My Best Friend’s Exorcism, by Grady Hendrix: When Abby’s best friend is possessed by a demon, she seeks to free her friend with the help of an evangelical Christian exorcist/ bodybuilder. Described as Beaches meets The Exorcist, this is as much a tribute to female friendship as it is a horrifying tale of demonic possession, and it’s funny and scary as hell.
Pontypool Changes Everything, by Tony Burgess: Sure, we’re all sick of viruses, but this virus is a little different. It’s an aural virus, spread through conversation that takes hold and turns the listener into a rage-filled zombie. If you are sick of the same old, this is a new kind of horror.
Under the Skin, by Michel Faber: Absolutely, positively, the best book you will ever read about a cat-humanoid who wears a human skin suit with huge fake tits and seduces Scottish hitchhikers in order to use their bodies for horrific reasons. Under the Skin is a weird, hallucinatory novel told from the perspective of an alien who doesn’t like her job.
The Girl Next Door, by Jack Ketchum: Not for the squeamish. Horror legend Jack Ketchum is a sick fuck, and this book is one of his sickest. This book is based on the real-life murder of Sylvia Likens. Sylvia’s parents ask their neighbor, Gertrude Baniszewsk, to take care of Sylvia for the summer. Gertrude took care of her alright; she kept her in her basement and tortured her, and brought in the neighborhood kids to help.
What makes this book so stay-with-you-forever unsettling is Ketchum’s understanding of evil. He seems truly angry for the girl, and writes to give her some much needed vengeance.
Zombie, by Joyce Carol Oates: Told from the perspective of a Jeffrey Dahmer style serial murder, literary icon Joyce Carol Oates’ rare foray into horror is an experience unlike any other. Written in a bizarre, broken style of the killer’s voice, Zombie gets us inside the brain of a person you otherwise wouldn’t want to get within a thousand feet of.
if you like Oates’ horror writing, check out her impossibly unsettling story I Know Where You’re Going, I Know Where You’ve Been. If you have daughter, you won’t be able to leave her home alone after reading this.
Paperbacks from Hell, by Grady Hendrix: This isn’t a horror novel; it’s a collection of the most eye-catching, bizarro horror book covers from the era when paperbacks ruled. There are Nazi leprechauns, repressed memories, incestuous families and all other sorts of horrors that made the ’70s and ’80s an amazing time to be a horror reader.