Horror by the Master of Horror – The Scariest Stephen King Books
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I’m quite the unapologetic Stephen King fan. I love his books, from his horror to his thriller to his pseudo-literary books. I even once did an event called #SKweek to celebrate anything Stephen King. Steve has written in many genres, and has all kinds of different books that will appeal do different kinds of readers. However, I think his horror books are his most praised and most well-known books. Here is a short guide to a few of my favourite horror books by him.
The Shining (Goodreads)
The ultimate haunted house novel must be The Shining. Like many of King’s novels, The Shining features a writer. In this particular one, an aspiring writer tries to make some extra money by living in an abandoned hotel in the middle of a mountain range for the winter, together with his wife and son. The son has a certain ability, called the shining, which makes him know things. The Overlook hotel has some less than savoury ghostly inhabitants, and in true King fashion things go wrong, until things truly hit the fan. The Shining has one of the most nail-biting climaxes I have ever read, and as far as horror goes, this might be my favourite overall.
Danny was only five years old but in the words of old Mr Halloran he was a ‘shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father became caretaker of the Overlook Hotel his visions grew frighteningly out of control.
As winter closed in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seemed to develop a life of its own. It was meant to be empty, but who was the lady in Room 217, and who were the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why did the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?
Somewhere, somehow there was an evil force in the hotel – and that too had begun to shine…
Are you afraid of clowns? No? Well, you should be. It is an incredibly epic story spanning several decades, following a group of friends trying to defeat the evil in Derry, Maine. Many of the quotes from It still give me chills, especially the ominous “They all float down here…” It is one of the only books ever to actually give me nightmares. Usually I don’t get scared from books, but It managed itself to worm inside my subconsciousness, giving me a few very uncomfortable nights. It gives the classic fight between good and evil a pair of very nasty teeth. Highly recommended if you’re willing to dive head-first into a 800 page tome.
The story follows the exploits of seven children as they are terrorized by an eponymous being, which exploits the fears and phobias of its victims in order to disguise itself while hunting its prey. “It” primarily appears in the form of a clown in order to attract its preferred prey of young children. The novel is told through narratives alternating between two time periods, and is largely told in the third-person omniscient mode. It deals with themes which would eventually become King staples: the power of memory, childhood trauma, and the ugliness lurking behind a façade of traditional small-town values.
The supernatural doesn’t scare you? Are you rather fascinated by the twisted workings of the human mind? Misery provides some solid scares for the paranormally sceptic. Instead of some supernatural evil, Misery shows the everyday human evil. The story of a writer captured and blackmailed and tortured by his biggest fan is terrifying. Misery also happens to be one of King’s shorter reads, making it more accessible for first-time readers. Gruesome, heart-breaking and frightening, Misery is impressively thrilling for a book that for the biggest part is set within a single room. The worst about it is that it’s so damn believable…
Paul Sheldon. He’s a bestselling novelist who has finally met his biggest fan. Her name is Annie Wilkes and she is more than a rabid reader—she is Paul’s nurse, tending his shattered body after an automobile accident. But she is also his captor, keeping him prisoner in her isolated house. Now Annie wants Paul to write his greatest work—just for her. She has a lot of ways to spur him on. One is a needle. Another is an ax. And if they don’t work, she can get really nasty…
Do you like King’s books? What is your go-to horror writer?