Category Archives: Horror

Horns by Joe Hill

“He threw the Bible into the trumpet case as well. There had to be something in there, some useful tips for his situation, a homeopathic remedy you could apply when you came down with a bad case of the devil.”

Ignatius Perrish is having a rough year. Merrin, the love of his life, was brutally murdered and while there is nothing linking him to the crime most of the town is certain he did it. So, when he wakes up in a drunken stupor with no memory of the night previous, Ig is certain he’s just imagining the horns growing out of his head. Soon he discovers that with his new head accessories comes new powers. People start telling him things-how they really feel about him and also, what they really know. Determined to find the real killer Ig starts a journey of revenge and personal transformation. For, as we all know, the devil is in the details. (oh, you knew I was going there.)

Joe Hill is also on my short list of authors that are automatic purchases. Feel free to analyze me-it is great fun. He has said that horror is rooted in sympathy…in understanding what it would be like to suffer the worst. His books have that gift of touching that base humanity in the reader while scaring the bejesus out of you. Horns is a character driven novel told mostly from the viewpoint of Ig with flashbacks to his life growing up as well as flashbacks told from the viewpoint of other characters. Part mystery, part horror, part commentary on life, love and religion, Horns is the kind of read that will make you wax poetic about the nature of good and evil with your best friend at the bar on a Saturday night. 2010, 370 pages.

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Posted by on July 11, 2011 in Horror


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The Dead Path By Stephen M. Irwin

Are you scared of spiders? Heh, good luck with this one!

I am a card carrying member of the arachnophobia club. I’ve run into a spiderweb while mowing and come out of my panicked state in my neighbors yard having mowed over their shrubbery.  I’ve sprayed an entire can of scrubbing bubbles on one spider because I couldn’t stop screeching long enough to see if it was already dead. I don’t do spiders.

So, that I’m telling you this is a horror/thriller book worthy of your attention is a big deal. Nicholas is a haunted man both mentally and literally. Blaming himself for his wife’s untimely death, he moves back to Australia to live with his mother. He had hoped the move would also stop his visions of ghosts reliving the final moments of their lives in the location of their demise. It didn’t. To make matters worse, returning to his childhood home brings up memories of events and the woods that helped shape him into the shattered man he is today.

What I liked about this book was the combination of building tension as the story unfolds coupled with the intelligent almost poetic prose that made the reading experience incredibly visual and evocative. The characters are well-developed and I didn’t realize it until the end but besides Nicholas, almost every supportive character in the book is a woman. I do not think this a coincidence. I had to read in small doses and only during the day but towards the end, it was impossible to put down and I read well into the night…and then didn’t sleep for two days. Creepy, haunting and unforgettable.  2010, 374 pages.

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Posted by on June 1, 2011 in Horror


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Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

I chose this book as the required reading for the Horror RA class at the Library. I chose it because it was the winner of the Reading List Award (ALA) which celebrates the top genre fiction of the year. Horror is hard to pick out to force someone to read because of the visceral, emotional response it provides. This one seemed safe and yet, even as I type it, the story is haunting me a little bit.

Judas Coyne is an aging rock star with eccentricities that include goth girlfriends 30 years his senior and an odd assortment of macabre items. So, when his gung-ho assistant find a ghost for sale online, he doesn’t hesitate to make the purchase. Only when the ghost shows up does he realize that the purchase is bringing much more than what he bargained for.

What I like about horror and this story especially is that not only is there a ghosty or some creepy thing going on but the real meat lies in the demons that are surrounding the characters and how they have to face their life up to this point to understand how to get out of the situation.  Heart-Shaped Box is definitely a character study of Judas Coyne and the development and back story is really very interesting.  I also felt that the dogs in the story sneek up on you and before you realized it, you were heavily invested in their part of the story.

I had the pleasure of listening to this on audiobook and the reader, Stephen Lang, is exceptional. He captured the voices very well and made for a very creepy and smooth Craddock McDermitt, the ghost haunting Jude. Add to that the ability to shift dialects as the story moved locations and it was delightfully shivery to listen to. 2007,  376 pages.

p.s. Just for fun both Judas and his girlfriend Georgia have myspace pages and Judas has his own imix. Good songs.

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Posted by on March 6, 2009 in Horror


Trauma by Graham Masterton

When you think of jobs that would really suck to have, Bonnie’s has to be at the top. She cleans up trauma scenes.  But, with a husband who won’t get a job and a son who is troubled, she really has no choice. As Bonnie’s life builds in frustration, she notices a strange caterpillar at many of her crime scene job locations. It turns out that this caterpillar is a rare butterfly that shouldn’ even be in the United States.  Bonnie is thrown into a series of events that may be caused by an ancient Aztec goddess or ultimately may be committed by Bonnie herself. Quick, suspensful read with a supernatural, folk tale feel. An extremely gory psychological thriller. 2002, 218 pages.

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Posted by on September 11, 2007 in Horror


The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker

Frank is a jerk. Like only the selfish, arrogant in the world can do Frank is bored with life and seeks something extraordinary. What he finds is the Lemarchard box that is rumored to bring unearthly pleasures.   What Frank quickly learns is that the human idea of pleasure is much different from the Cenobite creatures that rule the box. Caught in a different world Frank reaches out to his brother’s wife-whom he had an affair with previously-in hopes of using her to get back to earth.

What ensues is a collection of murders, greed, and lust that is both creepy and very gory. Not for the faint of heart, the novel delves into the true horrors that can exist in the human heart. 1986, 164 pages.

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Posted by on September 11, 2007 in Horror


Black Creek Crossing by John Saul

Angel is a quiet and plain 14-year-old who doesn’t fit in. However, when her family moves she is excited about the chance to transform herself and make new friends. What no one tells the family is that the house they got so cheaply in Roundtree, Massachusetts is terribly haunted.  Unfortunately, Angel gets no help from her extremely religious mother Myra and her lazy, alcoholic father Marty.   Angel, with the help of another school outcast, Seth, begins to investigate what happened in the house and the sinister forces that are waiting in the shadows.

The pace is extremely fast but the characters and history are slow to reveal themselves. The point of view the story is told from switches often and they are all intertwined. The tone is very ominous and never lets up. The story could take place anywhere with an ancient haunted house and enough history to date back to the 1600’s. The emphasis is on the people who are reacting to events of past and present for someone has to answer for them all.

Amityville Horror meets Carrie meets the Exorcist. 2004, 358 pages.

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Posted by on September 11, 2007 in Horror