The Shining is one of the most terrifying books of all-time. I’m in the minority of people who think the movie was a huge let down from the Stephen King classic, but it left out some critical scenes that kept me up at night as a kid including the hedge-animal scene. I couldn’t turn my back on practically anything without thinking it was sneaking up on me for years after that.
If you aren’t familiar, author Joe Hill is actually Stephen King’s son but went with Joe Hill as a pen name to make it on his own. He has a very popular Locke & Key graphic novel series and Horns is my favorite novel that he’s written. Gruesomely honest, the protagonist starts growing devil horns that seem to cause everyone to give him the brutally – and I mean brutally – honest truth. Disgusting and hard to read in parts, this book was oddly moving for me at the end.
You may know Clive Barker’s work more famously as the creator behind the Hellraiser films but he also wrote a bunch of really terrifying novels. Lord of Illusions was also made into a movie and I linked it here because it looks like you can’t get it on Amazon anymore. It’s legit messed up like all of Barker’s work and almost makes you hesitate to admit you’ve read it.
You may not of heard of J.A. Konrath but he is a prolific writer and mainly self-published, cranking out horror/thriller novels at an incredible pace. Origin is a book that hits me in my super nerd area – secret government compounds, ancient texts, the origins of humanity (or demons). Throw in a little humor and I’m all about it!
This books is a little more, “What the hell is happening?” then it is scary, but I put it in as one of my favorite horror novels because I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s so fascinatingly odd that several of the scenes open up your imagination in ways that you can’t fully picture but you can’t fully escape either. There are very few books that have immersed me in their universe with a lasting impression like Annihilation.
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