Top 5 Tuesday is a hosted by Shanah over at The Bionic Book Worm. This is my first time taking part mainly because work has been hectic the last few months so I haven’t had much time to blog. So, I’m super exited to be taking part this week.
It helps that I love scary books, so here goes:
The Woman In Black – Susan Hill
Blurb: ‘Set on the obligatory English moor, on an isolated causeway, the story has as its hero Arthur Kipps, an up-and-coming young solicitor who has come north from London to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House.
The routine formalities he anticipates give way to a tumble of events and secrets more sinister and terrifying than any nightmare: the rocking chair in the deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child’s scream in the fog, and most dreadfully–and for Kipps most tragically–The Woman In Black.’
Firstly, let me say that it’s almost impossible to scare me. I love horror films. I love immersive horror experiences. I love feeling scared. But it’s rare that anything actually scares me.
However, this book was different. I was assigned this book when I studied Gothic literature. I had tended to avoid horror stories because they didn’t really scare me. So, I was pleasantly surprised when this book genuinely terrified me.
I can still clearly remember reading a certain part of the book. I was in bed alone and I was so petrified that I ended up closing the book, throwing it across the room and made the decision to sleep with the light on. I spent the night jumping at very sound until I finally fell asleep.
Susan Hill’s descriptive skills still haunt me to this day and I haven’t read this book since 2009.
The Woman in Black doesn’t necessarily do much but I can honestly say that she is the most terrifying character I have come across in a book.
Weeks after I finished reading it I had the feeling that someone was always watching me. It was just so creepy.
If you’re not easily scared, I’d recommend reading this book. Preferably when you’re not alone in the house.
The film and stage adaptation are also super creepy, but they don’t compare to the book.
Madame LaLaurie: Mistress of the Haunted House – Carolyn Morrow Long
Blurb: ‘The legend of Madame Delphine LaLaurie, a wealthy society matron and accused slave torturer, has haunted New Orleans for nearly two hundred years. Her macabre tale is frequently retold, and her French Quarter mansion has been referred to as ‘the most haunted house in the city’. Rumours that LaLaurie abused her salves were already in circulation when the fire broke out in the kitchen and slave quarters of her home in 1834. Bystanders intent on rescuing anyone still inside forced their way past LaLaurie and her husband into the burning service wing. Once inside, they discovered several slaves, starved, chained and mutilated. The crowds temper quickly shifted from concern to outrage, assuming that the LaLaurie’s had been willing to allow their slaves to perish in the flames rather than risk discovery of the horrific conditions in which they were kept.
Forced to flee the city, Delphine LaLaurie’s guilt went unquestioned during her lifetime, and tales of her actions have become increasingly fanciful and grotesque over the decades. Stories of perverted tortures, of burying slaves alive, of cutting off their limbs have continued to plague her legacy.’
The fact that certain people have a desire to murder, torture or terrorise other people terrifies me, yet I’m strangely fascinated by it.
I’m also a massive history buff, so I knew that I was going to enjoy this book. One of my friends bought me this for Christmas. She said she wasn’t sure what to get me but knew that I liked reading about ‘f**ked up stuff’, so thought I’d enjoy the book. She was right. And she was quite shocked when I told her that Madame LaLaurie was a real person and not a fictional character.
This book is quite factual, which I didn’t mind. However, if you’re not really into history books, then maybe this isn’t a book for you. Despite the factual nature of the book, the details of LaLaurie’s crimes are sickening.
On another note, if you believe in ghosts/curses, many people believe that the LaLaurie mansion is cursed. The property was rebuilt and has had many owners since, who have all ran into physical or financial woes, including Nicholas Cage!
This House is Haunted – John Boyne
Blurb: 1867. Eliza Caine arrives in Norfolk to take up her position as governess at Gaudlin Hall on a dark and chilling night. As she makes her way across the station platform, a pair of invisible hands push her from behind into the path of an approaching train. She is only saved by the vigilance of a passing doctor.
When she finally arrives, shaken, at the hall she is greeted by the two children in her care, Isabella and Eustace. There are no parents, no adults at all, and no one to represent her mysterious employer. The children offer no explanation. Later that night in her room, a second terrifying experience further reinforces the sense that something is very wrong.
From the moment she rises the following morning, her every step seems dogged by a malign presence which lives within Gaudlin’s walls. Eliza realises that if she and the children are to survive its violent attentions, she must first uncover the hall’s long-buried secrets and confront the demons of its past…’
I’m a complete sucker for haunted house stories. Especially gothic ones. Upon arriving at Gaudlin Hall, Eliza finds out that the job advert she responded to was placed by the previous governess, not the children’s parents. She also discovers that 5 governess’ have left Gaudlin Hall within the last year. There are no parents or guardians in sight and the towns people become awkward and change the subject whenever Eliza questions this.
Eventually, some of Eliza’s new friends start to open up about the strange events.
This book is probably the least scary of the 5 I’ve listed in this post, but it’s creepy nevertheless. I love horror books that have gothic elements to them. This is what sold this book to me. It’s a fairly short book, so I’d definitely recommend it is you’re looking for an easy, creepy read.
The Crucifix Killer – Chris Carter
Blurb: ‘When the body of a young woman is discovered in a derelict cottage in the middle of Los Angeles National Forest, Homicide Detective Robert Hunter finds himself entering a horrific and recurring nightmare. Naked, strung from two parallel wooden posts, the victim was sadistically tortured before meeting an excruciatingly painful death.
All the skin has been ripped from her face – while she was still alive. On the nape of her neck has been carved a strange double-cross: the signature of a psychopath known as the Crucifix Killer. But that’s impossible. Because two years ago, the Crucifix Killer was caught and executed. Could this therefore be a copycat killer? Or could the unthinkable be true?
Is the real killer still out there, ready to embark once again on a vicious and violent killing spree, selecting his victims seemingly at random, taunting Robert Hunter with his inability to catch him? Hunter and his rookie partner are about to enter a nightmare beyond imagining.’
Okay, so I picked ‘The Crucifix Killer’ because it’s the one I can remember the most. But I’d recommend all of Chris Carter’s book. I can’t just pick one. They’re all as messed up as the next one.
These books are EXTREMELY gruesome. The books follow Detective Robert Hunter. Each book deals with a different serial killer and follows Robert Hunter’s quest to find them.
I’ve read all of Chris Carter’s books and I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of them. They are the kind of books that you could potentially finish in a day but you’ll still be thinking about them days later.
If gruesome murders are your thing, then these books are for you.
I won’t say too much, but in this particular book, the killer skins the victim alive, but before he does that he places a mirror above them and cuts their eyelids off. So, they have no choice but to watch everything the killer does to them…. Yep, the books are gross, but amazing.
A Head Full of Ghosts – Paul Tremblay
Blurb: The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.
To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.
Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface–and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.
I’ve only recently started reading this book but it’s already giving me chills. I came across this book because Sahan posted about it. As soon as I read Shanah’s post, I knew I had to read this book. I purchased it the same day.
As I haven’t finished it, I can’t really go into too much detail but you get the impression from the blurb that it’s going to be super creepy!
If you’ve read any of these books, please let me know your thoughts on them!
I love horror so if you have any good recommendations, I’d love to hear them!