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serenityNOW's avatar

I want a book that can scare the living s@*t out of me... can you help?

Asked by serenityNOW (3367 points ) February 15th, 2013

Just no Stephen King (read them all) and the Bible. What’s a book that terrified you? Preferably something quick and not too thought-provoking. Thanks!

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31 Answers

Pachy's avatar

“Silence of the Lambs,” which I read before I saw the movie, scared the bejesus out of me!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

You could try some early Dean Koontz. His later stuff is a little stale.

serenityNOW's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe – Any early Koontz suggestions. I tried Odd Thomas, but it seemed a bit “goofy.”
@Pachyderm_In_The_Room – Yeah, those were definitely creepy. Too bad it seems as if Thomas Harris has stopped writing…

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Let me look at my book shelf. Three come to mind, but I can’t recall the titles right now.

jaytkay's avatar

The Devil in the White City

Worse than Hannibal Lecter and it’s a true story!

DominicX's avatar

“The Amityville Horror” by Jay Anson. I’ve read it twice, but I’m not sure if I could ever read it again…

fundevogel's avatar

Story of O is the roughest I’ve read.

mazingerz88's avatar

Breed could be worth checking out. I intend to do so soon.

Bellatrix's avatar

Good horror is so hard to find. I quite liked The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I wouldn’t say it scared the pants off me but it’s a good read.

What about going back to the classics and reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula?

I found The Road by Cormac McCarthy very disturbing.

Another book I have read over the past couple of years is Justin Cronin’s The Passage and the second part of this trilogy The Twelve. I found them to be a good yarn and kept me turning the pages.

Sunny2's avatar

I was going to say, Silence of the Lambs, but there it was, first on the list.

Rarebear's avatar

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Symbeline's avatar

I read this a while back, a book called Island, by Richard Laymon. I read this back in highschool, so perhaps I was more easily impressed back then, but…well, it seems typical at first. People go on a cruise, the ship breaks down and they end up stranded on an island, but one of them is a murderer, who picks everyone off one by one.

Now the book is overly violent…seriously, it’s CRUEL…but don’t let that turn you off. It’s a smart book, and I always remembered it because of its way to just…keep you on the edge of your seat. It has tension out the ass, plot twists and it never lets up. The characters are good and you get to know them well…but FUCK, the tragedies man…it plays with your nerves, and it’s not all just violence; the book plays with morality like a madman.
It’s cruel, raw, and it sucks you right in. I read a lot of horror books, have done so since an early age, but this one gets honorable mention for actually being scary. In such ways that are not always good. The book will burn your brain.
If you’re a horror fan, this book is totally worth the sensation it provides.

On demand with your request though, the book is rather long…one of the longest this author wrote. But that won’t matter if you end up liking it.

Haleth's avatar

“House of Leaves” is thought-provoking, but easy to understand. It’s also totally fucking terrifying. There’s a bit of “dark creepy hallway, things that go bump in the night” type terror, and a lot of existential dread. I can’t recommend it enough.

augustlan's avatar

While not exactly a horror novel, Primal Fear is really good and still scary.

Seek's avatar

For quick and dirty, go with Clive Barker’s Books of Blood series. All short stories, and most of them amazing.

Now if you want something scary to think about, read P.D. James’s The Children of Men.

ucme's avatar

Barbara’s Bush: A Womb With a View…shudders.

jonsblond's avatar

Dean Koontz- Intensity I couldn’t put the book down.

fundevogel's avatar

@Bellatrix Don’t kow if i would call The Road horror but it’s certainly a great book.

jonsblond's avatar

@fundevogel I finally bought The Road. I should have it by Tuesday, but I’ll have to share it with my husband. He’s also looking forward to reading it.. :)

serenityNOW's avatar

@Bellatrix – I actually started the the Passage, and really enjoyed what I read, until it got to the compound part of the book, until the nuclear bombs started going off: then, it seemed to morph into a “different” book, when the book goes into the compound. I really liked the relationship that was formed between the girl and Wolfgast (sp?). I’m guessing that since you read the whole thing, there’s some merit to finishing it, especially since you read the sequel as well. Maybe I’ll give that one another chance.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

“The Exorcist.” It’s an oldie-but-goodie. I thought that the novel was much creepier than the movie, and that’s saying a lot!

serenityNOW's avatar

@ucme – I had to check if that was a real book, and I “naturally” assumed it was the First Lady’s book, and then I thought about her giving birth, and, well… that’s my horror fix right there.
@jonsblond – I’ve always been looking for a gripping/horror-inducing Koontz book. That one has a lot of good reviews on Amazon; I’m sitting at the library right now – I’ll see if it’s available. Update: they have it as an eBook download. Definitely will check it out
@Seek_Kolinahr – I remember seeing the movie, but its Wikipedia said it’s “loosely” based on the book? Books are always typically better, but I’ll add that to the “pending” list.
@SadieMartinPaul – I saw the movie when I was 7: bad baby-sitter. I don’t think I can stomach anything to do with that book.

ucme's avatar

@serenityNOW That would be a real labour of love…in maternity no one can hear you scream!

Seek's avatar

The movie and book are different enough that you can enjoy them each separately. I saw the movie first, then read the book. I love them both.

Bellatrix's avatar

I found the whole notion behind The Road horrifying and @serenityNOW didn’t actually specify he wanted to read ‘horror’. He said he wanted to be scared. I spent the days after reading the road pondering on what I would do if such a thing happened and I found the book disturbing.

@serenityNOW I agree on The Passage. I think it does jump around and I wouldn’t say either book is brilliantly written. I found this especially true with the second book. They are more apocalyptic than horror I would say. Just with horror thrown in I suppose.

fundevogel's avatar

Gotcha. Makes sense. I did find that book far more terrifying than most conventional horror.

serenityNOW's avatar

@jonsblond – You win! I’m going to read Intensity. I’ll going to check it out of the library on Tuesday – Closed Monday for holiday. Also @Bellatrix – I’m getting mixed feelings about finishing the Passage. Maybe it will pick up again… the first “act” was really good. Also, I hate to discard books!

augustlan's avatar

I just stumbled on this list of the ‘30 scariest books ever written’.

fundevogel's avatar

It’s a nice list but I have my doubts. Misery was worlds scarier than Witches. And I can’t for the life of me figure out why Tropic of Cancer is on that list. I thought it was beautiful and challenging. A literary “fuck you” to cultural conformity.

augustlan's avatar

Yeah, it’s definitely not a perfect list.

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