Books that go Bump in the Night25th October 2023
The days are getting shorter, and the wind is getting colder. Everywhere you look there are pumpkins smiling through their newly carved faces and monsters walk the streets chanting ‘Trick or Treat’. It is the most wonderful time of the year – Halloween. A night to enjoy scary movies and books curled up on the sofa, a time to eat sweets guilt-free and enjoy your favourite beverages with the delicious taste of pumpkin spice mixed in. Society has now made October the month of horror and macabre and this year is especially spooky with a bonus Friday the 13th! From the beginning of time, humans have loved to feel frightened and have shared scary stories with one another; ghost stories around the campfire, children’s fairy tales, myths, and legends – they all share horror elements. As an avid reader of horror, splatterpunk, thriller, gothic etc, I jumped at the chance to be able to write this blog, there were so many things flying through my head about what I could write about! I decided to have a look through the history of the genre and focus on some of my favourite books from each period. Who knows, maybe you might find a new read just in time for Halloween Night.
It is hard to pinpoint exactly where the long roots of the horror genres originally stem from, but with published books and film, we can go back to about the 18th century. This was an important era for scary stories as its where the first Gothic Novel comes from. Gothic fiction is a genre that utilises fears and hauntings in stories. It is often set in places such as Abbeys or European mansions, and so is named after these pieces of Gothic architecture. Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Ortanto was published in 1764 and is classed as the first Gothic horror book. It is the story of a young woman, Isabella, who is due to wed her fiancé Conrad. However, Conrad faces an unusual death just before the wedding; worried that this means the end of his lineage, Conrad’s father, Manfred, decides to divorce his wife who has only been able to provide him with a sickly heir, and marries Isabella instead. Isabella escapes through the castle filled with secret passageways to get away from Manfred; we see supernatural visitations, violence, and familial revelations. There are other notable publications from this century such as The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis and The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe. The latter being one of the biggest inspirations for Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey – a Gothic novel from the 19th century.
The 19th century gave us many stories and a whole new genre - sensation fiction focused on criminal tales - but also paid homage to Gothic and romance titles. These books would show topics that were quite scandalous, such as murder, adultery, and kidnapping. However, they weren’t quite ‘gothic’ as they were not set in spooky haunted castles. A title that often defines this genre is The Woman in White (1860) by Wilkie Collins which focuses on righteous women being threatened by aristocratic men with gruesome crimes thrown into the mix. One of the famous real cases of the 19th century is Jack the Ripper. During the Ripper’s time, people were frightened, but also incredibly intrigued. In New York City (far enough away from the Ripper to not fear being murdered) the stories were glorified in the papers and the American public lapped it up. The Ripper was referred to as “a bloodthirsty beast in human form” and his ‘lunacy’ was compared to “vampires of the Middle Ages that haunted cemeteries and dug up the bodies of women to tear the flesh from their bones”. Crime books were incredibly popular, particularly with Victorian women, although women were sometimes classed as less virtuous if they were seen reading these gruesome stories!
In the United States, we meet one of my favourite writers of all time, Edgar Allen Poe. I remember at school when we were learning about poetry, I couldn’t quite engage with it as much as I wanted to and so I struggled a bit. But then I read The Raven, and something resonated with me, I just wanted to read more! I moved on to poems like Annabel Lee, Spirits of the Dead and Alone. I ended up buying the full collection of Poe’s works and read the lot. I obviously had to feature one of Poe’s brilliant horror stories here but couldn’t decide which one, then I remembered that one of his stories has become the inspiration for a new Netflix original show – The Fall of the House of Usher. If you like the sound of this story, then you can pick up a copy and then binge the season (I won’t go into too much detail just in case there’s any spoilers)! The narrator of this story gets a letter from his friend Roderick who asks him to come and keep him company as his mental health is deteriorating. When he arrives, Roderick tells the narrator that he thinks that the house that he lives in – Usher Mansion – is sentient and can control the people inside it. As the story goes on, we see the increasingly more frightened narrator start to suffer from insomnia whilst his friend descends into madness.
The 19th century provided us with a plethora of other well-known horror writers; Mary Shelley and Frankenstein’s Monster, Bram Stoker and Dracula, Henry James and The Turn of the Screw (another one of my favourites!), and Oscar Wilde with The Picture of Dorian Gray. This is truly one of the most influential periods for horror, sci-fi, thriller and gothic titles!
Into the 20th century, we see more titles that you may recognise as a lot of horror stories from this era were made into much loved and familiar films. One author who created a whole genre of cosmic fiction is H.P. Lovecraft who created the celestial entity Cthulhu. Lovecraft wrote about horrors that are incomprehensible to mankind, one of the best examples of this is Cthulhu himself, part of the Great Old Ones – a race of deities. He is well-known for being an enormous size (bigger than the mountains) and having an appearance resembling a winged man crossed with a squid/octopus, however, his true form is indescribable to mere humans. Since Lovecraft created this creature, he has evolved and adapted to fit other stories, films, video games and other media.
Psycho by Robert Bloch is where I would personally say horror movies started to become absolutely incredible. I love this film, and I love this book. I’m sure I do not have to go into the details - we all know the famous shower scene - but this movie pushed the boundaries for horror as a genre. Its depictions of violence and sexuality was unmatched at the time. It shows crossdressing (hugely taboo at the time), as well as split personalities, emotional abuse, implied incest, and not to mention all the murder and gore!
There is also Thomas Harris, who wrote the brilliant series that includes Red Dragon, and The Silence of the Lambs and follows Dr Hannibal Lecter. These slasher-thriller books were supposedly influenced by the Manson Family and were also transformed into a fantastic film series. Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend influenced a whole new genre of apocalyptic and zombie stories. Other classics such as Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist (which were also made into highly rated films) in the 1960s-1970s caused a kind of boom in the horror genre. One of the best-known horror writers, and my personal favourite writer of all time, is, of course, Stephen King. The list of his horror stories is seemingly endless, Carrie, The Shining, Pet Sematary, IT, Salem’s Lot, Cujo, Rose Madder and more.
The late 1900s also saw horror becoming popular with and more accessible to children, perhaps to prepare them for the scary world that they will one day go into! One of the biggest horror series is Goosebumps by R.L Stine (who just so happened to be the topic of last years Halloween blog if you fancy scrolling back to have a read!). I used to love going to the library with my mum on a Saturday morning and trying to find the next Goosebumps book that I could get my hands on. I particularly liked the Give Yourself Goosebumps series as it wasn’t just reading from beginning to end, it was finishing a page and then making a decision such as “stay still” or “run to the closet” and seeing if you just made a fatal mistake! These books are still as popular as ever, and were even made into a film in 2015. A great 21st century horror novel that was turned into a film is Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, this story is incredible, eerie and tense, but still fun for all ages to enjoy.
One of my favourite genres that first became popular in the 1980s but has seen an upsurge in recent years is called Splatterpunk. It became quite controversial as it is distinguished by graphic gore, violence and ‘hyper-intensive horror with no limits’. Bloch, the author of Psycho said “there is a distinction to be made between that which inspires terror and that which inspires nausea”. I won’t speak too much on this genre, but for those who are interested, here are some authors that I love to read: Clive Barker, William Joseph Martin (formerly Poppy Z. Brite), Edward Lee, Jack Ketchum and Aron Beauregard.
In the 21st century, there are many horror titles that will send a shiver down your spine; Eric LaRocca quickly became one of my favourite authors after reading You’ve Lost a Lot of Blood, The Trees Grew Because I Bled There, and Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke. LaRocca’s books feel a lot like scary campfire stories as well as a whole new style of psychological horror. A slightly more light-hearted approach to horror would be titles by Grady Hendrix, these books are still scary, but there is a more humorous or light-hearted undertone between the sections of horror. My first Hendrix book was Horrorstor, I fell in love with this book the second I saw it. Set out like an IKEA furniture catalogue, we follow the strange happenings in Orsk, a furniture superstore. Weird things keep happening, broken bookshelves and wardrobes, smashed glasses, and nothing on the security cameras to explain it. Some employees stay to work from dusk-till-dawn to try and figure out what is going on in Orsk and, trust me, it is crazy! This then led me to read How to Sell a Haunted House and My Best Friend’s Exorcism. The final book I’d like to mention is The Watchers by A.M. Shine. This was given to me as a present by my partner and boy does he know what I like to read! Set in a forest that is not on any map, cars breakdown when they drive through, and the animals have all fled the area. Something is in the forest, and when Mina has no choice but to run through the trees, she finds a concrete bunker. There are creatures out there, they live underground and come out every night, and if you do not make it back to the bunker, then terrible things will happen. This book was so narrative heavy that it makes you feel like you are there, it is claustrophobic and made me feel unbelievably anxious!
Now that we have had a look at some of the most notable horror stories going all the way back to the 1700s, I think we’ve got plenty of inspiration to pick up a spooky read just in time for Halloween. So, when it gets dark on Halloween night, make sure to sit by the fire and have a read through one of these scary books. And when the floorboards creak or the pipes bang in the walls and you feel like you’re not alone anymore, don’t worry, it’s just a story (or is it…?).
Kat D, Content Selection Team
The castle of Otranto : a gothic story
'Look, my lord! See heaven itself declares against your impious intentions!' The Castle of Otranto (1764) is the first supernatural English novel and one of the most influential works of Gothic fiction. It inaugurated a literary genre that will be forever associated with the effects that Walpole pioneered. Professing to be a translation of a mysterious Italian tale from the darkest Middle Ages, the novel tells of Manfred, prince of Otranto, whose fear of an ancient prophecy sets him on a course of destruction. After the grotesque death of his only son, Conrad, on his wedding day, Manfred determines to marry the bride-to-be. The virgin Isabella flees through a castle riddled with secret passages. Chilling coincidences, ghostly visitations, arcane revelations, and violent combat combine in a heady mix that terrified the novel's first readers. In this new edition Nick Groom examines the reasons for its extraordinary impact and the Gothic culture from which it sprang. The Castle of Otranto was a game-changer, and Walpole the writer who paved the way for modern horror exponents. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.More Details
'He was deaf to the murmurs of conscience, and resolved to satisfy his desires at any price.'The Monk (1796) is a sensational story of temptation and depravity, a masterpiece of Gothic fiction and the first horror novel in English literature. The respected monk Ambrosio, the Abbot of a Capuchin monastery in Madrid, is overwhelmed with desire for a young girl; once having abandoned his monastic vows he begins a terrible descent into immorality and violence. His appalling fall from grace embraces blasphemy, black magic, torture, rape, and murder, and places his very soul in jeopardy. Lewis's extraordinary tale drew on folklore, legendary ghost stories, and contemporary dread inspired by the terrors of the French Revolution. Its excesses shocked the reading public and it was condemned as obscene. The novel continues to beguile and shock readers today with its gruesome catalogue of iniquities, while at the same time giving a profound insight into the deep anxieties experienced by British citizens during one of the most turbulent periods in the nation's history. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.More Details
The mysteries of Udolpho
`Her present life appeared like the dream of a distempered imagination, or like one of those frightful fictions, in which the wild genius of the poets sometimes delighted. Rreflections brought only regret, and anticipation terror.' Such is the state of mind in which Emily St. Aubuert - the orphaned heroine of Ann Radcliffe's 1794 gothic Classic, The Mysteries of Udolpho - finds herself after Count Montoni, her evil guardian, imprisions her in his gloomy medieval fortress in the Appenines. Terror is the order of the day inside the walls of Udolpho, as Emily struggles against Montoni's rapacious schemes and the threat of her own psychological disintegration. A best-seller in its day and a potent influence on Walpole, Poe, and other writers of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Gothic horror, The Mysteries of Udolpho remains one of the most important works in the history of European fiction. As the same time, with its dream-like plot and hallucinatory rendering of its characters' psychological states, it often seems strangely modern: `permanently avant-garde' in Terry Castle's words, and a profound and fascinating challenge to contemporary readers. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.More Details
Paperback / softback
Introduction and Notes by David Blair, University of Kent. Northanger Abbey tells the story of a young girl, Catherine Morland who leaves her sheltered, rural home to enter the busy, sophisticated world of Bath in the late 1790s. Austen observes with insight and humour the interaction between Catherine and the various characters whom she meets there, and tracks her growing understanding of the world about her. In this, her first full-length novel, Austen also fixes her sharp, ironic gaze on other kinds of contemporary novel, especially the Gothic school made famous by Ann Radcliffe. Catherine's reading becomes intertwined with her social and romantic adventures, adding to the uncertainties and embarrassments she must undergo before finding happiness.More Details
The Woman in White
Paperback / softback
With an Introduction and Notes by Scott Brewster, University of Central Lancashire. Wilkie Collins is a master of mystery, and The Woman in White is his first excursion into the genre. When the hero, Walter Hartright, on a moonlit night in north London, encounters a solitary, terrified and beautiful woman dressed in white, he feels impelled to solve the mystery of her distress. The intricate plot is peopled with a finely characterised cast, from the peevish invalid Mr Fairlie to the corpulent villain Count Fosco and the enigmatic woman herself.More Details
The poetry of Edgar Allan Poe
Allan Poe, Edgar
Poe has a pervading presence in popular culture. He has made appearances in various forms of modern media, from the animated show South Park to the album cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club.More Details
The fall of the house of Usher & other writings
This selection of Poe's critical writings, short fiction and poetry demonstrates an intense interest in aesthetic issues and the astonishing power and imagination with which he probed the darkest corners of the human mind. "The Fall of the House of Usher" describes the final hours of a family tormented by tragedy and the legacy of the past. In "The Tell Tale Heart", a murderer's insane delusions threaten to betray him, while stories such as "The Pit and the Pendulum" and "The Cask of Amontillado" explore extreme states of decadence, fear and hate.More Details
Paperback / softback
Frankenstein is the classic gothic horror novel which has thrilled and engrossed readers for two centuries. Written by Mary Shelley, it is a story which she intended would 'curdle the blood and quicken the beatings of the heart.' The tale is a superb blend of science fiction, mystery and thriller. Victor Frankenstein driven by the mad dream of creating his own creature, experiments with alchemy and science to build a monster stitched together from dead remains. Once the creature becomes a living breathing articulate entity, it turns on its maker and the novel darkens into tragedy. The reader is very quickly swept along by the force of the elegant prose, the grotesque, surreal imagery, and the multi-layered themes in the novel. Although first published in 1818, Shelley's masterpiece still maintains a strong grip on the imagination and has been the inspiration for numerous horror movies, television and stage adaptations.More Details
Paperback / softback
Introduction and Notes by Dr David Rogers, Kingston University. 'There he lay looking as if youth had been half-renewed, for the white hair and moustache were changed to dark iron-grey, the cheeks were fuller, and the white skin seemed ruby-red underneath; the mouth was redder than ever, for on the lips were gouts of fresh blood, which trickled from the corners of the mouth and ran over the chin and neck. Even the deep, burning eyes seemed set amongst the swollen flesh, for the lids and pouches underneath were bloated. It seemed as if the whole awful creature were simply gorged with blood; he lay like a filthy leech, exhausted with his repletion.'Thus Bram Stoker, one of the greatest exponents of the supernatural narrative, describes the demonic subject of his chilling masterpiece Dracula, a truly iconic and unsettling tale of vampirism.More Details
The turn of the screw
'A most wonderful, lurid, poisonous little tale' Oscar WildeThe Turn of the Screw, James's great masterpiece of haunting atmosphere and unbearable tension, tells of a young governess sent to a country house to take charge of two orphans, Miles and Flora. Unsettled by a dark foreboding of menace within the house, she soon comes to believe that something, or someone, malevolent is stalking the children in her care. Is the threat to her young charges really a malign and ghostly presence, or a manifestation of something else entirely? Edited and with an Introduction and Notes by David Bromwich Series Editor: Philip HorneMore Details
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Paperback / softback
With an Introduction and Notes by John M.L. Drew, University of Buckingham. Wilde's only novel, first published in 1890, is a brilliantly designed puzzle, intended to tease conventional minds with its exploration of the myriad interrelationships between art, life, and consequence. From its provocative Preface, challenging the reader to believe in 'art for art's sake', to its sensational conclusion, the story self-consciously experiments with the notion of sin as an element of design. Yet Wilde himself underestimated the consequences of his experiment, and its capacity to outrage the Victorian establishment. Its words returned to haunt him in his court appearances in 1895, and he later recalled the 'note of doom' which runs like 'a purple thread' through its carefully crafted prose.More Details
The call of Cthulhu
Devoured by the Lovecraftian community and general readers alike, Leslie S. Klinger's best-selling The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft, Volumes I and II were hailed as classics of the genre. Now Klinger returns with the ideal annotated primer not only for Lovecraft devotees eager for a more portable version but also students, literature-lovers and curious newcomers looking for a scare. In "Dagon", one of Lovecraft's earliest stories, the terrifying idea of an unknown being at the bottom of the ocean is introduced for the first time; in "The Call of Cthulhu", the horror spreads beyond the sea. The iconic "Rats in the Walls" relates a journey into the depths of a haunted house and mind, while "The Outsider" is a twisted tale that will make the reader question everything. A necessity for any library, The Call of Cthulhu and Other Stories is an indispensable companion for anyone looking to experience a master at the height of his craft. A paperback original.More Details
She was a fugitive, lost in a storm. That was when she saw the sign: motel - vacancy. The sign was unlit, the motel dark. She switched off the engine, and sat thinking, alone and frightened. She had nobody. The stolen money wouldn't help her, and Sam couldn't either, because she had taken the wrong turning; she was on a strange road. There was nothing she could do now - she had made her grave and she'd have to lie in it. She froze. Where had that come from? Grave. It was bed, not grave. She shivered in the cold car, surrounded by shadows. Then, without a sound, a dark shape emerged from the blackness and the car door opened. Psycho is not a tale for queasy stomachs or faint hearts. It is filled with horrifying suspense and the climax, instead of being a relief, will hit the reader with bone-shattering force.More Details
The silence of the lambs
_________________________THE CLASSIC THRILLER BEHIND THE OSCAR-WINNING MOVIEFBI trainee Clarice Starling has an elusive serial killer to hunt. Only one man can help. Psychopathic cannibal Hannibal Lecter... The serial killer nicknamed 'Buffalo Bill' has been capturing and starving women, then murdering and skinning them. FBI rookie Clarice Starling is assigned to solicit help from imprisoned psychopath Dr Hannibal 'the Cannibal' Lecter, whose insight into the depraved minds of serial killers is second to none. But in exchange for inviting her into the darkest chambers of his mind, Hannibal begins to probe at hers, demanding knowledge of her childhood demons as the price of understanding Buffalo Bill's. Clarice knows how dangerous this man is, and the terrible things he can do with this information. But women are still disappearing, and time is running out...More Details
_________________________THE LEGENDARY THRILLER THAT CREATED DR HANNIBAL LECTERWill Graham was a brilliant profiler of criminals for the FBI - until he suffered terrible injuries in the process of capturing Dr Hannibal 'the Cannibal' Lecter. Years later, a serial killer nicknamed 'the Tooth Fairy' is massacring entire families each full moon. With the FBI desperate for progress, Will reluctantly agrees to consult. But he soon realises that he alone can't crack the case; he needs the help of the only mind even better than his own at understanding the mentalities of psychopaths. The mind of Hannibal Lecter. But Hannibal is playing his own twisted game from the asylum for the criminally insane. Will isn't alone in getting advice from the cannibal. So is the Tooth Fairy - the man haunted by visions of the murderous Red Dragon...More Details
I am legend
The iconic science fiction vampire novel, adapted into the film starring Will Smith. The last man on earth is not alone . . . Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth ... but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are hungry for Neville's blood. By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilisation. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn. How long can one man survive like this?The SF classic that inspired the blockbuster vampire movie starring Will SmithReaders can't put down I Am Legend:'A classic of several genres, sci-fi, horror, vampires, and post-apocalypse. I love the scientific rationalization of the classic vampire lore' Goodreads reviewer, 'I certainly understand why Richard Matheson is regarded as a master of the horror genre and why even THE Stephen King looked up to him as an inspiration . . . If you like horror, suspense and the macabre, then my dear reader please give this book a try' Goodreads reviewer, 'Less about vampires. More about mental breakdown. An excellent horror story' Goodreads reviewer, 'Neville is a very interesting protagonist. You really want to root for him that he will survive. I don't want to spoil you, but the ending will definitely hit you like a one-two punch' Goodreads reviewer, 'It's about a man dealing with stress, nightmarish circumstances and his will to not just live, but to survive. Matheson tells a tale of isolation, desperation, perseverance and ultimately, absolution' Goodreads reviewer,More Details
'The Swiss watchmaker of the suspense novel' Stephen KingRosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor-husband, Guy, move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and only elderly residents. Neighbours Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome them; despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing, her husband starts spending time with them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant, and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare. As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavets' circle is not what it seems...More Details
Blatty, William Peter
Father Damien Karras: 'Where is Regan?' Regan MacNeil: 'In here. With us.'The terror begins unobtrusively. Noises in the attic. In the child's room, an odd smell, the displacement of furniture, an icy chill. At first, easy explanations are offered. Then frightening changes begin to appear in eleven-year-old Regan. Medical tests fail to shed any light on her symptoms, but it is as if a different personality has invaded her body. Father Damien Karras, a Jesuit priest, is called in. Is it possible that a demonic presence has possessed the child? Exorcism seems to be the only answer... First published in 1971, The Exorcist became a literary phenomenon and inspired one of the most shocking films ever made. This edition, polished and expanded by the author, includes new dialogue, a new character and a chilling new extended scene, provides an unforgettable reading experience that has lost none of its power to shock and continues to thrill and terrify new readers.More Details
Stephen King's legendary debut, about a teenage outcast and the revenge she enacts on her classmates, is a Classic. CARRIE is the novel which set him on the road to the Number One bestselling author King is today. Carrie White is no ordinary girl. Carrie White has the gift of telekinesis. To be invited to Prom Night by Tommy Ross is a dream come true for Carrie - the firststep towards social acceptance by her high school colleagues. But events will take a decidedly macabre turn on that horrifying and endless night as sheis forced to exercise her terrible gift on the town that mocks and loathes her . . .More Details
One of the true classics of horror, now with a new stunning cover look. THE SHINING is regarded as one of Stephen King's masterpieces. Danny is only five years old, but in the words of old Mr Hallorann he is a 'shiner', aglow with psychic voltage. When his father becomes caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, Danny's visions grow out of control. As winter closes in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seems to develop a life of its own. It is meant to be empty. So who is the lady in Room 217 and who are the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why do the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?Somewhere, somehow, there is an evil force in the hotel - and that, too, is beginning to shine . . .More Details
Soon to be a major motion picture from Paramount Pictures starring John Lithgow, Jason Clarke, and Amy Seimetz! King's iconic, beloved classic is 'so beautifully paced that you cannot help but be pulled in' Guardian 'SOMETIMES...DEAD IS BETTER'The house looked right, felt right to Dr Louis Creed. Rambling, old, unsmart and comfortable. A place where the family could settle; the children grow and play and explore. The rolling hills and meadows of Maine seemed a world away from the fume-choked dangers of Chicago. Only the occasional big truck out on the two-lane highway, grinding up through the gears, hammering down the long gradients, growled out an intrusive threat. But behind the house and far away from the road: that was safe. Just a carefully cleared path up into the woods where generations of local children have processed with the solemn innocence of the young, taking with them their dear departed pets for burial. A sad place maybe, but safe. Surely a safe place. Not a place to seep into your dreams, to wake you, sweating with fear and foreboding. 'King can make the flesh creep half a world away' - The Times'So beautifully paced that you cannot help but be pulled in' - Guardian'The most frightening novel Stephen King has ever written' - Publisher's Weekly'Wild, powerful, disturbing' - Washington Post Book ReviewMore Details
Now with a stunning new cover look, King's classic No. 1 bestseller and the basis for the massively successful films It: Chapter One and It: Chapter Two as well as the inspiration for HBO Max's upcoming Welcome to Derry. We all float down here. Derry, Maine is just an ordinary town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part, a good place to live. It is a group of children who see - and feel - what makes Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurks, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one's deepest dread. Sometimes IT appears as an evil clown named Pennywise and sometimes IT reaches up, seizing, tearing, killing . . . Time passes and the children grow up, move away and forget. Until they are called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirs and coils in the sullen depths of their memories, emerging again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.More Details
With a stunning new cover look, King's chilling classic of a small new England town about to be engulfed in terror. Turn off the television - in fact, why don't you turn off all the lights except for the one over your favourite chair? - and we'll talk about vampires here in the dim. I think I can make you believe in them. Stephen King, from the Introduction. 'Salem's Lot is a small New England town with the usual quota of gossips, drinkers, weirdos and respectable folk. Of course there are tales of strange happenings - but not more than in any other town its size. Ben Mears, a moderately successful writer, returns to the Lot to write a novel based on his early years, and to exorcise the terrors that have haunted him since childhood. The event he witnessed in the house now rented by a new resident. A newcomer with a strange allure. A man who causes Ben some unease as things start to happen: a child disappears, a dog is brutally killed - nothing unusual, except the list starts to grow. Soon surprise will turn to bewilderment, bewilderment to confusion and finally to terror . . .More Details
With a stunning new cover look, King's classic tale of survival sees a young mother and her son trapped in a car by a horrifyingly familiar monster. Once upon a time, not so long ago, a monster came to the small town of Castle Rock, Maine . . . Cujo is a huge Saint Bernard dog, the best friend Brett Camber has ever had. Then one day Cujo chases a rabbit into a bolt-hole. Except it isn't a rabbit warren any more. It is a cave inhabited by rabid bats. And Cujo falls sick. Very sick. And the gentle giant who once protected the family becomes a vortex of horror inexorably drawing in all the people around him . . .More Details
Roused by a single drop of blood, Rosie Daniels wakes up to the chilling realisation that her husband is going to kill her. And she takes flight - with his credit card. Alone in a strange city, Rosie begins to build a new life: she meets Bill and she finds an odd junk shop painting, 'Rose Madder', which strangely seems to want her as much as she wants it. But it's hard for Rosie not to keep looking over her shoulder. Norman is a corrupt cop with the instincts of a predator. A man almost mythic in his monstrosity. For Rosie to survive, she must enter the myth and become a person she never knew she could be - Rose Madder. Because Norman is getting close. Rosie can feel how close he is getting . . .More Details
Night of the living dummy
Discover the original bone-chilling adventures that made Goosebumps one of the bestselling children's book series of all time! Lindy names the ventriloquist's dummy she finds Slappy. Slappy is kind of ugly, but he's a lot of fun. Lindy's having a great time learning to make Slappy move and talk. But Kris is jealous of all the attention her sister is getting. It's not fair. Why does Lindy always have all the luck? Kris decides to get a dummy of her own. She'll show Lindy! Then weird things begin to happen. Nasty things. Evil things. No way a dummy can be causing all the trouble. Or is there? From the bestselling author of Fear Street, now a hit show on NETFLIX Goosebumps have been scaring generations of kids The books have been made into TV series and two feature films starring Jack Black (School of Rock) and Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why)More Details
Brite, Poppy Z
A terrifying novel of love and slaughter set in London and New Orleans. To serial killer Andrew Compton, murder is an art, the most intimate art. After feigning his own death to escape from a life sentence in prison, he makes his way to America with the intention of bringing his art to new heights. Tortured by his own perverse desires, he inadvertently joins forces with Jay, a dissolute playboy. They set their sights on a young Vietnamese-American runaway, who they deem to be the perfect victim. Moving from the grimy streets of London's Piccadilly Circus to the decadences of New Orleans' French Quarter, Poppy Z. Brite dissects the landscape of torture and invites us into the mind of a serial killer in this riveting, unforgettable masterpiece of horror.More Details
The Girl Next Door
Paperback / softback
A teenage girl is held captive and brutally tortured by neighborhood children. Based on a true story, this shocking novel reveals the depravity of which we are all capable. This novel contains graphic content and is recommended for regular readers of horror novels.More Details
Scariest book ever
A brand new Goosebumps series is coming prepare to be scared like never before! From the delightfully twisted mind of R.L. Stine comes a fresh new vision for the fan-favorite brand. This new series will feature an ALL NEW line-up of incredible villains, with iconic monsters as you've never seen them before, whose antics are destined to make them every bit as beloved as Slappy. This exciting new Goosebumps series will have the same humor and terrifying tone that millions of readers love, but will be bigger, bolder, funnier, and scarier! Goosebumps is soon to be a major Apple TV series The perfect spooky read for 8+ readersMore Details
Trees grew because I bled there : collected stories
A beautifully crafted, devastating short fiction collection from the Bram-Stoker finalist and author of Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke and Other Misfortunes. Includes an introduction from acclaimed bestselling author Chuck Wendig. Eight stories of dark fiction from a master storyteller. Exploring the shadow side of love, these are tales of grief, obsession, control. Intricate examinations of trauma and tragedy in raw, poetic prose. A woman imagines horrific scenarios whilst caring for her infant niece; on-line posts chronicle a cancer diagnosis; a couple in the park with their small child encounter a stranger with horrific consequences; a toxic relationship reaches a terrifying resolution... A beautifully crafted, devastating short fiction collection from the Bram Stoker Awards (R) finalist and author of Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke and Other Misfortunes.More Details
Horrorstèor : a novel
It's a classic old-fashioned haunted house story - set in a big box Swedish furniture superstore. Designed like a retail catalogue, Horrorstor offers a creepy read with mass appeal-perfect for Halloween tables! Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring wardrobes, shattered Bracken glassware, and vandalized Liripip sofabeds-clearly, someone or something is up to no good. To unravel the mystery, five young employees volunteer for a long dusk-til-dawn shift-and they encounter horrors that defy imagination. Along the way, author Grady Hendrix infuses sly social commentary on the nature of work in the new 21st century economy. A traditional haunted house story in a contemporary setting (and full of contemporary fears), Horrorstor comes conveniently packaged in the form of a retail catalogue, complete with illustrations of ready-to-assemble furniture and other, more sinister accessories.More Details
Soon to be a MAJOR MOTION PICTURE produced by M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN and starring DAKOTA FANNING. You can't see them. But they can see you. This forest isn't charted on any map. Every car breaks down at its treeline. Mina's is no different. Left stranded, she is forced into the dark woodland only to find a woman shouting, urging Mina to run to a concrete bunker. As the door slams behind her, the building is besieged by screams. Mina finds herself in a room with a wall of glass, and an electric light that activates at nightfall, when the Watchers come above ground. These creatures emerge to observe their captive humans and terrible things happen to anyone who doesn't reach the bunker in time. Afraid and trapped among strangers, Mina is desperate for answers. Who are the Watchers, and why are they keeping the humans imprisoned, keen to watch their every move?A spine-chilling debut horror adventure set in the remote and sinister forests of Ireland, from critically acclaimed Irish writer A.M. Shine. 'A dark, claustrophobic read' T. Kingfisher, author of Paladin's Grace'Readers get an intimate glimpse into the fraying edges of each character's psyches, the constant hunger, the paranoia, the loss of hope, and far worse... The Watchers will appeal to fans of Kealan Patrick Burke, Josh Malerman, and Scott Smith' A.E. Siraki, BooklistMore Details