I've read a quite a few books in 2016 and I feel that it is appropriate to do a top 5 list of 2016 like I've done in past years. These books are obviously just the top five books that I read this year. I'm sure there are a lot of fantastic books out there that I have yet to read.
#5: THE BAZAAR OF BAD DREAMS by Stephen King (Scribner, 2015)
Published in November of 2015, I read Stephen King's latest collection of short stories. I've always been a sucker for his short stories and this is a fine example of King's ability in that medium. There is an underlying theme of death and the afterlife in these stories and a clear arch. The highlight stories are: "Mile 81", "The Dune", "The Little Green God of Agony", and "Obits".
#4: A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE BOOK 3: A STORM OF SWORDS by George R. R. Martin (Bantam, 2000)
In 2016 I decided to tackle George R. R. Martin's extremely popular series A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE. While I've really only made it through book 3 so far, the series is fantastic. A STORM OF SWORDS I feel is the greatest one that I've read in the series, possibly because I finally got a payoff that I've been waiting for since King Robert died (if you've read the book or even seen the TV series, you know what I'm talking about). The series brilliantly brings fantasy to the adult table that hasn't really been done before. It is a must read and it is completely understandable why it is being compared to THE LORD OF THE RINGS.
#3: DEAD RINGERS by Christopher Golden (St. Martins Press, 2015)
DEAD RINGERS was one of the first books I read in 2016 and it is a novel that I think went under the radar for most fans of horror. Christopher Golden writes in a way that is extremely reminiscent of early King, Koontz, and Straub. It is horror with heart. This novel is a combination of the modern ghost/haunted house story as well as the demonic possession tale. The story can be described essentially in one word: doppelgangers.
#2: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (William Morrow, 2013)
I read this book for Christmas this year and I loved it. It is a love letter to the horror genre and to author's father Stephen King. It is clear that Hill has inherited his fathers gift for telling a story motivated by suspense and horror but filled with heart. The title NOS4A2 (a play of the German word for vampire) is the license plate for the main antagonist, a type of vampire who is linked to a 1938 Wraith that runs on human souls rather than gasoline. The novel is like a combination of his father's IT and CHRISTINE and is one hell of a scary Christmas tale (sort of).
#1: INTENSITY by Dean Koontz (Knopf, 1996)
INTENSITY is bay far the best book I've read by Dean Koontz so far and is easily the best book I read all year. The story tells the tale of Chyna, a young woman who witnesses the murder of her best friend and her family and then follows their killer, Victor Vess, on a quest for revenge and retribution. The book is pretty straight forward and is a damn near perfect thriller. The only thing that didn't quite work for me is the strange supernatural element that Koontz shoehorned in there just for the sake of it. But the story isn't at all hindered by this element (in fact, it seems pretty irrelevant in terms of the story) and it is a fantastic book and considered a favorite among many of Koontz fans.