Thursday, October 18, 2012

Countdown to Halloween Day 18 -- 13 Favorite Horror Novels

13. Agyar by Steven Brust -- Very interesting vampire novel in which the word "vampire" is never actually used. Told from the P.O.V. of a very unreliable narrator, the book leaves a lot of gaps for the reader to fill in, which I really enjoyed. It’s always nice when an author respects his audience's intelligence.

12.  The Ruins by Scott Smith -- Smith makes his four main characters embody the horror film victim archetypes -- jokester, slut, preppie, final girl -- and even goes so far as to have the jokester character point this out at one point, but by having the narration live heavily inside the heads of the characters, we are given much more insight into their motivations, which helps subvert the tropes.

11. Harbor by John Ajvide Lindqvist -- If he hadn't slipped my mind yesterday, I probably would have included Lindqvist in my favorite horror writer list; this story of an isolated island and the dark magic lurking there reminds me of Stephen King at his best.

10. Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice-- For me, the third book in Rice's Vampire Chronicles is a quantum leap in quality over the first two (which I enjoyed), followed by a geometric decrease in quality in the fourth (which I loathed tremendously). 

9. It by Stephen King -- Notable to me as (a) the first book I ever read over 1,000 pages long and (b) one of the first books I ever read that managed to evoke a visceral feeling of disgust -- but, y'know, in a good way. 

8.Summer of Night by Dan Simmons -- This story of a group of sixth graders fighting against the forces of evil in a small Illinois town in the summer of 1960 almost feels like Simmons doing a King homage, and doing it incredibly well.  I was very invested in the main characters, and the deaths really go to me; that's a good horror novel right there.

7.Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson -- An excellent haunted house story.  Do not judge it by the horrible 1999 film adaptation; this book is all about psychological terror, not gruesome spectacle.

6.Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill -- Hill's debut novel about an aging rocker whose collection of macabre artifacts leads to a dangerous haunting did great justice to his literary heritage as Stephen King's son. 

5. Ghost Story by Peter Straub -- This is one that I chose to read initially because I loved the film adaptation, only to discover that the book is significantly different -- shocking, I know.  By far my favorite of Straub's books.

4. The Stand by Stephen King -- One of the few non-Dark-Tower King novels I've read multiple times, which is saying something considering the size of this thing.  Of course, one of those times was the original, abridged version, but still . . .

3.Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist -- That's right, another book by Lindqvist; told you he should have been on yesterday's list.  And while his Harbor felt very King-esque, this vampire novel which inspired an excellent film adaptation has a voice all of its own.

2. Anno Dracula by Kim Newman -- Can't say enough good things about Newman's vampiric alternate history novel; the numerous cameos from various historical and literary characters (much like Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentleman) only adds to my love.

1. The Shining by Stephen King --It's been a few years since I've re-read King's take early take on a haunted mansion; I think I'm overdue to visit the Overlook again.

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