Need Recommendation - HELP! :)

zachm

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Hi everyone,

My sister and I have been searching and searching for a horror book to read together and we just can't find the right one. I'm new here but I'm really hoping you experts could help us out. Here are some attributes we're looking for in a book:

1. We want that creepy, eery, on the edge of our seat feeling. The type of stuff that happens without an explanation.
2. We're not into vampires, werewolves, and the like but do like ghostly things. The more realistic the book, the creepier we will find it.
3. Something quick, maybe no more than 400 pages.
4. Not looking for gory or anything with sexual assault.

We're also very flexible and would certainly check anything out that you suggest!

Thank you everyone!
 

Cat's Cradle

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Welcome to the site, @zachm!

A couple of things - first, it is often hard to sustain that creepy, edge-of-the-seat feeling throughout a novel. It’s easier, and more common to find it, I think, in short stories. But I’ll try to give a few horror novels I’ve read in the last year or two that I thought were very good (or excellent), and that had many moments of edge-of-the-seatness.
Also, age can be a factor in one’s enjoyment of a novel. I’m not sure if you and your sister are looking for coming of age horror novels, or more adult ones, but I’ll list books that might be appealing to most people. All of these should be available at Amazon (and other book sellers), and there might be the option to get a free excerpt of a book that lets you sample the novel, before buying.

Dark Harvest, by Norman Partridge
I think this might be a good bet, and it’s short, a little over 200 pages. Creepy-creepy.

The Shadow Year, by Jeffrey Ford &
Summer of Nights, by Dan Simmons
Excellent coming of age horror novels.

The Final Girl Support Group & My Best Friend’s Exorcism, by Grady Hendrix
Amazingly entertaining horror by one of my newest favorites. Easy reading, with interesting characters.

Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones, Micah Dean Hicks
Hip, modern horror with a really interesting, young MC. Different and excellent.

Hex, by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Truly creepy, engrossing horror; involves a town haunted and cursed by a ghost and the townspeople's choices.

The Return, by Rachel Harrison
A solid story about possession. Worth a read.

Small Favors, by Erin A. Craig
An unusual horror, almost literary at times, and has a rural feel, but I found it really fascinating.

The Elementals, by Michael McDowell
A great haunted house novel. Really timeless and wonderful.

And actually, one short story collection. Pretty short one, though. In case you are interested in Lovecraftian horror, here is a collection set in his extended universe:
The Coming of the Old Ones, by Jeffrey Thomas. Cosmic horror that I loved; the first story (of three) is a bit slow, but the second and third are great, epic, and really capture, I think, that Lovecraft feel.

Okay, hope there's something there you and your sister enjoy! I'm sure others will be along to give suggestions shortly. :)

edit to add: some of these I read over a year ago, and I do not believe they contain sexual assault; I also would not want to read a story that included that (and these just weren't that type of novel, IIRC). But as with any new author you are encountering, read the book description before buying, maybe read a sample that a book seller provides, and look at some of the thoughts people post in the comments section. Many horror novels have moments where gory things happen (it's often part of the genre), but none of the novels I listed are gore-fests, or exploitative. They might be dark in places, but aren't explicitly gory, I think.
 
Last edited:

Randy M.

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Dark Harvest, by Norman Partridge
I think this might be a good bet, and it’s short, a little over 200 pages. Creepy-creepy.

The Shadow Year, by Jeffrey Ford &

My Best Friend’s Exorcism, by Grady Hendrix
Amazingly entertaining horror by one of my newest favorites. Easy reading, with interesting characters.

I'd second these, in particular the Ford, which has a Stephen King feel to it's tale of three siblings facing something evil. Another along this line, and maybe an influence on Ford would be Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. Neither of these books, as I recall, have anything terribly gross or gory.

You could also go back a ways and try The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Anne Rivers Siddon's The House Next Door or Susan Hill's The Woman in Black if you haven't read either. More recently, Michelle Paver's Dark Matter is a good ghost story, as is Chad McLeod Chapman's The Remaking -- I wouldn't put either in my top ten, but each was enjoyable, and Paver's novel maintains it's tension throughout. There's also Christopher Fowler's Nyctophobia, and for something a bit outside this, Michael Koryta's The Ridge.

My wife told me good things about Winter People and The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon, and while not averse to some violence, doesn't like superfluous gore.

Good luck finding something you enjoy.
 

Cat's Cradle

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Dark Matter is in my TBR pile, and I loved Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver. It's a beautifully written sort of gothic horror. Excellent. Some other great choices, here, too.
 

Randy M.

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Dark Matter is in my TBR pile, and I loved Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver. It's a beautifully written sort of gothic horror. Excellent. Some other great choices, here, too.
DM is one of those books I appreciated rather than loved. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters is another. What they achieve is impressive but for some reason didn't engage me emotionally as much as, say, the Shirley Jackson. Or the Ford, for that matter. Even so I've looked at Wakenhyrst but haven't pulled the trigger, given the height and depth of Mount TBR.

That said, I do like Gothic horror ...
 

Cat's Cradle

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I hope 'gothic' is the right word... Edwardian, maybe? :)
And yes, Mount TBR is always daunting.
 

BAYLOR

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Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco
The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson
Ancient Images by Ramsey Campbell
Nathaniel by John Saul
 

BAYLOR

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Adrift on the Haunted Seats The Best Short Stories of William Hope Hodgson
The Rim of the Morning Two Tales off Cosmic Horror
by William Sloane
 

Guttersnipe

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Welcome to the site, @zachm!

A couple of things - first, it is often hard to sustain that creepy, edge-of-the-seat feeling throughout a novel. It’s easier, and more common to find it, I think, in short stories. But I’ll try to give a few horror novels I’ve read in the last year or two that I thought were very good (or excellent), and that had many moments of edge-of-the-seatness.
Also, age can be a factor in one’s enjoyment of a novel. I’m not sure if you and your sister are looking for coming of age horror novels, or more adult ones, but I’ll list books that might be appealing to most people. All of these should be available at Amazon (and other book sellers), and there might be the option to get a free excerpt of a book that lets you sample the novel, before buying.

Dark Harvest, by Norman Partridge
I think this might be a good bet, and it’s short, a little over 200 pages. Creepy-creepy.

The Shadow Year, by Jeffrey Ford &
Summer of Nights, by Dan Simmons
Excellent coming of age horror novels.

The Final Girl Support Group & My Best Friend’s Exorcism, by Grady Hendrix
Amazingly entertaining horror by one of my newest favorites. Easy reading, with interesting characters.

Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones, Micah Dean Hicks
Hip, modern horror with a really interesting, young MC. Different and excellent.

Hex, by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Truly creepy, engrossing horror; involves a town haunted and cursed by a ghost and the townspeople's choices.

The Return, by Rachel Harrison
A solid story about possession. Worth a read.

Small Favors, by Erin A. Craig
An unusual horror, almost literary at times, and has a rural feel, but I found it really fascinating.

The Elementals, by Michael McDowell
A great haunted house novel. Really timeless and wonderful.

And actually, one short story collection. Pretty short one, though. In case you are interested in Lovecraftian horror, here is a collection set in his extended universe:
The Coming of the Old Ones, by Jeffrey Thomas. Cosmic horror that I loved; the first story (of three) is a bit slow, but the second and third are great, epic, and really capture, I think, that Lovecraft feel.

Okay, hope there's something there you and your sister enjoy! I'm sure others will be along to give suggestions shortly. :)

edit to add: some of these I read over a year ago, and I do not believe they contain sexual assault; I also would not want to read a story that included that (and these just weren't that type of novel, IIRC). But as with any new author you are encountering, read the book description before buying, maybe read a sample that a book seller provides, and look at some of the thoughts people post in the comments section. Many horror novels have moments where gory things happen (it's often part of the genre), but none of the novels I listed are gore-fests, or exploitative. They might be dark in places, but aren't explicitly gory, I think.
Incidentally, Dark Harvest has been adapted to film and is coming to American cinemas on September 9 of this year.
 
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Cat's Cradle

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Incidentally, Dark Harvest has been adapted to film and is coming to American cinemas on September 9 of this year.
Oh, that's great news, Guttersnipe! Thanks for posting this. If this is done well, it could be a very good horror movie.
My wife and I despair that there are not more good horror movies made. New ones seem so few and far between. This new film looks to be directed by David Slade, who has done some good work. Looking forward to this one, thanks! CC
 

Cat's Cradle

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New ones seem so few and far between.
Too late to edit; that should read 'good ones' (or genuinely creepy/scary ones) are few and far between. Lots of horror being filmed, but most just isn't original, or well-made, or creepy, etc, etc.
We've tried some indie films lately without huge success; some Ti West (The Innkeepers, very average, The House of the Devil, good); Pontypool we thought very disappointing; Relic is a pretty good horror; and we have The Void in cue. Also, we have The Wailing on DVD, which we have great hope for. Any-who, enough from me on films. :)
 

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