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What's the scariest book you've ever read? / Recommend a scary book

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What's the scariest book you've ever read? / Recommend a scary book

Old 09-18-05, 08:15 AM
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Some will disagree, but I was creeped out most by King's "Geralds Game".
Old 09-18-05, 09:08 AM
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[QUOTE=brainee Warnings to potential readers: first, its out of print and going for really prices used -- but HOLD OFF! The author has confirmed it should come back into print for PB soon. Second, you might want to secure a copy of the sequel as well. "The Rising" leaves the story off at a point that angered/frustrated many readers.[/QUOTE]

The Rising second edition has been back in print for awhile now. So don't pay the jacked up prices you see on ebay.

Also sorry if I sounded like I was being a little to hard on the other reviewer. I do have to admit to being biased. I really like the book and Brian's a friend of mine. If you read the Rising and didn't read City Of The Dead yet you should. It's even more fast paced then The Rising. It's not as scary but it is a hell of alot of fun. Oh and I'm in it.
Old 09-18-05, 01:36 PM
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Here's a few other books/authors that I'd recommend as being "scary". Like I said earlier, it's not the same as my favorite horror book list (there are many stories of the supernatural that I enjoyed immensed but didn't really think were scary). For me, books can scare in a number of ways: some work on a disturbing psychological level, others have great atmosphere, while others have scary/disturbing concepts. I'll try to list things that haven't been mentioned here yet, with things outside the 6-7 authors that seem to comprise 90% of every chain book stores horror section.

Jack Ketchum: "The Girl Next Door" -- it's central themes may be too much for some readers, and its anything but a "fun read". But I found it brilliantly written and truly one of the most horrifying things I've read (made worse that its essentially a true story).
Robert Bloch -- a master of horror short stories, with final twists that send chills up your spine and stay with you long afterword. I'm not up on the best in-print collection, but you're pretty golden with anything of his you find.
Simon Clark: "Darkness Demand", "Blood Crazy" -- a newer author whose work I've enjoyed so far. Atmospheric dread-filled writing.
Harlan Ellison: "Deathbird Stories", "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream", "Shatterday" -- considered more a sci-fi writer, but he's written some of the most chilling and unforgettable short stories I've read.
Richard Laymon: "Travelling Vampire Show", "Funland", "The Cellar" -- More of a "blood-and-guts" writer with a large cult following (unfortunately not getting much released in the US until after he died). Can be sophmoric at times, but even at his worst his books are fast-reading, and he goes places many horror writers wouldn't have the stones to venture.
Joe Lansdale: "The Nightrunners", "The Drive-In", "By Bizarre Hands" -- Lansdale writes in a variety of genres, but his no-holds-barred surrealistic horror is what I like best.
James Herbert: "The Fog", "The Dark" -- Herbert's written many horror novels, but I like the early stuff the best (before it seemed like he made a grab for King-level mega-sales).
Jerzy Kosinski: "The Painted Bird" -- You won't find it in horror, but this is one of the most horrific novels I've read. Don't be fooled by the 1960 publishing date -- this is extreme, gutwrenching, nasty stuff.
T.E.D. Klein: "The Ceremonies" -- A great big Lovecraftian novel by an frustratingly unprolific author.
Sarban: "The Sound of his Horn" -- Forget the lame "Fatherland", this is an alternate-future Nazi-rule story that is truly the stuff of nightmares. Like "The Painted Bird", don't be fooled by the older publishing date -- this is very strong nightmarish stuff.
John Skipp and Craig Spector: "Book of the Dead", "The Bridge", "The Scream" -- Another of the 80's "splatterpunk" authors that seemed to pop up after Barker made it big. Like Laymon, they can be sophmoric at their worst. But at their best, its hold-on-to-your-armrests horror reading.
Phil Rickman: "Candlenight", "Curfew" -- Rickman wrote some big, atmospheric, spooky ghost novels with a Celtic-bent and locale.
Thomas Tessier: "Finishing Touches" -- A mind-bending, perverted, disturbing novel that has just come back into print! Definitely not for the easily offended, or readers who like their books standard and formulaic.
Micheal Slade: "Ghoul", Ripper" -- A number of Canadian authors have combined to write the "Slade" books about the Mounties Special X division. My favorite is still the first, "Ghoul".
Dan Simmons: "Song of Kali" -- writes in a number of genres. The "Hyperion" books are among my all-time favorites (and contain their own share of horror), but "Kali" is my favorite horror title of his. Low-key, creepy, with a building atmosphere of dread, and ultimately packs a big punch (and try to avoid reading online comments, which all too frequently spoil the ending). I prefer this to "Summer of Night", which comes across as trying to copy King's style, and "Carrion Comfort", which stumbles for me under the weight of its epic length -- but many others like those books better.
Peter Straub: "Ghost Story", "Shadowland" -- These early Straub novels are some of my favorite horror, and truly possess a unique and creepy atmosphere and style. I've liked Straub less and less over the years, when all his novels started tying together with shared characters.
Caitlin R Kiernan: "Silk", "Threshold", "Low Red Moon" -- a newer writer with a unique Southern-gothic horror style with Lovecraftian elements. Her horror isn't "in your face", but has a way of drawing me in with her characters and increasing levels of the otherworldly as the stories progress.

Well, that's enough for now! I could go on, but I've spent enough of my Sunday typing on a computer. It's worth the time for me to write out long recommendation lists, if it directs one person to a book they end up liking and never would have heard of before It's tough to find new good horror, since book stores are horribly narrow for their selection.
Old 09-19-05, 08:53 AM
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Great list, brainee. Many titles (and authors) there I hadn't heard of. Your well-written summaries have captured my interest and now I have a seriously overloaded reading list for the next few months. Thank you!
Old 09-19-05, 09:18 AM
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I can't recommend Michael Marshall's "Straw Men" enough. It may not be "scary" in the same way, say "Pet Sematary" is scary, but this is a pretty amazing and intense read.
Old 09-19-05, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by travlr
Also sorry if I sounded like I was being a little to hard on the other reviewer. I do have to admit to being biased. I really like the book and Brian's a friend of mine. If you read the Rising and didn't read City Of The Dead yet you should. It's even more fast paced then The Rising. It's not as scary but it is a hell of alot of fun. Oh and I'm in it.
Which character were you? And it won't help me if you say, "I'm the guy that was killed by the zombie!"

I'm looking forward to Keene's "Earthworm Gods". Too often with horror you see the same story over and over. It's at the point where I see a book with a goth Vampire, game-playing serial killer, or haunted house (to name a few examples) I pretty much dismiss them immediately no matter how good they might be. I'm just tired of reading the same stuff (or at least books marketed as the same). But "Earthworm Gods" certainly sounds like something different. It looks like a mix of "Tremors", Lovecraft, and post-apocalyptic survival. I'm glad to see Keene doing other types of stories, and not take the easy way out and just start churning out zombie books in the world of "The Rising". In fact,
Spoiler:
Keene pretty much seals it by the end of "City of the Dead" that the story is over (with no chance of more follow-ups). Kind of like how Heston wanted to be sure he didn't have to do any more ape movies, so he not only arranged to have his character killed at the end of the first sequel, but had the entire planet destroyed to boot. Of course, good old "time travel" allowed for more Ape movies, but Chuck was in the clear.
Old 09-19-05, 03:39 PM
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I am being redundant here but "Pet Sematary" was the first SK book I ever read. I was in junior high and not used to reading such novels with the length. Needless to say I enjoyed ever minute of it. Very creepy. I've been hooked since. SK writes so dang much I don't have time for other horror authors even though I read "The Thief of Always" by Barker.

I think "Salem's Lot" was pretty scary. As well as his short story "Jerusalem's Lot". "Cycle of the Werewolf" was good too. Nice one sitting read.
Old 09-19-05, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by travlr


The Rising is not hopeless and from your descriptions it's pretty obvious you didn't read it. The Rising is story a divorced fathers quest to rescue his young son after the dead have come back to life. As stated these are not the usual slow shambling zombies. They are demon possessed corpses that retain all the skills of the host body they enter. It's an edge of your seat gory ride.
Hmmm I read it what's make you think I didn't? I even read City of the Dead which continues on with the feeling that the humans don't have a chance of getting through the zombie rising. I didn't love the book more than enfinity but its a must read for a zombie fan.
Old 09-19-05, 05:05 PM
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I am being redundant here, too, but House of Leaves is amazing. I really think it is a must-read, or at least a must-try-to-read. Give it a bit, and if it doesn't get you, oh well. The technical devices in there are just a ton of fun, and the story itself is very gripping. While it does have its difficulties and confusing moments, these are for the most part intended to be so (I would wager), and reward an attentive or willing reader.

By the way, while other people may have come to this book through various paths, I'm into Pynchon, Gass, Gaddis, etc. Perhaps David Foster Wallace is the closest contemporary I can think of.

So--by no means do I mean to demean Steven King, House of Leaves is more of an intellectual thing.
Old 09-19-05, 05:29 PM
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thanks for the heads up on house of leaves. it definitely sounds entertaining. after i finish infinte jest (which could be never at my current pace), this will go in the pile to be read.
Old 09-19-05, 06:23 PM
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Baron as I said in one of my other posts sorry about that. I took you saying hopeless as meaning you just though the book sucked and was a waste of time.

Brainee have you ever read Keene's short the Garden Where My Rain Grows? A few characters from that popup in Earthworm Gods. You describe Earthworm God's almost the same way Keene did before he read an excerpt at Horrorfind this year.

My character in City Of The Dead was named Branson. I make it through about a third of the book before getting taken out. Here's a fun little pic for anyone who's read City. It's Me, Keene, and Big Joe aka Dr. Maynard.
Me Keene Big Joe
Old 09-19-05, 10:12 PM
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Naked Lunch, I suppose, is the scariest thing Ive ever read, but moreso it just kinda freaked me, I dont think Ive ever read anything thats supposed to genuinely be scary...unless you count Goosebumps by RL Stine back in the day of elementary school.
Old 09-20-05, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by travlr

My character in City Of The Dead was named Branson. I make it through about a third of the book before getting taken out. Here's a fun little pic for anyone who's read City. It's Me, Keene, and Big Joe aka Dr. Maynard.
Me Keene Big Joe

Cool
Old 09-20-05, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by ceeece
"Cycle of the Werewolf" was good too. Nice one sitting read.
Cycle of the Werewolf was the first SK book I ever finished, though I tried reading several others and just couldn't get into them. Once I finished CotW, though, my confidence improved and it was smooth sailing from then on out ... probably what I get for trying to read The Gunslinger when I was 7.
Old 09-21-05, 04:39 AM
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The scariest book I've read is 'Where's Waldo?'. I think it's because he looks like a serial killer.
Old 09-21-05, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by brainee
It's worth the time for me to write out long recommendation lists, if it directs one person to a book they end up liking and never would have heard of before It's tough to find new good horror, since book stores are horribly narrow for their selection.
Well I just ordered "The Girl Next Door" so mission accomplished. This board is batting 2 for 2 so far, having introduced me to Brian Keene and Richard Laymon, so heres hoping we can keep the streak alive.
Old 09-21-05, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by boredsilly
Well I just ordered "The Girl Next Door" so mission accomplished. This board is batting 2 for 2 so far, having introduced me to Brian Keene and Richard Laymon, so heres hoping we can keep the streak alive.

Ditto. Just snagged a paperback copy of The Girl Next Door, and I've discovered Brian Keene because of this thread.

Old 09-21-05, 09:54 AM
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Just a word of I guess you would call it warning about The Girl Next Door. This is a very disturbing book that is made even more so since it's based on a real life story. This book pulls no punches and deals with some very graphic and disturbing subject matter.

On another note for those with and interest in horror you may want to checkout this messageboard. Shocklines It's also a great forum for up and coming writers since the majority of the people that post their are writers. People like Brian Keene, Tim Lebbon, Jim Moore, John Skipp, Tom Piccirilli, F Paul Wilson, and tons of others post there all the time.

Last edited by travlr; 09-21-05 at 09:57 AM.
Old 09-22-05, 05:18 AM
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Not the scariest I've read, but Darkfall is quite a good horror book.
Old 09-22-05, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by boredsilly
Well I just ordered "The Girl Next Door" so mission accomplished. This board is batting 2 for 2 so far, having introduced me to Brian Keene and Richard Laymon, so heres hoping we can keep the streak alive.
Uh oh, the pressure's on my suggestion! I can't say "I hope you like it" about this book, because it really doesn't work that way. But if nothing else, TGND always seems to provoke a strong emotional response, and people who read it never forget about it. For the curious, here's the "real" story: http://www.crimelibrary.com/notoriou.../likens/1.html. Reading it before the novel may spoil aspects of the story -- though Ketchum changes some things, the essential elements are the same. Probably my only criticism of how Ketchum changed the story was (absolutely don't read what follows if you haven't read the book yet)...
Spoiler:
how David caused Ruth to fall down the stairs, killing her and exacting a measure of revenge. That bit didn't ring true -- as if Ketchum wanted to end on a slightly more positive emotional note. The true story's ending is much more disturbing and realistic. In real life, the woman (Gertrude) didn't get the death penalty, and actually made parole at a later date. She died of cancer a few years after her release, but it seemed like she should have been punished much more harshly, for perpetrating one of the most repellent crimes in our history.


Anyway, let me know what you think. I don't know if there's a Ketchum thread (or TGND) here -- searching always seems to be disabled when I'm on the site. I still have to track down all of his books -- the only other one I read was the collection "Peaceable Kingdom", which was outstanding in its own right. TGND is considered his best, but I've heard good things about his other true crime horror books, like "Off Season", "Red", and "Lost".
Old 09-22-05, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Fincher Fan
Not the scariest I've read, but Darkfall is quite a good horror book.
Which one? The Koontz book or the Stephen Laws one?
Old 09-22-05, 02:05 PM
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Brainee Jack did a chat about a month ago on one of the other boards I hang out on. There's some good stuff in the transcript if you are interested in finding out more about him. Jack Ketchum Chat Also if you didn't know Jack Ketchum is a pseudonym which explains why people repeatedly call him by his real first name Dallas.
Old 09-22-05, 03:44 PM
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I took the plunge and ordered House of Leaves, and I'm really looking forward to it. Thanks for the suggestion!
Old 09-23-05, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Liver&Onions
I took the plunge and ordered House of Leaves, and I'm really looking forward to it. Thanks for the suggestion!
I thought about getting that too for about 5 minutes and then I read some reviews and all and just knew that book would give me a massive headache. I wish I had the patience for that kind of book though as the premise sounds really cool and the people who "got" it seem to loved it.
Old 09-23-05, 12:12 PM
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another for House of Leaves

Deen Koontz- Intensity

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