Where to start with horror fiction? Stephen King?

(30 Posts)

I have never read any horror but was listening to a radio programme the other day about King's Pet Cemetry and thought I would give the genre a go. But where's the best place to start? I would like it to be scary but not necessarily ridiculously graphic and something well written.
Any recommendations?

I enjoyed Lissys story and insomnia. Neither are particularly graphic or gory.

My favourite would be the shining and that is very scary but again not what I would call graphic.

jimijack Fri 25-Oct-13 19:06:46

Oooh ooh the shining, BEST BOOK EVER for horror.

LEMisafucker Fri 25-Oct-13 19:14:38

I read Pet Semetary when i was a teenager, it scared the bejaysus out of me, but like so many of Stephen King's books the apocalyptic end disappointed me. Also don't read if you don't like bad things happening to children, its really a disturbing book.

I don't tend to read horror anymore - keep thinkng about getting back to it so marking place for recommendations.

The last book of that ilk that i read was "Dr Strange and Mr Norrel" or something like that - it was a bit of a long one but it was brilliant, spooky, clever and not overly gory. I also enjoyed Dracula.

When i was younger I read Stephen King, Dean Koontz and James Herbert. I feel i have out grown them now, which is a shame.

LEMisafucker Fri 25-Oct-13 19:15:16

To be fair, pet semetary was one of the only books to actually scare me.

Strumpetron Fri 25-Oct-13 19:20:56

I'm going to say something here that people won't agree with... but I don't really like Stephen King's books. The stories and ideas are brilliant, absolutely brilliant but I don't like his writing style. I think sometimes the plot gets a bit lost in over descriptive text.

I'll be watching this thread because I do love a good horror!

LEMisafucker Fri 25-Oct-13 19:23:30

STrump, i pretty much agree with you - most of them end up being some sort of giant alien spider anyway

ophiotaurus Fri 25-Oct-13 19:26:48

The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon is very good.

KateCroydon Fri 25-Oct-13 19:35:42

Try the Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Stephen King's a fan.

Forget king and read some James Herbert. The secret of crickley hall is very good s is the magic cottage.

Of kings, try misery, shining or it.

LEMisafucker Fri 25-Oct-13 19:58:58

James Herbert latest offering was just awful though - i can't help but wonder if he was quite well when he wrote it.

I thought the secret of crikley hall was very predictable tbh. Not scary at all.

hoobypickypicky Fri 25-Oct-13 21:26:31

James Herbert. Try The Magic Cottage or The Rats. Just don't read either just before bedtime!

runningonwillpower Fri 25-Oct-13 21:28:44

I loved Stephen King's early stuff. He's lost it lately (since he got run over and banged his head?).

I would particularly recommend The Stand and Needful Things.

Junebugjr Fri 25-Oct-13 21:43:48

You really can't beat The Shining.

From other authors, the last horror book I read was 'last days' by Adam Nevill - about a cult. Very good, I can usually watch horror films like the exorcist etc on my own and happily go off to bed. I was slightly nervous after this, and had to put the lights on!

Fantastic - thanks all.
I shall give the Shining and the Shirley Jackson a go to start with I think.

jellycake Fri 25-Oct-13 22:28:27

The Stand - enough said!

Heartbrokenmum73 Sat 26-Oct-13 10:10:34

Have been a huge Stephen King fan since about 14. I would recommend his short stories (Skeleton Key and Night Shift are both fantastic books), The Stand (epic) and IT (because of the characterisation in it and all the wonderful 'little stories' we get).

I'd also recommend early Dean Koontz (Lightning, Midnight, The Bad Place, Dark Rivers of The Heart) but not his most recent stuff because I'm finding it all very samey (fuck off with all the genius, amazing kids in every family, Koontz!).

I've read a handful of James Herbert but I honestly wish I could scrub The Secret of Crickley Hall from my brain and leave a warning there to myself never to read it. Not because it was a bad book but because it was so bloody upsetting. If you get upset by stuff involving small children avoid avoid avoid!

Scariest book I read in ages was Let The Right One In (two film versions been made so far!) by John Ajvide Lindqvuist. I think he's Norwegian. Modern, vampire story. Scared the life out of me. Looking forward to reading his other books.

rachyconks Sat 26-Oct-13 10:15:18

Have recently read the stand, under the dome and 11.22.63. Loved them all. The stand is particularly epic.

EverythingUnderControl Sat 26-Oct-13 10:18:55

House of Lost Souls by FG Cottam was the scariest book I've ever read.

I have read a lot of SK. My favourite is Bag of Bones. I prefer psychological rather than gory horror.

Some books of SK's aren't really horror imho ie Under The Dome or 11.22.63. I know many will disagree but I didn't think either of those books were all that great. Both were long, rambly and rather overblown.

MadeOfStarDust Sat 26-Oct-13 10:23:40

James Herbert The Rats + sequel the lair.... scary, but well written...
Stephen King - the Stand - really good - and they made a 2 parter for TV out of it which follows the story well...
Dean Koontz - Night Chills is a good one too.... ooohhh and Strangers... (only really like his 1980s stuff though...)

Wow, lots of votes for the Stand so I'll add that one to the list!
Thank you

PinkFairyArmadillo Sat 26-Oct-13 17:38:31

Stephen King is my favourite author, it's rare that I don't have at least one of his books on the go!!

Another vote for The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, it's amazing. I read it in one sitting as I couldn't put it down once I'd started.

Some of his novellas are very good as well. Four Past Midnight is a good collection.

Duma Key is also excellent, it's more woo than gory.

The Shining is fantastic, don't let that Stanley Kubrick tripe put you off it's nothing like the book.

IT is probably my all time favourite.

SinisterBuggyMonth Sun 27-Oct-13 01:02:42

Used to devour horror books, but find them a bit difficult now after dc's. But from my archives these are good...

Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Jago by.Kim Newman
Suckers by.Anne Bilson
Christopher Fowlers earlier stuff, especially Red Bride and.Psychoville and his short stories

My favourite James Herbert was The Dark and Moon. Shaun Hutson too Victims and Lucys Child are memorable. These books do have obligitory graphic sex scenes though --just so you know--I

valiumredhead Sun 27-Oct-13 01:04:19

The Shining!

Amazing book, and there's a reason why Joey from Friends keeps his copy in the fridge!

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