1) “The Half-a-Moon Inn” (Paul Fleischman)
I’m no psychologist, but I think most of what defines “horror” for people comes from childhood experiences. Whatever it happens to be, it sticks with you.
For me, “The Half-a-Moon Inn” defined horror as a child. I remember my mom reading it to me when I was just a young pup. That’s some dark brew right there, ladies and gentleman. A mute boy gets abandoned at an inn with a mind-poking witch. There’s something disturbing about the story that still resonates today.
“Half-a-Moon Inn” is technically a children’s book. Don’t be fooled. This book will mess you up.
2) “Jurassic Park” (Michael Crichton)
Mother of lucifer, that’s another one that kept the younger me up at night. I read it around age 8, and it ignited a bizarre string of sleepwalking. I’m not making that up. The intense dinosaur vs. human horror cooked up something malign in my young imagination that leaked out at night.
Make no mistake. “Jurassic Park” is sci-fi horror perfect for Halloween season.
3) “The Pit and the Pendulum” (Edgar Allen Poe)
Don’t bother referencing the Vincent Price movie of the same name. The Poe story is completely different. The concept is simple. A man wanders a pitch black labyrinth. He keeps passing out, only to wake to find food and drink set out for him. The contrast of his wavering hope with the suspicious encouragement of his environment makes you feel as lost as the protagonist.
And then it gets really good.
4) “This Dark Earth” (John Horner Jacobs)
I’ve actually not read this book, but it sounds too good to not put on this list. It’s a zombie story, but it’s a helluva good one from what I’ve heard from readers I respect. It’s on my to-read list for sure.
Lily Childs is a horror writer from the UK. I most commonly come across her writing at flash fiction sites, although she has plenty formally published.
I can’t think of many writers who can paint such vivid imagery in my head. When it comes to horror, this is most important. She’s a master of visceral descriptions that creep the hell out of me. When I need a quick, solid scare, Childs is the ticket. I bet you’ll feel the same way.
- Ben Sobieck
If you are an author and would also like to be featured with your five favorite horror/Halloween books, email me at Luis_vera05@yahoo.com