The Terrifying Books That Scared These 15 Thriller, Horror, And True Crime Authors



'The Hunger' author Alma Katsu recommends 'The Little Stranger' by Sarah Waters



About: One postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country physician, is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once impressive and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. Its owners—mother, son, and daughter—are struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as with conflicts of their own. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become intimately entwined with his.



'Miracle Creek' author Angie Kim recommends 'Carrie' by Stephen King



About: Carrie knew she should not use the terrifying power she possessed... But one night at her senior prom, Carrie was scorned and humiliated just one time too many, and in a fit of uncontrollable fury she turned her clandestine game into a weapon of horror and destruction...



'The Invited' author Jennifer McMahon recommends 'The Amityville Horror' by Jay Anson



About: On December 18, 1975, a young family of five moved into their new home, complete with finished basement, swimming pool, and boathouse. Twenty-eight days later, they fled in terror, leaving most of their belongings behind.

The fantastic story of their experiences was widely publicized on network television, newspapers, and national magazines. But the Lutz family never disclosed the full details to the media. Now, their own carefully-reconstructed memories—and independent interviews with local clergy and police—reveal their entire harrowing story.

George and Kathleen Lutz were aware that the house had been the scene of a mass murder—Ronnie DeFeo, 23, was convicted of shooting his parents, brothers, and sisters. But it seemed an ideal home for them and their three children, and the price was right. On the day they moved in, a priest invited to bless the house was told by an unseen voice to "Get out!" At his rectory, he began to suffer a series of inexplicable afflictions. Meanwhile, alone in their new home, the Lutz family were embarking on the most terrifying experience of their lives. It began when their five-year-old daughter boasted of her new playmate, someone—or something—named "Jodie."

The Amityville Horror is an unforgettable book with all the shocks and gripping suspense of The Exorcist, The Omen, or Rosemary's Baby—but with one vital difference! As the author reports, "To the extent that I can verify them, all the events in this book are true."



'The Runaway' author Hollie Overton recommends 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy



About: A searing, postapocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.



'The Trial of Lizzie Borden' author Cara Robertson recommends "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson



About: The Lottery, one of the most terrifying stories written in this century, created a sensation when it was first published in The New Yorker. "Power and haunting," and "nights of unrest" were typical reader responses. This collection, the only one to appear during Shirley Jackson's lifetime, unites "The Lottery:" with twenty-four equally unusual stories. Together they demonstrate Jackson's remarkable range--from the hilarious to the truly horrible--and power as a storyteller.

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