Ellen’s Scary Books A-List

Ellen’s Scary Books A-List

[Someone once asked me for a list of books that I’ve found to be scary. This list is quite a few years old now — no title on it is more recent than 1993 — so maybe one of these days I’ll update it.]

Finishing Touches (1987) by Thomas Tessier — I think this one really terrified me because the process of corruption of the innocent was nicely subtle and utterly believable.Red Dragon (1981) and The Silence of the Lambs (1988) by Thomas Harris — to me are the best of the serial killer novels. Perhaps Silence affected me more because the protagonist is a woman and I could relate to Clarice more than I could to Will.

A Child in Time (1987) by Ian McEwan is about the aftereffects of a child abduction that is never solved. Even though I have no children this parent’s nightmare is remarkably disturbing.

If You Could See Me Now (1977) by Peter Straub — something about it just got under my skin.

Skin (1993) by Kathe Koja — probably because I find mutilation frightening and voluntary mutilation even more so.

Dying in Bangkok (1993) by Dan Simmons — a chilling erotic horror novella.