The best books about madness, fear, and the unknown

John Decarteret Author Of A House Out of Time
By John Decarteret

Who am I?

When I was five my dad brought home a copy of A Nightmare On Elm Street. I walked in the room while my parents were watching it and saw a gruesome murder scene. Freddy scared the life out of me. When I got older I watched the movie and loved it. I became a fan of horror and devoured hundreds of movies and books. I discovered I was translating the scary books into movies in my mind and it was the coolest thing ever. I hope these books freak you out, make you scared, sad, confused, and satisfied at the end just like they did for me.


I wrote...

A House Out of Time

By John Decarteret,

Book cover of A House Out of Time

What is my book about?

A House Out of Time is (on the surface) a mystery story. It is split into three parts to follow different characters who come across the ‘house’ and encounter the strange, impossible, and most certainly dangerous. They are immediately put on edge by the lady of the house who does not speak and sends them to a guest bedroom. A window dominates the setting and the view with its ever-changing landscape sends the occupants of the room into a state of fear as their lives are threatened by different dangers. They try to find a way to escape, and survive the House Out of Time.

The books I picked & why

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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

By Robert Louis Stevenson,

Book cover of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Why this book?

This was a story I first read as a little kid after first reading Treasure Island by the same author. It is a narrative about the complexities of science and the duplicity of human nature. Dr. Jekyll is a kind, well-respected and intelligent scientist who meddles with the darker side of science, as he wants to bring out his 'second' nature which leads up to a twist at the end. Kind of like having an evil twin but not really. This book inspired a character in my story that is the backbone of the whole tale and wouldn’t really work without it.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

By Robert Louis Stevenson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dr. Henry Jekyll is a well-liked and respected physician. When he calls upon his lawyer, Mr. Utterson, to draw up a new will to include a strange new beneficiary, Mr. Utterson takes it upon himself to investigate the identity of this strange man. But nothing sufficiently prepares him for the truth he will uncover! Classics Illustrated tells this wonderful tale in colourful comic strip form, offering an excellent introduction for younger readers. This edition also includes theme discussions and study questions, which can be used both in the classroom or at home to further engage the reader in the work…


Misery

By Stephen King,

Book cover of Misery

Why this book?

Misery was one of the first ever horror books I read and now that I’m an author I totally understand why Stephen King wrote it. This is a little different to traditional horror. No monsters or ghouls or masked murderers chasing a cheerleader through a forest at night with a huge knife. Just a sweet nurse who saves an author's life and just so happens to be his number one fan, and of course a very disturbed individual who decides to keep him captive. Broken legs does make it difficult to run, right? The feeling of hopelessness and being trapped did have an effect on me when reading this book and it certainly made me freak out when I tried to put myself in that place. That feeling was the baseline for my story making it creepy and slightly scary without being too bloody and gory. Misery does have a few moments of bloody horror though.

Misery

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Misery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the exciting build-up to publication of Stephen King's new mainstream novel, LISEY'S STORY, enjoy this world-famous classic novel on audio.


Frankenstein

By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,

Book cover of Frankenstein

Why this book?

I’m sure you all know about Frankenstein, It is an old book and story that has been told and retold but it’s popularity is well deserved. Frankenstein tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment.

Victor Frankenstein was the inspiration behind another character in my story. Although the characters are not alike. Just the idea of a creepy Doctor doing odd and slightly scary things. I found the whole story creepy and weird and it’s a classic that never gets old.

Frankenstein

By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,

Why should I read it?

26 authors picked Frankenstein as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World'

'That rare story to pass from literature into myth' The New York Times

Mary Shelley's chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley on Lake Geneva. The story of Victor Frankenstein who, obsessed with creating life itself, plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, but whose botched creature sets out to destroy his maker, would become the world's most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity. Based on the third…


The Shining

By Stephen King,

Book cover of The Shining

Why this book?

The Shining centers on the life of a struggling writer and recovering alcoholic who accepts a position as the off-season caretaker of the historic Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies. It is a novel filled with richly complex characters. These include the three central characters and supernatural entities. The supernatural elements in this book fascinated me and I always knew I wanted to include something along these lines in my own story, although it really isn’t close to being the same thing. It just sparked my imagination and remains one of my all-time favorite scary reads.

The Shining

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked The Shining as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Before Doctor Sleep, there was The Shining, a classic of modern American horror from the undisputed master, Stephen King.

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around…


I Am Legend

By Richard Matheson,

Book cover of I Am Legend

Why this book?

You may have heard of this because of the movie starring Will Smith. It’s a 1954 post-apocalyptic horror novel that was influential in the modern development of zombie and vampire literature and in popularizing the concept of a worldwide apocalypse due to disease. This book is very powerful in many ways. The loneliness and isolation the main character feels surrounded by monstrous creatures that used to be human is something that sticks with you. It’s a brilliant book that influenced my own story of being alone and fighting for survival.

I Am Legend

By Richard Matheson,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked I Am Legend as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An acclaimed SF novel about vampires. The last man on earth is not alone ...Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth ...but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are hungry for Neville's blood. By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilisation. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn. How long can one man survive like this?


5 book lists we think you will like!

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