In honor of that special night when the barriers between this world and the next grows thin, I made a list of some favorite creepy/scary books.
by Steven King
No horror list would be complete without the master. And while It isn’t my all time favorite Stephen King novel, it (haha) is one of the scariest. I mean, come on, killer demonic clowns? Doesn’t sound so bad does it? But this is a terrifying read with a host of really good characters. Truth is, often with King, some of the human villains are as frightening than the supernatural. But Pennywise, however, can manifest anywhere, anytime, in the most horrific of manners.
by Thomas Harris
I read this and its equally creepy sequel, Silence of the Lambs, in one long sleepless night during college. Woah, forget the movies (and SOTL is a great film), these books will make you shit your pants. First of all, they are terrifyingly realistic, particularly Red Dragon. Harris did a lot of research on real serial killers and the killer feels very very real. Second, the novel is edge of your seat from the get go, and third, the word choice is carefully calculated to crawl under your skin.
by Dan Simmons
A horrific journey into the depths and nature of evil. One of the most chilling books I have ever read. It’s long and detailed, but there are some delightfully grueling scenes and a serious level of emotional wracking. The idea that some psychic puppet master can just up and steal your body, then destroy it to his/her own ends is the very definition of creepy.
Perdido Street Station
by China Miéville
This book isn’t horror per se, but more dark fantasy. Still, it has such a sordid and creepy atmosphere that it’s well worth the read. The world is just so creepy, slimy, and cool — although not for the faint of heart. This book is dark. Very dark. Part Dickens, part steampunk, part fantasy, part Blade Runner, part Lovecraft and a whole lot more. Heavy on the twisted.
by Tim Powers
Tim Powers writes a unique blend of fantasy, history, and horror. While also not exactly horror, it’s also filled with creep factor — which to me is more important. This brilliant novel somehow manages to weave Tarot, poker, gangsters, The Fisher King, soul steeling, and more into a crazy story set in Vegas. Be careful who sits down at your card table!
The Complete Collection
by H.P. Lovecraft
As we began with the modern master, we end with the 20th century’s first king of creep. I encourage you to have your brains sucked out by this tome of sinister possibilities. Lovecraft is certainly one of the most influential writers in the fantasy/horror space. Anything that has a dark gothic sensibility (Hellboy I’m looking at you!) has its roots in this tentacled mass of flesh.
This was published earlier as part of the Fiction Frolic, but I’ve also moved it to my blog for posterity.
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My novels: The Darkening Dream and Untimed