What Horror to Recommend to Non Genre Reader ?

BAYLOR

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And this thread on the subject of Horror recommendations .
 
F. Paul Wilson's Adversary Cycle and Repairman Jack series. Both are set in the same shared universe and Jack appears in two of the Adversary Cycle books. Wilson has a very easy style that makes the books easy to read. I read them all pretty much back to back in 2018 as one of my reading goals and i had an absolute blast.

As a kid, really enjoyed reading James Herbert and would totally recommend his Rats trilogy (Rats, Lair and Domain). I think they still hold up now.

I haven't read any Stephen King recently, but you cannot discuss Horror without mentioning him. IT, Salem's Lot, Christine, The Shining and The Stand are my favourites of his, although only IT and Salem's lot could be considered true horror IMO.

I really enjoyed Summer of Night by Dan Simmons. He also wrote a book called Carrion Comfort, which i enjoyed.

Adventureland by Steve Harris was a great book.

I also really enjoyed a book called The Trickster by Muriel Gray.

I read a few good Dean Koonz books, although i did think he could be a bit hit and miss. Twilight Eyes, Midnight and Phantoms are pretty good.
 
Dean Koontz is funny. I like False Memory.

Barbara Hambly’s James Asher series
And
Jonathan Maberry are excellent.

For a sort of obscure zombie thriller similar to maberry, check out Z.A. Recht’s Plague of the Dead.

For a beginner, zombie thrillers are the way to go. Gave my little cousin Patient Zero for Christmas a few years ago. He actually read it, too!
 
Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco It's very much a gothic type of horror novel and a book that a non horror reader would enjoy. :)
 
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Wouldn't it depend on who you're offering suggestions to?

For s.f. fans, again depending on their reading habits, I'd suggest The Island of Dr. Moreau or Invasion of the Body Snatchers or I am Legend or a variety of short stories like "Who Goes There?" or "Sandkings." (I'm certain there are more recent examples of s.f./horror but none are coming to mind besides Blindsight which I haven't read.)

For fantasy fans, I might suggest Our Lady of Darkness or The House on the Borderland or The Land of Laughs or The Fisherman. For some fantasy fans, The Only Good Indian might also be of interest given the source of its mythology.

For readers of literary fiction I'd point at The Haunting of Hill House, Beloved, Lovecraft Country, Perfume, Ghost Story, The Red Tree and/or The Drowning Girl, A Headful of Ghosts as well as The Land of Laughs. If the reader is open to short fiction the potential reading list really opens up and includes writers from J. Sheridan Le Fanu and Poe to Walter de la Mare and L. P. Hartley to Peter Straub and Lisa Tuttle and Thomas Ligotti and Caitlin R. Kiernan, among others.

For readers of cozy mysteries, there are a lot of older ghost stories they might already have come across -- I could see them getting into M. R. James, E. F. Benson, E. Nesbit, L. P. Hartley and Agatha Christie since there's a good sized collection of her supernatural/horror/ghost stories out in the world. Meanwhile, for readers of noir mysteries, there are a lot of potential suggestions, from Night Has a Thousand Eyes to Perfume (arguably it's Gothic, but then noir shares a lot of of it's DNA with Gothic) to Something More than Night.

Readers of thrillers are already part way to reading horror if you check out selections like Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, Final Girls and A Headful of Ghosts among a lot of others. And if they've already read Michael Koryta's non-supernatural thrillers, he's written three with supernatural overtones.

For readers who want an adventure, I'd suggest Fury from the Tomb (seriously, I would) and Something More than Night and The Ridge and The Cypress House.

And, frankly, there are flavors of King for most tastes, from Salem's Lot to It to Pet Semetary and well beyond.
 
Yeah, I really enjoyed Perfume, but have never considered it as horror. I am not sure what I would call it really. Not quite gothic. It is very funny in places.
 
I'd recommend Carrie by Stephen King, mostly because it's a quick read and would make for a good introduction.
 
Under Koontz I would reccomend The Frankenstein series which spans 5 books. This is terrific series of books
1. Prodigal Son
2. The City of Night
3. Dead and Alive
4, Lost Souls
5. The Dead Town


Id also reccomed

Nathaniel by John Saul
 
Yeah, I really enjoyed Perfume, but have never considered it as horror. I am not sure what I would call it really. Not quite gothic. It is very funny in places.
I'd have to reread to debate that, (read it around 1989) but my first impression -- and the general view of a larger horror readership seems to agree -- that it is safely within the Venn diagram circle of horror, though maybe closer to the edge than the middle. :) I believe it is Gothic, though, and it is most certainly dark.
 
It really depends on the reader of course. If it's someone who isn't into genre fiction generally- that is, who cleaves to "literary" fiction- MR James might be a good place to start. If the person likes scifi, then At the Mountains of Madness and The Shadow Out of Time by Lovecraft might be good, or Clark Ashton Smith's The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis.
 
It really depends on the reader of course. If it's someone who isn't into genre fiction generally- that is, who cleaves to "literary" fiction- MR James might be a good place to start. If the person likes scifi, then At the Mountains of Madness and The Shadow Out of Time by Lovecraft might be good, or Clark Ashton Smith's The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis.

All good choices . The Ashton Smith The Vaults of Yoh Vombus is a real treats, Itsone the literary inspirations for the film Alien

If I may offer some suggestion Try The Complete Tales of Jules De Grandin by Seabury Quinn
Rim of the Morning two Tales of Cosmic Horror by William Sloane
The Moon Pool by Abraham Merritt
The 37th Mandala by Mark Laidlaw:cool:
 
It would always be short stories first. And - as good as some of King's 500+ page novels are - short stores that can be told in one sitting are always the most suitable for a ghost story. So it would have to be MR James' Ghost Stories of an Antiquary collection.

For something a little longer, probably one of King's anthologies - Four Past Midnight is one of his best, and The Sun Dog is one of the scariest stories I have read (think a modern adaptation of MR James' The Mezzotint'.
 
How does a modern, non-genre reader find Lovecraft, Ashton-Smith and the like, on first exposure? Quite frustrating in places, I would think.
 
How does a modern, non-genre reader find Lovecraft, Ashton-Smith and the like, on first exposure? Quite frustrating in places, I would think.

With Lovecraft , the one I would start with is The Color out of Space In the case of Clark Ashton Smith stay The Speed From the Sepulcher ..
 
How does a modern, non-genre reader find Lovecraft, Ashton-Smith and the like, on first exposure? Quite frustrating in places, I would think.
Probably. But it may depend on reading background. If the reader is accustomed to older works, say very early 20th century and before, or reads Gothic or Gothic-inspired fiction, whether mainstream or genre, that reader may not have trouble with either writer. That Penguin has put out trade paper editions of both writers (more than one for Lovecraft, as well as other trade pbs for Thomas Liggoti, Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood) suggests there are a substantial group of readers still looking for that kind of fiction. Those readers will be able to read Lovecraft and Smith without too much trouble, or may feel the challenge is worth it.
 

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