With this in mind, I thought I’d offer a few short comments about books read in the past and why they stick in my mind. For this discussion, I’ll stick to horror – my favorite genre. Below are novels that I’ve read since I was a kid – you’ll notice they span quite a few decades.
The Other – Thomas Tryon. Some incredibly creepy moments that made my blood run cold… including a shocking development about two-thirds of the way through. It just about blew me away. I was 18 when I read it, and I gobbled up horror fiction ever since.
The Exorcist – William Peter Blatty. This came out the same time as The Other, and if you check the New York Times Best List from that time, you’ll see at some point these two books were numbers 1 (The Exorcist) and 2 (The Other). The Exorcist had brain jarring moments that broke all taboos. I remember sitting on our terrace out back and lightening hit next door, so the thunder was loud and instantaneous. I almost died of a heart attack.
Rosemary’s Baby – Iran Levin. One of the creepiest endings ever.
Burnt Offerings – Robert Marasco. A very original haunted house story, with a decent movie adaptation.
The Search for Joseph Tully – William H. Hallahan. A riveting supernatural investigative story. I still recall the beginning where the sword maker tests the still molten blades on… well, enough.
Dragon Under the Hill – Grodon Honeycomb. Ancient Viking curse, Norse lore, possessed child, Lindisfarne, ancient Scandinavian torture (something about cutting out the lungs…). What more can you ask?
Salem’s Lot and The Shining – Stephen King. Spine chilling moments in both, but most people already know this.
Dark Gods – T.E.D Klein. Four novellas. The first two, Children of the Kingdom and Petey, are outstanding. They are creative and I haven’t read anything like them before or since.
Ghost Story – Peter Straub. There were multiple places where I had goose bumps while reading.
A Good and Happy Child – Justin Evans. I still can’t understand why this isn’t a huge hit among the horror masses. Great characters, intriguing plot twists, creepy moments, and an exorcism scene that I found unnerving. And, an unsettling ending to boot.
There are more, but I was just writing this off the top of my head. When other great horror novels come to me, I will devote space to them in the future. If anyone is interested in a good scary read, and you haven’t checked these out, I strongly recommend them.