10 horror books too terrifying to handle


  • Books
  • Wednesday, 17 Feb 2016

A good horror story can be a great bedtime story. Photo: Matthew / Flickr

By DEANNA JANES

You’ve got the chills – and it’s not because the temperature outside is dropping. We’re talking horror books from big-name writers who explore the deep, dark corners of the mind to construct terrifying tales that keep you at once frozen in fear and yet excited to turn the page.

Here are 10 such novels you’ll want to read under the covers … with the lights on.

1. Usher's Passing by Robert McCammon 

Inspired by the madness unleashed in Edgar Allen Poe’s original short story, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, McCammon continues the Gothic saga of the Ushers. After his father’s death, Rix, brother of Roderick and Madeline, inherits the Usher empire – and the horrifying secrets dwelling within.

Missing mountain children, the Pumpkin Man, and a mysterious chamber are around the bend.

2. The New Neighbor by Ray Garton

We’ve all heard of the girl next door. But the gorgeous lassie in Garton’s erotic thriller goes beyond heartbreaker to straight-up soul crusher. Literally.

When the Pritchards meet their new neighbour, Lorelle, they notice that’s something off. Perhaps it’s that Lorelle’s seductive ways result in turning her conquests into empty shells of the people they once were.

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3. I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison

A collection of short stories, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream encompasses seven mind-altering tales, one of which shares its name with the book’s title. I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream is a post-apocalyptic tale about supercomputers torturing the few surviving: Ted and his four companions.

Starved, the crew head out to find food in ice caves, though upon arrival it’s not the food they’ll be feeding on. It’s a story that won Ellison a Hugo Award and one you’ll wanna take a bite out of.

4. A Mortal Glamour by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Something wicked is plaguing the holy and the damned in Yarbro’s 14th-century-set historical horror. In France just after the Black Plague, a convent gets a new sister with sinister intentions. Though it’s once she welcomes a mysterious man into the convent that the nuns really go mad.

Settle in for a perverse read that’s in need of exercising the demons.

5. The Room by Hubert Selby Jr

When you’re confined to a jail cell, you have two choices: Go with God or go with the Devil. And the main character of Selby’s second novel, a deeply disturbing read, chooses the latter.

A nameless petty criminal, he falls into a madness filled with hatred and rage. And if you’re at all familiar with Selby’s Requiem For A Dream, then you have a sense of the depths of madness we’re dealing with here.

6. Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg

While looking for missing singer Johnny Favorite, who should be clinging to life in a hospital bed after suffering an accident during a concert, private investigator Harry Angel finds that everyone he questions ends up dead. Part hardboiled mystery, part supernatural thriller, Falling Angel – adapted into the Robert DeNiro film Angel Heart – follows Angel down a rabbit hole of black magic and Voodoo.

7. Those Who Hunt The Night by Barbara Hambly

Someone’s opening coffins during the day and burning vampires to ash. And the only one who can stop it is the aptly named John Asher, a retired British spy.

But it’s not a volunteer mission.

Asher has no choice: His wife has just been put under a spell by Don Simon, one of the oldest vampires, and the only way to save her is for Asher to play along.

PS/ Simon is one character you will not soon forget.

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8. A Dark-Adapted Eye by Ruth Rendell, writing as Barbara Vine

Vera, knifed and killed her sister 30 years ago, Faith looks for answers. A psychologically complex thriller that begins with the title page, A Dark-Adapted Eye won Rendell an Edgar Award.

Often referred to as the godfather of contemporary science fiction and dark fantasy, Sturgeon crafts a poignant yet terrifying genre-bender about a soldier-turned-prisoner who’s obsessed with vampires. Told in an unorthodox narrative form consisting of letters and transcripts, the horrors that make up the man we know as George Smith are hurled at the reader as Sturgeon’s plot propels toward shocking discovery.

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9. Some Of Your Blood by Theodore Sturgeon

Often referred to as the godfather of contemporary science fiction and dark fantasy, Sturgeon crafts a poignant yet terrifying genre-bender about a soldier-turned-prisoner who’s obsessed with vampires.

Told in an unorthodox narrative form consisting of letters and transcripts, the horrors that make up the man we know as George Smith are hurled at the reader as Sturgeon’s plot propels toward shocking discovery.

10. Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand

Musicians need to be inspired. Which is why the members of a British acid-folk band hole up in a macabre mansion to craft their signature album.

Little do they know the place is housing more than just wicked acoustics – it’s cloaked in secrets.

Years later, when the former band members look back on a terrible tragedy that happened that summer, will they uncover the truth, or just more mysteries? – Reuters/The LineUp


This story was originally featured on The-Line-Up.com. The Lineup is the premier digital destination for fans of true crime, horror, the mysterious, and the paranormal.


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