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Thread: Especially well-written modern horror novels?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
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    Especially well-written modern horror novels?

    Hi friends,

    I've browsed the other threads for book recommendations, and there are so many to choose from. I made this to narrow it down.
    Could any of you recommend a few horror novels to me that are:
    1. recent (say, no more than 10 years old?)
    2. "literary," if that means anything in this genre, or otherwise especially well-written in your opinion
    3. scary/creepy (it's hard to find both 2 and 3 in the same book)
    4. not King (nothing against him, I just am already familiar with his styles)

    I'm just looking to further sharpen my craft, and I think reading widely is the best way to do this.
    Thank you!
    In the Devil's Dreams
    psychological horror
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  2. #2
    Always writing AW Moderator Calla Lily's Avatar
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    Everything by Damien Angelica Walters, particularly Sing me Your Scars and Paper Tigers. (the ink goes to her Amazon page)

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW anakhouri79's Avatar
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    Justin Cronin's The Passage and its sequel The Twelve.

    Adam Nevill's Last Days.

    Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger. Classic haunted house.
    Last edited by anakhouri79; 01-30-2017 at 04:54 AM.

  4. #4
    Leaving on the 2:19
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    I'll put in a plug for Nate Kenyon's stuff. I'm not a big reader of horror, but he has been a mentor to me in the past and I know how well he writes.

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Note, however, that this author works heavily in the experimental form; and while the novel stands on its own, it also serves as satire on the subject of academic literary criticism.

    Edit: The novel is from outside your window of time, having been released in 2000. I would still suggest some of the author's more present works, barring this option.
    Last edited by SinisterMime; 01-30-2017 at 04:28 AM. Reason: Clarification

  6. #6
    Been Here A While Feidb's Avatar
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    You lost me at literary. Literary = boring.

    Oh well...

    Action/Adventure/Thriller
    Icky Bug (Horror)
    Fantasy (D&D plot driven)
    Science Fiction Thriller

    Web site: http://www.fredrayworth.com
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    Rejections as of Dec 10, 2015 = 689
    Good icky bug is a monster that eats half the characters, they say f***k a lot, and there is gratuitous sex that has nothing to do with the plot! LOL.
    Seriously, Treasure Of The Umbrunna (fantasy) Out now!

  7. #7
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    The first book that popped into my head was "Hex" by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. (I plugged it into Google to make sure I got the name right, and OMG they're making a movie.) I am a big fan of suspense/thrillers, mysteries and some horror, so I will likely come back to this thread.
    The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike is the scariest book I have read to date. The Family Plot by Cherie Priest is also amazing, and extra-unnerving because my bathroom has pink tiles, the apartment has no ventilation, things go bump in the night enough so that few people stay the night, this is a not-great neighborhood, and the person who lived here before me died (of natural causes in a hospital, but still). I need to stop reading books about haunted apartments.

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW
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    thanks everyone <3 added all of these to my list

    and for the person who recommended House of Leaves, come on!! Of course I have it!
    In the Devil's Dreams
    psychological horror
    www.troyascottbooks.com
    www.facebook.com/troyascottbooks

  9. #9
    figuring it all out Sketti's Avatar
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    My favourites are N0S4A2 by Joe Hill (son of King but IMO a much better writer, much as I enjoy King's books) and just making your 10 year cut, World War Z by Max Brooks. Yes, WWZ is a zombie book but it is very well written and intelligent and subtle and made me forget very often that it was fiction and there was never a zombie war...

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW TedTheewen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feidb View Post
    You lost me at literary. Literary = boring.

    Oh well...
    .

    Not necessarily.

    I would highly suggest checking out the books nominated for Stoker Awards. They usually have some great pics.

    Personally, I thought The Unblemished by Conrad Williams was excellent.

  11. #11
    Evil, undead Chihuahua SuperModerator Haggis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feidb View Post
    You lost me at literary. Literary = boring.

    Oh well...
    For the record, we have a number of AW members who write literary works. You don't have to like literary. I don't have to like romance. The guy over there doesn't have to like horror. But while you're here, you must remember to RYFW.
    Quote Originally Posted by Curlz View Post
    For those of you that don't know what "haggis" is, I can only say that it's much better not knowing anyway
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  12. #12
    JoeBrat JoeBrat's Avatar
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    The Elementals

  13. #13
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory was an interesting, sometimes funny, take on possession. Worth a read.

  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I didn't see it mentioned, but Bird Box by Josh Mallerman is an amazing unique story, as well as A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Trembley. Both are definitely worth checking out...

  15. #15
    The force is strong in this one. williemeikle's Avatar
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    Simon Kurt Unsworth - The Devil's Detective
    John Langan - The Fisherman
    Bracken MacLeod - Stranded

  16. #16
    Evil, undead Chihuahua SuperModerator Haggis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by williemeikle View Post
    Simon Kurt Unsworth - The Devil's Detective
    John Langan - The Fisherman
    Bracken MacLeod - Stranded
    Willie won't say it, but he's written some damn good novels himself.
    Quote Originally Posted by Curlz View Post
    For those of you that don't know what "haggis" is, I can only say that it's much better not knowing anyway
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SinisterMime View Post
    House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Note, however, that this author works heavily in the experimental form; and while the novel stands on its own, it also serves as satire on the subject of academic literary criticism.

    Edit: The novel is from outside your window of time, having been released in 2000. I would still suggest some of the author's more present works, barring this option.
    I admire anyone who can read this book. I own a copy and have tried at least three times now. I just can't do it. It's so insanely hard to follow.

  18. #18
    The force is strong in this one. williemeikle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haggis View Post
    Willie won't say it, but he's written some damn good novels himself.
    Very nice of you to say so. Thank you.

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW HarvesterOfSorrow's Avatar
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    Craig Davidson writes horror novels under the name Nick Cutter. So far, he's written:

    The Troop
    The Deep
    The Alcolyte
    Little Heaven

    I've only read The Troop and Little Heaven so far, but they're great books. Especially The Troop. Check them out.
    "He's gone! He's gone from here! The evil is gone!"

    Sam Loomis
    John Carpenter's Halloween.

  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I think all the novels recommended here are great--the one's I've read, anyway. But I don't think you'd consider them "literary" based on the criteria in your original post (that said, for me personally, the distinction between what's literary and what isn't may as well not exist).

    I can only come up with a single novel that would truly meet your expectations: see #2. But I was able to come up with a couple more that may be worth mentioning.

    1. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (2007)
    Or anything by Hill, really; I find him better than his daddy in many areas. I don't believe it's quite "literary," but definitely cream-of-the-crop as far as mainstream, relatively recent ghost novels go. He doesn't write too much like Stephen King, in case you're worrying about that.

    2. The Drowning Girl by Caitlyn R. Kiernan (2012)
    I think this one fits your criteria the best. I haven't been able to get into the rest of her work (the bulk of it seems very YA-oriented), but this one is a good, dark, Lovecraftian horror story combined with a woman's downward spiral into insanity due to mental illness. It's simply a great book full of vibrant, poetic sensibility, with a very literary quality to its prose. It's also a very socially progressive tale, with the main character being a lesbian and her love interest a transgender woman. Read it. I have a hard time recommending this book to people because it's rather depressing and the main character tends to ramble (the novel is an epistolary "memoir"). But based on your post, you will absolutely love it.

    3. The Heavens Will Rise by Christopher Rice
    Anne Rice's son doesn't consider himself a horror writer, but that's pretty much B.S. when it comes to this book in particular. This is plainly a horror novel, and a good one at that, although the First Edition I read was riddled with minor, simple typos--not a sign of poor writing, mind you, but definitely a sign of very, very poor editing. I have no idea if said typos have been fixed in subsequent editions or not. This is a another progressive one, with a gay main character.

    I'd have recommended Clive Barker's Weaveworld as well, but it's more of a dark fantasy than a horror novel and definitely outside the scope of your post, having been written in the 80s.

    Read The Drowning Girl. I really think you will like it.
    Last edited by Julio Weigend; 10-03-2017 at 08:40 PM. Reason: more detail

  21. #21
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    My favorite is Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist . It's also my favorite all time novel. It was dark, creepy, but also had very strong themes, and great character development. I recommend it to anyone, even non-horror fans.
    Last edited by Odile_Blud; 11-11-2017 at 09:15 AM.
    I forgot my old signature. Guess I'll make a new one or something. Let's see...something wise...uh..."he who does not write...? Is not a writer?"

    ...Does anyone even read this thing?



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