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2013 Bram Stoker Award Final Ballot

The finalists for this year's Bram Stoker Awards have been announced. The award is presented by the Horror Writer's Association each year for 'superior achievement' in dark fantasy and horror fiction in a variety of categories. Here's this year's slate of nominees:

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NOS4A2, Joe Hill

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

Doctor Sleep, Stephen King!Doctor_Sleep.jpg

On highways across America, a tribe of people called the True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, the True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the steam that children with the shining produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel, where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant shining power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to this icon in the King canon.

Malediction, Lisa Morton

In 1863, a young woman’s heritage is stolen from her, and she lays a terrible curse on the City of Angels. Now, in the 21st century, a teenaged girl with lethal psychic abilities arrives in Los Angeles, ready to ally herself with vengeful spirits of the past to feed her insatiable appetite for destruction. Only Gwen Michaelson, a natural healer afraid of her gifts, and Sam West, a broken amnesiac who was once a brilliant historian, stand against the psychotic and increasingly powerful May Blanco. Will Gwen be able to use her skills to restore Sam’s mind, which holds the key to the mystery of May’s unearthly companion? Together, can they find a way to stop May before she unleashes a wave of death?

A Necessary End, Sarah Pinborough and F. Paul Wilson

LIFE CAME OUT OF AFRICA… But now it's death's turn... It spreads like a plague but it’s not a disease. Medical science is helpless against the deadly autoimmune reaction caused by the bite of the swarming African flies. Billions are dead, more are dying. Across the world, governments are falling, civilization is crumbling, and everywhere those still alive fear the death carried in the skies. Some say the flies are a freak mutation, others say they’re man made, but as hope of beating them fades, most turn to the only comfort left and see the plague as God’s will. He sent a deadly deluge the last time He was upset with mankind. This time He has darkened the sky with deadly flies. And perhaps that is true, for so many of the afflicted speak with their dying breaths of seeing God coming for them. But not everyone dies. A very few seem immune. They call themselves mungus and preach acceptance of the plague, encouraging people to allow themselves to be bitten by “the flies of the Lord” so that they may join Him in the afterlife. Nigel, an investigative reporter, searches the apocalyptic landscape of plague-ravaged England in search of Bandora, a kidnapped African boy. On a quest for personal redemption as well as the truth, his search takes him away from the troubles he can no longer face at home, and into the world of the head mungu, a man who speaks truth in riddles and has no fear of the African flies. A Necessary End is about apocalypse, about love, about the fragile bonds that hold marriages and civilizations together. But mostly it’s about truth – how we find it, how we embrace or reject it, and how we must face the truths within ourselves.

The Heavens Rise, Christopher Rice

It’s been a decade since the Delongpre family vanished near Bayou Rabineaux, and still no one can explain the events of that dark and sweltering night. No one except Niquette Delongpre, the survivor who ran away from the mangled stretch of guardrail on Highway 22 where the impossible occurred…and kept on running. Who left behind her best friends, Ben and Anthem, to save them from her newfound capacity for destruction…and who alone knows the source of her very bizarre—and very deadly—abilities: an isolated strip of swampland called Elysium.

An accomplished surgeon, Niquette’s father dreamed of transforming the dense acreage surrounded by murky waters into a palatial compound befitting the name his beloved wife gave to it, Elysium: “the final resting place for the heroic and virtuous.” Then, ten years ago, construction workers dug into a long-hidden well, one that snaked down into the deep, black waters of the Louisiana swamp and stirred something that had been there for centuries—a microscopic parasite that perverts the mind and corrupts the body.

Niquette is living proof that things done can’t be undone. Nothing will put her family back together again. And nothing can save her. But as Niquette, Ben, and Anthem uncover the truth of a devastating parasite that has the potential to alter the future of humankind, Niquette grasps the most chilling truths of all: someone else has been infected too. And unlike her, this man is not content to live in the shadows. He is intent to use his newfound powers for one reason only: revenge.

Candy House, Kate Jonez

A brilliant young scientist moves back home with his parents because his explosive temper has ruined his career. His neighbors, a family of witches, imps and demons, are charged with keeping science under control. They must, by using their debauched and twisted magic, stop Roland before he fulfills his destiny and makes a deadly discovery that will change the nature of humanity forever.

The Year of the Storm, John Mantooth

When Danny was fourteen, his mother and sister disappeared during a violent storm. The police were baffled. There were no clues, and most people figured they were dead. Only Danny still holds out hope that they’ll return.

Months later, a disheveled Vietnam vet named Walter Pike shows up at Danny’s front door, claiming to know their whereabouts. The story he tells is so incredible that Danny knows he shouldn’t believe him. Others warn him about Walter Pike’s dark past, his shameful flight from town years ago, and the suspicious timing of his return.

But he’s Danny’s last hope, and Danny needs to believe…

The Evolutionist, Rena Mason

Las Vegas suburbanite, Stacy Troy, dreams that everyone is dead. She dismembers the bodies of loved ones, stuffs them into a shopping cart, then takes them two at a time to the pile where she will burn their remains and say her last goodbyes.

Waking nightly to her own screams, Stacy is convinced she’s on the brink of a mid-life crisis and begins secretly seeing a psychiatrist. Dr. Light and his methods seem strange and unconventional, but his treatments work, and her circumstances improve. Until the nightmares return with a vengeance, taking on a life of their own.

Uncertain what to believe, Stacy carries on living the only life she remembers. Nosebleeds and head-splitting alarms only she can hear, become a regular occurrence. In physical and mental decline, the nocturnal world in her mind refuses to die. The images it reveals hold clues that lead her to a shocking discovery.

Threatening to unravel the last thread of her sanity, Stacy must make a heartrending decision...before her post-apocalyptic nightmares come true.

Redheads, Jonathan Moore

Chris Wilcox has been searching for years, so he knows a few things about his wife’s killer. Cheryl Wilcox wasn’t the first. All the victims were redheads. All eaten alive and left within a mile of the ocean. The trail of death crosses the globe and spans decades.

The cold trail catches fire when Chris and two other survivors find a trace of the killer's DNA. By hiring a cutting-edge lab to sequence it, they make a terrifying discovery. The killer is far more dangerous than they ever guessed. And now they’re being hunted by their own prey.

Stoker’s Manuscript, Royce Prouty

When rare-manuscript expert Joseph Barkeley is hired to authenticate and purchase the original draft and notes for Bram Stoker's Dracula, little does he know that the reclusive buyer is a member of the oldest family in Transylvania.

After delivering the manuscript to the legendary Bran Castle in Romania, Barkeley—a Romanian orphan himself—realizes to his horror that he's become a prisoner to the son of Vlad Dracul. To earn his freedom, Barkeley must decipher cryptic messages hidden in the text of the original Dracula that reveal the burial sites of certain Dracul family members. Barkeley's only hope is to ensure that he does not exhaust his usefulness to his captor until he’s able to escape. Soon he discovers secrets about his own lineage that suggest his selection for the task was more than coincidence. In this knowledge may lie Barkeley's salvation—or his doom. For now he must choose between a coward's flight and a mortal conflict against an ancient foe.

Special Dead, Patrick Freivald

Shackled to her desk, Ani Romero has a hard time concentrating on her studies. One of eight zombie survivors of the Prompocalypse, she's back at school, but this time it's no secret. Locked in their room, flamethrower-toting soldiers watching their every move, they're tasked with homework and classes during the week, and macabre experiments on the weekend.

When the courts rule they're not human, only an appeal keeps them alive long enough to discover a cure. College applications and SATs pale under the threat of incineration, and desperation turns them into lab rats... ...but the scientists helping them have ulterior motives, and the promised cure destroys more than the virus.

Surviving high school has never been so hard.

Unbreakable, Kami Garcia

When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, she doesn't realize that paranormal forces are responsible--not until mysterious identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into her room and destroy a deadly spirit sent to kill her.

Kennedy learns that her mother's death was no accident, and now she has to take her place in the Legion of the Black Dove--a secret society whose five members were all murdered on the same night, leaving the Legion in the hands of the next generation: a misfit group with unique skills.

As the new members race to find the only weapon capable of destroying the demon, they use their individual talents to battle paranormal entities and earn their rightful place in the Legion--except for Kennedy.

If she is truly the missing piece of the puzzle, can she stay alive long enough to find out--without losing her heart in the process?

Project Cain, Geoffrey Girard

Fifteen-year-old Jeff Jacobson had never heard of Jeffrey Dahmer, the infamous serial killer who brutally murdered seventeen people more than twenty years ago.

But Jeff's life changes forever when the man he'd thought was his father hands him a government file telling him he was constructed in a laboratory only seven years ago, part of a top-secret government cloning experiment called 'Project CAIN.' There, he was created entirely from Jeffrey Dahmer's DNA. There are others like Jeff -- those genetically engineered directly from the most notorious murderers of all time: The Son of Sam, The Boston Strangler, Ted Bundy... even other Jeffrey Dahmer clones. Some raised, like Jeff, in caring family environments; others within homes that mimicked the horrific early lives of the men they were created from.

When the most dangerous boys are set free by the geneticist who created them, the summer of killing begins. Worse, these same teens now hold a secret weapon even more dangerous than the terrible evil they carry within. Only Jeff can help track the clones down before it's too late.

But will he catch the 'monsters' before becoming one himself?

Dog Days, Joe McKinney

JournalStone's DoubleDown series hits book number 3. Dog Days: It's the summer of 1983 and the suburbs of Houston are reeling from a disastrous hurricane. But the storm brought more than wind and floodwaters. In the swamps that surround Clear Lake a brutal and possibly supernatural killer is gathering strength, and waiting for the full moon. The focus of his bloodlust is fifteen year old Mark Eckert. Reckless to a fault, with a knack for making spectacularly bad decisions, Mark had planned to spend that last summer before high school wandering the swamps with his friends and his beloved dog Max. But after a chance encounter with the lunatic, Mark's summer becomes a time of terror and tragedy. With his life on the line, Mark's courage will be tested to his limits and beyond as he struggles to survive the hottest days of summer: the dog days. Deadly Passage: Just after the American Revolution, the slave ship Lombard sets off from Africa, beginning its brutal passage to the New World. But even this ship's hardened crew of thugs and drunkards is unprepared for the horrors ahead. When the Lombard's human cargo dies one by one, free black crewman George Bell suspects a stealthy and devious stowaway - not disease - is the cause. As the death toll mounts and the slaves threaten mutiny, he must choose between his humanity and duty to a callous captain. But Bell doesn't have much time to make his voyage of self-discovery. The deadly beast burrowing through the rotten guts of the Lombard grows more powerful with each life it takes.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds, Cat Winters

In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Fatale Book Three: West of Hell, Ed Brubaker

From the dark days of the depression, to the middle ages and the old west, these tales of horror and myth and the mystery of the Femme Fatale reveal secrets even our heroine doesn't know about yet.

Alabaster: Wolves, Caitlin R. Kiernan

Dancy Flammarion may look like a frail teenage girl, but her journey through the swamps and byways of the American South brings her into battle with werewolves, monsters, and grotesque secrets, armed only with a knife and a mission to destroy the deadly creatures that lurk in shadow.

Witch Doctor, Vol. 2: Mal Practice, Brandon Seifert

Dr. Vincent Morrow, specialist in supernatural diseases, is back - but this time, he's the patient! In the second collection of the hit medical horror series, Doc Morrow himself is targeted by shadowy supernatural forces. With his body betraying him, Morrow races against the clock to diagnose the threats he faces - and to punish those responsible!

Sin Titulo, Cameron Stewart

Following the death of his grandfather, young Alex Mackay discovers a mysterious photograph in the old man's belongings that sets him on an adventure like no other - where dreams and reality merge, family secrets are laid bare, and lives are irrevocably altered.

Colder, Paul Tobin

Declan Thomas's body temperature is dropping. He never gets sick, never feels pain. An ex-inmate of an insane asylum that was destroyed in a fire, he has the strange ability to step inside a person's madness - and sometimes cure it. He hopes to one day cure his own, but time is running out, as a demonic predator pursues him through a nightmare version of Boston - and when Declan's temperature reaches's over!

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

Dale Bailey – "The Bluehole" (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2013)

Gary Braunbeck – "The Great Pity" (Chiral Mad 2, Written Backwards)

Benjamin K. Ethridge – "The Slaughter Man" (Limbus, Inc., JournalStone)

Gregory Frost – "No Others Are Genuine" (Asimov's Science Fiction, Oct./Nov. 2013)

Greg F. Gifune – House of Rain (DarkFuse)

Rena Mason – East End Girls (JournalStone)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

Michael Bailey – "Primal Tongue" (Zippered Flesh 2, Smart Rhino Publications)

Patrick Freivald – "Snapshot" (Blood & Roses, Scarlett River Press)

David Gerrold – "Night Train to Paris" (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan./Feb. 2013)

Lisa Mannetti – "The Hunger Artist" (Zippered Flesh 2, Smart Rhino Publications)

John Palisano – "The Geminis" (Chiral Mad 2, Written Backwards)

Michael Reaves – "Code 666" (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2013)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

Fabien Adda and Fabrice Gobert – The Returned: "The Horde" (Ramaco Media I, Castelao Pictures)

Brad Falchuk – American Horror Story: Asylum: "Spilt Milk" (Brad Falchuk Teley-Vision, Ryan Murphy Productions)

Bryan Fuller – Hannibal: "Apéritif" (Dino De Laurentiis Company, Living Dead Guy Productions, AXN: Original X Production, Gaumont International Television)

Daniel Knauf – Dracula: "A Whiff of Sulfur" (Flame Ventures, Playground, Universal Television, Carnival Films)

Glen Mazzara – The Walking Dead: "Welcome to the Tombs" (AMC TV)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

R.J. Cavender and Boyd E. Harris (ed.) – Horror Library: Volume 5 (Cutting Block Press)

Eric J. Guignard (ed.) – After Death… (Dark Moon Books)

Michael Knost and Nancy Eden Siegel (ed.) – Barbers & Beauties (Hummingbird House Press)

Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. (ed.) – The Grimscribe's Puppets (Miskatonic River Press)

Anthony Rivera and Sharon Lawson (ed.) – Dark Visions: A Collection of Modern Horror, Volume One (Grey Matter Press)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

Nathan Ballingrud – North American Lake Monsters: Stories (Small Beer Press)

Laird Barron – The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All and Other Stories (Night Shade Books)

James Dorr – The Tears of Isis (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing)

Caitlin R. Kiernan – The Ape's Wife and Other Stories (Subterranean)

Gene O'Neill – Dance of the Blue Lady (Bad Moon Books)

S. P. Somtow – Bible Stories for Secular Humanists (Diplodocus Press)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

Barbara Brodman and James E. Doan (ed.) – Images of the Modern Vampire: The Hip and the Atavistic (Fairleigh Dickinson)

Gary William Crawford (ed.) – Ramsey Campbell: Critical Essays on the Modern Master of Horror (Scarecrow Press)

William F. Nolan – Nolan on Bradbury: Sixty Years of Writing about the Master of Science Fiction (Hippocampus Press)

Jarkko Toikkanen – The Intermedial Experience of Horror: Suspended Failures (Palgrave Macmillan)

Robert H. Waugh (ed.) – Lovecraft and Influence: His Predecessors and Successors (Scarecrow Press)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

Bruce Boston – Dark Roads: Selected Long Poems 1971-2012 (Dark Renaissance Books)

Helen Marshall – The Sex Lives of Monsters (Kelp Queen Press)

Marge Simon and Sandy DeLuca – Dangerous Dreams (Elektrik Milk Bath Press)

Marge Simon, Rain Graves, Charlee Jacob, and Linda Addison – Four Elements (Bad Moon Books/Evil Jester Press)

Stephanie M. Wytovich – Hysteria: A Collection of Madness (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

The Bram Stoker Awards® will be presented at the 27th annual Bram Stoker Awards® Banquet held during the WORLD HORROR CONVENTION 2014 in Portland, Oregon, on May 10th.

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