Here lately, I’ve found myself revisiting the world of horror novels.
I read quite a lot of horror as a kid and through my teen years, but the last few years, I’ve fallen away, focusing my reading time on mysteries, historical fiction, biographies, and other non-fiction.
For me, horror is tough. It is a genre that has the largest number of unfinished reads for me – books I just put down for whatever reason. Some are considered great novels by other fans, but I just couldn’t. Yet, some of my all-time favorite writers and novels come out of the genre.
Three horror novels worth reading
I’ll start with one I ran across on the horror literature subreddit. The Fisherman by John Langan. What a great novel! It hearkened back to H.P. Lovecraft, but was a little easier to read thanks to Langan’s writing style. Der Fischer, the antagonist is a fascinating character, and the story within the larger story creeped me out.
This novel had everything. A leviathan, a mysterious fisherman, weird fish people, and the undead. And it was all told with a great style in a solid, fast-paced, fun story.
Next up, I recommend Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. This is a short novel, maybe 52,000 words, give or take (it was 205 pages). Tense, tight writing highlights this novel laced with strong characterization and highly descriptive passages. I loved it!
Oddly, I’m generally not a fan of cross-genre pieces. However, this one did an excellent job of combining science fiction and horror. A pleasant surprise that I couldn’t put down. It is the first book in a trilogy and I’ve downloaded the second from my library.
The third and final book I’d recommend is The Descent by Jeff Long. Despite the similarities, the wretched movie of the same name has no relationship to this book. The Descent has quite possibly the most tense first chapter I’ve ever read. I ripped through it quickly. A great story, a great horror, and strong characters punctuate this book.
It also hearkens back to the old “hollow Earth” books like Journey to the Center of the Earth or At The Earth’s Core.
Three pleasant surprises from a genre I’d kind of forgotten about the last few years.