It’s time to award recipients of The 2020 Horror Delve Haunt Awards to my favorite works of literature reviewed during the year. I won’t go into much detail about the winners but will link to the article where they were covered if you want to read more.

Favorite Novel Reviewed This Year: * The Wise Friend by Ramsey Campbell (2020) * Link: Wise Friend is simply brilliant! Blending elements of surrealism with cosmic and folk horror, it’s a captivating read that’s filled with spine-chilling scenes.

Runner-Up: * It Will Just Be Us by Jo Kaplan (2020) * Link: – My second favorite novel I read during 2020 was Jo Kaplan’s It Will Just Be Us which presents a unique-type of haunted house set in a dense swampland which is itself also inhabited by a terrifying entity.

Favorite Short Story Reviewed This Year: * “The Cotswold Olympicks” by Simon Kurt Unsworth (2012) * Link: – Simon Kurt Unsworth has long been one of my favorite writers, so I keep an eye out for his name when examining an anthology’s table of contents. Appearing in Paul Finch’s Terror Tales of the Cotswolds anthology, this tale by Unsworth about a photographer tasked with covering the peculiar Cotswold Olympicks is masterfully eerie and has more than one inventive, yet unsettling creature appear within it.

Runner-Up: * “Hoxlip and After” by Christopher Harman (2012) * Link: – This story also appeared in Terror Tales of the Cotswolds. I’d not read anything by Harman previous to this one but have since checked out a few more. As I stated in the linked review, the writing style wasn’t the easiest at first, but once I got used it to I found this tale about the vanished city of Hoxlip tremendously engrossing, and its finale was one I’ll long remember.

Favorite Anthology Reviewed This Year: * Terror Tales of the Cotswolds edited by Paul Finch (2012) * Link: great stories such as the previously mentioned “The Cotswold Olympicks” by Simon Kurt Unsworth and “Hoxlip and After” by Christopher Harman, alongside “The Scouring” by Thana Niveau, “The Silent Dance” by Joel Lane, “The Horror Under Warrendown” by Ramsey Campbell, “The Lurker” by Gary Fry, and many more. Every story herein is fantastic, and the anthology exudes folk horror from its seams.

Runner-Up: * Terror Tales of the Cornwall (2017) edited by Paul Finch * Link: – Highlighted by such stories as “We Who Sing Beneath the Ground” by Mark Morris, “Trouble at Botathan” by Reggie Oliver(last year’s favorite short story winner which had been featured in my Reggie Oliver article), “The Old Traditions Are the Best” by Paul Finch, “Four Windows and a Door” by D. P. Watt, “Moon Blood-Red Tide Turning” by Mark Samuels and “Losing Its Identity” by Thana Niveau, this is yet another outstanding installment of the Terror Tales series of anthologies which carry a strong folk horror vibe to them.

Favorite New Discovery: * Steve Rasnic Tem * Link: I admit I’d previously read a few stories by Steve in the past, 2020 was the year when I really dove in and read a bunchof them in preparation for my article on him, and they did not disappoint. I found his stories to be rich with a dreamlike atmosphere which is often poetically beautiful and poignant. A few of my favorites include “At the Bureau”, “Shadows on the Grass”, “The Bereavement Photographer”, “Telling”, “Miri” and “Between the Pilings”.

Article by Matt Cowan

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