cover image A Light Most Hateful

A Light Most Hateful

Hailey Piper. Titan, $16.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-80336-420-9

This surreal offering from Bram Stoker Award winner Piper (Queen of Teeth) blends horror, fantasy, and domestic drama into a fiendishly imaginative saga. After teen Olivia Abram’s parents discover her kissing another girl at a carnival, Olivia runs away from home to Chapel Hill, a claustrophobically small Pennsylvania town with nothing to recommend it other than Sunflower Mason, Olivia’s best friend and unrequited love. Then a bizarre lightning storm sweeps through town, turning Chapel Hill’s residents into violent, rage-filled zombies and spawning a serpentine monster that somehow knows Olivia’s name. Olivia must band together with an unlikely group of survivors if she’s to have any hope of making it out of Chapel Hill alive. Piper’s prose crackles with energy and wit as it ties the novel’s wilder excesses together into a story at once comfortingly familiar in its themes and cosmically alien in its execution. The story twists reader expectations into knots, flipping genre conventions and connecting unlikely elements to make something truly singular. The result is an ambitious, genre-shredding novel that takes big swings and, improbably, lands every one. Fans of Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always will be especially hooked. (Oct.)