Wednesday, 8 June 2016

The Horror Novel

It's a sunny Tuesday morning and the puppies are at the groomer, having a nice bath and getting their summer haircuts. They were very excited and I'm sure will find the warm temperatures much more comfortable. I could be outside mowing the lawn while it's still cool, but since I've only got an hour or so before I have to go pick them up again, I think I'll just work on this BLog entry.

I've read a few horror stories in my time, but it's never been a particular favourite genre. Of late, however, I've begun to read a few more and also to collect a few more authors. So maybe it's time to take a brief look at what I've read, mention a few author's I've enjoyed and also highlight some books I've got on my bookshelf awaiting my attention.

While I'm no expert on horror stories, I'll try to break them down in a few groupings; Gothic / classic horror, ghost stories, modern horror and maybe some other specific types if I've got any in that area, e.g. vampire, zombie, etc. So let's start with some of the Classics. This will probably be a relatively short category for me.

The Classics

I've read a few in this area, those authors that have established horror as a genre, but there are many, many more than I've sampled. One of the earliest written books that I've tried was Matthew Gregory Lewis' The Monk, more of a ghost story than anything; the story of a monk, overcome by his desires who finds himself haunted by the demonic spirits who goad him into breaking his holy vows. It wasn't terribly well-written, but then again it was published in 1796. I read it in Feb of this year and this was my review.

"A strange sort of story originally written in 1796. I'm not sure if it's indicative of the time. If you read the preface, it might lead you to believe that the book isn't worth reading. But ultimately, I found it an interesting story, a Gothic novel about forbidden love, rape, murder, incest and with some supernatural elements. It wanders a bit as each person's story is related but at the same time, it moves along quite nicely. I admit that I scrolled over the verses and songs. It definitely is a dark story. Am I glad that I read it? I'll say yes. Judge for yourself if you can find a copy. (3 stars)"

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson is one of the easily recognised classics. I found an excellent hard cover edition of this at a book store in Victoria, that unfortunately closed down a few years back. Grafton Books in Oak Bay had so many excellent books. Anyway, I got this in 2008 when I was stationed in Victoria and read it in 2011. I'd seen one or two of the different movie versions, or at least parts of them, so decided I should finally read the book. This was my review

"I'd never read this before and can't say that I actually have ever seen the movie from beginning to end. So I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the story and how smoothly it flowed. It was a very quick read and held my attention. I was surprised that the story was actually told for the most part from the perspective of Mr. Utterson, a friend of Dr Jekyll, and that Jekyll and Hyde, for that matter, for the most part are somewhat peripheral to the story. Until the end. On the whole, a very enjoyable story and I highly recommend if you've never read before. (4 stars)"

The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker. Stoker is probably better known for Dracula. At least he is by me. This book was published in 1903 and is probably the book that inspired the various Mummy movies. Now that I've read this, I'll have to try Dracula. This was my review.

"I bought this because one of my Goodreads club members had read it and not really being aware of any others of Bram Stoker's books, besides Dracula, I got a copy to try it out. I was a bit underwhelmed. The story is supposedly the inspiration for today's Mummy movies. Basically, it deals with the acquisition of a number of articles, including a sarcophagus, ancient jewels and many other items from a crypt in The Valley of the Sorcerers in Egypt.
The story starts in London with an attack on the man who possesses the articles, one Abel Trelawny, an attack that leaves him in a coma. A group of people, including Trelawny's daughter, her beau, Mr. Ross others gather to find the reason for the attack and to help if at all possible. The story is Gothic horror but at times the horror is so nebulous as to be unidentifiable.
There is a bit too much theorising and discussion for me at times, and the ending is a bit sudden. Still, to read a story from Bram Stoker that I was totally unaware of until a couple of years ago and to experience his style was worth the read. (3.5 stars)"

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. This was first published in 1890. The basic story is that Mr. Dorian Gray has painted his soul into a portrait, thereby making himself immortal. This immortality affects him, basically making his day-to-day life very boring. He therefore finds himself exploring the darker side of life, drugs, sex, murder, etc. The portrait is hidden in a locked room and while Gray doesn't age, the portrait does instead. I was a bit disappointed by the book, but was glad that I had finally read it, one of those classics that should be experienced.

The Necronomicon by H.P. Lovecraft - Lovecraft lived from 1890 to 1937 and was one of the most influential horror writers. Over the past few years, I'd searched in various book stores for some of his stories. At one of the local Rotary Club Book Sales, Jun 2013, I found 4 paperback books of his stories; The Lurking Fear and Other Stories, The Tomb and Other Tales, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath. I read the first three over the next couple of years and, for the most part, enjoyed his work.

In 2015, while visiting Kingston, Ontario, I found the pictured edition, Necronomicon, a collection of Lovecraft's work. It was not only a lovely edition, but also a most entertaining read. Some of the stories from the other books were also contained within but there were many that I hadn't read yet, including The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath. I enjoyed some stories more than others, but that's to be understood. This was my review of this edition, which I completed in Feb of this year.

"An excellent collection of the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, from Dagon, originally published in 1919 to The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath, 1943. There are themes throughout, the Old Ones, the area around Arkham, Mass, Miskatonic University, the Cthulu, etc. The stories are creepy, more so than outright terrifying, but they still leave you feeling nervous and chilled. Some are excellent; especially, the Mountains of Madness, The Dunwich Horror, the Haunter of the Dark and the Thing on the Doorstep. Excellent to be provided the opportunity to explore Lovecraft's worlds and stories under one book. (5 stars)"

Still To Be Read

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. I found a copy of this at a local used book store in Cumberland back in February. I liked the copy and, having seen the stage musical and a modern rock adaptation of the book, that being Phantom of the Paradise (1974), I thought it might be a good time to actually read the book, originally published in 1911. If you're not sure what it is about, then this is the synopsis.

"The story of the Phantom of the Opera, a half-crazed musician hiding in the labyrinth of the famous Paris Opera House and creating a number of strange and mysterious events to further the career of a beautiful young singer, is today regarded as one of the most famous of all horror stories: widely mentioned in the same breath as Frankenstein and Dracula. Yet the fame of this novel, first written by the French journalist turned novelist Gaston Leroux, in 1911, is based almost entirely on the various film versions which have been made over the years. Remarkable performances by two actors, Lon Chaney and Claude Rains, helped to make the Phantom an immortal figure. The original book, however, has been largely ignored, rarely in print, and the first edition (in either French or English) is now a collector's item."

Ghost Stories

I've read a variety of ghost stories, from Kingsley Amis through Charlaine Harris. I think one of my favourites was Peter Straub's Ghost Story. You can't be more obvious than that about the subject matter of a story, eh? It's been many years since I last read it, but I recall it being one of the truly scary books and movies. It's basically about 4 elderly gentlemen, bound together by a past action that resulted in the death of a young woman. This woman is now back to haunt them to death. Yup, it was very creepy. Here are a few others you might enjoy.

The Green Man by Kingsley Amis. I read this back in 2010 and it was my first experience with Kingsley Amis. He wrote it in 1969. Amis isn't normally a horror writer, he writes mysteries, spy novels, fiction, etc. This was an interesting introduction to him. I've since read others by him and enjoyed his unique perspective on life. This is the synopsis of this story.

"Like all good coaching inns, The Green Man is said to boast a resident ghost: Dr Thomas Underhill, a notorious seventeenth-century practitioner of black arts and sexual deviancy. However, the landlord, Maurice Allington, is the sole witness to the renaissance of the malevolent Underhill. Led by an anxious desire to vindicate his sanity, Allington strives to uncover the key to Underhill's satanic powers. All while the skeletons in Allington's own cupboard rattle to get out.  (3 stars)"

The Hawkline Monster by Richard Brautigan. Brautigan wrote this in 1974. It's a strange, weird horror story, classified as a Gothic Western. It was quirky enough that it held my attention and I quite enjoyed this story of two cowpokes who are hired to get rid of the ghost/ monster that haunts the Hawkline house. This may not actually fit into the ghost story category very clearly but it doesn't really fit into any other one either. Worth reading. This was my review.

"A book I bought by chance after seeing it in the display cabinet of one of my favourite used book stores. It happened that September was Western genre month so this being a 'gothic western' and liking the cover, I decided to give it a chance. A very easy, flowing read and a quirky interesting story. The gist being that two gunslingers are hired by a young woman to come to Oregon to kill a monster that resides in the ice caves below their house in Oregon. Many, many strange occurrences, which I'll let you discover until the face-to-face meeting with the monster. I liked the two gunslingers, Cameron and Greer, both straight-forward, easy going hitmen; hitmen with standards and ethics. I liked the Hawkline sisters. At times it's almost childish, the story, but it held my interest and I enjoyed it thoroughly. (A solid 3.5 stars)."

The Secret of Crickley Hall by James Herbert. I bought this book in 2013 after the missus and I had watched a BBC adaptation of the book. The show was excellent, with just the right amount of spookiness and tension. The acting was also excellent, with Suranne Jones, Maisie Williams, Tom Ellis and Douglas Henshall, just to name a few. The story is about a family, Jones and Ellis, with their two daughters who move to the north of England to try and rebuild their marriage and recover from the disappearance of their son. It turns out that the house is haunted by the ghosts of the orphans who lived there during the War and by that of the school master, who ruled the house with a strong stick and terrorised the children. He now wants Jones and Ellis' daughters. It was excellent. The book was originally written in 2006. The book wasn't quite as good as the movie, but still a very entertaining read.

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. This was another book that I bought because I saw the movie and enjoyed it. The movie starred Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame as a young lawyer who is assigned a job in a small village. It turns out the village, especially the children, are being terrorised by the ghost of a vengeful woman. It was an excellent movie in the Gothic horror style, moody, creepy and scary. I bought a copy of the book in Jan 2013 and read it shortly afterwards.  This was my review.

"I bought this because I had enjoyed the movie with Daniel Radcliffe. Taking account of the differences between the movie and the original book, I found this to be an intense, well-written horror story. It's a relatively short story but Susan Hill manages to pack an excellent, complete story into the space. She also manages to create a spooky atmosphere very quickly and had me holding my breath as I read it. Not terrifying, but a spooky story with an excellent feeling about it. Loved it. (4 stars)"

I've since begun acquiring other books by Susan Hill, from her mystery series featuring Simon Serrailler, and another ghost story, The Mist in the Mirror. I'm looking forward to that one. This is the synopsis.

"For the last twenty years Sir James Monmouth has journeyed all over the globe in the footsteps of his hero, the great pioneering traveller Conrad Vane. In an effort to learn more about Vane's early life--and his own--Sir James sets off for the remote Kittiscar Hall on a cold and rainy winter night. But he soon begins to feel as though something is warning him away at every turn; there are the intense feelings of being watched and the strange apparitions of a sad little boy.

And as he learns more about his hero's past, he discovers that they are only the beginning, for Kittiscar Hall is hiding terrible secret that will bind their lives together in ways he could never have imagined."

Susan Jackson. I've read three books by Susan Jackson, well, one short story and two stories. The Lottery, the short story, isn't a ghost story, but it was an excellent introduction to Jackson's style. The Haunting of Hill House was published in 1959 and has been made into at least two movies. A group of people are invited to Hill House to help a scientist find proof of the supernatural. It was a book I think I wanted more from. This was my review.

"I expected a bit more from this story, probably because of some of the write-ups that I read about it and that indicated how it influenced other writers, such as Stephen King, etc. However, having said that, I enjoyed The Haunting of Hill House. I've seen both movie adaptations and I tended to picture Theodora as Claire Bloom and Eleanor as Julie Harris. The book was suspenseful, not horrific at all. You could see the mental changes or the impact of the house on Eleanor as the story progresses. There was definitely tension and the story was well-paced. I'm glad I finally have read it, will definitely have to see the 1963 movie again to compare. A solid 3.5 stars for me."

We Have always Live in the Castle was written in 1962 and, while it doesn't fall into the category of ghost stories, it was still an excellent ghost story. I think I preferred it to Hill House, but in all fairness, I had no movie to compare it to.

Still to read from Shirley Jackson is her 1954 book, The Bird's Nest. This is the synopsis.

"Elizabeth is a demure twenty-three-year-old wiling her life away at a dull museum job, living with her neurotic aunt, and subsisting off her dead mother’s inheritance. When Elizabeth begins to suffer terrible migraines and backaches, her aunt takes her to the doctor, then to a psychiatrist. But slowly, and with Jackson’s characteristic chill, we learn that Elizabeth is not just one girl—but four separate, self-destructive personalities. The Bird’s Nest, Jackson’s third novel, develops hallmarks of the horror master’s most unsettling work: tormented heroines, riveting familial mysteries, and a disquieting vision inside the human mind."

Charlaine Harris' Harper Connelly books. Harris is better-known for her Sookie Stackhouse books which were made into the popular HBO series, True Blood. The Harper Connelly books, of which there are 4, features Harper Connelly, a young woman who has the ability to ascertain how people die. She possesses a special sight which allows her to see the individual and how they die. She and her stepbrother, Tolliver Lang, travel over the United States, being hired to try and find and then tell the local authorities how people have died, whether by natural causes or murder. This ability doesn't make Harper popular with the people of the towns where she works and the work itself is tremendously draining for her. Of course, each story turns into a mystery in itself, but the premise and the stories are excellent. Unfortunately, Harris stopped this series after only four books. If you're interested at all, they are:

1. Grave Sight (2005);
2. Grave Surprise (2006);
3. An Ice Cold Grave (2007); and
4. Grave Secret (2009)

I've read all but Grave Secret. I think I've been holding onto it because it's the last in the series.


Of all the horror sub-genres, I've probably read more vampire books than anything else. Of course, having said that, I still have not read Dracula by Bram Stoker. I guess that will have to go on my list. There have been so many movies, TV series (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, etc.) and books that I'm sure I'll miss many. I probably started my interest in this category with Anne Rice's Vampire Lestat books. I read them many years ago and enjoyed them well enough. I read the first three books and tried a couple more but after awhile I found her writing somewhat ponderous. There were others that I tried much later, Nancy Baker's A Terrible Beauty, Blood and Chrysanthemums and The Night Inside are all excellent and quite different. Jeanne Kalogridis also wrote an interesting trilogy on the family Dracul; Covenant with the Vampire, Children of the Vampire and Lord of the Vampires that follow the more traditional concept of vampires. Finally, Stephen King's Salem's Lot was one of his scarier books and even the TV movie based on the book was quite good. Below are some others of my favourites.

Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake books. I discovered this series back when I was on my own in Ottawa, Ontario. I tried the first book, Guilty Pleasures (1993), just for a lark and it blew me away. The series is more than just a vampire series, but that's how it starts out. Anita Blake is a necromancer for hire. She works for a company that hires out necromancers to talk with newly buried people when there is a question about the will or other things. As a sideline, Anita is also a vampire hunter who works for the St Louis police. In this universe, vampires and other supernatural creatures are now recognised as legal citizens, but they still have to follow the law. Anita develops an ongoing relationship with the local vampire leader, Jean - Claude and the rest, as they say, is history. There is sex, violence, gore, excitement and so many other supernatural things going on in these stories that your head will explode. I read the first 12 books pretty well one after the other. I've kind of fallen away from this series since then, just got tired of waiting for the next book. However, the series is well worth trying out if you're a vampire story fan. You'll get vampires and more supernatural creatures than you can shake a stick at. At present there are 24 books in this series and if you like graphic novels, the first three have been translated into this format.

Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books. These are the books that became the HBO series, True Blood. I have to say that, from my recollections of the books I've read so far, I don't remember the books being as graphic as the TV series. I liked the books I've read so far, but this is one of those series that I haven't necessarily read in sequence. I always felt it was Anita Blake-lite. However, I still liked the stories immensely. Sookie is a fey who can hear what people are thinking. She's a waitress in a small town in Louisiana and, somewhat like the Anita Blake books, the fey are legal, especially vampires. There are many other types of fey living in Bon Temps, Sam the shape shifter, plus many others. But Sookie's first love is Bill the vampire, a Civil War veteran whose come back home 100+ years later. What Sookie especially likes about Bill is that she can't hear his thoughts. That's a vampire for you. The series moves around, with Sookie helping Bill and his boss, Eric sort out vampire - type issues. And of course, there are the other fey hanging around. It's another fun, entertaining series. Charlaine Harris wrote 15 books in this series and finished it in 2013.

The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. In this version of the vampire saga, the vampires try to take over New York. Vampirism is kind of a virus which starts with an aeroplane that arrives at La Guardia and everybody on board appears to be dead. It's a creepy story, the first in a trilogy. It also became a popular TV miniseries on FX. I gave the first book 3 stars. Not the best ever story but thrilling and filled with action. The three books in the series are -

1. The Strain (2009);
2. The Fall (2010) (currently sitting on my bookshelf awaiting my attention); and
3. The Night Eternal (2011).

P.N. Elrod's Vampire Files books. The Vampire Files is a 13 book series, released from 1990 to 2009, that is a combination vampire story / hard-boiled detective story. The main character is a Private Eye and also a vampire. His partner does the day work and he does the night work. He uses his vampire strengths in battling mob characters as the stories are set in Chicago during the Roaring '20s. One of his desires is to own his own night club but he's got to do this without threatening the mob. Interesting series. I've read 3 so far and have Cold Streets on my bookshelf awaiting my perusal. This is another series that I've not read in sequence, partly because I don't often find them in the book stores.

Tanya Huff's Blood Books. The Blood Books were written by Canadian author, Tanya Huff and consist of the following books:

1. Blood Price (1991);
2. Blood Trail (1992);
3. Blood Lines (1992);
4. Blood Pact (1993);
5. Blood Debt (1997); and
6. Blood Bank, a short story collection.

I've read the first four books and enjoyed them very much. It features Toronto PI, Vicki Nelson, an ex cop with failing eyesight and her sometimes helpers, Police detective, Mike Celluci and a vampire, Henry Fitzroy. The cases involve supernatural beings and are entertaining and thrilling. The books were also turned into a TV show which was a bit different but also entertaining.

Still to Read

I recently purchased Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, a story that has been turned into movies at least twice, once starring Charlton Heston and more recently, starring Will Smith. This is the synopsis -

"Robert Neville has witnessed the end of the world. The entire population has been obliterated by a vampire virus. Somehow, Neville survived. He must now struggle to make sense of everything that has happened and learn to protect himself against the vampires who hunt him constantly. He must, because perhaps there is nothing else human left."

The Devil Made Me Do It (aka Demonic possession)

I haven't read too many books in this genre, probably because they tend to downright scare me. One of the classics is William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist. I read this when the movie came out. Both scared me silly. I could not read this book downstairs by myself because it gave me the creeps. I think part of the reason is that it's easier to believe in the devil than in zombies and vampires. I also remember the movie terrifying me. I was just finishing high school and went with a friend.. Lots of screaming and nervous laughter throughout. And you should have heard the rest of the audience. Blatty wrote a sequel as well, Legion, which was also excellent, even if not quite as scary as The Exorcist. It was made into a movie as well, becoming Exorcist III. It was more of a detective story with supernatural elements. A few other books that might fit in this category that I've enjoyed or hope to enjoy include some of the following. They may not necessarily be specifically be about demonic possession but they do feature battles between the devil and the forces of good.

The Stand by Stephen King.  This could also be classified as an end of the world saga but the main crux of the story is the battle between the forces of evil, led by Randall Flagg, and the forces of good, led by Mother Abagail. It ranks up in my Top Ten all-time books, just a fascinating story. It was also a reasonable TV mini-series.

Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin. I only recently read this book and thought it was excellent. It was turned into a classic horror film starring Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes. This was my review.

"I've seen the movie a couple of times and I found it was very respectful to this book. The book seemed very familiar but it didn't make it any less interesting. Basically, Rosemary and her husband, Guy, a budding actor, move into the Bramford, an old apartment building in New York. An old friend tells them that the building has a bad history but they move in anyway. Shortly after their arrival, a new acquaintance of Rosemary commits suicide by jumping from her apartment. The young couple make friends with the Castevets, old neighbours on their floor and strange things begin to happen; Guy suddenly becoming successful, Rosemary becoming pregnant (having strange 'dreams' during the sex act), etc. The book has a eerie feel to it, even thought it is told very matter-of-factly and this feeling gets stronger as the book progresses. Excellent story, one you won't really want to put down. Even if you've seen the movie, it's worth reading ."

Ghost Road Blues by Jonathan Maberry. It's only recently that I've become aware of Jonathan Maberry's writing. He's a favourite of many of my Goodreads acquaintances. I've been looking for his books and last August I finally located one of his books, Ghost Road Blues, written in 2006 and the first book in the Pine Deep Trilogy. This series also includes; Dead Man's Song (2007) and Bad Moon Rising (2008). The story reminded me both of The Stand and It. Like The Stand, there is a battle between good and evil, represented by 'Bone Man' (good), the spirit of a wandering musician who is blamed for the murders of several Pine Deep children and Ubal Griswold, the actual killer, who Bone Man had fought and vanquished. Years later, the remaining children are now grown up and Ubal Griswold is haunting various townspeople and making them come to his side. This is the making of the battle, killings in the town and the local police and State police and various other people trying to catch and keep the town safe. I did like this story, it had lots of tension and action. Now to find the remaining books.

Werewolves (Where wolf? There wolf!... borrowed from Young Frankenstein)

I've read a few books in this genre. Various of the ones I mentioned previously; the Anita Blake books, Ghost Road Blues and the Sookie Stackhouse books also feature werewolves. I remember reading Gary Brandner's The Howling (1977) when it originally came out. However, it's not a sub-genre I specifically search out. One interesting series I've started recently is The Women of the Otherworld by Canadian writer, Kelley Armstrong. I've read the first two books in this series, both of which feature female werewolf, Elena Michaels, and which were the basis for the popular Bitten series. The two books are Bitten and Stolen. I believe that the follow-on books may feature other women of the Otherworld. There are 13 books in this fantasy series. Time will tell. This was my review of the first book, Bitten.

"I've read a few supernatural series; the Anita Blake books, the Blood Ties books, etc. I'd started watching the TV series that is based on Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series before I read this first book. It was interesting to compare the two. There are differences; different characters, some different story lines, but all in all, both are very interesting.
This story is told in the first person by the only female werewolf in the world, Elena, and she is a woman who has struggled to accept her werewolfiness. She tries to live a normal life in the city, Toronto, but is called back to the Pack's home in the country at Stonehaven when the Pack is threatened by a group of mutts, unpacked werewolves.
The story is slow at times, with Elena's time spent on her trying to discover what it is she actually wants to be. She can be frustrating at times, but the story moves along and the action picks up steadily. I did enjoy the story and I think part of the slowness can be attributed to the fact that I was comparing to the TV series. I enjoyed the story and will find the others in the series and continue to read up and see who the other women in the Otherworld might be. Looking forward to finding out. (3 stars)"


With the success of Night of the Living Dead (1968), a truly terrifying movie, and the follow-on movies and then more recently, the TV series, The Walking Dead, I guess it's not surprising that so many books have come out. There have been so many movies and TV Series featuring zombies, that if I try to name them, I'm sure I'll leave many out. Below are some of the books I've read so far, as well as a few others that I have on my bookshelves awaiting further examination.

World War Z, An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks. I think this was the first zombie book that I read. I saw a copy at Munro's Books in Victoria, BC. The story is told from the perspectives of various people around the world who have survived a zombie apocalypse and what they are doing to continue to survive. It's almost factual, but at the same time quite intense. I thought it was a fantastic story, quite different from the movie that came out recently. He also wrote The Zombie Survival Guide which is exactly how it sounds, a self-help book in recognizing, killing and surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.

The remaining books on my list currently reside on my 'to-be-read' bookshelves. If you like this genre, here are a few more.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. This is the synopsis of this book, a combination of horror and classic fiction.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.

So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read."

The Walking Dead Books by Robert Kirkman. I have books 1 and 2 of this series; The Rise of the Governor and The Road to Woodbury. These stories are based on the AMC TV series.

Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry. Released in 2009, this is the first book in the Joe Ledger series, which currently consists of 9 books with one more anticipated in 2017. This is the synopsis of the book.

"Police officer Joe Ledger, martial arts expert, self-confessed brutal warrior is scared. The man he's just killed is the same man he killed a week ago. He never expected to see the man again, definitely not alive, and not as part of the recruitment process for the secret government agency the Department for Military Sciences."

Various others

It's possible that some of the other books listed below may fall into specific categories. I've listed them as 'other' just for my own laziness. So here you go, some other horror books and/ or authors that I've either read or still await my attention.

Stephen King - King is one of the grand-masters of horror fiction. I read his books voraciously when I first discovered him. I've enjoyed so many; Cujo, The Dead Zone, Salem's Lot, The Shining, Carrie, Christine, Pet Sematary, It, etc. I lost interest a bit when The Dark Half, Dolores Clairbourne, Gregory's Game came out. But, he's got an excellent track record. The Stand is one of my all-time favourite books. The Gunslinger series is excellent. I stopped reading when I stopped reading this last series. Currently I have one on my book shelf, Under the Dome, but I have to admit I'm somewhat intimidated by its size. Do I want to invest in a book that big? I probably will and it may get me back into King's writing.

The Troop and The Deep by Nick Cutter. I've read both of these books by Canadian writer, Nick Cutter. They are quite different and I think I preferred The Troop of the two. I think he's a bit like the David Cronenberg of books, especially with The Troop, where a troop of Boy Scouts accompany their scout master on the annual summer camping trip, this time to a remote island off the coast of Prince Edward Island. Unfortunately, at the same time, an escapee from a government facility, someone who's been experiment on by a virus, also comes to the island. The scout master is infected with the virus and the others must try to survive, not knowing that the military has quarantined the island. The Deep deals with a world-wide virus that is killing off the world's population. A possible antidote is available at a research facility deep in the Pacific Ocean. However the scientists there are slowly going crazy and may be infected with something strange!! Below is my review of The Troop.

"A good, solid horror story in the tradition of Stephen King's earlier books. 5 boys and their scout master leave their town on Prince Edward Island to spend the weekend on a smaller island off the coast. It's to be a scouting adventure weekend, hiking, map reading, etc. Unfortunately for them, another boat lands on the island, bringing an escapee from a lab who is infested with experimental worms. That is the gist of the story; the army and navy are involved in sealing off the island, the boys are isolated, trying to fend off the worms and a psychotic member of their troop. Interesting story, good solid horror. (4 stars)"

Nevermore by Neil Gaiman. This was my first exposure to Neil Gaiman. I have seen the movie version of Stardust, which I enjoyed very much. This book has both horror and fantasy elements. It's an excellent story, tense and interesting. My review is below. \

"My first attempt at reading a Neil Gaiman story. Loved it! My kind of fantasy/ horror story. An interesting quest, an interesting world (London Under) and an interesting concept, using the London Tube system to develop characters. I enjoyed the characters very much, Door, Richard, Hunter, even the villains. I want Gaiman to do a sequel! A strong 4.5 stars. Excellent and will make me read more of his books."

The Nightwatch by Sergei Lukyanenko. This is the first book in Russian writer, Sergei Lukyanenko's Nightwatch hexology. I bought this on a whim in 2011 and enjoyed it very much. I haven't looked for the remaining five books yet, but in time I'm sure I'll check them out as well. This was my review.

"I took a chance on this book, saw it in one of my book stores and it looked interesting. It is about the ongoing battle between the Night Watch (Light magic) and the Day Watch (Dark magic). It turns out the book contained 3 individual stories, all featuring the same characters, Gesar (the leader), Anton (a new member of the Night Watch), Olga (an old sorceress with a past) and Sveta (newly discovered and Anton's love), plus the rest of the Watch. Interesting stories, interesting twists and turns. I do at times get frustrated with Anton's issues and concerns but they are used neatly to develop the plot. Very interesting stories and quite enjoyable. Different from others of the type I've read. I'll have to consider getting the remainder in the series. (4 stars)"

Still to Read

Metro 2033 by Dmitri Glukhovsky. I bought this book just a couple of weeks ago while exploring one of the local book stores. It sounded interesting. This is the synopsis and you can judge for yourself.

"Civilization's most northern outpost, a lonely metro station, is attacked by mysterious creatures that somehow have awoken in the recent war. The world lies in ruins, the surface is contaminated, and a prey to the sun's deadly rays. One last human remnant have sought protection in the Metro, the world's largest nuclear bomb secure bunker, where stations have been transformed into small city states with their own ideologies and governments.

Everywhere there is a constant struggle for living space, water filters, electric heaters and fungal cultures, all while darkness and terror reigns in the tunnels.

A young man is forced out on a dangerous journey through the subterranean maze of tunnels, shafts and sidings, where nobody knows what to expect around the next corner."

So there you go. This became a bigger BLog entry that I'd thought. Obviously it's not all-inclusive, just some thoughts on some of the books I've been exposed to in the Horror genre. Maybe it'll give you some ideas on books you'd like to try. I hope so. Good luck!

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