By Sean Tuohy
It is that time of year again when costumed children pound on your door and demand candy. While waiting for the next chubby pre-teen wearing a homemade Batman costume to arrive at your door, why don’t you crack open a horror novel?
We’ve put together a list of the top five modern horror novels to help you question that creaking sound coming from upstairs. Throw on a pair of Depends and get ready to be scared shitless.
Want to go camping? Do not read this novel. Want to have blood-soaked nightmares caused by a crafty written novel? Then pick up The Troop. During Cutter’s camping trip all hell breaks lose…and quickly. The characters create a strong connection with the reader, which makes the gore in the novel that much more painful.
How do comedy writers let out their stress? Some write horror novels like William Peter Blaty. The former “Pink Panther” writer decided that making people wet themselves from fear was better then making them wet themselves from laughing too hard. His most chilling work is Legion. The story features a demon that takes hold of elderly people in a coma and uses them to commit murder around the city. and the detective trying to stop him. The book was turned into “Exorcist III” despite the fact that there isn’t an exorcist in the novel. The film and the book are both spine-tingling good and should not be enjoyed in the dark.
This book introduced us to Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the only human being who can make Chianti terrifying, and reminded us that we should invest in new locks. Harris designs a horrifyingly real serial killer. The Red Dragon—a deformed man who is mentally unstable but tries to deal with his emotions—kills families in their sleep. The novel dives into the killer’s twisted mind and examines his trauma, while at the same time following the burnt out FBI profiler trying to capture him. Thrilling and dark, Red Dragon reminds you that anyone can be a killer.
Adventure and good times quickly dissolve into a fight to stay alive in Scott Smith’s novel. The horror story features a group of young Americans vacationing in Central America who stumble upon ruins. Not surprisingly, things go horribly wrong. Smith masterly mixes spine-chilling tension and blood-curdling horror in this short novel.
Really, you didn’t see this coming? Daniel Ford and I devoted an entire podcast episode last year (you can listen to it below)! This man is a king (see what I did there?). The Shining perfectly showcases King’s talent as a master storyteller. The true horror of the novel is not the ghost or the evil hotel, but watching a loving family being slowly ripped apart. Jack’s fall from good husband and father struggling with demons to blood-thirty murderer is gut wrenching. Oh, and the lady in the bathtub is freaky!