The past couple of months, I have been devouring horror/crime/thriller novels of all sorts and having a grand ol’ time doing it. Something about horror in general has been bringing me an odd sense of comfort. I didn’t used to be a lover of horror books or movies, but for some reason I’ve finally found love for the genre. I wanted to put together a list of spooky books that someone who is not a fan of horror can possibly take something away from (and thanks to Sarah at Suits of Stories for the idea to post a horror rec list). So starting off with some not-TOO-scary-but-definitely-eerie stories, we have….
Shirley Jackson is a master of gothic horror. While her books aren’t outright frightening or shocking, they haunt with her beautiful prose about the horror of loneliness, grief, and love (which is kind of the case with gothic horror in general). I could talk for ages about how much I love her novels, they are the kind of reads that sneak up on you once you’ve finished and can’t really completely forget. Although she’s not for everyone, I would recommend reading one of these books if you are interested in gothic horror.
This classic gothic horror novel starts a bit slow, but becomes an enthralling tale of a man’s spiral into obsession and violence. Like I mentioned with Shirley Jackson’s books, this novel depicts the extreme effects of loneliness and isolation. This is probably why I love this genre so much; it deals with things that everyone has experienced and twists them into something so beautifully terrifying that you can’t look away. The Phantom of the Opera had me at the edge of my seat by the end and gave me that lovely, feverish, can’t-put-it-down feeling that is so rare (at least for me).
I read this crime mystery last year and couldn’t put it down. There are some mixed reviews, but I found that the way it was written completely captivating. It’s a puzzle that the reader must solve for themselves to determine who the actual killer is. While there isn’t a perfectly tied up ending, the stories within the story and the general atmosphere of unease made it a reading experience that has been unmatched for me. I want to read this all over again. Just read this first sentence of the blurb:
The novel starts in the 1960s when 17 people die of cyanide poisoning at a party given by the owners of a prominent clinic in a town on the coast of the Sea of Japan. The only surviving links to what might have happened are a cryptic verse that could be the killer’s, and the physician’s bewitching blind daughter, Hisako, the only person spared injury.
I recently finally decided to read a Stephen King book and picked out The Shining. I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed every minute of it. The most compelling part about it to me, was King’s depiction of alcoholism and the horror and havoc that addiction can create. It wasn’t super scary as in gory, but it had its moments of ghoulishness.
If you want to get the full experience with the film, reading the book is a must. Thought processes and inner feelings can’t truly be translated to film and the book fills in so much that the film version of The Shining misses completely…I kind of get why Stephen King hated the movie adaptation.
This is one of the more spine-tingling horror novels. If you keep at all updated on bookish things, you have definitely probably heard of The Only Good Indians. All of the praise is completely deserved. There is quite a bit of gore in this one, but it blew my mind with the shocking scenes and social/”final girl” commentary. It’s not just gore for 100% shock value, there is so much more to it’s horror. I think this is the only horror novel I have read so far that actually truly scared me in real life. Three words: Elk Head Woman.
That was a fun list to put together! I have a lot more spooky books I have enjoyed and recommend so I’ll be back with those soon. Hope you found something that interested in you if you are a horror or mystery reader. Let me know any spooky books you have read or on your TBR. Thanks for reading!