Now that October is here, it means the countdown to Halloween has officially begun. Therefore, as I am intending to pick up a few spooky books myself during this month, I feel it only appropriate to share with you some of the most memorable supernatural or scary reads I have encountered in the past. MUWAHAHAHAH (that sounded so much scarier in my head)….
The Shining and Doctor Sleep– Stephen King; you absolutely cannot have a list of scary reads without including The Master of Horror in it. These are my favourite books by King and The Shining genuinely terrified the crap out of me due to its atmosphere and chilling descriptions of The Overlook Hotel. I will NEVER EVER be able to look at topiary animals in the same way again….
Dark Matter- Michelle Paver; one of my favourite books of 2013, I really loved this chilling ghost story, set against an unusual frozen backdrop. I found it sinister and it emitted a sense of tension and foreboding throughout that genuinely kept me on the edge of my seat. You can read more about what I thought of it here.
The Woman in Black- Susan Hill; Disregard the movie version of this starring Daniel Radcliffe, please. Despite some admittedly scary special effects, its ending isn’t the same at all, which brought about some minor cinema rage from me. The book on the other hand is bloody terrifying; imbued with the kind of atmosphere that ensues you won’t want to be on your own at home when you are sat reading it. Also not recommended: reading this in a remotely darkened room. You will need to keep the lights on.
Unrest- Michelle Harrison; a YA ghost story that I enjoyed earlier this year, this was a surprisingly scary read. I’d picked it up after hearing good things about it on some of the blogs I follow and I concur that this was way creepier than I had expected.
Interview with the Vampire- Anne Rice; forget Twilight. Anne Rice writes vamps like no other writer out there. This is the first in The Vampire Chronicles series and introduces readers to the unforgettable Lestat. A true classic of the genre, it is jam-packed with atmosphere, gore and violence.
The Rats Trilogy- James Herbert; I read these books years ago now, after being recommended them by my mum and I can still recall how disturbed I was by their content matter. Thanks mum! If you aren’t fazed by rats before reading this, then rest assured you will be afterwards. These are still my favourite of James Herbert’s novels to date. For me, none of his others have ever been able to live up to them.
IT- Stephen King; probably responsible for many people being terrified of clowns (myself included), this chunky novel is yet another brilliant King read. Nothing more needs to be said really other than: READ IT!!
The Silence of the Lambs- Thomas Harris; what can be scarier than a serial killer who makes clothes out of his victim’s skins? Add in the utterly psychopathic Dr Hannibal Lector who taunts FBI Profiler Clarice Starling from his locked cell and you have yourself a real winner of a book.
The Troop- Nick Cutter; for entertainment value alone, this is worth a look- though possibly it’s not for the squeamish. Its premise promises ’28 Days Later meets Lord of the Flies’ and I’m happy to concede that is a pretty accurate statement! You can read more on my thoughts on The Troop here.
I Am Legend- Richard Matheson; I’ve experienced the novel and the audiobook version of this modern classic vampire novel and absolutely, unequivocally recommend both. Ignore the DIRE Will Smith movie, it does this book a complete disservice to suggest in any way that they are even comparable.
The Exorcist- William Peter Blatty; I’ve re-read this book countless times even though it freaks me out a little bit more on each occasion. Supposedly based on a true story, this is the account of a demonic possession of a young girl in the USA. I think to be honest I get so frightened as it is purportedly based on true events, but I do love the writing style and vivid descriptions, too. The film isn’t bad either!
Pet Sematary- Stephen King; my last King addition to the list even though I can think of countless more of his that have had me on the edge of my seat. I just loved this book, though. Whilst not my favourite it still tends to be the ‘classic’ King novel that I recommend to first-time readers of his work who want a flavour of his writing style. I adored its small-town setting and memorable characters that you come to care for, not to mention the bleak, twisted plot which turns the lives of those said characters completely upside down.
Alison Hewitt is Trapped- Madeleine Roux; because I had to mention zombies at some point, right? I’m STILL to read the sequel to this one, much to my shame, which is bizarre as I enjoyed this one a lot. You can read my thoughts on it here. This was a pretty accomplished YA horror that just goes to prove: when the world goes entirely to hell, the bloggers will still rock on! 🙂
The Passage and The Twelve– Justin Cronin; my final vampire addition to the list and a bit of a mixed bag this one in that I absolutely ADORED The Passage and certainly had mixed feelings about The Twelve. Set to be a trilogy, I will nonetheless still read the final book in this series, just to find out how it ends. If you like vamps and dystopian fiction then it’s a pretty safe bet you will enjoy these doorstop tomes.
Eating Sarah: A Novel- Jaret Martens; a fairly recent addition to the list this one- as I’ve only just finished it recently myself after hearing some good things about it for a while. This intriguing YA debut is about cannibals and is one of the most stomach-churning, disturbing novels I’ve read recently and pretty graphic for a novel aimed at a younger audience. I devoured it in one sitting- if you will excuse the terrible pun. Though not scary in essence, it was certainly more disturbing given its subject matter, which is what I think grossed me out more. The ending was also a bit rushed, but for entertainment value alone this was a decent read and had a very different premise to anything else I’ve encountered in a while.
What are your favourite scary books? Are you planning on reading anything super-creepy this year in anticipation of Halloween? Next on my TBR pile I have Rosemary’s Baby and Something Wicked This Way Comes, but I’m also hoping to squeeze in some more Stephen King if I can….