“‘Tis the season to be jolly!” – That’s all well and good but what about if you fancy some festive horror for the long, cold and dark winter evenings?
If you want some ideas for books to read around this time of year here’s a quick list of five to get you started.
Look the door, turn down the lights and pour your favourite seasonal tipple – you could be reading the perfect Christmas horror story very soon.
1) Hogfather – Terry Pratchett
Susan had never hung up a stocking . She’d never put a tooth under her pillow in the serious expectation that a dentally inclined fairy would turn up. It wasn’t that her parents didn’t believe in such things. They didn’t need to believe in them. They know they existed. They just wished they didn’t.
It’s the night before Hogswatch. And it’s too quiet.
Where is the big jolly fat man? There are those who believe and those who don’t, but either way it’s not right to find Death creeping down chimneys and trying to say Ho Ho Ho. Superstition makes things work in Discworld, and undermining it can have Consequences, particularly on the last night of the year when the time is turning. Susan the gothic governess has got to sort everything out by morning, otherwise there won’t be a morning. Ever again…
The 20th Discworld novel is a festive feast of darkness and Death (but with jolly robins and tinsel too). As they say:
’You’d better watch out.
2) NOS4R2- Joe Hill
An old Silver Wraith with a frightening history. A story about one serial killer and his lingering, unfinished business.
Anyone could be next.
We’re going to Christmasland …
NOS4R2 is an old-fashioned horror novel in the best sense. Claustrophobic, gripping and terrifying, this is a story that will have you on the edge of the seat while you read, and leaving the lights on while you sleep.
With the horrific tale of Charles Manx and his Silver Wraith, Joe Hill has established himself as the premiere horror and supernatural thriller writer of his generation
3) The Stupidest Angel – Christopher Moore
Twas the night (okay, more like the week) before Christmas and little Joshua Barker is in desperate need of a Christmas miracle. Josh is sure he saw Santa take a shovel to the head and now the seven year old has only one prayer: Please Santa, come back from the dead!
But coming to Earth, seeking a small child whose wish needs granting, is none other than Archangel Raziel. Unfortunately, he’s not sporting the brightest halo in the bunch and before you can say ’Kris Kringle,’ he’s botched his sacred mission and sent the residents of Pine Cove headlong into Christmas chaos, culminating in the most hilarious and horrifying holiday party the town has ever seen.
4) The Shining – Stephen King
One of the true classics of horror fiction, THE SHINING is regarded as one of Stephen King’s masterpieces.
Danny is only five years old, but in the words of old Mr Hallorann he is a ’shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father becomes caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, Danny’s visions grow out of control.
As winter closes in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seems to develop a life of its own. It is meant to be empty. So who is the lady in Room 217 and who are the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why do the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?
Somewhere, somehow, there is an evil force in the hotel – and that, too, is beginning to shine.
5) The Terror by Dan Simmons
Stephen King hailed Dan Simmons’ bestselling novel as ’a brilliant, massive combination of history and supernatural horror’ and it’s now a chilling 10-part AMC Original TV series from Ridley Scott.
The most advanced scientific enterprise ever mounted, Sir John Franklin’s 1845 expedition in search of the fabled North-West Passage had every expectation of triumph.
But for almost two years his ships HMS Terror and Erebus have been trapped in the Arctic ice. Supplies of fuel and food are running low. Scurvy, starvation and even madness beginning to take their toll. And yet the real threat isn’t from the constantly shifting, alien landscape, the flesh-numbing temperatures or being crushed by the unyielding, frozen ocean. No, the real threat is far more terrifying.
There is something out there in the frigid darkness. It stalks the ships and snatches men. It is a nameless thing. At once nowhere and everywhere, this terror has become the expedition’s nemesis .
Credit: Some text and images courtesy of Amazon.co.uk
© Colin Lawson Books