"In Bed" with Dean Koontz

January, 2011

Dean Koontz A craftsman of all that is creepy, Dean Koontz delights in scaring his readers with gripping tales of sociopaths, conspiracies, and things that go bump in the night. His ever-expanding canon includes best-sellers such as Odd Thomas, about a man with a sixth sense for the dead, and Watchers, about a golden retriever that crusades against an evil beast. In his latest novel, What the Night Knows, Koontz continues the story of Alton Blackwood, a rampaging criminal introduced in his novella Darkness Under the Sun. Blackwood murders four families before John Calvino, age 14, finally kills him. Years later, when copycat murders start plaguing the city, John again fears for his family's safety. Could Blackwood be back from the dead? Koontz shares his favorite ghost stories to read in bed—just don't expect to fall asleep afterward.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
"An old-fashioned ghost story that relies on subtle frissons of terror, vague creepiness, and mystification. A compelling tale, one of the two or three best ghost stories written by an American. The Robert Wise film, The Haunting, based on this novel holds up after almost half a century."


The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
"Of James's numerous short stories and more than 100 books, this novella might be his most enduring work. The writing is brilliant, even if occasionally the author's trademark tangled syntax annoys. Elegant, chilling."


Hell House by Richard Matheson
"This is similar in structure to the Jackson book, but Matheson doesn't encourage us to wonder if ghosts are delusions of disturbed minds. Here the supernatural is in-your-face real, and because Matheson is a believer in the afterlife, the story has conviction. The repressed sexuality in the Jackson and James stories is far more explicit in this novel."


The Shining by Stephen King
"Haunted-house stories all become claustrophobic, but this singular haunted-hotel tale is positively suffocating. It's as much about a man haunted by himself—by his self-loathing and alcoholism—as it is about ghosts, but there are a phantasmagoria of genuinely terrifying spirits and jump-out-of-your-chair moments."


A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
"Yes, I know, it's not a chills-up-the-spine story, but it is full of ghosts well used and a delight to read. And the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Be is a genuinely spooky presence in its silence and relentless revelation. The story can chill in a unique way if you wonder whether Dickens's treatment of his long-suffering wife crossed his mind as he wrote about Scrooge's emotional detachment from family."



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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Sunday (new)

Sunday What the? We like the exact same ghost stories. "Turn of the Screw"? "The Haunting of Hill House"? Are we twins? I'm scared just looking at this, staring into the abyss and whatnot.

A pat on the back for both of us. We have excellent taste.


Sherry (sethurner) Make that triplets. I have read and enjoyed all the same titles.


message 3: by Kate (new)

Kate Good idea to add to this excellent list. Add to this ARthur Machen's "The Great God Pan." The Great God Pan and anything else he wrote back in the day.


message 4: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Glenn Hell House and The Shining are two of my faves... both were good scary reading and made good films.


message 5: by Anabelee (new)

Anabelee The only one I've not read yet is the one from Matheson, the other are great reads for me, specially The Turn of the Screw. James made a 10 with it.


message 6: by Alan (new)

Alan Toner Some good choices there. As a published horror writer myself, I regard The Shining as an absolute masterpiece of snowbound horror.


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