I am a complete sissy when it comes to horror. No spooky movies. No spooky books. I hide my eyes at even the hint of eerie, and my friend Kelly had a bruise on her shoulder for a week after both of us thought mistakenly that Poltergeist was supposed to be a comedy. I kept diving down to hide my eyes in her jacket to avoid being scared out of my mind…that didn’t work for either of us really.
That being said, I present to you Indie Author, Gregory Carrico, to educate, illuminate, and present his top ten literary horror moments. His new book, Children of the Plague has just come out and is going to scare the bejeebers out of you…the links to it are below!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go hide under the covers.
Take it, Gregory!
My Top Ten Horror Books. Sort Of.
By Gregory Carrico
Someone recently asked me my ten favorite horror books. I’m a horror writer, so that’s a fair question, right?
I should be able spit those answers out like cuss words at driver of a camper-van going the speed limit in the passing lane while they beat the dog in their lap for making them press a wrong button and send that text about their co-worker to their co-worker with a cc to the boyfriend they are trying to hide from their mother-in-law, who will almost certainly see the robo-tweet she forgot she set up, and will now have ample reason to tell her husband “I told you so!”
But it really wasn’t that easy. Not even close, as a matter of fact. You see, I wrote Finding Home, my first horror story, in 2011. Prior to that I wrote fantasy, and to be perfectly frank, it was awful. And No, you can’t see any of it. I wrote a horror story and a sci-fi story to exercise my writing muscles, and I loved it. That’s what I’ve been writing since.
Since the age of… I think about fourteen, I’ve read virtually nothing but fantasy novels, textbooks and software manuals. Prior to that, I did the required reading for every teenager and devoured Koontz, King, Poe, and HP Lovecraft. Thinking back to pick out my favorites made me relive the best moments of the best horror books I’d read.
So instead of telling you the what’s and why’s of my ten favorite horror books, I’m going to change things up a little and share my ten favorite scenes from those books, in no particular order.
First is Faerie Tale, by Raymond E. Feist.
A successful Hollywood writer-type leaves the limelight and moves to a farmhouse in Upstate New York and nasty stuff happens.
This one is on my list for two reasons. When I first read it, I thought “One day, I’ll have a house in upstate NY on a farm that overlooks a virgin forest, where I’ll write for a living.” Take away the virgin forest and the living (who knew that everything you earn in NY belongs to the The State?) and that’s where I am. Pretty cool!
The other reason is the cool evil faerie. I think about that thing all the time, even now, and it still creeps me out.
Cujo, by Stephen King
Cover image link: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41TFRrq2srL._AA200_.jpg
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Cujo-ebook/dp/B002SKZBVI
There’s a scene in this book that hit me like a hammer. I literally yelled at the book when I read it. It’s the part when the cop gets out of his car and Cujo is there, waiting for him. He makes a narrow, harrowing escape from the slavering monster dog, and I let out that breath I’d been holding in without realizing it. Whew! Close call. And then the next paragraph explains how that’s what happened in his mind, but in reality, he didn’t escape and Cujo was eating his guts while he was still alive.
I guess that’s something like the old “it was just a dream” ploy that is guaranteed to piss off 90% of readers, but when your name is Stephen King, you have a little more leeway than other writers. Besides, it worked. It blew me away.
Dean Koontz gets two mentions. One for Watchers, the first Koontz novel I ever read, and another for Whispers.
Watchers had some cool elements, including the dog that was smarter than most people (who wouldn’t love a dog that could spell out what he wanted to say using a plastic fridge magnet alphabet?), and a genetically altered baboon monster bred and trained by the military to track down and destroy an enemy. First, have you ever seen a baboon? The normal ones are scary. Mix in genetic mutations and military training, and you’ve got a top notch monster.
Whispers had two bits that stuck very well with me. Psychic identical twin baddies who thought they were really a single person took the old soap-opera trick of bringing back a dead character and saying “But I’m the real Sally. That corpse is my twin sister, Suzy. Again, it worked. But I should say “Don’t try this at home, kids!”
The other thing, at the very end… if you read it, you know what I’m about to say.
Other top horror books include the classics, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Telltale Heart, Fall of the House of Usher, and the Casque of Amantillado. These all made strong impressions on me, but I’m not going to get into the why’s for them. Suffice it to say, Poe.
I have two more that I want to mention, both are newly published by authors I know. We’ll start with Cades Cove by Aiden James.
Cades Cove Cover Link: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71VfF0OLFML._SL1200_.jpg
I’m still reading this one, but I can tell you it will have a spot on my all-time favorites list. I’m not going to give spoilers, because if you like a scary ghost story, you should read this one. This sort of book hangs on getting to know the characters so you can feel their pain as the haunting kicks in. And when it kicks in, Mr. James really kicks it in! He captures the tone, the tension, and the fear of a family in a haunted house, and makes every reader feel their pain and jump at nothing.
Lastly, my new favorite horror author TW Brown breaks some hallowed ground with his zombie novels. Dead: The Ugly Beginning, not only gives us the awesome zombie action one would expect to see here, but the author’s insight into the Human Condition (don’t you hate when people use that term? Me, too!) It gives us some human baddies who make the zombies look peaceful.
Dead: The Ugly Beginning cover link: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/815WTYOMnQL._SL1500_.jpg
I highly recommend all of these books, but especially those by Aiden James and TW Brown, a couple of incredible horror writers, but also genuinely good guys.
I went a bit long on this, so if you stuck with me to the end, you’re a trooper! Thanks!
Gregory Carrico is an Amazon.com Best Selling horror and science fiction writer, and HFA Author of the Year 2013 Finalist. He enjoys crafting bad guys that readers will both care about and despise.
When not creating new worlds and plotting their destruction, he advocates for adopting rescue dogs, and politely urges slower drivers to get out of the passing lane.
Titles and links
Tales from the Mist:
Children of the Plague:
King of Rats: