Looking for some thrills, chills, and a splash of queer camp in your gay horror fiction? Here are four novels from author John Inman that you should definitely check out.
Hobbled is pure page-turning fun. It’s also plays out like a gay version of the Shia LaBeouf movie Disturbia. I was hooked from the start, and this was the first of John’s books I read.
18-year old Danny is staying with his single dad for the summer…and under house arrest with a broken leg and an ankle monitor after losing his cool at his fast food job. It seems like the summer is going to suck.
Then Danny’s dad has to go on a business trip, and a really hot guy named Luke is just moving in next door. Porn plot heaven! Because conveniently, this is the summer Danny had planned to come out of the closet and lose his virginity.
But as Danny cozies up to Luke, they have bigger problems on their hands. A serial killer is raping and killing young men in the area. And when screams can be heard at night in the neighborhood, Danny and Luke begin to suspect the killer might be living on their block!
Hobbled has it all: playful humor; cute young men in steamy sexual encounters; suspense and tension; a dog; and most importantly, a killer.
Spirit is very much in the same…um…spirit as Hobbled. Jason just bought his sister’s house, and while she heads off on vacation with her boyfriend, Jason is left to care for her four-year old son Timmy, who is too smart for his own good.
Soon, odd things begin happening around the house. Spooky things. Little Timmy seems to think his father, who took off several years before and never returned home, is coming to visit him in the house. And the father’s brother, Sam, shows up, hoping to visit with his nephew. Jason and Sam hit it off really well and Jason invites Sam to stay with them for a while.
The weird happenings in the house escalate and so does the sexual heat between Jason and Sam. Before long, Jason and Sam begin to suspect that Sam’s brother never actually left the house at all.
Spirit has plenty of sexy fun and humor, but it also feels like a nice little throwback to the haunted house novels I used to read in the late 1970s and early 1980s as a kid.
Leaving the playful, romantic scares behind, Inman goes all-out paranormal horror with Willow Man. He undoubtedly captures the spirit of Stephen King with this novel, which particularly reminds me of It.
Willow Man, the presence that supposedly lives in the canyons of a boy named Woody’s town, turns out to be more than an urban legend. He’s a truly chilling monster that molests young boys and swallows their souls, torturing them forever in the canyons. And when he comes after Woody and his friends, it is a pursuit that will last right up until they are adults.
Just like It, the novel jumps back and forth between the childhoods of the characters to the present, when they are reunited back in the town in which they grew up. It also delivers a classic scenario focusing on one small group of people experiencing a paranormal horror while everyone around them remains completely oblivious—just how I like my horror fiction.
And while the novel is “versatile,” featuring plenty of straight main characters, it’s refreshing to see a gay main character in a horror novel of this intensity. Of course, sex and gore are just the icing on the cake.
THE BOYS ON THE MOUNTAIN
With The Boys On the Mountain, Inman fuses the styles of all his previous novels.
In this hardcore haunted house novel, a horror author named Jim moves into the house of a former, closeted gay b-movie actor. Almost immediately, the former maid drops hints about bad mojo in the house and warns Jim to never bring children there. That explains the screaming and crying Jim and his dog hear coming from the carriage house out back.
As he continues experiencing signs of a haunted house, Jim begins having horrific flashbacks of what happened in the house. This is where the book takes a page out of real life horror, introducing a gay serial killer not unlike Gacy and Dahmer. Nothing is left to the imagination, with graphic descriptions of heinous sexual torture and mutilation of young men, who are then fed to an abused animal.
The dark turn the novel takes is lightened when Jim invites a group of his gay friends to the house—one of them a medium—to help him uncover the truth about what the ghostly experiences mean. There’s even love in the air, with several of the men making romantic connections.
Nothing is simple or straightforward in The Boys On the Mountain. The flashbacks, visions, and ghost attacks become more extreme, and the twists keep coming right up until the book’s conclusion.