The imagination is a wonderful thing, and in horror terms, is the perfect tool for spine tingling scares. A well-worded scary story can be enough to give you shivers, bring you out in goosebumps and have you turning on all the lights in the house. Below is a countdown of my top five scary reads that I wholeheartedly recommend for reading alone, in the dark for brave bookworm thrills!
5. The Shadow Over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft
I was introduced to the original story in the inspired anthology Shadows over Innsmouth. It tells of the strange coastal town of Innsmouth that hides a supernatural secret in the form of its fishy inhabitants. Late night creeping and otherworldly creatures coming out the sea are the focus of this atmospheric tale that gave birth to Cthulhu mythology.
4. Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin
Yes, you read that correctly. The man that gave us Game of Thrones also wrote a creepy vampire tale set in New Orleans. A steamboat on the Missisippi river is the venue for vampires versus hunters after a spate of murders become attributed to the bloodsucking creatures. Bloody, eerie and dark, this is a tale to satisfy any vampire fan.
3. Banquet for the Damned by Adam Nevill
In Scotland’s oldest University town, a professor that claims to commune with spirits plays with a power far beyond his means. With hauntings in the night and sinister disappearances, this occult thriller genuinely gave me nightmares. I was at University at the time and got way too engrossed, but that’s not to say that the moody setting and dark mix of ghosts and witchcraft didn’t play their wicked part!
2. The Beast House Trilogy by Richard Laymon
Richard Laymon is a master of horror for me and I have been scared by many of his books but this one really got to me. This saga tells of a horrendous creature whose legacy lives through its monstrous acts and its hybrid offspring. This bloody, disturbing book had me dreaming of monster sex and seeing grotesque faces in the dark. Horrifically brilliant this is an epic tale for hardcore horror readers.
1. The Rats by James Herbert
This is my ultimate scary read. I’m not the biggest fan of rats anyway but the cleverly crafted storyline of The Rats genuinely terrified me. Written in 1974, this book has scared generations, with its simple premise and graphic depictions of giant rat attacks. Gory and creepy, this book takes a seemingly ordinary creature and gives it a horrifying thirst for blood.
So there you have it. Five books that thrilled and scared me and ones that I will never read alone again. Did of any of these have the same effect on you? Or have you read something else so scary it left you wanting to sleep with the lights on? A good scary novel can stay with you for years so I would love to hear more experiences of books that go bump in the night!