Bag of Bones, a 1998 horror novel by genre emperor Stephen King, is in some ways a typical book for its author. It’s got extremely strong characterisations backed with a rich weft of story-telling. There’re also multi-plot sequences spuriously kicking off alongside, but not necessarily synchronously to, one another atop a freaky picket-fence township and paranormally-infused Maine, New England setting.
The style of its opening is as trademark to King as furtive glances from diminutive clusters of pale-green skinned, atavistically challenged web-toed sea-shanty dwellers are to Lovecraft. We get to know our narrator via a touching retelling of the events surrounding his wife’s death some years prior to the main events of the book, and along with that a cavalcade of other innocuous, irrelevant, minor, major and crucial players in this story are marched out into the narrative. Click here to read more.. »
Written over a century ago, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is epic both in stature and its game-changing nature. It’s a book that’s hugely influential not only upon the world of literature, but on popular culture too. Sometimes its success makes it feel as though it has been pushed into the shadows by the very beacon of horror which it created. That being, of course, the vampire Dracula.
Don’t get me wrong; Stoker didn’t invent the vampire. In novella and novel format respectively, Polidori’s The Vampyre and Le Fanu’s Carmilla both preceded it, and before those works the vampire had existed in poetry and fragmentary lore for a long time. Click here to read more.. »
What is it with classic horror authors and their need to impress? Whilst Mathew Lewis penned the bloody, gothic classic The Monk before he turned twenty, Mary Shelley went one better with Frankenstein, writing the novel at eighteen years old and having it put into print by the time she was twenty.
And like The Monk what a novel it is. Frankenstein has become a game-changer to the point that today it is as recognisable brand-wise as Coca-Cola, Apple Computers, and even its literary-spawned counterpart Dracula.
There is one caveat to this familiarity, as a quick trip to Google Images will show you, and that’s that the monster of the book is often wrongly attributed with the name of his actual creator (thanks in part to the success of James Whale’s classic 1930′s motion picture series). Click here to read more.. »
The Monk is a gothic horror novel of the early period whose plot is steeped in blood, magic and a lead character happy to extol all of the cardinal sins. This central character is the monk Ambrosio, who respected for his pious nature and steadfast ways finds himself tempted by Matilda, a woman who has secreted herself within the Abbey by hiding as a monk.
No sooner has he fallen from grace by this transgression than he becomes entranced by Antonia who, on turning to the black arts as assisted by Matilda, he then ravishes and kills. With numerous incidental additional side tales of occult and supernatural, the book really is a tapestry of horror, and worthy forefather to the best of today’s modern horror novels. Click here to read more.. »