Monday, August 15, 2011

Books to Scream About - Horror Fiction

I have always loved a good horror story. I know that it’s a genre that doesn’t appeal to everyone. But I have always been fascinated by stories that shine the light into the dark corners where the monsters await. For my fellow horror fans, or for anyone willing to try something different, here are a few recommendations.

Carrie by Stephen King  
There’s a reason this is a classic. Carrie is the story of a shy high school girl who is mercilessly picked on by practically everyone at her high school. Unfortunately, her home life is not any better. Her mother, Margaret White, is a religious fanatic whose idea of “discipline” could be more accurately described as child abuse.

But Carrie has one other characteristic that makes her more unusual than everyone else: Carrie is telekinetic. She can move objects with the power of her mind. Like any talent, it has to be strengthened by practice- and Carrie practices in secret. But when she is the victim of a cruel prank at the high school prom, she puts her talent to stunning, murderous use. 

This has been made into a movie, a mini-series and even a Broadway musical. There is something about this story that keeps it modern, even though it was originally published in 1974.

The Ridge by Michael Kortya
If you haven’t heard of Michael Kortya yet, try one of his books today. This young author has written a novel that combines a detective story with horror. In the eastern Kentucky woods, a lonely, eccentric man takes his life. The man is found in his lighthouse, a strange landmark in the mountains, along with pictures and other intriguing clues about the area surrounding the lighthouse, called Blade Ridge.

Kevin Kimble, deputy sheriff, and Roy Darmus, resident reporter, were the last two people the victim contacted before taking his own life. Both Kimble and Darmus have been affected by seemingly unrelated tragedies. But the more they research the history of the Ridge, the more they find that their personal tragedies are connected to each other because of the Ridge.

Audrey Clark, a widow who is fulfilling her late husband’s dream of opening a large-cat sanctuary, gets more than she bargained for when she relocates near the Ridge. All the animals grow more and more agitated in their new home, especially at night. Audrey, Sheriff Kimble and Darmus must all find out the truth, before the Ridge claims more victims.

Hater by David Moody
Danny McCoyne is an average guy with a job, wife and kids. His normal if somewhat hectic life is changed by some unexplainably violent and random acts committed in greater and greater numbers. Isolated random occurrences soon become widespread. Danny struggles to protect his family as people all around him turn into crazed killers. People murder strangers, wives murder husbands, children murder parents, and no one can truly trust anyone, even themselves.

The author manages to perfectly capture the unraveling of an average guy’s world into a nightmare world where you may be the next victim or the next killer. The book is disturbingly detailed in its descriptions of a society falling apart at a rapid pace, while highlighting the desperation of the people left trying to protect themselves and their families. If you enjoy horror fiction, you should read Hater. Do yourself a big favor: don’t read it right before bedtime.

Enjoy a chilling thrill with one of these authors, your flashlight, and Fido!

Other Recommended Titles:
Swan Song by Robert McCammon 
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson  
Strangers by Dean Koontz                                                          
Dark Matter by Peter Straub                               

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