During October Hillingdon Libraries staff were set the challenge to read a horror novel… Oh, the horror! As part of our Literary Challenge 2017, they reviewed some horror hits. Happy Halloween!
We read and review fiction books on a set time every month, for you.
1. The Small Hand by Susan Hill
A supernatural chilling tale that is ideal for this spooky time of year. I can’t think of anything more creepy than feeling a small child’s hand take yours with no child visible. The story takes place in a derelict old house in the country. The author’s description of the current state of this early 1900’s derelict house is vivid, but when she described the house in its original magnificence, my imagination was filled with the visions I was reading about. I won’t go into the story line, that would spoil it, but this story has a modern classic feel about it. It’s good and atmospheric – just like a creepy tale should be.
4 out of 5 stars. Barbara – Ickenham Library
2. Carrie by Stephen King
I haven’t read many, if any, horror books so I thought that I should choose something by the master of the genre, Stephen King. ‘Carrie’ was his first published novel, written in 1973 and set in the (then) future, 1979. I nearly abandoned this book after the first few pages as I found the opening quite distasteful but I persevered and found it a fast read. Carrie is telekinetic; she can move objects with her mind. After being humiliated at the school prom she uses her powers to cause terror and destruction on a massive scale. I didn’t find this book chilling or scary (as the blurb had promised me). I think that if I had read it when it was first published I would have found it quite horrifying but unfortunately there have been some terrible real events in schools since that time and I can understand why ‘Carrie’ is one of the most commonly banned books in US schools.
2 out of 5 stars. Carol – Northwood Library
3. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
“Whatever walked there, walked alone.” These words end the superlative first paragraph of this haunted house story, and set the tone of dread and isolation. An investigator invites three young people to join him to live at Hill House in order to observe paranormal happenings. What follows are classic tropes of the genre – unexplained noises, writing on the wall, malevolent voices in the air – but Shirley Jackson is an unparalleled creator of terrifying atmosphere, so instead of being hokey or risible, what happens at Hill House really does fill you with horror. The remoteness and strangeness of the house is claustrophobic, and much of what transpires remains unexplained. Like all of Jackson’s best work, you’ll be left with a delicious, uneasy feeling that you’ll never entirely shake.
4 out of 5 stars. Darren – Uxbridge Library
Have you read any of these books? Do you enjoy scary fiction? You can borrow all these books from our catalogue. Thanks for reading!