So what happens is that the section winds up being truly genre, plus a bunch of Stephen King. But even Stephen King hasn't been writing purely in horror in decades. We've got plenty of folks reading in the genre, but it's a mashup of literary fiction and fantasy and graphic novel and even mystery. So what to do? Well, when someone asks, I just pull out five or ten books for a customer to look at, and leave on the table. So why not have that table readymade.
I asked four current and one former bookseller for their suggestions. Here they are.
1. The Shining, by Stephen King
2. The Birthing House, by Christopher Ransom
3. The Passage, by Justin Cronin
4. Fiend, by Peter Stenson
5. The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman
My rule of thumb is generally that if a person recommends a series, they are recommending the first book in the series, unless they say otherwise.
1. Between Two Fires, by Christopher Buehlman
2. The Devil in Silver, by Victor LaValle
3. Anno Dracula, by Kim Newman
4. Carrion Comfort, by Dan Simmons
5. John Dies at the End, by David Wong
I knew Jason would pick a Dan Simmoon, but I did not know which one he'd pick. It was the same for Christopher Buehlman. We had chatted more about the first book, but it was his second novel that made the cut.
1. Dracula, Bram Stoker
2. Hellboy: Darkness Calls, Mike Mignola
3. The Resurrectionist, Matthew Guinn
4. The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
5. The Monk, Matthew Gregory Lewis
Mel brings up another good point. There's really great horror in the kids' sections too. And speaking of crossover, Matthew Guinn's novel is an Edgar Award finalist.
1. It by Stephen King
2. The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
3. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
4. Night Film by Marisha Pessl
5. Red Moon by Benjamin Percy
Night Film is the classic case of a book that probably not be read as widely if it were classified as horror. You know of course that many series get moved from mystery to fiction as a spine listing because there are certain large retailers of books who will not buy genre. You might suggest we cross shelve, but while I grew up on this, I haven't done that in many years. I get the idea of having a book on more than one display, but don't really understand the benefit of having a book spined out in two sections.
Also note hat Ben Percy's Red Moon was the inspiration for our last horror post on the blog.
1. Needful Things, by Stephen King
2. The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James
3. Let the Right One In by John Lindqvist
4. The Watcher, by Charles Maclean
5. The Other, by Thomas Tryon
Ah, what about the ghost story? I didn't even think that would count as horror. My rule of thumb for folks making this list was that there wouldn't be any editing. But who'd have thunk that I'd also not have a single book named twice?
I decided not to ask folks to write out recommendations for each one, but I think that many of the books have recommendations on our website.