The best books for staying awake at night

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer or horror and suspense books myself, I’ve always sought out exceptional works in the genre that are able to scare me and keep me on the edge of my seat. As a student of the horror film genre as well, a number of the books recommended on my list were made into thrilling movies as well, including Phantoms, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and The Tommyknockers.

I wrote...

The Movies That Make You Scream!

By R. David Fulcher,

Book cover of The Movies That Make You Scream!

What is my book about?

This book looks at a number of adaptations of the written works of Stephen King brought to the big screen and the pressure points in the human psyche that in my opinion makes these movies so successful in their efforts to make us very, very afraid. Finally, a number of horror movie reviews I have written over the years are provided as well as a short original piece of horror fiction for your enjoyment.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Phantoms

R. David Fulcher Why did I love this book?

Phantoms is an exceptional book. When two sisters discover that their hometown of Snowfield, CA is deserted, the reader is instantly pulled into the mystery. Koontz’s powerful description of finding homes deserted without warning, with dinner still on the table in some cases, is uncanny and unsettling. A masterful storyteller, Koontz adds special touches to increase a sense of the supernatural – voices coming from drain pipes, streetlights shattering, and even random bursts of music being heard over loudspeakers by the handful of survivors. The terror reaches a cosmic scale when Dr. Timothy Flyte recognizes the source of the supernatural events as humanity’s “ancient enemy” – a cunning being of massive size that has been feeding on mankind for centuries. I highly recommend this book if you need to stay awake all night!

By Dean Koontz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Phantoms as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Phantoms is gruesome and unrelenting...It's well realized, intelligent, and humane."-Stephen King

They found the town silent, apparently abandoned. Then they found the first body, strangely swollen and still warm. One hundred fifty were dead, 350 missing. But the terror had only begun in the tiny mountain town of Snowfield, California.

At first they thought it was the work of a maniac. Or terrorists. Or toxic contamination. Or a bizarre new disease.

But then they found the truth. And they saw it in the flesh. And it was worse than anything any of them had ever imagined...

Book cover of Something Wicked This Way Comes

R. David Fulcher Why did I love this book?

I’ve always feared carnivals and clowns. If you share this same fear, few books will be more terrifying than Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. In the book, a mysterious ringmaster “Mr. Dark” brings his dark carnival to the small town of Green Town, Illinois. They arrive by train in the middle of one October night and unhappy clowns and other carnival workers set up the circus tents silently. Even the circus animals are quiet. The spookiness grows as the townspeople learn that Mr. Dark can grant their every desire. The only cost is their souls! Much like the many cautionary tales about getting three wishes from a genie in a bottle, Something Wicked This Way Comes reminds the reader that some wishes are better left unfulfilled. 

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Something Wicked This Way Comes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of Ray Bradbury’s best-known and most popular novels, Something Wicked This Way Comes, now featuring a new introduction and material about its longstanding influence on culture and genre.

For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside. The show is about to begin. Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all…

Book cover of The Tommyknockers

R. David Fulcher Why did I love this book?

If you like your scary stories mixed with a dash of science fiction, Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers is highly recommended. Set in fictional Haven, ME, the book revolves around the discovery of a spaceship buried in the woods. As Bobbi Anderson, a local writer, uncovers the ship, both she and the rest of the townspeople are physically and mentally transformed by it. Not all of the changes are welcome – Bobbi loses interest in food and starts losing hair and teeth, but in turn becomes part of a shared consciousness that makes her capable of the most amazing inventions, including a telepathic typewriter. Only Jim Gardner is immune due to a steel plate in his head, and it is up to him to stop the hypnotic spell of The Tommyknockers.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Stephen King never stops giving us his all” (Chicago Tribune) in this #1 national bestseller about the idyllic small town of Haven, Maine, and its encounter with a deadly evil out for a diabolical invasion of body, soul—and mind.

Something was happening in Bobbi Anderson’s idyllic small town of Haven, Maine. Something that gave every man, woman, and child in Haven powers far beyond those of ordinary mortals. Something that turned the town into a deathtrap for all outsiders. Something that is buried in the woods behind Bobbi’s house. With the help of her friend, Jim Gardener, they uncover an…

Book cover of Intensity

R. David Fulcher Why did I love this book?

If you want a nonstop adrenaline rush to keep you up, you won’t find a better book than IntensityThis book also includes one of the strongest protagonists you’re likely to encounter in popular fiction, Chyna Shepherd. In the book, a serial killer named Edgler Vess kills the entire family of one of Chyna’s friends while she is visiting for the weekend. Instead of escaping, Chyna finds the courage to pursue the killer, and the two begin a relentless cat-and-mouse game that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Koontz has also created one of his creepiest villains ever with the invention of Edgler Vess, a killer since childhood that craves above all an intensity of the senses in all that he experiences. 

By Dean Koontz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

If you delight in the suspense of Stephen King and Harlan Coben, you'll love Intensity - a classic thriller by Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz.

Edgler Vess is a sociopath intent on murder. He lives for one purpose only: to satisfy all appetites as they arise, seeking ever more outrageous experience. To live with intensity.

When he attacks her friend, Laura, Chyna Shepherd is saved by the instincts developed during a dark and turbulent childhood. Not knowing Laura is already dead, Chyna follows, hoping to save her friend, as Vess carries her body to his…

Book cover of The Servants of Twilight

R. David Fulcher Why did I love this book?

If you’re awake at night due to paranoia, then The Servants of Twilight comes highly recommended. The book creates an atmosphere of paranoia much like the movie The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In the book single mother Christine Scavello tries to save her son from cult members of “The Twilight,” a cult led by the evil and delusional Grace Spivey. Grace accuses Joey of being the antichrist after bumping into him at a local mall. Christine enlists the help of Private Detective Charlie Harrison to protect her and Joey from the cult. However, Grace’s followers are everywhere. Even police officers follow Grace’s orders to destroy the young boy, forcing Charlie, Christine, and Joey to run for their lives against a seemingly unbeatable foe. 

By Dean Koontz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

To his mother, Joey seems an ordinary six-year-old boy - special to her, but to no one else. To the Servants of Twilight, he is an evil presence who must be destroyed - an Anti-Christ who must die.

The terrifying ordeal for Joey and his mother begins in the supermarket car park where an old woman accosts them and pursues them with her terrible threats. Christine's world is turned into a nightmare of terror. Only her love for her child, and the support of the one man who believes her, gives her the chance to survive the Servants of Twilight...…

You might also like...

Split Decision

By David Perlmutter,

Book cover of Split Decision

David Perlmutter Author Of The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a freelance writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, specializing in media history and speculative fiction. I have been enchanted by animation since childhood and followed many series avidly through adulthood. My viewing inspired my MA thesis on the history of animation, out of which grew two books on the history and theory of animation on television, America 'Toons In: A History of Television Animation (available from McFarland and Co.) and The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows (available from Rowman and Littlefield). Hopefully, others will follow.

David's book list on understanding the history of animation

What is my book about?

Jefferson Ball, the mightiest female dog in a universe of the same, is, despite her anti-heroic behavior, intent on keeping her legacy as an athlete and adventurer intact. So, when female teenage robot Jody Ryder inadvertently angers her by smashing her high school records, Jefferson is intent on proving her superiority by outmuscling the robot in a not-so-fair fight. Not wanting to seem like a coward, and eager to end her enemy's trash talking, Jody agrees.

However, they have been lured to fight each other by circumstances beyond their control. Which are intent on destroying them if they don't destroy each other in combat first...

5 book lists we think you will like!

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