People are always telling me - I don’t really read horror. Is there anything I’d like? – So I thought it best to compile a list, and gradually add to it whenever something new and amazing comes out. For someone who is a dedicated horror fanatic like myself, or for someone who is looking to get into the genre, I highly recommend the following:
The Troop by Nick Cutter
Without question, one of my favourite books of all time. I don’t think I have recommended this book enough, and whenever given the opportunity I will talk about it for hours without allowing the other person to speak. This book terrified me in ways I had never been scared before, while also leaving me incredibly emotional for a number of reasons. For me, each character represented a different stage of growing up for a young boy and it was interesting to see how all of these stages clashed when faced with a life-or-death situation. This book has some of the most sympathetic characters which makes you beg the author to leave them all alive – even though you know that isn’t going to be the case. Perhaps setting it in Canada gave me an extra bias as I love anything that is set in my home country? But either way, this story is the most terrifying yet heartbreaking story I’ve ever read and if you read any horror novel in your life, make sure it’s this one!
Kill Creek by Scott Thomas
What would happen if R. L. Stine, Stephen King, Chuck Palahniuk and Scott Thomas spent an afternoon in a notoriously haunted mansion while discussing all things horror? This book. Now I can’t say for sure that the authors listed above are EXACTLY who the author was referring to with his characters, but the premise of the story is that four iconic horror authors are placed together in a haunted house where they will livestream an interview in the dead of night. The authors I mentioned above were who sprung to mind as one author writes countless paperback horror novels for teens/kids (Stine), one author is notorious for grotesque stories that push all kinds of social and moral boundaries (Palahniuk), the one author is considered the father or horror literature and his work has in turn inspired all of the authors in the house as well as countless others (King) and of course the final author is the up and coming author who is looking for his next hit (Thomas). The house is as you would expect, terrifying and follows each of them home after they leave, resulting in one of the most captivating sections of any book I’ve ever read. As the authors all become spun into a spiral of madness, I followed them into the rabbit hole and felt myself becoming as obsessed and involved as they were. The only complaint I have about this book, which is one of the greatest ghost stories I’ve EVER read is that Goodreads would not let me nominate it for 2017 best horror novel. It was released around December and as a result was not eligible for the 2017 award, but since it came out in December 2017, it wasn’t eligible for 2018 either. It was the only time I wrote a complaint to Goodreads because I felt this book was too good to not be considered the best horror novel of the year.
A God in the Shed by J.D. Dubeau
This book was incredibly innovative, terrifying and suspenseful as I had no idea what I was getting into. I’m not often a fan of books with countless side characters and multiple character perspectives, and yet Dubeau managed to keep me engaged with every single character he put on the page and he developed such a unique villain/premise that I wasn’t able to guess any piece of the story. It was so ‘out there’ that the entire time I was in awe of his originality and his unique concept that made for a riveting story. It’s hard to classify this story as there are elements of psychological thriller, while having equal parts horror. There are a number of villains in this, only one of which is paranormal, but they are so unique that it’s tough to categorize them. Monster perhaps? I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’m not going to provide any more details. All I will say is this: if you are looking for something new and unique to bring you some nightmares then check this out!
Stoker's Manuscript by Royce Prouty
When looking through the Bram Stoker nominees for ‘Best New Author’, I stumbled upon this novel by Royce Prouty. I’m always eager to discover new and exciting authors – especially with horror as there aren’t that many – and so I decided to take a gamble and outright purchase this book. I have always loved vampires, namely those written about by Bram Stoker and Anne Rice, and so I thought that a book that focused around Bram Stoker’s original manuscript for Dracula had to be good, right? It turns out it was better than good. I was in fact discouraged from writing because I said ‘This is his FIRST book!?’ when I was finished reading it. The amount of detail that went into this book surrounding the history of Transylvania, Romania, and Vlad the Impaler was unbelievable, not to mention that Prouty wrote the most logical explanation of why vampires can turn others into vampires that I’ve heard. This is without question one of the most terrifying books I’ve ever read and I cannot recommend it to enough people.
Locke and Key by Joe Hill
Now I know with NOS4A2 being on TV right now, everyone is talking about how that is one of Joe Hill’s finest books. And don’t get me wrong, it’s one of my favourite books and one of my favourite stories. BUT, the story that every single person on earth needs to read is the comic book series Locke and Key. This has to be one of the most imaginative, terrifying, heartbreaking and engaging stories that I have ever read in my entire life. The artwork is beautiful, the story is so unique and perfectly paced. You feel a sense of terror throughout the entire series as you are never at ease, and the story itself is unlike anything you’ve ever read before. This takes the idea of a haunted house and flips it entirely on it’s head (using the head key hahaha). I loved it so much that I purchased the audiobook which is a full cast reading through the dialogue written by Joe Hill. It was such a different experience that I recommend reading it first and listening to it second.