Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Johnstone 26

There have been a lot of negative reviews here recently, and Warbots almost did me in.  It's time to get my mojo back, and in keeping with the spirit of the age, I'm going back to what made America great.  I am, of course, referring to the 26 William W. Johnstone horror novels published in the 80s and early 90s.

I love the cover art for horror paperbacks of the 80s, but most of the time the steak didn't live up to the sizzle.  Instead of blood & guts we'd get a tepid thriller.  Johnstone lived up to those Zebra covers, and then some.

When I first read a Johnstone horror, it recreated the feeling I had reading James Herbert as a kid - that I had stumbled onto some shameful secret, that this was something I wasn't supposed to be reading.  That feeling is hard to recreate as an adult in the 21st century without risking being put on a registry.

Johnstone's horror novels are lurid fever dreams, their excesses unencumbered by plot or logic.  Until recently they cost way too much in the used market, and I had to hope to stumble upon them in used bookstore.  Now, almost all of them are available for Kindle very reasonably.

I was also delighted to find a couple of titles of his in the "Also Boughts" of my own titles on Amazon.

The Johnstone 26 are:

1980 Devil's Kiss
1982 Initiation aka Blood Oath
1982 The Uninvited
1983 Devil's Heart
1983 A Crying Shame
1985 Devil's Touch
1986 Cat's Cradle
1986 The Nursery
1986 Rockinghorse
1986 Jack in the Box
1986 Sweet Dreams
1987 The Devil's Cat
1987 Wolfsbane
1987 Baby Grand (with Joseph E. Keene)
1987 Toy Cemetery
1988 Sandman
1989 Cat's Eye
1989 Carnival
1990 Darkly the Thunder
1991 Watcher in the Woods
1992 The Devil's Laughter
1992 Them
1993 Bats
1994 Night Mask
1995 Rockabilly Hell
1996 Rockabilly Limbo

The Devil books are a series, and the two Cat books are a series and are arguably in the same universe as the Devil series.  Some websites list most of his horror books as being in the Devil Series.  I'm assuming the Rockabilly books are related.  Blood Oath and Night Mask are cop thrillers, but with plenty of horror elements.  All of the horror novels were at one time put under the category "Satan Inspired" on Johnstone's official website, but that is no longer the case.  Hunted and Prey may have some supernatural elements, but those seem solidly in the action-thriller category.

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