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Cynthia Pelayo Books In Order

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Publication Order of Children of Chicago Books

Children of Chicago (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Shoemaker's Magician (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Santa Muerte Books

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

We Came From an Island (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lotería (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
Forgotten Sisters (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Into the Forest and all the Way Through (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Poems of My Night (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Poetry Books

Crime Scene (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
This is Not a Poem (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Gothic Blue Book: The Haunted Edition(2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gothic Blue Book: The Revenge Edition(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Horrorzine Magazine, Summer 2013(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gothic Blue Book IV: The Folklore Edition(2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gothic Blue Book V: The Cursed Edition(2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
She's Lost Control: The Female Voice Is Strong, and Will Not Be Controlled(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Both Sides: Stories From the Border(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
We Are Wolves(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Halldark Holidays(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Latinx Screams(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Twisted Anatomy(2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Were Tales: A Shapeshifter Anthology(2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
StokerCon TM 2022 Souvenir Anthology: The Denver Resurrected Edition(2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Hideous Book of Hidden Horrors(2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Writing Poetry in the Dark(2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Never Wake: An Anthology of Dream Horror(2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
Qualia Nous: Vol. 2(2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Drive-In: Multiplex(2024)Description / Buy at Amazon
Howls from the Scene of the Crime: A Crime Horror Anthology(2024)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fragile Anthology(2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Cynthia Pelayo is a horror fiction novelist who is best known for her novels, short stories, and poetry.

Over the years, she has become known for writing novels set in captivating and eerie worlds, in addition to her melodic poetry and perfectly calibrated prose.
In most of her work, Pelay makes use of the historic backdrops of Chicago with the enigmatic fog of suspense, mystery, and horror.

Cynthia has made a name for herself with novels that blend folklore, and defy predictability with timeless horror classics as they keep their readers engrossed from the first page to the last.

Given her brilliant writing, she would amass numerous awards through the course of a career that delivered so many works. She would become the first Puerto Rican and the first Latina to win the prestigious Bram Stoker Award.
“Loteria” her MFA thesis was named one of the Best Horror Books of 2023 by Esquire. Cynthia also published “The Missing” her debut novel in 2016 and has been writing ever since.

Like many novelists, Cynthia Pelayo had a childhood filled with storytelling. Since her parents grew up in Puerto Rico, she loved listening to the folk tales that her parents used to tell as they transported her to thickets filled with ghosts and monsters.
The good thing is that the folklore was all around and not only in her imagination. Back in Chicago, they used to live in a multi-unit house in which her grandfather and her aunt dwelled upstairs while her family took the downstairs dwelling.
When she was six years old, they were leaving for an appointment with the doctor when she heard some weird slamming door noises coming from the upstairs apartment.

She ran to tell her father about the bizarre activity but he replied that the family never discussed such things as doing so just gave them power.

As such, the supernatural was all around her during her childhood and hence the idea of it existing right beside her was visceral and instinctive.

In many of her stories, you can usually sense something dark between the lines of the text and it gains energy once you acknowledge it.

While she grew up in Puerto Rico, Chicago also plays a massive role in Cynthia Pelayo’s novels. She was just two years old when she moved to Chicago but Puerto Rico still remained part of her background.

She still remembers how her father loved to remind her that she was a Latina and it was part of her cultural identity even if Chicago was her home. Nonetheless, her father still took pride and loved both Puerto Rico and the city of Chicago.
She grew up during the 1980s in a very nontraditional house in which her mother worked full time while her father was the stay-at-home dad who raised her. They used to explore all the city neighborhoods, coffee shops, and delis together.
It was at this time that she developed a fascination for the city with its multifaceted and eclectic spirit. It was a city with a dark history of personalities such as John Wayne Gacy, H.H. Holmes, and Al Capone.

Some of the most tragic events such as the SS Eastland Disaster, the Flight 191 Crash, and the Iroquois Fire happened there too.

But it was also the place where “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was written by L. Frank Baum and the birth palace of “Walt Disney.”

Ultimately, she finds Chicago a strange locale where the tragic and the beautiful merge.

As for how she came to be drawn to the horror, noir, and true crime genres, Cynthia Pelayo says that it has something to do with her career in journalism where she covered community news ranging from art to crime.

As she kept writing, she discovered that the crime stories would be very successful while most of her other stories did not get as much attention. Nonetheless, it was traumatic witnessing so many calamities and this would ultimately make her quit her job.

However, she still had an interest in writing but did not know how to process the tragedies she witnessed. It was for this reason that she sent in her application to the Art Institute of Chicago.

Since it was a program mainly focused on poetry and fiction, she was not their typical candidate. She still remembers one of her advisors telling her that she was a horror fiction novelist who did not know she was one since she kept writing realistic pieces in which ghosts would make an appearance in addition to a murder mystery.

Ultimately, she found that it was through her writing that she could get her therapy through the exploration of the psychology of mourning and grief.

Cynthia Pelayo’s novel “Children of Chicago” introduces Lauren Median of the Chicago Police Department who has just been promoted to the rank of detective.

While she is newly promoted, she is well known in the Department as the daughter of one of the legends. But she is dealing with the dissolution of her marriage, her father’s recent decease, and trauma from the death of her sister and mother.
To keep her traumas in the rearview mirror, she immerses herself in the work of protecting the children of Chicago from epidemic violence.

However, there is a dark force from Grimm’s Fairy Tales that is stronger than any gang that is determined to get its young victims. Medina is well aware of the strength of the “Pied Piper” and the consequences of his wielding it.
As a lifelong resident of Chicago, Cynthia writes a well-researched novel filled with intriguing tidbits of fact that make for a fascinating story without sacrificing atmosphere or pacing.

What I also found to be remarkable was how she made use of the unreliable narrator to write a brilliant tale that ended with a shocking denouement.

All in all, it is a story with a harrowing story, excellent world-building, a complex heroine, and a relentless pace that gets inspiration from current events that she combines with a well-developed monster resulting in a horror piece that fires from all cylinders.

Cynthia Pelayo’s “The Shoemaker’s Magician” is a novel once again set in Chicago.

Peloma’s husband Bass stumbles upon a gruesome crime in an old movie theatre. On the corpse is pinned a rare movie poster which makes for a very interesting mystery.
Peloma is a successful social media creator who specializes in the Classic Horror genre and hence she believes that this is an opportunity to drive ratings on her channel.
She was hoping to find and interview a famous Creepy Late Night Horror host but the man is proving to be too elusive and cannot be found anywhere.

With the two storylines crossing, the well-written novel gets incredibly creepy.

It is clear that Pelayo is an expert in horror as she combines rare, vintage, classic, and even new horror so well that one may be tempted to believe she studied it in college.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Cynthia Pelayo

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