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Horror/Thriller book recommendations PLEASE

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Initial post: Sep 1, 2008 6:08:32 AM PDT
Bookwyrm says:
I like to read...........a lot. However, I have a hard time finding new authors. Usually when I pick up a book by an author I've never read but it sounds ends up being a horrible waste of time. So instead of going by the book jacket, I'm asking you, my peers, for advice.

I am going to be just a little bit picky though ~ I don't want to read about politics or espionage ~ I've read so many books of late with those being part of the main topic that I'm sick to death of it. I want something suspenseful that's going to make me want to sleep with the lights on. I don't get much into aliens either so you can leave those out. ( No offense sci-fi folks...To each his own, right?) I can dig monsters, vampires, werewolves, serial killers, downright creepy..but aliens just don't interest me much.
On that note...I'm shutting up :) Thanks in advance for all your suggestions!


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 1, 2008 6:30:30 AM PDT
I'd suggest Yearly Harvest by Ryan Callaway. The premise may not sound great to some people. I was a little unsure of it myself, and thought it would either be really bad or really good. I enjoyed it, though. It's a suspense novel (some horror, but not blood and guts), somewhat supernatural, but it plays serious. Puts two pretty normal down to earth women in a scary, mysterious setting and makes it seem real enough. I didn't sleep well for many a nights, personally.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 1, 2008 9:43:50 AM PDT
I would recommend Medicine Cup by Bill Clem or Skin Deep by him. They are a mixture of medical thriller and horror and are scary as hell. They are also very fast paced. I discovered him last year and he is now one of my favorite authors. As you say, "leave your lights on" when you read him.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 2, 2008 11:40:13 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Sep 2, 2008 11:45:54 AM PDT
leon riggs says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2008 5:23:24 AM PDT
Some gems I've fallen in love with (none of these are recent)...

Ghost Story by Peter Straub was very good; rich and chilling. Not a quick read, though. But better than most horror lit.

I also enjoyed Stephen King's Salem's Lot (vampires infest small town), Misery (insane fan holds writer prisoner), and The Shining (alcoholic dad posessed by ghosts).

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is excellent. The ultimate haunted house tale. The 1963 film was wonderful.

A thriller/coming of age/mystery/adventure/horror book that people adore is Boy's Life by Robert McCammon. Really fun ride of a book.

Ray Bradbury, possibly my favorite author, won me over with Something Wicked This Way Comes... in autumn, two boys discover Mr. Dark's carnival but soon learn that nothing is what it seems, and there's a price to be had for wishes granted.

Have fun!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2008 5:53:23 AM PDT
Bookwyrm says:
Hey Hey Sard~

I have Ghost Story & The Haunting of Hill House on the way as we speak :) I've read & re-read the 3 King books you mentioned..among a few of his others (earlier work of course). He still manages to creep me out once I wade through the padding he seems to be fond of. I've got Boy's Life & a few other McCammon books on my list-he seems to be the popular vote for chillers & I'll pop Bradbury on there too. Seems I've heard of that book before..sounds good :) Thanks bunches!


Thanks all for your suggestions.....keep 'em coming...lots of room on my list and in my book room hehe

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2008 6:41:19 AM PDT
Bookwyrm says:
Just ordered "Something Wicked......., The Halloween Tree & The October Country" by Bradbury and "Boy's Life & Swan Song" (saw a post somewhere that that one was also good) by McCammon.........I'm so excited!! :)

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2008 10:29:17 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2008 11:13:07 AM PDT
Hello there BookWyrm,

Always a pleasure to share good stuff.

There's another book I read which was creepy, called The Land of Laughs. I forget the author, but it's about a book collector fellow who has the chance to do a biography of his favorite children's book author from his youth, but when he arrives in the author's town... well, suffice to say odd things begin to happen.

Have you tried Clive Barker? I enjoyed The Hellbound Heart (made into the gory and interesting horror film Hellraiser in 1987, soon to be remade), and even his children's fantasy, The Thief of Always, is good.

I recently read the creepy fantasy Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Easy read, and very entertaining. Sometimes children's literature is just total fun. I've always loved Roald Dahl, too. Anyway, the story Coraline is being made into an animated or stop-motion movie. The audio book narrated by Gaiman is good. I always like hearing the way the author intended the words to sound... And I'm a sucker for an English accent anyway. :)


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2008 12:44:51 PM PDT
Hey Bookwyrm,

Hey read my new book I just wrote its about.... No I'm only joking. I hate these book pushers sometimes.

Anyway I got some cool recomendations.
Infected, Scott Sigler, was great I just finished it, and it had me itching all over. Crazy mysterious Virus.
The Lost, Jack Ketchum, just knocked my socks off. Not for the weak of heart. Lunatic drugged out killer.
The summer of night, Dan Simmons, Great read comparable to IT. Wonerfully written Kid's adventure. Fight against evil.
The Terror, Dan Simmons, Historical thriller, Mysterious Tundra Monster.
And of course can't forget King and Koontz. And their most recently memorable and recommended novels would be:
S. KIng Duma Key, Great Story and Characters.
Koontz's The husband was a wild thrill ride.


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 5, 2008 5:00:27 AM PDT
Bookwyrm says:
I'll check out the Clive Barker books for sure....someone just recommended a short story collection of his to me. I agree with you about the children's lit. I ADORED Roald Dahl when I was younger and I still read them once in a while. I have a shelf full of his stuff. He's twisted..right up my alley (ha ha) I love The Witches, The Twits (hilarious) and I have a big soft spot for Matilda (how many of us wish WE could've done this in school?) There are still quite a few more of his I have on my 'to buy' list but I'm getting there. And yes..I love the English accents. *sigh*

Thanks- you made me 'LoL' with your comment. I totally understand advertising new authors...but there are specific discussions for that *sigh*
I'll check out the books you listed-they sound good. I just ordered a book by Jack Ketchum but for the life of me I can't remember the title....sometimes I think my whole life is a 'blond moment'. I like older King stuff but maybe I'll give Duma Key a try. As for Koontz...well, we'll see. I've only ever found 2 of his books to be good so I'm skeptical. (I know, picky picky ha ha)

Thanks for the rec's everyone!! Keep 'em coming :)


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 5, 2008 6:24:58 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 5, 2008 6:26:50 AM PDT
Jody says:
I'm a thriller reader who loves a great story seasoned with hints of the supernatural rather than in your face bloodsucking a la Koontz and King. I highly, highly recommend the Prendergast series by Preston and Child. The first book is "Relic" and you'll never feel the same way about a museum. There are at least eight P & C's and should keep you going a while. My favorite is "The Cabinet of Curiosities". My library can't make up its mind whether they are mysteries or mainstream fiction, so they're shelved in both places. Both Preston and Child have written some pretty good solo books, but the Prendergast series is just stunning.

I also really enjoyed Elizabeth Kostova's "The Historian", a modern telling of the Dracula tale that'll have you searching for garlic in the middle of the night. It's long, layered and a great winter book. And speaking of which--have you read Bram Stoker's original? Every other Dracula tale pales in comparison.

Some pretty good literary thrillers are "The Geographer's Library", "The Rule of Four" and I just finished and liked "Sepulchre" by Kate Mosse. None of these had me sleeping with the lights on, but I have been looking over my shoulder a lot.

In the same vein, so to speak, try Arturo Perez-Reverte. Both his "Club Dumas" and "Flanders Panel" have been made into pretty good movies. "Dumas" was made into "The Ninth Gate" with Johnny Depp and "Flanders Panel" was made into the lesser known "Uncovered" starring Kate Beckinsale should you want to take a break from reading.

Good luck, and when you find some really great books, please share the titles! We're all looking for them.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 5, 2008 6:30:44 AM PDT
Mr. Hal Jam says:
Jonathan Carroll wrote 'The Land of Laughs." his first novel, i believe, and he has only gotten better. i found LOL's ending somewhat unsatisfying.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 5, 2008 6:54:33 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 5, 2008 6:58:53 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Sep 5, 2008 7:19:23 AM PDT
Jocabel31 says:
Heartsick by Chelsea Cain is a great read about a woman serial killer.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 5, 2008 11:47:13 AM PDT
Bookwyrm says:
Jody ~

Wow.. Thank you so much for the rec's. Sounds like I'm going to be busy for a while ;) Yes, I own a copy of the original Dracula and have read it several's one of my favorite books. I agree..I've never found a 'knock-off' that has been near as good.

Hal~ I've seen a few people mention Carroll before and I have him on my search list. :) thank you.

Mr. Gorman~ I'll take a look.. thank you

Joca~ I like the idea of a female 'baddie'.. I'll give it a peek. Thanks :)

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 5, 2008 2:54:22 PM PDT
Ally says:
Helllooo BookWyrm...

I am a huge Halloween- paranormal fan, especially with movies and books! My favorite scaries in book form...the shining...haunting of hill house...coast to coast ghosts was interesting.

But the best new book/new author I have recently found on was a book called "Haunted Lily - The Nightmare Ball" by Sidney Fox. I thought it was amazing! Totally fast-paced with great "Believeable and likable" characters. The whole book had me gripped from page one. Reading late into the night I really was so scared, every creak in my house freaked me out! That to me is a great book. The kind that sticks in your mind long after you finished. With Halloween coming up...thats the book I would highly, highly, recommend!


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2008 6:28:07 AM PDT
Bookwyrm says:
Helllooooo back to you Ally!

I love Halloween & the paranormal also. I'm already planning my Halloween party..dressing up, munchies, spooky decorations & creepy movies...I can't wait!! I have seen a few raves about 'Haunted Lily' so I'll be sure to check it out. I love to be scared! Thanks for the rec ;) Happy Haunting!


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2008 4:32:08 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 6, 2008 4:35:55 PM PDT
Hey ~M~ I have been reading some authors that are newer to me-I also order alot from Cemetary Dance and have gotten some great books. Try Gary Braunbeck, Jack Ketchum, Ray Garton, Richard Laymon, Jack Skipp, Simon Clark, Chet Williamson, Tom Picirilli. Most all of their books are very good.I have read all SK,Koontz,Straub & C. Barker(before he went to Fantasy) books. If you want some graphic serial killers try Michael Slades's books-best to start with older ones- the characters are the same. Headhunter, Ghoul, Cutthroat, Ripper. All in Canada with RCMP-gives a different flavor to the stories. OK, I''m done :) Sue

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2008 4:42:18 PM PDT
If you want a 'make me want to sleep with the lights on' book, try 'False Memories' by Dean Koontz. It grabs you and does not let go. 'Intensity' by him is also very, well, intense.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2008 6:25:01 AM PDT
Bookwyrm says:
S.J ~ Thanks for the author list. I just added a Picirilli book to my wish list-can't remember the name-but the reviews were good & the synopsis sounded like I'd like it. I have a few Ketchum & Laymon books on order as well. As far as Koontz goes..with all the rec's I've been getting on his books, I guess I'll give him another shot. I didn't like him when I read him but I'll try again. The serial killer books sound great too :) Thanks bunches!

Hey Sard ~

Quick question...I saw somewhere that you mentioned 'The Covenant' (I THINK it was you) .. Who is the author?? Thanks.


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2008 8:28:10 PM PDT
gardener97 says:
I liked the Prendergast novels too - in fact I liked all their books... they write together and separately. Utopia was excellent.

John Connolly - dark and unpredictable... check his website to read them in the right order...

Val McDermid - - her books I won't get on CD as some of the scenes are so gruesome, I actually skim over them - my friend calls this slasher porno... but the stories are great!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 8, 2008 1:13:02 PM PDT
Ally says:
Wwwwyrrrrmmm...the Nightmare Ball in "Haunted Lily - The Nightmare Ball" is this huge amazing Halloween party at Lily's (the main character) mansion! You want ideas for your Haloween, this book will blow you away!!!

Happy Haunting to you!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 8, 2008 1:48:08 PM PDT
Hi M! I'd like to second the rec for "Coraline"--- it's very Roald Dahl-esque, but also very sick and creepy. Lovely little horror/fantasy gem.

I'd also like to recommend "Hide and Seek" by Jack Ketchum. This one will knock your socks off! I read almost every horror book that is published and consider myself pretty jaded, but this one scared me senseless. To get the full effect, don't read any reviews, etc that might spoil the ending--- just dive right in.

If you are looking for a nice little easy-reading guilty pleasure, I would recommend Richard Laymon's "The Woods are Dark." It's a pretty straightforward story with not much character development, but it's fun to read and plenty scary with just enough blood and guts and some sex thrown in for good measure.

If you want something that will make you sleep with the lights on, surprisingly enough I would recommend Libba Bray's "Great and Terrible Beauty" trilogy. It's a trilogy about a bunch of girls discovering magic at a boarding school---- sort of a girly Harry Potter story, but a lot creepier and more sensual at the same time. It's very dark with some really scary baddies and monsters.

Lastly I would recommend one of my favorite books EVER, "Grotesque" by Natsuo Kirino. This is a mystery/thriller about a killer who is targeting prostitutes. Not only does this one keep you guess the whole way through, it is creepy as HECK! One warning: this one isn't for the faint of heart. There's a lot of graphic/disturbing sexual content, violence, etc. But if you can stomach it you will be really glad you read it. No one delivers thrills like Natsuo Kirino.
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Discussion in:  Thriller forum
Participants:  270
Total posts:  502
Initial post:  Sep 1, 2008
Latest post:  May 7, 2012

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