The best horror books I read again and again and again

Who am I?

One of the gifts of the horror genre is that the stories use metaphor to examine human behaviors that defy understanding. My favorite horror novels, novellas, and short stories can be read again and again. While my Feral graphic novel series is for middle school readers, I wanted to provide grey areas, perhaps more than the editor always liked! I wanted the adventure, the scares, the questions, the uncertainty that would let the small town of Feral take on a larger-than-life presence for a reader and encourage revisiting it whenever the mood strikes. It's almost pleasant, the rhythm, the anticipation. A little unnerving too.

I wrote...

Last Exit to Feral

By Mark Fearing,

Book cover of Last Exit to Feral

What is my book about?

Feral is littered with secrets, mysteries, and unexplained disappearances. The town has always been weird… and most residents just accept that. But intrepid young investigators Freya and Monica are sure that Feral is getting weirder. Kids are disappearing more and more, signs of the supernatural are surfacing in new places, and the lights went on in the abandoned Messner Mansion.

The adventures from Welcome to Feral continue as they descend into the deep, dark passages hidden below the haunted town. If they aren’t careful, they might become the town’s next unsolved mystery! With vibrant art, clever humor, and plenty of thrills, animator Mark Fearing conjures a fearsome saga out of small-town terrors.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of North American Lake Monsters: Stories

Mark Fearing Why did I love this book?

Each short story is an epic in disguise. They have unique settings, and twists on the predictable beats of a horror genre keep you guessing.

Real life is more frightening than the monsters we imagine, isn't it? Highly original and engaging, I read the book three times in the first year of ownership.

By Nathan Ballingrud,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked North American Lake Monsters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nathan Ballingrud's Shirley Jackson Award winning debut collection is a shattering and luminous experience not to be missed by those who love to explore the darker parts of the human psyche. Monsters, real and imagined, external and internal, are the subject. They are us and we are them and Ballingrud's intense focus makes these stories incredibly intense and irresistible. These are love stories. And also monster stories. Sometimes these are monsters in their traditional guises, sometimes they wear the faces of parents, lovers, or ourselves. The often working-class people in these stories are driven to extremes by love. Sometimes, they…

Book cover of The Dunwich Horror and Others

Mark Fearing Why did I love this book?

It's sort of a classic, and yet, there's more to this story than the formal style of the peculiar author. It creates almost a trance when I read it. So many other authors have grabbed parts of this tale, and so many books and movies seem to resonate with aspects of the tale.

The odd Americana aspect of the setting and the historical overtones lull you into solitude while the plot twists the hold on your mind ever tighter. It's a favorite, even though I admit it can be a difficult read when compared to the pacing of modern genre writing.

By H. P. Lovecraft,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dunwich Horror and Others as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Chilling experiences in the supernatural world are revealed in detail in sixteen macabre tales

Book cover of Full Dark, No Stars

Mark Fearing Why did I love this book?

This is a short story collection I return to every few years. There are four novellas in this collection, but each of them was delivered directly to my cerebral cortex. I can recall passages from each story. And I can see the locations.

I feel King is at his best when he's twisting his way through novellas and short stories. After reading "1922", it was weeks before I stopped seeing the well. And weeks before, I stopped shaking my head at what Wilfred James did or the grit of Tess in "Big Driver" or the pettiness of Dave Streeter. This is worth reading every year.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Full Dark, No Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the master of the long story form, the Sunday Times No. 1 besteller, Full Dark, No Stars - described by the Sunday Telegraph as 'an extraordinary collection, thrillingly merciless, and a career high point' - now with a stunning new cover look.

Is it possible to fully know anyone? Even those we love the most? What tips someone over the edge to commit a crime?

In '1922', a story which was adapted into a Netflix original film, a Nebraska farmer, the turning point comes when his wife threatens to sell off the family homestead.

In 'Big Driver', a cozy…

Book cover of The Keep

Mark Fearing Why did I love this book?

This was one of the first horror novels I read, so it has almost a mystical hold on me. I returned to it quite a few times through the years turning my paperback edition into a dogeared mess.

It was the first time I read a story where the real world of politics and cruelty were tied to the immortal, the unliving, the monsters of our imagination. The mix of horror and the supernatural works in this book as well as anything I've read.

And the scene under the keep, the tunnels that kept me awake as a youngster, and I still look at it as a masterclass on how to build fear and suspense.

By F. Paul Wilson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Keep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

The Keep is the first book in the Adversary Cycle from bestselling author F. Paul Wilson and the basis for the 1983 cult classic horror film written and directed by Michael Mann.

"Something is murdering my men."

Thus reads the message received from a Nazi commander stationed in a small castle high in the remote Transylvanian Alps. Invisible and silent, the enemy selects one victim per night, leaving the bloodless and mutilated corpses behind to terrify its future victims.

When an elite SS extermination squad is dispatched to solve the problem, the men find something that's both powerful and terrifying.…

Book cover of Harrow County Omnibus Volume 1

Mark Fearing Why did I love this book?

This is the only graphic novel/comic book on my list and it goes above and beyond in art and story.

I have enjoyed reading the Harrow County stories many times. I prefer the collected edition where you can take your time and read comic issues 1-16 of Darkhorse Comics Harrow County. The artwork pulls you in, and the story is filled with zippy turns and good dialogue.

It pulls from many of the books I've mentioned in building an early American horror story that heads off in multiple directions. I can smell the grass and trees, hear the click-clack of the horse-pulled carts, and taste autumn in the air while reading these books.

A topic for another time would be examining the different experiences when reading a graphic novel compared to a novel. The strengths and weaknesses, what exactly the illustrations add, but for a horror fan who has never read a graphic novel, you can't go wrong if you start with Harrow County.

By Cullen Bunn, Tyler Crook (illustrator), Carla McNeil (illustrator) , Hannah Lavender (illustrator) , Jenn Lee (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Harrow County Omnibus Volume 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first half of the highly acclaimed, Eisner-nominated horror fantasy tale, collected in a value-priced omnibus.

Emmy always knew that the woods surrounding her home crawled with ghosts and monsters. But on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, she learns that she is connected to these creatures--and to the land itself--in a way she never imagined.

Collects issues 1-16 of Harrow County.

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The Constant Tower

By Carole McDonnell,

Book cover of The Constant Tower

Carole McDonnell Author Of Wind Follower

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Who am I?

Author Armchair anthropologist Asian drama addict Christian Perseverer

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What is my book about?

This is a multicultural epic fantasy with a diverse cast of characters. Sickly fifteen-year-old Prince Psal, the son of warrior-king Nahas, should have been named Crown Prince of all Wheel Clan lands. But his clan disdains the disabled.

When the mysterious self-moving towers that keep humans safe from the Creator's ancient curse rebel, Psal attempts to find the Constant Tower and break the power of the third moon. Psal must risk losing the little respect his father has for him and face the dangers of the unmaking night to find the Constant Tower and save all of humanity.

The Constant Tower

By Carole McDonnell,

What is this book about?

Sickly fifteen year old Prince Psal, the son of the nature-blessed warrior-king Nahas, should have been named Crown Prince of all Wheel Clan lands. A priest-physician like his friend Ephan, Psal lacks a warrior's heart, yet he desires to earn Nahas's respect and become a clan chief. If he cannot do this, he must escape his clan altogether. But his love for Cassia, the daughter of his father's enemy, and his own weaknesses work against him. When war comes, Psal defends Ktwala and her daughter Mahari, wronged by Nahas, and speaks out against the atrocities his clan commits, further jeopardizing…

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