Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dave Zeltserman's Five Favorite Horror Novels

To celebrate the release today of The Boy Who Killed Demons, author Dave Zeltserman recommends his five favorite horror novels:

1) I am Legend by Richard Matheson

Brilliant book, and the best of the modern vampire novels.

If you think you know the book from the movies (Last Man on Earth, Omega Man, I am Legend), you sort of do.  A worldwide plague has turned everyone but Robert Neville into something resembling a vampire, and Neville (who is immune) battles to stay alive and find a cure for this disease. It's Neville's isolation and loneliness that makes this such a powerful book.

2) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Another brilliant book, and it's absolutely spellbinding once the Monster's story is told.

If you think you know the book from the iconic 1931 Universal movie Frankenstein (or even the 1994 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein), you don't. In the novel an explorer, Captain Walton, icebound in the Arctic, rescues Victor Frankenstein from a dogsled, and from there the story of Frankenstein and his monster unfolds. Frankenstein had created his monster out of a youthful obsession only to regret the act once the monster comes to life. The consequences for Frankenstein, those close to him, and the monster himself, are damning.

3) Misery by Stephen King

My favorite King novel, and with Annie Wilkies, my favorite deranged psychopath in literature.

If you think you know the book from the movie, you're right as the movie is a very faithful adaptation. But even though you know what's going to happen to novelist Paul Sheldon after he's rescued by his "number one fan" after a car crash while driving through the Colorado mountains, it doesn't dampen the fun or suspense of this psychological horror novel.

4) Savage Night by Jim Thompson

Technically this is a crime noir novel, but the ending is as horrifying as any you're going to find.

Charlie "Little" Bigger" is a pint-sized hit man who is literally falling apart. Five feet tall, he wears contacts, shoe lifts, false teeth, and is suffering from tuberculosis (and there's less and less of him throughout the book as he keeps coughing up bits of his lungs). When he's sent by “The Man” to a small twon in New York to take out a key witness, he meets his match in a housekeeper, Ruthie, all leading to a hellish ending that any horror writer would be proud of.

5) The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

I was too young to see The Exorcist film when it came out, but that didn't stop me from getting a copy of Blatty's book.
If you think you know the book from the movie, you're right as the book details the demonic possession of twelve year-old Regan MacNeil, and the attempts of a Jesuit priest to free her.

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