While I have finished reading a couple of novels recently, I felt like doing something a bit more fun and different for the site. Now obviously, this is just my personal opinion, so if you disagree with any of my choices, that’s cool. I would love to see everyone posting their own Top Ten, I think it could be interesting. Anyways, here are numbers 10 through 6 on my countdown. I hope you enjoy!
10. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
As if it needs an introduction, Frankenstein is an undisputed classic of the genre, and on top of helping mold the horror genre; it is arguably the very first science fiction novel as well. Shelley created a terrifying tale of the quest for knowledge and the enormous cost of pride. The allusions to the Greek myth of Prometheus are well done and the plot is beautifully crafted. The novel reads like a tragedy of old, and is an amazing work for such a young author. The novel has influenced hundreds of authors and films, and is still being re-created and re-shaped today. Frankenstein is one of the few works that fall into the horror genre that is recognized worldwide as literature, and it definitely deserves that status.
While most likely not as well known as some other horror authors, F. Paul Wilson is a name that you definitely want to become familiar with. The Tomb is the first in The Repairman Jack series, which revolve around the eponymous main character who “fixes” things (most often in a not too legal sense), and this novel was such a hit that Wilson ended up returning to write 13 more books about Jack, and he has at least 2 more to go before the series wraps up. The Tomb has horrific monsters, ancient curses, black magic, and its own unique anti-hero. While it may never be called literature, The Tomb is a fantastic book, and the stories that follow are just as entertaining.
Preston and Child are the greatest thriller writers alive today. Their work is reminiscent of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, only with a dash of supernatural and horror thrown in for good measure. Relic is their very first and despite that it manages to be better than scores of other novels that have been written by veteran authors. Relic uses superstition and science in a way that would make Crichton proud, and then unleash their creation onto the Museum of Natural History in New York City. Murderous lizard gods, ancient tribes hiding in the rainforest, brilliant scientists and an FBI agent named Pendergast (one of the coolest detectives ever) all make this novel necessary for any fan of dark hallways and man-eating monsters.
Let the Right One In has gotten a lot of hype lately due to the film adaptation that is recognized as a masterpiece of vampire lore, and it is understandable why. The novel is practically perfect. Now, I had to read the translated version as the original is Swedish, but I did not see any gaps or issues with the English version at all. Let the Right One In takes the vampire sub-genre to a whole new level, and it is one of the greatest works of horror in the past thirty years. The juxtaposition of youth and brutality is like a punch to the gut, the plot is fresh and riveting (no cliché vampire drama here), and the characters are brilliantly crafted. If you have only seen the film, go buy the book right now, and if you are a virgin to the story, then you are in for a treat, and I recommend that you get both.
Clive Barker is undoubtedly one of the masters of the horror genre, and while he has written dozens of novels, I feel as though his Books of Blood collection most aptly showcases his talent. The Books of Blood contains 6 volumes and it was the first thing that Barker published. They immediately grabbed the attention of the horror community to the point that Stephen King himself labeled Barker as the “future of the horror,” no small feat for a brand new author. Barker has a way of finding the darkness in the corners of your brain, and revealing them to light in a shocking and terrifying manner. There are 30 stories total, and each of them is unique, a jewel that deserves its own recognition. If you are only familiar with Barker because of the Hellraiser movies, then please go pick up the Books of Blood, and you will not regret it.