Currently reading: The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley and enjoying it!
Everyone will mention Frankenstein and Dracula as two classic gothic horror novels to read for Halloween. With classic novels you can either love them or hate them, they don’t usually live up to the hype but only because the style is so different to our modern fiction. Others to try: The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe.
Don’t like scary books?
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte are also considered gothic novels. They are not horror novels but they have gothic elements, as does Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.
You can’t really talk about horror novels without mentioning the master of horror Stephen King, especially with the recent release of the I.T. remake. The Shining is one of my favourites and the film is a must-see. I have a mixed opinion of King’s books, some I’ve loved and some I’ve hated. Carrie- his debut novel- is a good place to start and it’s a fairly short novel so great if you don’t have much time to read or have too many books on the go-like me.
James Herbert is the UK’s master horror writer. Rats was his debut novel, a gory story set in his hometown of London. A lot of people recommend The Magic Cottage as one of his best. My favourites are: Others and Nobody True. Nobody True is about a man who can astral project out of his body, it’s chilling because someone goes into his body! Others unnerved me because when you turn to the last page Herbert states that it’s all based on a true story! His debut Rats is a good place to start, a short read too. His last book is the third about psychic investigator David Ash, entitled: Ash, I can’t praise James Herbert’s books enough.
Contemporary recommendations I’ve read:
- Susan Hill: you may know her as the writer of The Woman In Black, her books are set in the past. I would recommend The Small Hand and The Woman In Black as examples of creepy gothic novels. They are not gory.
- Florence and Giles by John Harding, this is another gothic tale creepy story it reminded me of The Turn Of The Screw.
John Ajvide Lindqvist: author of Let The Right One In, this is another writer who knows how to tell a good horror! Handling The Undead a novel about people coming back from the day was an unnerving read.
Books I haven’t read but people have recommended:
- Joe Hill: writer of Heart Shaped Box and Horns.
- The Ghost Writer by John Harwood, my mother keeps telling me to read this book, she doesn’t read much horror but she likes Susan Hill.
- The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – a story of an abandoned house and secrets to be discovered. Sounds good.
- Shirley Jackson: the writer of The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived In The Castle, considered a classic horror writer.
- Clive Barker: author of The Hellbound Heart and the genuis behind Hellrasier. I heard about his books after watching the film Nightbreed (amazing!) and have still not got around to reading his books and book the film is adapted from Cabal.