I thought it would be nice to ask Laura the same question – as always we share the love of so many books and all hers listed are cherished by me too, apart from ‘The Prowlers’ Quadrilogy, as I haven’t heard of it before *another to add to the wishlist*. So, here are Laura’s thoughts on her fav horror novels…
The first book that immediately sprang to mind when I started thinking about my favourite horror novels was Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’. Interestingly, it was also the first horror movie I ever watched, followed closely by the eerie Poltergeist. But I digress. While I couldn’t talk about horror books without at least a tiny mention to Mr. King, I haven’t actually chosen any of his books. So here are a few of my well loved horror stories.
James Herbert – The Rats
It was my Dad who introduced me to James Herbert. I was at that age when I couldn’t really afford to buy my own books, or wasn’t lucky enough to have people to send them to me for review! So I relied on my local library, or my Dad’s bookshelves. It introduced me to the spooky world of horror and I promptly went on to devour the rest of his James Herbert collection.
James Herbert’s a UK author and this is his first published book, written in 1974.
‘The Rats’ is one of those books that gives you chills. Set in London, it tells the story of giant, think small dog size, rats that have developed a taste for human flesh. But what makes it so terribly eerie is it’s one of those stories that maybe, just maybe could come true.
It’s got everything horror fans love, scary critters, gore and spine chilling suspense. After you read this book, the next time you hear a scratching at the door it may make you want to run and hide.
*Hehe – I love this book too! It was the first book by James Herbert that I read and I loved it – quite dated now but still a great horror story * BCC
Mary Shelley – Frankenstein
‘Frankenstein’ is the ultimate and original gothic, horror story. Legend has it the idea for the story came to Mary Shelley in a dream. The book itself was written by Shelley when she was just eighteen, which is pretty amazing in itself.
Victor Frankenstein is an obsessed scientist who wants to recreate human life. He works obsessively piecing together dead body parts as he works out how to animate them and create one of literature’s original zombies. But when he eventually creates his life-long ambition, Frankenstein becomes horrified by what he’s created and flees leaving the creature to fend for himself.
This story is as much a tragedy as it is a horror and Frankenstein’s thoughtless abandonment of his monster unfolds a series of devastating and dark events. As the creature seeks for acceptance and basic companionship, Frankenstein’s inability to face the consequences of his experiment damns them both.
A startling and poetically vivid, classic horror story that every horror fan should read.
*Yes, yes, yes – this has to be one of my all time favourites too. I just adored this book, Shelley was a very talented writer and this book gave me the chills it was so atmospheric. I felt sorry for the monster more than I did for Frankenstein though – also I wouldn’t recommend the movie Frankenstein (1994), it completely changed the ending and I just HATE that!* BCC
Christopher Golden – The Prowlers Quadrilogy
‘The Prowlers’ is a quadrilogy about Jack, a normal nineteen year old boy who part owns and runs an Irish pub with his disabled sister Courtney. His life is relatively simple and the success of the pub is something they are both proud of.
Then one night everything changes. Out on a double date with his best friend Artie they are savagely attacked. Both Artie and Jack’s date Kate are murdered.
But Artie has not found peace in death and comes back to visit Jack as a ghost, where he tells him the truth behind the attacks. Jack learns about the existence of prowlers. Prowlers are savage creatures, not werewolves of lore, but evil murdering beasts.
As Jack comes to terms with his grief he also realises he cannot let his friends’ deaths go unavenged. However, as soon as the prowlers realise he knows of their existence, Jack finds he has unintentionally put everyone he cares about in danger.
A thrilling, tense and often gruesome series that you won’t regret adding to your collection.
Laurell K Hamilton – The Anita Blake Series
A lot of people would probably describe this series as Urban Fantasy, but personally I think it’s more Horror.
The books are set in the modern day, where vampires and preternatural creatures have come out of the shadows and been made legal citizens. Anita Blake is a powerful necromancer who raises the dead for a living, but is also St. Louis’s vampire executioner. The person the local police force come to when a vampire has broken the law. Anita’s power over the dead is so potent, she must exercise it otherwise she will inadvertently raise the dead without planning to.
The books follow Anita as her powers grow and as she tries her best to do what is right. Her belief at the beginning that all vampires are evil slowly becomes tested as personal relationships grow and she becomes more and more submerged into their world. Inevitably the lines become blurred between good and evil. As Anita herself becomes more ‘other’ than human, and she is forced to make difficult decisions in order to save the innocent, she begins to wonder at what point the protector becomes the monster.
Anita is a darkly complex and fascinating character and the books are utterly compelling. They read as supernatural crime novels with a very macabre and deadly twist.
I can’t talk about the series, without mentioning the disgruntlement amongst fans about that way her story has developed in the later books, and I have been among its critics. I do believe the introduction of the ‘ardeur’, a power that means she needs to have sex in order to survive has detracted away from the integrity of Anita’s character. However, interestingly I’m still reading the series, which shows how compelling the characterisation is. I also don’t think this should distract away from how good the first books in the series are, books I have read I should note, more than once.
*I LOVE Anita Blake – I’ve only read up to book ten at the moment but I love them. Guilty Pleasures was my first ever Urban Fantasy and it holds a very special place in my heart. I read the first book well into the night and promptly purchased all the others in the series the next day and then read them all in a matter of days! I agree with you, Laura that the introduction of the ‘ardeur’ did detract from what Anita stood for in the earlier books, but hey, it’s still Anita and I’m sticking with her until the end!* BCC
Thanks so much for your thoughts Laura!
So, tell us, what are your favourite scary books?