Favorite Horror Books

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Dude2
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Favorite Horror Books

Post by Dude2 »

Did not see a thread on this, so here goes.

In the spirit of the season (Octoberish timeframe), what are some of your favorite horror themed books? I've read all of Stephen King, but often I find some gems by complete unknowns here and there. Honestly, I find that GoodReads or Amazon recommendations are absolutely terrible in terms of recommending books for people. Do you agree, and are there any decent alternatives? Typically all of these are simply marketing tools for promotion of items they "hope" you might enjoy, or their algorithm is the worst known AI.

I don't think anything is off the table here, including some Poe, although you've got to be in the mood.

Let me start with something I found in a used bookstore and loved:

The Cipher by Kathe Koja (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/341 ... ezJ&rank=1)

I arbitrarily shopped around at Amazon recently and found two good ones. This good luck inspired me make this thread.

Hell House by Richard Matheson (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/335 ... l8v&rank=1)

HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/255 ... SKU&rank=5)

Note that "cheaper" is better. :happy

For some reason that I can't quite explain, I think in terms of total scariness I found Stephen King's Desperation/The Regulators combo (the two books are kind of mirror images of each other) to really "get to me", despite many sort of hackneyed Stephen King themes/typical outcomes.

Interested in your thoughts/perspectives.
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matti
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by matti »

Hello.

I'm a horror nut, so pretty much anything I read or watch is related to horror, the supernatural, etc. That said, I don't read horror novels. However, I have a strong interest in regional history and folklore. If that interests you, one can often find books that talk about legends/urban legends/ghost stories/true crime of a certain place (city, state, region, etc.). Not sure if this is useful.
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willthrill81
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by willthrill81 »

I'm not into the horror genre at all, but Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is an absolute classic and must-read. It really delves into a part of the human experience in a unique way. I don't believe that any movie has ever come close to following the book.

And it's in the public domain, so it costs nothing. :thumbsup
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by nisiprius »

Although Jack London is not usually considered to be in the "horror" genre, he wrote an essay on The Terrible and the Tragic in Fiction, and I would suggest that the following Jack London stories count as "horror" even if the name had not been coined yet:

Moon-Face
Lost Face
The Chinago
The Wit of Porportuk
The Minions of Midas
Samuel
The Red One

I just noticed that all of them are in an $0.99 Kindle collection--although all of them are in the public domain and easily found at no cost, a good way being a Google search like site:gutenberg.org london chinago
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telemark
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by telemark »

It's probably hard to find now, but if you can score a copy of Alfred H. Bill's The Wolf in the Garden it's an excellent read. Also, Robert W. Chanbers' The King in Yellow is available from Project Gutenberg and other fine ebook sources. Chambers stopped writing horror when he found there was better money in other fiction, but these stories are what he's remembered for.
coalcracker
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by coalcracker »

Some of Michael Crichton falls, I would argue, in the horror genre. Check out:

Sphere
Eaters of the Dead

They are MUCH better than their respective movie adaptations...
SundayMorning
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by SundayMorning »

Stephen King fan here too.

I can recommend The Hyde Effect, Steve Vance. The sequel is also good; Shapes.
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by DesertDiva »

Die Broke :mrgreen:
mak1277
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by mak1277 »

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. I don't know that I'd call it "scary" per se, but it's good.
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by Nicolas »

Anything by Edgar A. Poe. I have a volume of his complete works. He’s the master. He invented science fiction and the detective story too. He was also an excellent literary critic.
Last edited by Nicolas on Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:45 am, edited 4 times in total.
Atilla
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by Atilla »

I used to read some Stephen King. He jumped the shark for me at one point a long time ago...but Pet Sematary gave me the chills. Great story about a man losing it and spiraling down into conspiring with evil in a desperate attempt to keep what he had lost.

Another great Stephen King book is Different Seasons. Four separate novellas combined into one book. Two movies were made out of it - Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me. Great story writing. Not exactly horror but lots of dramatic and creepy moments.
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by Malinois000 »

I second the Pet Sementary - excellent!!!
Keim
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by Keim »

My fav horror writer of recent years is Joe Hill. Check out NOS4A2. Excellent!

He is the son of a famous writer, but deserves separate recognition. He's excellent in his own.
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by bfeenix44 »

The Passage by Justin Cronin
Juliajones54
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by Juliajones54 »

Keim wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 6:34 pm My fav horror writer of recent years is Joe Hill. Check out NOS4A2. Excellent!

He is the son of a famous writer, but deserves separate recognition. He's excellent in his own.
I enthusiastically second this recommendation!
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by jaguar3003 »

John Langan—The Fisherman
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by joelly »

Dude2 wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 7:31 am Did not see a thread on this, so here goes.

In the spirit of the season (Octoberish timeframe), what are some of your favorite horror themed books? I've read all of Stephen King, but often I find some gems by complete unknowns here and there. Honestly, I find that GoodReads or Amazon recommendations are absolutely terrible in terms of recommending books for people. Do you agree, and are there any decent alternatives? Typically all of these are simply marketing tools for promotion of items they "hope" you might enjoy, or their algorithm is the worst known AI.

I don't think anything is off the table here, including some Poe, although you've got to be in the mood.

Let me start with something I found in a used bookstore and loved:

The Cipher by Kathe Koja (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/341 ... ezJ&rank=1)

I arbitrarily shopped around at Amazon recently and found two good ones. This good luck inspired me make this thread.

Hell House by Richard Matheson (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/335 ... l8v&rank=1)

HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/255 ... SKU&rank=5)

Note that "cheaper" is better. :happy

For some reason that I can't quite explain, I think in terms of total scariness I found Stephen King's Desperation/The Regulators combo (the two books are kind of mirror images of each other) to really "get to me", despite many sort of hackneyed Stephen King themes/typical outcomes.

Interested in your thoughts/perspectives.
I need this thread. I love the horror genre.

I just found this: “The Girls of Brackenhill” by Katy Moretti. This is good and scary.

I also just finish the “Daughter of the Lake” by Wendy Webb. Not as scary as “The Girls of Brackenhill” but is still scary.

I’m on the look out for more. Will now try and find the Cypher book which you recommend.
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by lazydavid »

Keim wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 6:34 pm My fav horror writer of recent years is Joe Hill. Check out NOS4A2. Excellent!

He is the son of a famous writer, but deserves separate recognition. He's excellent in his own.
Agree strongly here. And if you do audiobooks, the narration of NOS4A2 by Kate Mulgrew is fantastic. Big fan of Hill's, I think he will eventually surpass his father. He already writes better endings. :) His other books are all good as well. "The Fireman" is a little less Horror, more post-apocalyptic thriller. But both Heart-Shaped Box and Horns were great fun, and the "Full Throttle" compilation gives some great insight into his growth as a writer.

Jack Kilborn (Horror pseudonym for crime/thriller writer JA Konrath) has put out some pretty good stuff. His first book "Afraid" is still my favorite, but some of the other ones are great too.

Robert McCammon's "Swan Song" is one of the great classic end-of-the-world horror novels, in the vein of "The Stand".

Jack Ketchum's "The Girl Next Door" is extremely hard to take, but very well written.

Despite some flaws, I quite enjoyed "The Eaton" by John K. Addis. I'm a sucker for horror where the location almost becomes a character in itself, and exploring the Michigan Central Railroad Depot was pretty cool.

The Strain trilogy (The Strain, The Fall, The Night Eternal) by Guillermo Del Toro is a great take on the Vampire genre.
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by ponyboy »

I just started reading The Stand. Never read it but heard its a great book. Watched the mini series years ago, now a new version is coming out that will probably be a disaster.
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by Wyatt007 »

You may want to check out some of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. You should be able to find a volume of his collected works fairly cheaply. Some of my favorite stories are:

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
The Colour Out of Space
At the Mountains of Madness
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by Nummerkins »

I recently read and enjoyed Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. Its now an HBO show.
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

I don't really "get" the horror part of horror. It just doesn't do much for me - I'm not really sure what I'm suppose to feel/get from it.

I finally read some Lovecraft (and I have to admit the man's use of language and his 10 dollar words had me thinking... yes, whisper sweet nerdy things in my ear...) And then there was the "ick" factor or sometimes I caught myself laughing. I liked the short stories. I didn't get much "horror" off the Cthulhu story... but the "The Cats of Ulthar" short story sounded like it would be great as a spoken scary story. I was alternately creeped out, grossed out, and laughed at the Reanimator stories (I have a soft spot for zombies).

I did like Shelley's Frankenstien (but it was a morality tale!!!). Stoker's Dracula is a good combination of tension, sexual tension, and fear.

I know it's TV but the most recent thing that kept me up at night - was the first season of Stranger Things - for some reason the Demogorgon gave me the willies.

(as for horror movies - I'd go with any of Del Toro's movies.... I couldn't shake the "creepy feelings" after Pan's Labyrinth. Cronos stuck with me to. The Devil's Backbone made me squirm but didn't linger. The Shape of Water... all the best plot parts of the old B movies. )
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by forgeblast »

Dean Koontz

also children of the night by Dan Simmons

H g Lovecraft
jambadoc
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by jambadoc »

While not technically books: CNN or Fox News, whichever your flavor. Should be horror enough for anyone.
Peakbagger
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by Peakbagger »

Clive Barker, especially his short stories. Books of Blood are fantastic IMO.
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by Frenetic »

I have fond memories checking out H.P. Lovecraft's Arkham House editions from the local public library.
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by boglemymind314 »

My favorite ghost stories are the stories of M.R. James. His stories are superbly atmospheric, just the thing for a chilly evening and a hot cup of tea and a warm, flickering light. Penguin has his complete stories in two volumes (=cheap) and they take about 15-20 minutes each to read so they fit well before bedtime. Think of murdered children taking their revenge, an old Knight Templar who rises from his grave, and a greedy vicar driven mad by a stall-chair carved from the haunted wood of a hanging tree.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke is not exactly a horror novel but it is very much a Gothic novel and there's plenty of magic and abandoned castles and ghostly figures riding across the moors. It's about a fictitious rebirth of magic in England during the Napoleonic Wars. The novel emphasizes a contrast between Southern England (bureaucratic, fastidious, orderly) and Northern England (wild, dangerous, magical). The first chapter or two is set in Yorkminster on a cold winter's morning and is absolutely unforgettable. A lot of the later chapters in Venice are also borderline horror/ghost material - very Gothic, very Byronic (Byron is literally a character).
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by Tracy »

Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by Sandtrap »

Pet Semetary: stephen king. Other early works as well.
Edgar Allen Poe: intense, dark indeed.

Remember the lst generation "text only" Zork games on a handful of "floppy discs" with creepy ogre sounds as you typed in text after text response.
Late at night while the family and kids are asleep. Hooked on a new game. The latest greatest version of Zork!

Only interrupted by. . . . "insert disc 6". .. . .


lst generation apples with dual floppy disc drives. Wow!

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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by Watty »

For something very different and suitable for preschoolers "The Monster at the End of this Book".

https://www.amazon.com/MONSTER-AT-END-J ... 834&sr=8-2

It is a Sesame Street Book and it was my grandson's favorite book when he was about three and he would get it and have me read it to him over and over again.
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by AlohaBill »

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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by iamlucky13 »

I'm not a horror reader, but I found Michael Crichton's Prey and Sphere both pretty intense.

I've enjoyed the Poe that I've read, but in a morbidly humorous manner. I'm always too fascinated by what kind of person thinks up these stories to be scared. I was particularly amused by A Cask of Amontillado.
willthrill81 wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 1:11 pm I'm not into the horror genre at all, but Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is an absolute classic and must-read. It really delves into a part of the human experience in a unique way. I don't believe that any movie has ever come close to following the book.

And it's in the public domain, so it costs nothing. :thumbsup
I know Mary Shelley considered it horror, but I didn't find it horrifying so much as a dark moral allegory.

I can't really imagine how anyone could adapt it properly to a movie, and since no one has recommended that any have come close, I haven't even bothered to watch any of the movies.
Sandtrap wrote: Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:29 pm Remember the lst generation "text only" Zork games on a handful of "floppy discs" with creepy ogre sounds as you typed in text after text response.
Late at night while the family and kids are asleep. Hooked on a new game. The latest greatest version of Zork!
No floppies needed anymore (besides, last time I tried, most of my old floppies were corrupt due to age). It can be played via an emulator in the browser:
https://archive.org/details/Zork_I

However, it doesn't feel right without almond colored plastic surrounding the monitor.
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by mhalley »

In addition to King and Koontz, mcammon is pretty good.
https://www.bookseriesinorder.com/robert-mccammon/
The Necroscope series is a different take on vampires. Up to 18 books now
https://www.amazon.com/Necroscope/dp/B0 ... /ref=nodl_
The Road by Cormac McCArthy is a great apocalyptic novel.
Clive Barker is another great horror novelist.
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by bertilak »

I'm with the several above who say horror is just not their thing, but I do have a couple of favorites:
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker. A joy to read.
  • The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter. She put the horror back into Fairy Tales. The Brothers Grimm would approve!
Those I would call literature, Which of course makes them very good horror stories. I have read each more than once.

Here is review of Dracula I wrote in 2016.
  • Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker

    After only a few pages I could see that It is has enough foreboding atmosphere to instantly draw you in.

    The descriptive text is very evocative. Here’s an example, describing a horse-drawn carriage ride through the countryside:
    • In and out amongst these green hills ran the road, losing itself as it swept around the grassy curve, or was shut out by the straggling ends of pine woods, which here and there ran down the hillside like tongues of flame. The road was rugged but we seemed to fly over it with a feverish haste.

      There were many things new to me: for instance, hay-ricks in the trees, and here and there very beautiful masses of weeping birch, their white stems shining like silver through the delicate green of the leaves.
    Early on, the book has:

    • A quaint little inn beneath the Carpathian Mountains of eastern Europe
    • Peasants of various ethnicity, behavior, languages, and dress, some with vaguely intimidating wooden farming implements
    • Superstitions (or are they?) and associated warnings in broken German
    • High-speed night-time travel in horse-drawn coaches across poorly maintained roads (see the above)
    • Fierce wild dogs (Stay in the coach!)
    • An innocent, naive, (but not self-important nor idiotic) first-person narrator.

    I can see why this book inspired so many other books, stories and movies.

    The book even has some humor. For example a reporter is interviewing a zookeeper about an escaped wolf:
    • REPORTER: What will happen next?
      ZOOKEEPER: Either the wolf will find a butcher shop or, if a nursemaid runs off with a sailor, the next census will come up one baby short.
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Case59
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by Case59 »

I'm not a horror fan but two books that gave me real chills when I was younger (much younger) were Tom Tryon's The Other (1971) and Harvest Home (1973). Tryon had an interesting career arc, going from Disney actor to successful novelist.

But the scariest book I ever read was easily The Exorcist. Started it one afternoon while at home from college, read it straight through, and finished it at 3 a.m. the next morning. Then went around turning on the lights in the house.
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telemark
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by telemark »

Not a recommendation since I haven't read it (yet), but there's a collection of stories by Ray Russell on sale now for $1.99 at the usual ebook vendors. Haunted Castles, in a Penguin edition with an introduction by Guillermo del Toro.

And to be honest, I tend to confuse Ray Russell with Russell Kirk, although they are certainly different people. Anyway, the price is right.
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by Halicar »

I don't know that I'd call it a horror novel, but I recommend Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Not really scary, but unsettling and uncanny.
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by Sandi_k »

Tracy wrote: Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:24 pm Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons
+1
vested1
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by vested1 »

For short stories, The Bachman Books, published under the name of Richard Bachman (Stephen King) - The Long Walk was my favorite

Most Stephen King novels

The Stand
Pet Semetary
It
The Shining
Dolores Claiborne
The Tommyknockers

All novels by Dean Koontz

Intensity
The Bad Place
Whispers
Hideaway
Phantoms
Dragon Tears
mancich
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by mancich »

The Stand is his best IMO. Salem’s Lot is another great SK book, as is Pet Sematary and The Shining. Christine too.
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Re: Favorite Horror Books

Post by heartwood »

Another mention of Stephen King, Pet Semetery. I can still remember unease about the cat. I looked up why Semetery: "In this case, we have a young child who has phonetically spelled cemetery"

Another one that had me nervous while I read it late at night was The Wolfen by Whitley Strieber, his debut novel. I never watched the movie.
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