Horror Books That Go Bump in the Night
Now I admit it, think of any horror scenario and I would probably be the first one voted off the island. I don’t have much fight or flight in me, I would willingly become a zombie because survival just takes too much effort. Still, I love reading (and watching films) in which others try their best to make it. Here is a list of the books that kept me up at night long after I was done with them in 2014.
Wonder what happens to the lone survivors? What if they all got together for a group therapy session? That’s how We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory begins. Five survivors of horrific encounters (think a cannibalistic family, a cult, a serial killer) get together to try and adjust back into society. They soon learn that they can’t quite escape the horrors of the past and that they were handpicked for the therapy session for a reason.
I read three of Adam Nevill’s books last year back to back. This year I was happy to see that he published a new title The House of Small Shadows. An antiques collector stays in a crumbling old mansion filled with hundreds of dolls, puppets and stuffed animals. The idea alone was enough to send chills up my spine.
As an adult nothing freaked me out more than watching that little girl crawl out of the well in The Ring. In The Girl from the Well Rin Chupeco shows us what life is like for Okiku, a revenge spirit who likes to hang upside down from the ceiling and hunt down serial killers. Her chance at redemption comes when she encounters a teen who is possessed by a powerful demon.
Not to be left out, zombies appeared on my reading list this year but only peripherally. In This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers six high school students barricade themselves in their High School. The main character Sloane has pretty much given up on life but as the days pass and their group starts to fall apart she must find a reason to keep going. No zombies in Robin Wasserman's The Waking Dark, just a town under quarantine that’s fallen prey to a weird desire to kill one another. It is up to five teens to try to figure out exactly what went wrong.
What kind of list would this be without a haunted house? In This House is Haunted by John Boyne a governess is hired by a reclusive family. When she arrives at the house she finds no servants or the parents, just two little children needing to be looked after.
Joe Hill had me with Heart-Shaped Box and last year he published the creeptastic NOS4A2. When I saw the novella In the Tall Grass, which he co-authored with his father Stephen King, I gobbled it up all in one sitting. Siblings are driving down an isolated road when they stop to help out a family in trouble. Don’t eat anything while reading this tale.
Speaking of Stephen King… His latest Mr. Mercedes (more noir than horror) came out this year but more apt for this list is The Mist. Personally if it’s the end of the world what better place to be stuck in than a supermarket? You can get some small consolation from the fact that you will be fodder for otherworldy creatures in the snacks aisle, that is if your wacko religious neighbor doesn’t convince everyone to kill you first. The film version was excellent by the way.
I was also able to delve into some horror classics. Picked up a copy The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. I only saw the movie once when I was about ten (I know) and have never attempted to watch it again. The movie's iconic soundtrack kept playing in my head as I read, adding an extra creepy factor. On the other hand I could watch Rosemary’s Baby (the film not the TV show) over and over. Knowing what was happening to poor Rosemary just raised my anxiety levels as I turned the pages.
I am currently reading White Space by Ilsa J. Bick. Unbeknown to Emma Lindsay, she has written a short story that mirrors in details to a famed horror authors unfinished novel Satan's Skin. Soon the similarities between the story and reality start to blend and she finds herself trapped along with others in the author's nightmare.
What scary titles have you read this year?