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SA Partridge

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Books that go bump in the night


Pull out your stripy socks and jelly vampire teeth because it’s October!

The countdown has begun to Halloween (well mine has anyway) and in preparation for that spookiest of days I have compiled my list of best horror stories, ever.

Salem’s Lot – Stephen King

I have re-read this novel at least four times and each time I enjoy it even more. For me Stephen King epitomizes everything an American horror novel should be and brings with it those nostalgic memories of childhood that you really cant find anywhere else.

The Bogeyman – Stephen King

Scared the living crap out of me.

Night Watch – Sergei Lukyanenko

Whoever said that translation takes some of the magic out of a novel doesn’t know what they are talking about. This story about the struggle between the forces of good and evil in modern day Russia is pure ambrosia on paper.

Day Watch – Sergei Lukyanenko

Even better than the first one. Its like a fairy tale. Seriously, read it.

Heart-shaped Box – Joe Hill

An aging rock star buys a ghost off the Internet. Its American. Its trashy. Its great.

Dracula – Bram Stoker

It took me almost a year to read this novel. The writing is beautiful even though its almost painful to read. I felt like I had achieved something after I had finished it.

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

This classic tale about the obsessed scientist and the monster he had created is one of the most descriptive novels every written and one of the most enjoyable. Try and keep a count of how many times she uses the word wretched.

The Rats in the walls – HP Lovecraft

The title says it all really. Lovecraft had an amazing knack of evoking fear without any of the gore that other horror novels rely on. Its what the character believes is causing the scratching sounds in the cellar that makes you want to put a chair in front of the cupboard door before you go to bed.

Same time, same place – Mervyn Peake

This short story is about a young man who ventures from his home for the first time and meets a woman, only things are not quite as they seem to be.

The Vampyre – John Polidori

One of the stories to emerge from the Villa Diodati, The Vampyre is considered to the be the first vampire story published in English.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Washington Irving

The infamous tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. Perfect bedtime reading.

The Masque of the Red Death – Edgar Allen Poe

A short story detailing the futile attempts of nobles to evade a deadly plague. Its magical, pure and simple. I can read Poe for hours and just get lost in the prose.

Interview with a Vampire – Anne Rice

To this day I cannot decide which vampire I like the most. The Vampire Chronicles have such richly developed characters that you’re left feeling like you actually know them. Such a pity that she isn’t writing any more of these.

Carmilla – Sheriden le Fanu

The little girl vampire. I am yet to find the full novel.

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

His vanity destroyed him and no one could adore him. My only regret is that I wish it was longer.

Please feel free to add your own to the list.


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