Monday, June 10, 2013

My Top Ten Horror novels #10 (Tie!)

Top 10(or 11) horror novels counted down over June and July.

I enjoy doing top ten lists and I have meant to do this one for awhile. The art of the horror novel is a very special one for me. My first horror novel that I remember reading was The Stand by Stephen King, it was my seventh grade year(I still have that copy which has note in the inside cover to do a Social Studies report!). Skeleton Crew by King and Clive Barker's Books of Blood had a bigger impact on me personally, but were talking novels at the moment. Over the years I have grown to love the feeling of closing the book on a well written horror novel.

Generally you have been taken on a journey, often it is one filled with terror. The most important elements often come from well defined characters. For a horror novel to work to have to either care about the characters or imagine yourself in the shoes of the character. No story can be scary if you can't imagine yourself in the moment with the characters.

Imagine for a moment you are lying in bed at 2 AM and someone starts to bang on the door. You will likely go to the door confused and sacred. In a novel that might not seem to be a scary moment but if you put yourself in the moment it will scare you. These are novels I find scary, and why. You may have read them already, and if not I hope you'll check them out.

Number 10 starts with a cheap tie. I honestly could not decide between these last two.

Testament by David Morrell

David Morrell is the author of more than two dozen NY Times bestsellers starting with the classic First Blood. Yep, that First Blood which invented the character Rambo. Testament was his follow up to that novel. I personally love First Blood but Testament to me is even better. It is both a non-supernatural horror novel as well as an effective action thriller.

A masterpiece in many ways. After an amazingly brutal and heartbreaking opening chapter Testament follows a journalist who is targeted by white supremacists after he writes an article about them. The tension and suspense almost never lets up in this classic novel, Morrell's has more traditional horror novels The Totem and Creepers, they are good but Testament to me is the most effective.

The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum The Girl Next Door is also not supernatural. This is an incredibly intimate and intense portrayal of child abuse that is painfully hard to read. It was made into an effective movie but the novel is just one of the most intense reads out there. It also has a great opening sentence. “You think you know pain. You don't know pain..."

The characters are vivid and the novel paints picture so horrible it is both hard to look at but impossible to turn away from. I cringed often and felt genuine disgust as I turned the pages.

The movie is pretty solid. I would suggest reading the book first to get the full experience. That being said it is very faithful and you wont lose out if you watch the movie.

David Agranoff is the author of two published novels the Wuxia Pan style horror fantasy crossover "Hunting The Moon Tribe," and the satire "The Vegan Revolution With Zombies. He is also the author of the Wonderland award short story collection "Screams From a Dying World."

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