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.. »
House of Fallen Trees by Gina Ranalli is a supernatural tale, baited with a dark chunk of psychological terror. As the book opens we meet Karen Lewis, a writer who bears lingering and somewhat dreadful thoughts in regards to the disappearance of her brother, Sean.
When Karen starts to receive strange and enigmatic, but harrowing, messages in her dreams, that then appear to break across into reality, she has reason to begin to doubt her sanity. But the persistence, and eventual corporeality, of some of the communiqués has her give them more serious attention. Click here to read more.. »
Richard Matheson’s Hell House is one of the finest haunted house books out there. If you’ve a passing interest in the genre, or specifically in the ‘houses-that-are-haunted’ sub-genre, then do yourself a favour and check this novel out.
It tells the story of Belasco House, or Hell House, which we learn early on to be the Mount Everest of haunted houses. In the past it has twisted, smashed and destroyed those souls who have sought to understand, control or even temper it. Even before it was haunted, for its former living inhabitants, it was a communal den of sin and iniquity the likes of which few civilised places know. Sounds like a good place for a party, then; just be sure not to advertise it on Facebook. Click here to read more.. »
I love a good haunted house novel. Then again who doesn’t, right? Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House provides the usual staples expected in such works: the large isolated mansion house, one or several characters to investigate strange happenings, and several paranormal incidents to expose aforementioned characters to as the tale unfolds.
However, in a fashion not unlike that of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, there is an element of ambiguity that leaves the reader with an additional puzzle as to whether or not the house itself is haunted, or whether certain characters are themselves the ones who are alone in seeing ghosts, and not because they’re necessarily real.
A group gathers at Hill House, comprising Doctor Montague, a researcher into the paranormal, and two young women Eleanor and Theodora both who have prior experience of supernatural activity. Joining the party is a young man, Luke, who is heir to Hill House and thus permitted to tag along in the way that such landlords usually are. Click here to read more.. »
King’s 1977 novel The Shining is a haunted house book that literally knocks the socks off of other haunted house novels. Certain others, preceding and following it, have come close to presenting their cases toward achieving similar greatness in the annals of that distinct literary horror sub-genre, but in my opinion nothing has yet toppled this great book. Titles such as Matheson’s Hell House certainly do deserve a very respectful nod of appreciation however.
Stanley Kubrik’s 1980 film adaptation of The Shining is similarly famous in the horror film genre, and though its plot differs from that of the book in several key areas it’s a strong contender in its own right, and well worth a watch for anyone who has yet to experience its genuine terror. King himself was not at all happy with the film however, and an interview with the Writer’s Digest in ’09 he stated that he actually hated Kubrick’s ‘cold adaptation’. Click here to read more.. »