James Herbert was known for his sensory horror and his ability to get under the skin of the reader. Lair follows on from his bestseller ‘The Rats’, with many claiming this sequel to be even more gripping than the first book. The plot is bigger and badder; this time the rats infest Epping Forest, with humans becoming helpless rat meat once again. In true Herbert style, Lair is gory and spine-chilling. His no-frills approach to describing the vermin will put you off rats forever, but it makes for a thrilling read, with guaranteed goose bumps from the sheer terror.
You may have enjoyed the brilliant film or stage adaptations, but for unparalleled creepiness, nothing can match Susan Hill’s fantastically eerie original novella all about the tragic secrets that lie behind Eel Marsh House. Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral of the sole inhabitant of the house, where he catches a glimpse of the Woman in Black. A lurking sense of uneasiness begins to take hold, reaffirmed by the reluctance of the locals to talk to this alluring woman with a terrible purpose. Read it – if you dare!
The Walking Dead series of comic books have become extremely popular recently, and Book One is a great starting point for new readers – as well as anyone who loved the television series by the same name or the film ‘28 Days Later’. The story starts with a small-town cop who wakes from a coma only to discover that the world has been overrun by zombies and everything he knew or loved is either missing or completely destroyed. Even if you’re not normally a comic book-reader, this 12-issues-in-one book is bound to get you hooked.
Stephen King is certainly a seasoned writer when it comes to thriller/horror novels, and Revival is the latest of the four books he’s released over the past two years (he’s written 63 in total). This eagerly-anticipated novel is both electrifying and dark, leading the reader through themes of fanaticism, addiction and the notion of what may exist on the other side of life. Set in New England in the 1960s, the story follows a small boy who falls under the spell of an intriguing minister. Many years later, the pair meet again, striking up a relationship which will see them embark on a devilish journey. Knowing King, his latest novel will be sure to chill you to your very core.
James Herbert clearly has a vivid imagination, and this novel from 2003 follows a man, James True, as he returns from an out-of-body experience to discover he has been murdered and mutilated. He has no body to go back into, but must track down his own killer. Was it the town’s serial killer who murdered him, or someone closer to home? This fast-paced thriller follows True as he tries to save his family from becoming the next victims, and will have you turning the pages quicker than you can say “trick or treat”.
Michelle Paver is more renowned as a children’s writer, but she turned her hand towards scaring adults with this horror-ghost story fusion. Desperate to escape pre-war London, 28-year-old Jack Miller snaps up the chance to become an Arctic explorer. But his expedition takes a turn for the worse when all his companions pass away, leaving Jack to fend for himself. But is he completely alone out there? This novel is guaranteed to give you icy, nautical nightmares.
The debut novel from this American author is considered to be a horror novel like no other. Using a combination of narrative and vintage photographs, the book tells the tale of a boy who, after losing his family, follows clues that lead him to a derelict orphanage on a small Welsh island. It is the combination of the images and written story coming together that give the reader a far more terrifying read. Having been a New York Times best seller, this gripping book should surely be at the top of your reading list, too.
This collection of ghost stories has certainly stood the test of time. Published in 1931, M.R. James’s petrifying stories of encounters with ghosts still have the ability to make the reader feel a sense of uneasiness almost a century later. Ruth Rendell once said of M.R. James: “there are some authors one wishes one had never read in order to have the joy of reading them for the first time. For me, M.R. James is one of these”. These ghost stories are beautifully understated, building up a background picture that will fill you with chilling terror this Halloween.
Pick up any one of Edgar Allan Poe’s Gothic works and you’re sure to find yourself thoroughly rattled. But here, you can read a selection of his most popular classic horror fiction tales, including ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ and ‘The Masque of the Red Death’. His books, published in the 1830s and 1840s, have set the standard for many authors to follow, and still dominate the genre of detective fiction. Not only are Poe’s works thrilling, they are also tales of intellectual exploration.
H. P. Lovecraft wrote a number of fascinating tales during his relatively short life. Originally written for pulp magazines of the 1920s and 1930s, this collection of Lovecraft’s stories, brought to you by Gollancz S.F., amalgamate elements of science fiction, horror and cosmic terror that are as powerful today as they were back then. Not only does this book allow Lovecraft’s fans to have a single, definitive volume of his work, it also introduces his fiction to a new generation of readers. Are you brave enough to be one of them?