beets. So, Tony, understandably, eats a diet consisting of mainly beets and falls in love with a woman who has the ability to describe food so well that her readers or listeners can taste it.  He lives in a world where avian flu has killed over 100 million people, and the eating, cooking, and selling of chicken is now outlawed. Tony is performing a bust on a black market chicken dealer, when through his power, he makes an unexpected discovery and is recruited to join the FDA. From there, Tony’s problems only get worse.

 

Chew is a gritty, dark, and gross, but at the same time it’s oddly humorous. This is, in part, due to the imaginative and quirk concept and story, and also, in part, due to Guillory’s charming illustrations. This series opener is a witty and imaginative spoof on noir fiction.  With scenes of blood and cannibalism, this original, fast-paced graphic novel is as amusing as it is disgusting.

 

In a biting satire of life in the corporate world, Spencer weaves an amusing and horrifying tale by marrying soulless bosses, with the actual eldritch horrors of the the Cthulhu mythos. Phillip Kenan sees monsters. As he moves from dead-end job to dead-end job as a word processor, he can't seem to escape the undead co-workers or the Lovecraftian horrors that lurk in the corporate world. When he ex-girlfriend, Amelia, takes a job with Pelidyne. Phillip follows her to texas because he knows that he must rescue her, as he's done before, but Amelia doesn't see the monsters. Are there really horrors hidden in Pelidyne aside from exacting managers and insipid motivational posters? Or are the monsters products of Phillip's delusional mind?

 

Resume with Monsters is smart and inventive, while also possessing a dream-like quality that causes the reader to wonder whether the monsters are real or not. This satire has some subtle barbs at the soul-crushing reality of dead end jobs in the corporate world, but also has plenty of tension and truly scary moments. The overall effect of this engaging and offbeat offers some sharp observations. If you like Office Space, you'll enjoy Resume with Monsters, as it's Office Space by way of H.P. Lovecraft with a good dose of Phillip K. Dick thrown in.

 

The titular Johannes Cabal is the evil straight man to the deliciously absurd and dark comedy that surround him in this charming and gothic series opener. Having no soul is rather upsetting for Johannes Cabal in this witty series opener, but not for the readers one might think. Cabal is no suffering hero with a heart of gold. His soulless existence is completely his own fault. Years before the story, he traded his soul to the devil, not realizing that it was a key component in his research into finding a cure for death. He wouldn't even miss his soul, except for the fact that he now needs it for his experiments. So, what's a soulless, world weary necromancer to do? Storm hell, of course, and this is exactly what Cabal does. Satan is loathe to part with Cabal's soul, as collecting souls is his business, but he makes Cabal another deal. If the necromancer can provide Satan with 100 souls within a year's time, he can buy his own back. Satan even throws in a haunted carnival to help with the quest.

 

Cabal's vampire brother has misgivings about the whole operation, but reluctantly agrees to help the carnival. This fun and macabre romp reads like a videogame that is packed with dry, British humor. You'll find yourself rooting for the sarcastic anti-hero, much to your dismay and delight. If you enjoyed Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, but wished it had a little more dark humor, this is the title for you.

 

 

If Lovecraft and David Lynch teamed up to write a comedy, it may look something like John Dies at the End. David Wong is an ordinary video store clerk until he and his friend John experiment with a paranormal drug dubbed soy sauce that illuminates to these two unlikely heroes, the horrors that are invading their small, Midwestern town. As David and John fight meat monsters, roach-men, and other horrors, the body count rises in gory and graphic detail, and the two must elude authorities if they have any hope of saving the world from a power Lovecraftian overlord of an evil alternate dimension that is preparing to take over.

 

The surreal plot reads like a Tarantino movie, drifting in and out of order as David narrates how he came to be known as a monster hunter by piling on the terror and misadventure, and interspersing these with dick jokes and pithy one-liners. Wong, the alias of Jason Pargin, editor of cracked.com, offers plenty  tense, terrifying, and disgusting moments that are clever and imaginative and blends them with elements of dark comedy as well as juvenile humor in this bizarro tale. A gross, wild ride of weird fiction, John Dies at the End is a witty and highly stylized spoof on horror genre tropes and pop culture. It’s fast-paced, action-packed, witty and engrossing. Don’t miss it.

 

If you’re looking for a paranormal romance that isn’t exactly a romance, but more of a comedy, Bloodsucking Fiends is the book for you. This series opener has very little in the way of romance, though it’s subtitled as a love story, but instead, plays up the difficulties that one faces when one becomes romantically entangled with a vampire. When Jody, a beautiful, twenty-six year old insurance clerk is attacked and turned into a vampire, life as she knows it is over. She loses her job and her boyfriend and stumbles through adjusting to her vampiric tendencies and abilities. She meets C. Thomas Flood, a fledgling writer who spends his nights turkey bowling at the local Safeway, and hires him to help her with daytime chores. Flood, or Tommy to his friends, is fascinated by Jody's condition and the two begin a new romance. As Jody navigates her newfound powers, and the couple navigates their budding romance, dead and drained bodies start piling up all around Jody, and cops are eager to link Tommy to the crimes. Thankfully, a zany cast of secondary characters, including the homeless Emperor of San Francisco is on hand to help the fledgling vampire and her boyfriend solve the mystery.

 

This light, funny read has plenty of tension and danger as Jody and Flood attempt to figure out who is behind the dead and drained bodies, but the tone of the story is irreverent and occasionally laugh-out-loud. There are even some oddly touching scenes in this series opener that takes the bite out of vampire horror.

 

This campy romp starts out like a monster buddy comedy. Duke is a big, friendly werewolf, and his friend Earl, is a geeky, balding vampire. The two are drinking beer and driving through the small Southern town of Rockwood when they stop at an all-night diner for a quick bite to eat. As they’re eating, the diner is besieged by an army of zombies. Loretta, the diner’s cook and owner, grabs her shotgun and fights back, and is pleasantly surprised when her two customers join the fray. Impressed at their abilities to fight off the undead, she offers the friends $100 and a tank of gas to help her dig a new gas line for her stove, and to take care of the diner’s zombie problem. The two track the source of the zombie infestation to the nearby cemetery where Earl meets and falls for the gatekeeper, a ghost named Cathy. There, they realize that the zombies are only the start of the diner’s problems as teen witch, Tammy, and her loyal, but not too bright, boyfriend (or minion), Chad are desperately trying to drive Loretta from the diner in an attempt to resurrect old gods. With a few scares, this story takes a bite out of classic horror tropes, such as werewolves, vampires, zombies, and ghosts. There is a dash of romance, and plenty of irreverent humor. 

 

Packed with multi-faceted, quirky characters, this quick read takes you on a wild ride with wacky incidents involving zombie cattle and Magic 8 balls, and wry humor.

 

Seventeen year old Kalix MacRinnalch is the titular character in this sprawling romp that deals with warring werewolves, fire elementals, and a colorful cast of quirky characters. Kalix is on the run after she grievously injures her father in a fit of rage over his exile of her love. Living as a street urchin in London, Kalix is able to evade both werewolf hunters and her two ruthless brothers, who want to tear out her heart to secure a swing vote in their bid to succeed their father as head of the clan. That is, until she sells a protective amulet for a fix of laudanum and she is forced to rely on the protection and kindness of two, human college students until she can reconcile with Thrix, her elder sister who is an enchantress and fashion designer, and get a new one. Thrix, however, has problems of her own, as the fire elemental queen has commissioned a new gown.

 

At a hefty 560 pages, this is a fun read that keeps the action moving with short chapters from multiple points of view. At the heart of this bittersweet tale is Kalix’s journey to coping with a myriad of mental illnesses and finding friends. Lonely Werewolf Girl pokes fun at many werewolf stereotypes with its brilliant characterizations, and with unpredictable situations and dark humor, this odd story blends scares with laugh-out- loud comedy and plenty of heart to create a fast-paced and engrossing read.

 

 If you’re a fan of Chuck Palahnuik’s twisted humor, check out Breathers by S.G. Browne. In this book, Andy Warner was just a typical guy, until a car crash killed both him and his wife in this zombie romantic comedy. Andy reanimates and is picked up by the SPCA, awaiting life in a research lab or as a crash test dummy. Luckily, his parents save him from that fate, though his father refuses to acknowledge him, and he moves into their wine cellar. Unable to reintegrate into society, Andy spends his days drinking expensive wine that he can’t taste and articulating via dry erase board thanks to crushed vocal chords. His only respite from an otherwise miserable existence is attending meetings of Undead Anonymous, where he finds kindred spirits in the beautiful suicide, Rita, who has a taste for the formaldehyde in lipstick, and Jerry, a fellow car wreck victim with an exposed brain and a taste for porn. When the group meets Ray, a zombie who seems to have it all, they are eager to learn from him. Ray serves the friends his special venison, and they are surprised to find that it tastes amazing and that it has restorative properties. Rita’s scars begin to fade, and Andy’s voice starts to come back. When a member of Undead Anonymous is attacked and dismembered by humans, and another’s arm is stolen for a frat boy prank, Andy and his friends use their newfound vigor to fight back for zombie rights.

 

Many parallels can be drawn to animal activism in this demented, witty satire. Browne offers a uniquely twisted take on the undead as he attempts to make his zombie protagonists more human. In this dark comedy, scares and laughs are few, but there will be chills, smiles, along with a little romance and a lot of gore.

 

If you’re looking for a buddy comedy of Lovecraftian proportions, Chasing  the Moon is the book for you. Diana is a down on her luck salesgirl who is desperate for an apartment. Luckily, she lands a seemingly perfect place. It’s decorated to her eclectic taste, and comes with paid utilities and a fridge that is stocked with her favorite foods. Of course, it all seems too good to be true, but Diana is desperate and ignores her sneaking suspicions that it is. Then, on the first night in her new apartment, Diana wakes up from a nightmare to find that her closet is talking to her, and her apartment no longer has a front door. When she reaches her landlord, he informs her of two things. First, she is now roommate and warden to Vom the Hungering, a monster that devours everything in his path, and second, that the only way out of her apartment is through her closet, which she must never open upon pain of death. After this, Diana quickly discovers that her apartment building is host of a plethora of interdimensional beasties, including a Lovecraftian elder god who wants to destroy the world by eating the moon. Now, Diana and Vom must save the world in this zany adventure. The monsters that Diana faces aren’t your typical eldritch terrors. Martinez has made his monsters human and relatable, which provides a large part of the fun in this fast paced story.

 

Their witty dialogue makes for an enjoyable read. While the scares are few, there is plenty of slapstick comedy, and the random craziness of Diana’s situation provides plenty of tension to move the plot along quickly. This engaging apocalyptic mashup is laugh-out-loud funny and not to be missed.

 

Betsy Taylor is having the worst thirtieth birthday imaginable in this light, fun series opener. She’s been laid off from her job as a secretary, her birthday party was postponed, and she was killed by an SUV while saving her runaway cat. To make matters worse, she wakes up dead in a hideous pink suit and cheap shoes! At first, Betsy believes that she’s become a zombie and is shocked to find out that she is, in fact, a vampire. She’s quickly spirited away by a group of fanged fiends to swear allegiance, as all new vampires must, to Nostro, who is every bit the vampiric stereotype. Betsy, much to Nostro’s chagrin, snidely observes this fact, mocking vampire culture and Nostro himself, calling him Nostril. When he attempts to punish her, the vampires quickly realize that Betsy is not like them. This intrigues the swoon-worthy but overbearing Eric Sinclair, who believes that Betsy may be the prophesied vampire queen, but Betsy is more interested in midnight shoe sales than ruling the undead, and Eric is going to have to use more than his charm to get her to help him overthrow Nostro.

 

This silly read never takes itself too seriously and is a sexy, light-hearted take on vampires that can best be described as vampire chick-lit.  A cross between sitcom, romance, and vampire fiction, this fluffy read never takes itself too seriously, unless you count the protagonist’s obsession with designer shoes. There are very few true scares in Undead & Unwed, but what it lacks in suspense and tension, it makes up for in witty banter, comedic situations, and smolderingly sexy vampires.

 

Harry Potter meets Good Omens in the first book in the Samuel Johnson series. This  young adult book offers plenty of laughs for grown-ups as well as its intended audience. In England, eleven year old, Samuel Johnson is showing initiative, and trying to get extra candy, when he and his dog, Boswell, are trick-or-treating before Halloween, but something is amiss in his small hometown of Biddlecomb. At the same time, in Switzerland, the large Hadron collider malfunctions, and Samuel witnesses his neighbors inadvertently open the gates of hell. Pretty soon, all manner of hilarious and terrifying demons invade the sleepy town, prompting some quirky and horrific encounters. Samuel must convince the adults of Biddlecomb to repel the demons as well as  enlist the help of his friends.

 

Humorous and informative footnotes pepper this irreverent story with scientific information about wormholes and physics as well as witty observations about Dante and the mysteries of teenaged girls. With just enough tension to terrify the younger members of its audience, and plenty of light-hearted humor, The Gates is a horrific, whimsical adventure.  A little bit of science, a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of horror, and a whole lot of fast-paced slapstick comedy make this series opener an enjoyable read for fans of horror comedy at any age.

 

The first book in the Living with the Dead series introduces Sarah and David, a couple whose marriage is hanging by a thread. When they arrive at their weekly marriage counseling meeting, their newly undead therapist attacks Sarah and tries to eat her. The couple briefly teams up to fight off the counselor, and in the heat of battle, begin to rekindle a mutual respect for one another. Then, they discover they are in the midst of the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. Deciding that staying together is their best option for staying alive, Sarah and David travel across the country, armed with knowledge from zombie movies, searching for family members and slaying zombies in their wake, but if the zombies don't kill them, this constantly bickering couple just might kill each other. Told in Sarah's sarcastic point of view, this is a quick, fun read with plenty of fast-paced zombie action, and quirky chapter headings that read like headlines from an advice column.

 

This series opener offers a great blend of the horrific and hilarious. A zombie romantic comedy, the story focuses on the humor of this dysfunctional couple thrust into the start of the zombie apocalypse, but the zombies themselves are genuinely scary, as they still retain their intelligence and have a creepy perpetually happy expression. There are some truly tense moments and plenty of twists,  but throughout, you will be rooting for this couple to rekindle their romance.

 

In this fantastical spin on noir horror, Jack sets out to make his fortune in the big city only to discover that the city is populated by toys and run by nursery rhyme characters, or Preadolescent Poetic Personalities as they prefer to be called. But Toy City is far from the idyllic setting imagined in childhood. Mother Goose is a tough as nails madame, and a serial killer is murdering wealthy PPP’s in gruesome ways. Private investigator, Bill Winkie, has gone missing and his partner, an alcoholic teddy bear named Eddie, has teamed up with Jack to follow the culprit’s trail of hollow chocolate bunnies before it’s too late for Toy City’s elite.

 

Don’t let the nursery rhyme characters or the cutesy title fool you, this bizarre detective story is definitely not for children. However, it does work well as a satire of noir thrillers. Similar to the genre it is satirizing, Bunnies is a surreal, fast-paced page turner that will keep readers guessing at the identity of the killer until the end, despite  its silliness.Puns and wordplay delight in this wickedly absurd tale, and tension builds as the killer strikes in increasingly twisted ways, making this a great light-hearted blend of suspense and humor. Graphic violence, gratuitous sex, and general toy debauchery make The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse seem like Toy Story and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? had a zany adventure on the dark, seedy side of town.

 

Tommy Phan is a successful detective novelist who is about to live out a mystery of his own. Much to his mother’s disappointment, Tommy has done his best to distance himself from his Vietnamese heritage, and this culminates when he fulfills his childhood dream of buying an aqua Corvette. The triumph is soured when Tommy argues with his mother and later receives a mysterious package that contains a note in Vietnamese and a rag doll. He takes the doll and the note inside and attempts to have the note translated (He’s forgotten all the Vietnamese he’s learned). That’s when the trouble begins. Tommy can’t seem to send the note to anyone, and the doll turns out to be a monster that is intent on killing him. Tommy’s computer gives him the message that he has until dawn to live. Tick, tock. He flees, racing against the clock for survival, and his only hope of success is waitress, Deliverance Payne.

 

What begins as a genuinely scary premise gradually gives way to a goofy mix of horror, comedy, and mystery. Tension is balanced by the humorous behavior of the characters. That is not to say that Tick, Tock isn’t scary.  Scares, when they come, are chilling, and the suspense is ratcheted up as Del and Tommy evade the monster, but expect more laughter in this absurd, madcap adventure that is a truly original departure from Koontz’s standard moody thrillers.

 

Have you ever wondered how you would handle the zombie apocalypse if, as it started, you became a zombie? That is exactly the question explored in Kennemore’s debut novel. Professor Peter Mellor wakes up from a fatal car crash just as the zombie virus has spread across the world. Peter suffers from a serious case of amnesia with no idea who… or what… he is. As he begins to piece his life together, he realizes that he was pretty unlikable while he was living. Maybe his afterlife can be better. To attempt this, Peter tries and fails to reconnect with his former acquaintances, but as his zombie nature becomes more dominant, he realizes that this may, in fact, be a good thing. Scares are few in this story, and a dark mystery surrounding Peter’s death ups the tension a bit.

 

The novel brings plenty of horror comedy elements. There is the bizarre; there is action, and of course, there is gore. This is a zombie story, after all. Humor doesn’t take center stage in this story, though Peter makes wry and poignant observations about the natures of both humans and zombies that will make you smile. The strength of this novel is its unique premise of having the zombie as the protagonist, instead of a human survivor. Zombie, Ohio captures the bleak and often gruesome nature of “life” as a zombie with the wit of a writer who is no stranger to zombie humor.

 

Kate Connor was a demon hunter for the Vatican. Then, she and her partner, Eric, retired, got married, had a daughter, and moved to the sleepy little town of San Diablo that had almost no demon activity. When Eric dies, Kate eventually finds love and marries again. Her second husband is Stuart Connor, an attorney with political ambitions, and he knows nothing about her past. Fifteen years after her retirement, Kate is juggling a mall-obsessed teenaged daughter, a two year old son, and last minute dinner parties to secure Stuart the right endorsements. Keeping her demon-hunting past a secret is the last thing on her mind, until a demon crashed through her window and tries to kill her while she’s preparing dinner for twelve people. With guests about to arrive any minute, she tries to stash the monster’s body and get help from her contacts at the Vatican. She learns that a powerful demon has arrived in San Diablo, searching for something. She also learns that the Vatican cannot dispatch anyone to the town. With no help available, Kate is on her own in defending San Diablo from the invading demons, but can she do it while keeping her past a secret from her family and maintaining a normal life?

 

This lively series opener will have you rooting for Kate as she handles the clashing aspects of her life with wit, grace, and a healthy dose of sarcasm. Scares are minimal here, and action is balanced out by scenes of domesticity. It is the clever juxtaposition of these two extremes that brings and the snarky way that Kate handles these seeming opposites that make this fast-paced, fluffy read so entertaining.

 

When Hell is bought out, George Faustus, the character of legend who sold his soul to the devil, sees his opportunity to escape the confines of eternal damnation. He flees and reunites with his long-lost love, Helen O. Troy, and together, they start a sheep farm in Australia. But Hell’s new management isn’t about to let Faustus go without a fight, and so, they hire the world’s best bounty hunter to track him down. Kurt “Mad Dog” Lundqvist tracks Faustus through time and space in this hilarious romp. George’s luck and a little help from his friends keep him one step ahead of the bounty hunter, but will his luck eventually run out? This zany, over-the-top adventure is stuffed with action, and the chase spans centuries and continents. This leads to plenty of amusing interactions with historical figures, who are not at all like the history books describe them, and most of whom are somehow connected to George in some way or other.

Holt delights with clever language and makes the impossible seem completely plausible as chaos ensues in this fast-paced romp. Scares are few, though Hell is described as an amusement park designed by Hieronymus Bosch, the details of which are pretty gruesome. Some familiarity with the original legend of Faust is useful, as the story is set up as a sort-of sequel to the legend, as is some knowledge of the historical and mythical figures portrayed in the story, in order to get the full effect of the humor. Even without the prior knowledge, expect a silly, zany adventure in this witty page-turner. Holt may have a funny fantasy man persona under the Tom Holt name, but he also can write gritty noir fantasy under his psuedonym KJ Parker, and some of the best fantasy fiction.

Given Holt's multiple personalities of writing and the deft skill at which he can tell a compelling story -- either through humor under the Holt name or gritty under the KJ Parker bname -- you don't want to miss any book by Holt.

 

This short story from one of the pioneers of the horror comedy subgenre explores the limits of the human senses. William Harker is called to the inquest surrounding the mysterious death of his friend, Hugh Morgan because he claims to have been a witness to the death. The tale that he weaves in incredible, to say the least. Harker tells how he and Morgan were out hunting and fishing when they encountered a series of odd disturbances in the woods that Harker could neither see nor hear. Morgan, however, seemed to be familiar with the entity, calling it the titular “damned thing”. It is this unseen monster that murders Harker’s friend as he looks on.

 

The premise of the story is the very definition of horror, as characters are stalked by an invisible monster, but Bierce perfectly offsets the scares with his characteristic wit and sarcasm. Expect more scares in this story, as the creature is never truly revealed throughout the course of the story, and, there’s a little bit of mystery in that Harker’s story is left up to the reader to believe or not. Many, who hear Harker’s tale in the story, obviously, do not believe him, and here is where much of the irony and humor. While this story is short, it offers a perfect blend of chuckles and chills in a fast-paced read.

 

Jules Duchon is the titular fat, white vampire as the cholesterol laden blood of the New Orleans residents on which he feasts has caused him to put on a few pounds, 300+ to be precise. The blues of the title come when Jules runs afoul of a tough, young black vampire who warns Jules off his chosen menu and tells him to feed off his own kind. Jules attempts to defy the younger vampire end in embarrassment and send him fleeing to his creator, a stripper who is just as weighty as he is, for help.

The premise alone is amusing as Fox plays with every vampire trope in the book from the suave, sexy vampire to the shape-changing abilities of the monster, but it is the well-rounded yet larger than life characters that really make this series opener fun. From the effervescent Doodlebug, the only vampire that Duchon has created, to Malice X, the unconventional villain of the story, these vivid characters burst with life, even if they are, in fact, undead. Even the city of New Orleans seems to be more of a character than simply the setting; is is portrayed in such detail.  In the witty, social commentary of the book, Duchon, the protagonist, seems almost more human than vampire. He is so pathetic that readers will either love him or hate him, as he tries every single lazy method to escape his predicaments, only making his situation worse. While there is very little horror in the story, there is plenty of wit, and very creative twists on the typical vampire lore.

 

When thirteen year old Madison Spencer lands in Hell after what she suspects is a marijuana overdose, she is surprised to find that the underworld is nothing like what images on TV and in movies have shown her. Yes, there are demons torturing the damned, and there are some truly disgusting places, such as mountains of toenail clippings and a sea of wasted sperm, but she also finds friendship with her cellmates, who strongly resemble a certain prom queen, geek, jerk, punk, and weirdo from pop culture. As Madison tries to piece together her death and navigate her afterlife, she gets a job as a telemarketer and quickly becomes one of Hell’s top recruiters.

This clever satire follows Madison through her misadventures in the underworld, and Madison, herself, approaches the situation with blistering sarcasm, warning the reader that the same could happen to them. Madison’s media-obsessed upbringing is spoofed as her real surprise is that hell is not as she has seen it in movies. Perhaps Palahniuk’s greatest strength is in his ghastly, over-the-top vision of hell in this lively mash-up of The Breakfast Club and Dante’s Inferno, with a dash of Judy Blume thrown in. Palahnuik’s imaginative descriptions of hell are vividly disgusting, but also amusing, particularly with Madison’s wry observations about the place. Expect a few scares in this zany romp, but this horror comedy is heavier on the comic aspect of the subgenre with plenty of wit, sarcasm, and sharp observations about society.



 

Just as the title suggests, this is Jane Austen’s classic comedy of manners… with zombies. Fifty-five years before the book opens, England faced Satan’s army and a plague was unleashed as the dead rose from their graves to infect the living with their sickness. Now, shambling “unmentionables” terrorize England, and children are sent to the Far East to learn martial arts. Wealthy families send their children to Japan, have dojos in which to practice, and keep ninjas on as part of their household staff. Everyone else sends their children to China, like the Bennets who sent their daughters to train with Shaolin monks.

 

Much of Austen’s witty banter remains in the story, and the addition of the shambling undead drives a further wedge between Lizzie and Darcy. The addition of zombies and violent fight scenes definitely up the action in this light-hearted and silly spin on the beloved story that remains intact despite a few zombie bites. While the addition of the plague of zombies does add a bit of tension to this comedy of manners, this is still very much the beloved Jane Austen romance, even the language used is similar to the voice of the original source material. So, there’s not a lot of terror to be found in this particular story, but what it lacks in scares, it makes up for in wit, and the sheer absurdity of the juxtaposition of monsters and mayhem with Regency era balls and snobbery.

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