Authors Who Will Scare You.. And Make You Love It

If you're like me, you're going to be looking forward to Halloween and alllll the scary movies that will be on TV, all the Halloween-themed episodes of your favorite shows, and best of all, the books. Rereading my favorite horror reads on All Hallow's Read is one of my favorite things. 

I talked about my favorite classic horror must reads here. And now I'm going to tell you about some authors who make scaring you into an art. You'll have plenty of time to get these books in time for Halloween! 

Click through... if you dare.


Stephen King

This post could honestly be made up entirely of JUST Stephen King books. I mean, there are millions of things you must have come across over the years that talk about just how amazing Stephen King is. There's really nothing new for me to say here without basically fangirling. The man is the King of Horror. And it's a title he's earned. 

His collection of short stories, Nightmares & Dreamscapes was my first. And at 11, Popsy seared it's mark on my mind. I was terrified. And more than that, I was fascinated. Each short story scared me in some way. It was the beginning of my lifelong love affair with Stephen King. I always think people should start with his short stories, it's just so you can quickly fall in love and move on to the bigger stuff. 

Pet Sematary, Salem's Lot, Desperation, Gerald's Game, Needful Things, Misery, Cujo, Christine, etc, King has managed to terrify me of things I would never have thought would scare me in a million years. Pet cats, dogs, cars, dentists, paintings, alien objects in your backyard, to your own alias coming to life, there's pretty much nothing King hasn't covered. 

Neil Gaiman

Yes, please!
I absolutely adore Neil Gaiman. SO much that every time I think of writing a Fangirl Friday post about him, it overwhelms me, and I'm sure I can't do it justice, so I move on. Neil Gaiman doesn't do the same kind of horror, thrillers, and fantasy that Stephen King does, but it's something uniquely his. 

Once again, this is an author I fell in love with after reading his short stories. Fragile Things and Smoke & Mirrors were my gateways into the wonderful Gaimanverse, and I've never looked back. I think the best thing about short story collections is you truly get a look at the amazing range these authors are capable of. From almost sweet fantasy, to mystery and mayhem, to worlds not our own, Gaiman transports you completely to another realm. It's magic. It's fantasy at it's finest, dark and twisted, sweet and beautiful, full of it's own rich mythology and so much more. 

This Halloween, I might reread Coraline, which stayed with me LONG after I read it. Or maybe some of his short stories, about feline guardian angels, wedding presents, creepy jacks-in-the-boxes in attics, and so much more! 

There's something for everyone.

Clive Barker

Clive Barker is another Master of horror. Stephen King himself said, "I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker" after reading the Books of Blood's first volume. This is the brilliant mind that gave us the always terrifying Cenobites, the Subway Butcher, the books of blood written on a medium's skin, demons, and more murders in the Rue Morgue.

Barker's stories have a way of plaguing you long after you've turned the last page. It's impossible to just put the book down and forget about what you've read. Wondering about The Cenobites and the puzzle box that can take you to their world, wondering about the creatures that feed on the Subway Butcher's victims. It's all a bit mad, quite disturbing, and absolutely thrilling. A must read for fans of the genre!

Thomas Harris 

Thomas Harris's Hannibal has delighted fans of the macabre for decades. While I maintain the movies did just not do the books justice, I still appreciate how it made many people fans of the genre. Psychological thrillers can be pretty scary when done well, and Thomas Harris's books about Hannibal Lecter are certainly some of the best out there. What's more terrifying than a ruthless killer who wears a human suit so charming and so suave, that you don't realize what you're dealing with till it's too late? Basically till you're his dinner. 

He gave us Hannibal at different periods in his life, from his making, to his happy ending, his appreciation for the finer things in life, his culinary skills, and what made him tick. But more than that, there were other serial killers. The scariest monsters of them all, human monsters and the horrors they were capable of. From Buffalo Bill to the Red Dragon, Harris's books gave us horror that is at times all too real. 

Dean Koontz

Several of the Wenches credit Koontz as our favorite author of our young adult years. Wholly inappropriate for readers of our ages at the time, we relished letting him scare the pants off of us, setting us up for a lifetime of loving to read the twisted and macabre. With a career spanning five decades and dozens of books, you are sure to find something that trips your particular scare-the-shit-out-of-you trigger. Although not all of his novels are horror, some being more thrillers or suspense, or something you can't quite categorize but isn't so much scary.

Most of us don't devour Dean Koontz books these days, but there are those books that stay with me as some of the scariest I've ever read. For me, Whispers tops that list. I need to read and reread books in order for details to stick with me long term, but while I read this book many years ago, I still remember a particular scene that vividly describes one of my deepest fears--and I shudder just thinking about it. If you're looking to scare yourself silly this Halloween, I can also recommend: Watchers, Demon Seed, Tick Tock, Twilight Eyes, Cold Fire, The Mask, Darkfall, and The Servants of Twilight. I find that his earlier works are scarier for me than more recent novels, but really, you can't go wrong with Dean Koontz if horror is what you're looking for. ~ Barb~

Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

These guys are on this list because of The Strain Trilogy. Which is honestly one of the best vampire horror things out there right now. The FX television series is pretty fucking amazing too, honestly you can't go wrong with either. There are a few differences, but at the end of the day, when you're a little annoyed with the watered down, romanticized, pretty boy versions of vamps these days, you'll want to read/watch The Strain to remember what vampire horror is like.

Bloodthirsty, mindless vamps, an ancient Master, centuries old revenge, and good old-fashioned vampire hunters both human and inhuman. You just can't go wrong with this series. The rich back history to every character, and the old story of Jusef Sardu especially, is riveting. A definite recommendation. 

(I also HAVE to give a shout out to Guillermo Del Toro's Crimson Peak. It's a gorgeous movie. And if you're a fan of Gothic fiction, this will take you back to the first time you read Rebecca, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and the like. Spectacularly made, brilliantly acted by all the main characters, I was hooked from start to finish. It would make a great Halloween movie night!)

Cherie Priest

It's rare for me to find a new author I instantly click with when it comes to horror. So imagine my surprise and pleasure at reading Cherie Priest's Maplecroft :The Lizzie Borden Dispatches #1 and falling in love with her story. I reviewed it here for our readers. 

There's a distinct Lovecraftian feel to the book, and it reminded me more than once of the classic stories I grew up loving. The unknown "ailment" spreading through the town, Lizzie, alone, with her axe disposing of the creatures they were becoming. It was a wonderfully captivating read. And it might have you listening at night for creaks and sounds of footsteps when you're alone in bed. At least, I hope so! 

Well readers, please feel free to share your Halloween recommendations with us this week! We're always looking for new reads! 

*Witchy divider from here


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