Now that I am back in the groove of reading, I decided that I would get in the spirit of Halloween and read books that will hopefully frighten the shit out of me. Bearing in mind that I sleep with the lights on after watching an episode of Criminal Minds, it doesn’t take a whole lot to frighten me. It is safe to say I am a complete chicken shit! I have spent the last few weeks looking for books online and I have consulted those in my favourite online book club – The Rick O’Shea Book Club and this is the list that I came up with!
If you have read any of the books below or you are going to, please let me know in the comments. (And please let me know on a scale of 0 – terrifying what I should expect!!). Now, on to the books.
Dracula – Bram Stoker
Dracula is a book that I always wanted to read but never managed to get around to. It is a must on any Halloween ‘to be read’ pile. The book centers around a young English lawyer who finds himself caught up in a series of horrifying events during a trip to Count Dracula’s castle. He eventually manages to escape but once he returns home, he realises that a friend is displaying an illness which results in a frantic vampire hunt. Considering that Dracula is 130 years old and continues to top book lists the world over, it is safe to say that it is a must read.
Heart Shaped Box – Joe Hill
Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre — his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, etc. — so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it.
The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker’s sanity.
Eileen – Ottessa Moshfed
Eileen is a fantastic psychological thriller that was nominated for the Man Booker Prize 2016. As the Christmas season approaches, Eileen feels unhappy as she is trapped between caring for her alcoholic Dad and her job in a prison. She spends her days daydreaming of moving to the big city and she spends her nights shoplifting, however this is all about to change when she meets Rebecca, the newest employee in the prison. A friendship between the two soon buds, but Eileen’s affection for Rebecca soon leads her into a crime that surpasses anything she could have ever imagined.
Possessed – Thomas Allen
“The Exorcist”, a 1973 movie about a twelve-year-old girl possessed by the Devil, frightened people more than any horror film ever did. Many moviegoers sought therapy to rid themselves of fears they could not explain. Psychiatrists coined the term “cinematic neurosis” for patients who left the movie feeling a terrifying presence of demons. At the Washington premiere, a young woman stood outside the theater, trembling. “I come out here in the sunlight,” she said, “and I see people’s eyes, and they frighten me.”Among the few moviegoers unmoved by the horror were two priests, Father William S. Bowdern and Father Walter Halloran, members of the Jesuit community at St. Louis University. “Billy came out shaking his head about the little girl bouncing on the bed and urinating on the crucifix,” Halloran remembers. “He was kind of angry. ‘There is a good message that can be given by this thing,’ he said. The message was the fact that evil spirits operate in our world.”Bowdern and Halloran knew that the movie was fictional veneer masking a terrible reality. Night after night in March and April 1949, Bowdern had been an exorcist, with Halloran assisting. Bowdern fervently believed that he had driven a demon from a tormented soul. The victim had been a thirteen-year-old boy strangely lured to St. Louis from a Maryland suburb of Washington. Bowdern’s exorcism had been the inspiration for the movie.The true story of this possession, told in Possessed, is based on a diary kept by a Jesuit priest assisting Father Bowdern. The diary, the most complete account of an exorcism since the Middle Ages, is published for the first time in this revised edition of Possessed.
The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
The Haunting of Hill House is a chilling story of the power of fear. Four seekers have arrived at the rambling old pile known as Hill House. As they begin to cope with horrifying occurrences beyond their control or understanding, they cannot possibly know what lies ahead. For Hill House is gathering its powers – and soon it will choose one of them to make its own. (The Haunting is the film adaptation of this book. I watched this movie when I was a teenager and couldn’t sleep for a week. I just checked IMDB and it gets a 4.9/10 meaning that I have absolutely no tolerance for horrors!!!)
The Man in My Basement – Walter Mosley
This is the mysterious story of a young black man who agrees to an unusual bargain to save the home that has belonged to his family for generations. The man at Charles Blakey’s door has a proposition almost too strange for words. The stranger offers him $50,000 in cash to spend the summer in Charles’s basement, and Charles cannot even begin to guess why. The beautiful house has been in the Blakey family for generations, but Charles has just lost his job and is behind on his mortgage payments. The money would be welcome. But Charles Blakey is black and Anniston Bennet is white, and it is clear that the stranger wants more than a basement view. There is something deeper and darker about his request, and Charles does not need any more trouble. But financial necessity leaves him no choice. Once Anniston Bennet is installed in his basement, Charles is cast into a role he never dreamed of. Anniston has some very particular requests for his landlord, and try as he might, Charles cannot avoid being lured into Bennet’s strange world. At first he resists, but soon he is tempted–tempted to understand a set of codes that has always eluded him, tempted by the opportunity to understand the secret ways of white folks. Charles’s summer with a man in his basement turns into an exploration of inconceivable worlds of power and manipulation, and unimagined realms of humanity. (The Book Depository)
The Woman in Black – Susan Hill
Set on the obligatory English moor, on an isolated causeway, the story has as its hero Arthur Kipps, an up-and-coming young solicitor who has come north from London to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. The routine formalities he anticipates give way to a tumble of events and secrets more sinister and terrifying than any nightmare: the rocking chair in the deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child’s scream in the fog, and most dreadfully–and for Kipps most tragically–The Woman In Black.
This House is Haunted – John Boyne
On a dark and chilling night in 1867, Eliza arrives in Norfolk to take up her new position as governess at Gaudlin Hall. As she begins to make her way across the station platform, the unthinkable happens as a pair of invisible hands push her infront of an oncoming train. Thankfully, she is saved by an observant passenger. However, this is only the beginning of a journey into a world of abandoned children, unexplained occurances and white-knuckle, horrifying experiences that Eliza will to concur to survive the secrets that are hidden within the walls of Gaudlin.
Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone – Stefan Kiesbye
The cover of this book gives me the heebie-jeebies, and once you add the title in, it brings all my worst fears to life. The setting is a small village in the Devil’s Moor. It is a place full of superstition and untouched by time. 4 friends come of age in the village and during this time they come face to face with the darkest secrets that the village has hidden in it’s depths. Your House Is on Fire has been described as a mixture of the Brothers Grimm and Children of the Corn.
The Woman in Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware
This was meant to be the perfect trip. The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship. A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse. Except things don’t go as planned. Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat. Exhausted and emotional, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a mistake – either that, or she is now trapped on a boat with a murderer.
All the Missing Girls – Megan Miranda
It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.
A Night in the Lonesome October
All is not what it seems, but it never is. In the murky London gloom, a knife-wielding gentleman named Jack prowls the midnight streets with his faithful watchdog Snuff – gathering together the grisly ingredients they will need for an upcoming ancient and unearthly rite. For soon after the death of the moon, black magic will summon the Elder Gods back into the world. And all manner of Players, both human and undead, are preparing to participate. Some have come to open the gates. Some have come to slam them shut.
And now the dread night approaches – so let the Game begin.
(This book was recommended to me in the ROSBC and you are supposedly meant to read one chapter a night for the month of October!!)
IT – Stephen King
To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine, was just their hometown: familiar, well ordered for the most part. A good place to live. It was the children who saw – and felt – what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killing. The adults, knowing better, knew nothing. Time passed, and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of IT was deep buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until they were called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.
The Amityville Horror – Jay Anson
On December 18, 1975, a young family of five moved into their new home, complete with finished basement, swimming pool, and boathouse. Twenty-eight days later, they fled in terror, leaving most of their belongings behind. — The fantastic story of their experiences was widely publicized on network television, newspapers, and national magazines. But the Lutz family never disclosed the full details to the media. Now, their own carefully-reconstructed memories — and independent interviews with local clergy and police — reveal their entire harrowing story.
The Bell Witch – Brent Monahan
Known throughout Tennessee as “Old Kate,” the Bell Witch took up residence with John Bell’s family in 1818. It was a cruel and noisy spirit, given to rapping and gnawing sounds before it found its voices. With these voices and its supernatural acts, the Bell Witch tormented the Bell family. This extraordinary book recounts the only documented case in U.S. history when a spirit actually caused a man’s death.