The best books to feed your horror habit

The Books I Picked & Why

The Talisman

By Stephen King, Peter Straub

Book cover of The Talisman

Why this book?

Although this was not the first Stephen King book I fell in love with, it was the first that crossed fantasy, parallel universes, and horror, which put it at the top of my list. I like things dark, but I also like things to be turned on their head, as Jack’s world is when he ‘flips’ into another time to a place called ‘the territories.’ King does this a lot in his writing, as well as developing his characters so fully you feel like you‘re really there with them as I did with Jack and his companion, Wolf, a talking wolf who comes from the alternate world. Through the character of Wolf, the darker side of our own world is exposed, allowing us to see things from multiple perspectives. I often find that through darker fiction we get to see sides of life we wouldn’t otherwise notice. 


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Nobody True

By James Herbert

Book cover of Nobody True

Why this book?

This book for me was like a comeback for James Herbert as a horror author. I’d always been an avid reader of his, but at some point, his writing seemed to lose its way; the endings didn’t quite deliver anymore and his style chopped and changed. But this book had everything that worked for me as a reader: dark gruesome horror with a paranormal twist. The concept of astral projection and the ‘what if’’ should your body be murdered while you were away; I loved the exploration of this through the character's eyes – and what he found when he hunted down his murderer. It’s chilling and horrific, yet also in some ways heartbreaking, not only for the main character but for the murderer too. I was gripped all the way through.


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Weaveworld

By Clive Barker

Book cover of Weaveworld

Why this book?

Just the very thought of this book makes me excited. Clive Barker loves to go beyond horror reaching into what I call ‘the fantastic’ and Weaveworld offers the best of that. I always recommend this book to those new to his writing. Barker uses crude, brutal words in his horror, giving it a hard edge, but in this book, although there is still plenty of horror, it’s wrapped up in a world of enchantment with fairies and demons. Initially, this enchanted world had been weaved into a carpet to preserve it, rolled up and hidden in an attic, but of course, someone unrolls it and unleashes what is within. This book for me is the ultimate escapism, and Barker's descriptive, imaginative style gives it so much depth. Opening this book and following him into other dimensions, where he combines the perfect mix of fantasy and horror is like my very own world of enchantment.


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The Shadow Fabric

By Mark Cassell

Book cover of The Shadow Fabric

Why this book?

As an indie author, I’m always interested in what other fellow authors are writing, so when I befriended Mark Cassell I wanted to read his work. The Shadow Fabric made me a fan of his writing, and now I read everything he publishes. With this book Mark has established what he calls the Shadow Fabric Mythos, which means he’s written more novellas and short stories along the same theme: an ethereal darkness that takes over people, sucking the life out of them and giving a whole new meaning to the term ‘getting stitched’. Again we have paranormal darkness, which I enjoy as a reader. And with Mark’s writing, he gives a chilly and yet urgent feel to it. You know what is coming, but you can’t look away. My kind of horror.


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Fear Nothing

By Dean Koontz

Book cover of Fear Nothing

Why this book?

This book was my introduction to this famous horror author, and though occasionally Koontz gets repetitive with his characters and storylines, this was something out of the ordinary. We have a character that can only go out at night, and we have non-human escapees from a military research institute. A perfect mix for a gripping read, although for me I was sold on the friendships and relationships in this book. The lead character’s pet dog and his rich surfer dude friend and how they all interact with each other adds humour and lightness to a truly scary story that involves genetically modified animals who can understand humans. Again a supernatural and out-of-the-box story idea that kept me enthralled, and made it stand out.


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