Fiona's List of Best Horror Books Since (roughly) 1980

[Note on 7/23/98: In response to Paula Guran's mentioning this list in DarkEcho, I'm making a mad effort to update it. I've added a few for those visiting via DarkEcho. If you want to know more about what I like, check out the truly huge and still growing list of horror reviews I've done for Amazon doesn't tell me what to review or what to say, and I only review stuff that I like!]

Ackroyd, Peter -- Hawksmoor

Aiken, Joan -- The Haunting of Lamb House

Arnzen, Michael -- Grave Markings

Aycliffe, Jonathan -- Naomi's Room; The Vanishment

Banks, Iain -- The Wasp Factory*

Ballard, J. G. -- Crash; The Atrocity Exhibition*

Barker, Clive -- Books of Blood 1-3*; In the Flesh; The Inhuman Condition; Cabal

Bradfield, Scott -- The History of Luminous Motion* (What's Wrong with America and Greetings from Earth are also supposed to be good)

Brite, Poppy Z. -- Swamp Foetus* (re-printed as Wormwood)

Cadnum, Michael -- St. Peter's Wolf

Cady, Jack -- The Off Season (not to be confused with Jack Ketchum's Off Season)

Campbell, Ramsey -- everything! especially Alone With the Horrors*, his short story collection from Arkham House, and Nazareth Hill*

Carroll, Jonathan -- ??whether he counts as horror (Land of Laughs; Bones of the Moon; The Panic Hand)

Carter, Angela -- Burning Your Boats

Chappell, Fred -- More Shapes Than One

Connelly, Joe -- Bringing Out the Dead

Cooper, Dennis -- Frisk*; Try

Crews, Harry -- A Feast of Snakes*

Datlow, Ellen (ed.) -- various anthologies: my current fave is Little Deaths

Denton, Bradley -- Blackburn; One Day Closer to Death

Devereaux, Robert -- Deadweight; Santa Steps Out

Disch, Thomas M. -- The M.D.: A Horror Story

Dobyns, Stephen -- The Church of Dead Girls (don't read it as a thriller!)

Dunn, Katherine -- Geek Love*

Ellis, Bret Easton -- American Psycho

Engstrom, Elizabeth -- Lizard Wine*

Etchison, Dennis -- The Dark Country

Etchison, Dennis (ed.)-- The Cutting Edge; Metahorror

Grant, Charles L. -- Tales from the Nightside

Gregory, Stephen -- The Cormorant; The Woodwitch; The Blood of Angels*

Grimson, Todd -- Brand New Cherry Flavor

Hardin, Rob -- Distorture*

Harris, Thomas -- Red Dragon*; The Silence of the Lambs

Hartwell, David G. (ed.) -- The Dark Descent*; Foundations of Fear

Hawkes, Judith -- Julian's House

Heim, Scott -- In Awe

Herbert, James -- pick one: perhaps Moon

Hodge, Brian -- Deathgrip; also his short story collections

Holder, Nancy -- Dead in the Water

Horsting, Jessica and James Van Hise (eds.) -- Midnight Graffiti

Hynes, James -- Publish or Perish: Three Tales of Tenure & Terror

Ingalls, Rachel -- Mrs. Caliban

Jeter, K. W. -- The Nightman

Joyce, Graham -- The Tooth Fairy

Kalich, Richard -- The Nihilesthete*

King, Stephen -- Misery; Bag of Bones* (yes, I've read it, and it's superb)

Klein, T. E. D. -- Dark Gods*; The Ceremonies

Koja, Kathe -- The Cipher; Skin*

Laidlaw, Marc -- The 37th Mandala

Lane, Joel -- The Earth Wire and Other Stories

Lansdale, Joe R. -- By Bizarre Hands*; Cold in July; The Drive-In; The Nightrunners; Savage Season

Laws, Stephen -- several good ones: hard to pick one (e.g., The Frighteners)

Lessing, Doris -- The Fifth Child

Ligotti, Thomas -- Songs of a Dead Dreamer; Grimscribe*; Noctuary; or get them all in The Nightmare Factory

Little, Bentley -- The Mailman; The Ignored; The Store

Lucas, Timothy -- Throat Sprockets

Maginn, Simon -- Sheep*; Virgins and Martyrs

Manguel, Alberto, (ed.) -- Black Water; Black Water 2

Matheson, Richard Christian -- Scars

McCabe, Patrick -- The Butcher Boy; The Dead School

McCammon, Robert -- pick one: maybe They Thirst

McCarthy, Cormac -- Child of God; Blood Meridian*

McDowell, Michael -- The Elementals

McGrath, Patrick -- The Grotesque; Spider*; Dr. Haggard's Disease; Asylum

McLean, Duncan -- Bunker Man

McNaughton, Brian -- The Throne of Bones

Monteleone, Thomas F. (ed.) -- Borderlands (I haven't been as impressed with the follow-ups)

Morrow, Bradford and Patrick McGrath (eds.) -- The New Gothic

Murrey, Mary -- The Inquisitor

Newman, Kim -- The Night Mayor; Bad Dreams (others of his are also good)

Oates, Joyce Carol -- Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque

Partridge, Norman -- Mr. Fox and Other Feral Tales; Slippin' Into Darkness

Partridge, Norman & Martin Greenberg (eds.) -- It Came from the Drive-In

Rice, Anne -- Interview with the Vampire

Rickman, Phil -- Curfew (published as Crybbe in the UK -- others of his are also good)

Roszak, Theodore -- Flicker

Royle, Nicholas -- Counterparts

Ryan, Alan (ed.) -- Night Visions 1: In the Blood (important because it has 7 tales by Steve Rasnic Tem)

Schow, David J. (ed.) -- The Silver Scream

Schow, David J. -- The Shaft*; all his stories, especially Seeing Red; Black Leather Required; Crypt Orchids

Shea, Michael -- Polyphemus

Shepard; Lucius -- Life During Wartime; The Jaguar Hunter; The Ends of the Earth, The Golden

Shirley, John -- Heatseeker; Wetbones; Black Butterflies

Siddons, Anne Rivers -- The House Next Door

Siegel, Lee -- City of Dreadful Night*

Simmons, Dan -- Song of Kali*; Carrion Comfort; Lovedeath

Skipp, John and Craig Spector -- The Scream

Skipp, John and Craig Spector (eds.) -- Book of the Dead 1 & 2

Slade, Michael -- Headhunter

Stableford, Brian -- The Empire of Fear

Stone, Jr., Del -- Dead Heat

Straub, Peter -- Ghost Story; Houses Without Doors*

Suskind, Patrick -- Perfume

Tem, Melanie -- Prodigal

Tessier, Thomas -- Rapture; Phantom

Williamson, Chet -- Lowland Rider

Wilson, F. Paul -- The Keep

Winter, Douglas (ed.) -- Prime Evil

Wright, Steven -- Going Native

Wright, T. M. -- A Manhattan Ghost Story

     --if I left someone off who you really think belongs here, be sure to let me know!

     --I know "around 1980" is a pretty arbitrary date, but I wanted to suggest some of the recent stuff because people frequently ask for recommendations. I plan eventually to have two lists, with a more historically meaningful division into pre- and post-1967 (the date of Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby.)

     --asterisks indicate books that have affected me personally a great deal

     --quite a few excellent authors are not on this list by name because their best work is short stories, and either they don't have a major collection out (e.g., Steve Rasnic Tem) or they write a mix of horror and other genres (e.g., George R. R. Martin) or for some other capricious reason I omitted them--at any rate, be sure to check out the short story anthologies, listed by editor

     --these books were chosen not just because I liked them, but also because they got good reviews: the best way to keep up with contemporary horror is to subscribe to a good review publication, such as Necrofile from Necronomicon Press (101 Lockwood Street, West Warwick, RI 02893, or order it from one of the sources on the horror mail-order page)

Copyright Fiona Webster 1996;1998 <>

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