Horror novels recommendations

Scott Weinberg

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The sci-fi novel thread was fantastic to read through, and I notice that someone is also interested in discussing fantasy fiction, but I thought I'd do a thread on a book genre I actually know something about (at least a little): horror novels.
Like most fans of horror fiction, I've read almost all of Stephen King, tons of Clive Barker's early stuff, a whole lot of Dean Koontz, and more than a little Robert McCammon (whose Swan Song is freakin' amazing). (I'm not an Anne Rice fan.) And like any self-respecting and literate monster fiend, I also enjoy Poe and Lovecraft - although my tastes generally run towards more "modern" fiction. ("Modern fiction" as in "the crap that gets published nowadays".)

I vaguely remember an old horror thread in which I expressed my adoration for Brian Lumley's Necroscope/Vampire World series. I enjoyed that collection so much that I'm considering reading it all again...and it's TEN fat novels long!
Before I do that (and after I finish reading The Return of the King), I'd love to discover some new horror authors. Sloppy gore is preferred, but not essential. I'm going to do a little research at a few horror sites, and if any of your recommendations match up with something that catches my eye, I'll be sure to pick it up and thank you when I enjoy it. (And if I don't, you can reimburse me through PayPal.)

So have at it! What are your favorite horror novels? Brief synopses, type of horror and general vibe would be greatly appreciated.
 

Malcolm R

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I enjoyed that (Lumley) collection so much that I'm considering reading it all again...and it's TEN fat novels long
Ahem...It's thirteen novels:
  1. Necroscope
  2. Vamphyri!
  3. The Source
  4. Deadspeak
  5. Deadspawn
  6. Blood Brothers
  7. The Last Aerie
  8. Bloodwars
  9. The Lost Years
  10. Resurgence
  11. Invaders
  12. Defilers
  13. Avengers[/list=1]
    What ever happened to Robert McCammon? He hasn't published in years. I just started discovering his books, then he disappeared.

    A couple of modern novels I've liked are by Don & Jay Davis:

    Sins of the Flesh
    It all started when long ago a young man saved his teenage sweetheart from the hands of Eugene Latham, a dark creature of a cult. Angry that his plans were being spoiled, Latham pronounced sentence. Their first-born child would commit unspeakable sins of the flesh. For years the couple watched for a sign that their son, Jesse, wasn’t quite right, but he seemed like every other child so they stopped worrying until Jesse started school – until later when Walter found a monstrously transformed Jesse at the age of 19 hunched over his neighbor’s milk cow with his horrific face buried in the animal’s belly.

    Bring on the Night
    There are two serial killers loose in Chicago. One is dubbed The Reaper by the media because of the manner in which the victims are decapitated. What the media is not told is that the bodies of these victims rapidly deteriorate in a manner never before seen by the coroner. The other killer gets no publicity at all. His (or her) crimes are kept secret by police. In these cases all victims have either bite marks on the neck or a throat torn out. The bodies are drained of blood. There is a connection between the two murderers that homicide detective Dennis Coglin slowly comes to understand. But first he has to believe in vampires.

    Check the local used bookshops. I believe both were published in paperback only and are now out of print.
 

Julie K

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HP LOVECRAFT!!!
HP LOVECRAFT!!!
HP LOVECRAFT!!!
I know from my movie tastes, one would expect me to enjoy sloppy gore in my books too which is exactly not what you get from Lovecraft. Strangely though, Lovecraft is really the only horror author I enjoy. Although I do enjoy other horror authors when they're writing in Lovecraft's universe.
(I'm really wishing now we had a 'Books' forum
)
EDIT: Sorry, I just noticed you did say you read and enjoyed Lovecraft. I'm a little quick on the draw when I sense a chance to suggest HPL.

I will take this chance though to suggest "Resume with Monsters" by William Browning Spencer which is about a man who was exposed to the works of HPL a little too early in life and is now haunted by Azathoth and the rest of the boys in his workplace. It's hilarious and brilliant.
 

Steve Christou

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Brian Lumley is the man, I have more horror from him than any other author, hang on let me cut and paste from my datafile, here we go, I see from Malcolms post that I'm a bit behind on my Lumley.
I'm also tempted to start re-reading some of these again...
Beneath the Moors
Compleat Crow ,The
Dagon's Bell and other Discords
Demogorgon
Fruiting Bodies and other Fungi
House of Cthulhu ,The
House of Doors ,The
Lord of the Worms
Mythos Omnibus 1
Mythos Omnibus 2
Necroscope
Necroscope 2 - Wamphyri
Necroscope 3 - The Source
Necroscope 4 - Deadspeak
Necroscope 5 - Deadspawn
Necroscope 6 - The Lost Years 1
Necroscope 7 - The Lost Years 2
Psychomech
Psychomech 2 - Psychosphere
Psychomech 3 - Psychamok
Return of the Deep Ones
Second Wish and other Exhalations
Vampire World 1 - Blood Brothers
Vampire World 2 - The Last Aerie
Vampire World 3 - Blood Wars
ps. Some of these books are very Lovecraftian, but updated with gore aplenty, the unspeakable Cthulhu is in a couple of these, just don't mention its name, oh shit I just did.
 

Julie K

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Steve,
I've been tempted to try Lumley's Cthulhu (hey, I'm not afraid to speak His name
) Mythos works but am a bit concerned about Derlethian influence. I'm not at all a fan of Derleth's ideas.
 

Peter Apruzzese

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I won't recommend individual books, but pretty much anything by Richard Matheson (except for "Earthlight") is worthy; "I Am Legend" is one of the greatest 'horror' novels ever written. Robert Bloch is also highly recommended.
 

Julie K

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I particularly enjoyed "Strange Eons" by Robert Bloch. But then, it does feature a certain soggy tentacled Great Old One...
 

Jeff Pryor

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If you can find a copy, get 'The Dark Country' by Dennis Etchison, a collection of short stories. Etchison's one of the most underrated horror writers of the late 20th century. His stuff is just waayy out there and fascinating. This guy doesn't publish his works too often, another good compilation of his is 'The Blood Kiss'.
 

Brian Lawrence

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You may want to give Richard Laymon a try. I would definitely start with "Traveling Vampire Show". A fantastic combination of childhood nostalgia and the creepy fun of the old pulp E.C. horror comics. Laymon is not for all tastes, as he tends the lay it on heavy with the sex, gore & violence

Other horror writers I really like are
-Douglas Clegg
-Poppy Z. Brite
-Jack Ketchum
-Caitlin R. Kiernan
-Ramsey Campbell
I also highly recommend checking out the GOREZONE BOOK FORUM
 

Samuel Des

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A very long time ago, I read a book called Head Hunter by "Michael Slade." I have, uh, "fond" memories of it, because it quotes the Clash's "Jimmy Jazz."
I remember it being a good read. Parts of the ending become obvious part-way through the book, but the culprit was a bit of a surprise. (I think it was a surprise to me; it's been several years. I remember the plot, but that's about it.)
Anyway, I recommend it.
The only Stephen King that I really enjoyed was the four novella Different Seasons. I have heard that his early work is worthwhile.
 

Joe Wong

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McCammon's Swan Song was definitely awesome!!! I loved how it started and ended with "Once upon a time..."

British author James Herbert also has some horrific novels...the Rats series features some classic setpieces, and The Dark was one of the few horror books that made me check my house to see everything was ok...

I've only read a couple of Lovecraft...At the Mountains of Madness is old style writing (not a lot of dialogue) but has a spectacular climax. Dagon, for a 7 page short story, is very unsettling. I've heard the Case of Charles Dexter Ward is also very good.

Also try Dan Simmons' Carrion Comfort and a book called Lamia by a Travis ?... Lamia is brilliant.

Joe
 

Julie K

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I've only read a couple of Lovecraft...At the Mountains of Madness is old style writing (not a lot of dialogue)
Lovecraft wasn't really interested in dialog or characterization. The human characters simply didn't concern him. But yes, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is good, and if you liked Dagon you should try The Shadow Over Innsmouth. It's good fishy fun.
 

Rex Bachmann

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Julie K wrote:

Yes. In my opinion, it's HPL's best long work. It has the advantage for readers of "regular" fiction that its events are immediate. They're going on in "real time", unlike most of his other narratives, where events are recounted in letters or books. This story's also where the monsters actually come out of the shadows (well, into the moonlight).

I can't do much to recommend horror novels, because I think the genre isn't really suited for novel length---and I'm talking 200-odd pages, not the bloated 800-page monstrosities that are turned out today.

I would recommend Derleth's Lovecraft knock-off The Lurker at the Threshhold, although I'm not at all thrilled with most of Derleth's stuff that I've read either.
For horror, you really need to read short stories (if you can find them).

Lovecraft: "The Haunter of the Dark", "The Whisperer in Darkness", "The Picture in the House", "The Rats in the Walls", "The Outsider", "The Festival", "The Colour out of Space", and, yes, "The Call of Cthulhu" [rhymes with toodle-loo!].

And the collected short fiction of Richard Matheson is very good. Try Shock! volumes 1-3, if you can find them.
 

Scott Weinberg

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You guys are helping me build a nice reading list.

Keep the scares coming.

Favorite vampires?

Short stories?

Sci-fi horror?

Haunted houses?

Tammy Faye centerfolds?
 

Rex Bachmann

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Scott Weinberg wrote:
For horror, you really need to read the short fiction. That's where the genre shines.
Jane Rice's "The Idol of the Flies".
Frank Belknap Long's "Second Night Out" (about a monkey-faced vampire) is a great little terror tale. I imagine much of his other stuff is also as good, though getting one's hands on short fiction, especially from so long ago, is very difficult.
Arthur Machen's fiction (much of it based on Welsh fairylore, except that these fairies ain't cute and they ain't nice): "The Great God Pan", "The White People", "The Children of the Pool", et al.
Ambrose Bierce: "The Damned Thing", "An Inhabitant of Carcosa", "The Middle Toe of the Right Foot", etc.
Algernon Blackwood's "The Listener", about a man haunted by the ghost of a dead leper. His story "The Wendigo" is supposed to be famous (and good), and I may once have read it, but I don't remember it, which is not a good sign. Beware! Blackwood's "psychic detective" ("John Silence") fiction is HO-ky, HO-ky, HO-ky.
You might try the bibliographies at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database where you can search by author. Since it's a fan-contributed site it's clear entries are not complete, but you'll get a good dose of offerings of what many sf and horror writers have published.
 

Blaine Skerry

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Favorite vampires, eh. If you can find them, I highly recommend a pair of short stories by E.F. Benson called THE ROOM IN THE TOWERand MRS. AMWORTH. One of my favorite haunted house stories is this beautifully atmospheric ditty by A.M. Burrage called SMEE. For me, these short stories are to be savored like rich pastries and should be read on summer evenings when the wind is rustling the trees ever so gently.
 

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