October is always a great time of year to dive into a haunted book and I've been asked a few times what some of my favorite reads are for the season so I thought I'd make a little list. No particular order whatsoever, just some recommendations from a guy who loves horror. So let's get started!
- The Shining, by Stephen King- Now this is one of my favorite books of all time so I might be a little jaded here, but this one will scare the hell out of you. Empty hotel in the middle of winter that isn't so empty after all? Yeah, leave the lights on folks.
- Master of the Moors, by Kealan Patrick Burke- Like creepy, foggy moors with things slipping into and out of sight that don't look quite...right? How about an ancient curse handed down through a bloodline, the origins of which aren't completely clear? Throw in atmospheric scenes of dark and stormy nights where any number of monstrous things are waiting outside. Yeah, it's like that.
- A Head Full of Ghosts, by Paul Tremblay- Just recently read this one and folks, it's really something. Combining elements of The Exorcist, reality TV, and a haunting familial dynamic, Tremblay coaxes out a nightmare from a regular suburban setting through an examination of a common social crux of American daily life. And the ending? Oh boy.
- Titanic With Zombies, by Richard Brown- The title says it all. You like history? Like the Titanic? Enjoy zombies? Dig right in. Brown's research of the famous sinking won't leave you with a feeling of inaccuracy. On the contrary the story creates a well-told picture of the last days of the doomed ship. And of course there's zombies. A lot of them.
- Run, by Blake Crouch- This is another of my all-time favorites. If you've never read Crouch, look him up on Amazon and just buy everything the man's written, you won't be sorry. Run sets the stage with an aurora phenomenon changing everyone who witnesses it into homicidal maniacs. Good thing only the majority of the U.S. is affected...
- Usher's Passing, by Robert McCammon- It's so hard to pick a single book by this man. He is one of the authors who influenced me growing up and shaped me into the writer I am. Needless to say his work is held closely to my heart. Usher's Passing is a twisted, supernatural, gothic thrill-ride that doesn't hold back an iota when it comes to creating chills. Brilliantly done novel. Oh, and did I mention it's based on the fictional descendants of Roderick Usher from Poe's short story. Yeah, there's that.
- Mr. Shivers, by Robert Jackson Bennett- First off, Robert Jackson Bennett has so much talent it should be illegal. I'm serious. The guy's won more prestigious awards than any person his age has right to. He needs to quit and give everyone else a chance. Ahem. Anyways, Mr. Shivers is a brilliantly done novel set in the depression era which follows a man hunting someone or something that violently took his daughter's life. Tones of Faulkner and McCarthy shine through in this one. Also, it won the Shirley Jackson Award for best novel in 2010.
- The Monstrumologist series, by Rick Yancey- I know, I know. I'm recommending more than one book here, but seriously, this series is pretty amazing. Imagine a brilliant doctor, akin to Sherlock Holmes, who's adventures take him all over the world in the late 1800s, and who primarily deals with horrible creatures whose only purpose is to consume or destroy human beings. Now imagine he has a young apprentice named Will Henry, taken in by necessity and exposed to a world he never knew existed. And that's only the first layer of this phenomenal series.
- Earthworm Gods, by Brian Keene- This is the epitome of post-apocalyptic novels. I've read great books that set an excellent end-of-the-world tone, but this one surpasses them all. Keene weaves the average life of an old man stranded on a mountain into something much darker and deeper, but always manages to keep a hold on the heart of the story, which is its characters, a trait the author is known for. Excellent read to dive into while it's pouring rain out. Or maybe wait for a sunny day.
- The Passage, by Justin Cronin- What can I say. The storytelling in this book is on par with some of the greats. The world doesn't end in fire or ice in this one. It ends with fangs and a whimper.
- The Mountain Man series, by Keith C. Blackmore- I know, another series. But if you dig zombies, this is a great set of stories to dive into. Keith tells the gritty side of the the zombie apocalypse. You'll laugh with the main character, Gus, cry with him, get plastered with him, and fight off undead hordes in new and inventive ways.
These are just a few of the great books I could think of, I've got tons more that I didn't have time to list. Hopefully some of you will check them out, and if you do, let me know what you think. I'd love to hear your thoughts!