I love horror books. My favorite author is Graham Masterton, though I like most of Stephen King’s stuff as well, and John Saul. Problem is, prolific as he is I’m running out of Masterton books to read and thus I need a new author to dig into, so I’m turning to the Dope.
What I like:
Horror based on old legends or ethnic history (Masterton does a lot of this, particularly with Native American mythos)
Horror set in modern times, with modern-day characters.
Lots of gore/shocking stuff. The gorier, the better!
Horror combined with criminal investigation/mystery solving/that kind of thing.
What I don’t like:
Sex. I don’t like my horror mixed with too many sexual themes. Mild is okay, and things like “here’s a scene where somebody was horribly violated by the Evil Thing™,” but shocking scenes of violent rape and such aren’t my thing.
Period or historical horror. Never really got into things like Dracula or Frankenstein. I prefer a more modern-day slant.
Books/authors where the protagonist fails. I don’t mind high body counts (in fact, I expect them) but I do want the protagonists to succeed in the end (or at least survive!)
Graphic depictions of cruelty to animals.
How about it? Any suggestions? I’ve tried Dean Koontz and wasn’t terribly impressed (though I only tried a couple of his books). I know there are a lot of good horror authors out there. Oh, and it would be a big bonus (though not a requirement) if the author’s work was available on the Kindle. Thanks in advance!
You should download some HP Lovecraft. He has a certain, somewhat mockable, style, but truthfully his short stories creep the crap out of me.
Apparently there are three collections out right now from Penguin Classics, called
-The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories
-The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories
-The Dreams in the Witch House and Other Weird Stories
There are also many, many anthologies by various authors in homage to Lovecraft, I recently read “Children of Cthulu” which were mostly set in the modern day.
But you can’t really call him a writer whose protagonists always succeed . . . they usually survive, but regret it . . . At any rate, there is some detective work involved in a lot of his fiction, and no sexual themes at all unless you go really Freudian on it. And there’s lots of psychological horror – if Lovecraft didn’t invent it, he took it to the next level.
Or, you can read all his short stories online here, if you don’t mind white letters on a black background.
Thanks for the suggestions, all. I’ll check them out.
I’ve read some Lovecraft–I love the concept, but his writing puts me to sleep. I do enjoy “Lovecraftian” style stories, but it’s not quite what I’m looking for. For one thing, they tend to dance around the gore, and I like it right out there in your face.
But I’ll take a look at all the suggestions. Thanks!
Agreed. Swan Song was my absolute favorite book for quite some time.
Another candidate is L. A. Banks (she’s a bit of a hottie, to boot!) You can find her story Spellbound in the somewhat popular My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding anthology (excerpt here).
Bentley Little - the most underrated horror author ever. Stephen King is actually a fan of his. His obscurity is due in no small part to the fact that he is a recluse who lives in isolation in Arizona and refuses to maintain any online presence, distrusting computers.
You might try Jack Ketchum. He’s my favorite horror author and his books definitely qualify for very bloody / gory. The only thing is though, it’s been a while since I’ve read everything and I’m not sure how much violent sex there is in there. In Off Season, which is about cannibalism, I don’t remember any and that’s the one that set me on the path of adoring him as a writer.