I was reading reviews on Goodreads for Tananarive Due’s The Good House and Brandon Massey’s Dark Corner. People called them scary which bothered me a lot. Both stories are interesting, well written and put a unique spin on a theme that’s been done to death but there’s nothing scary about them. It got me thinking. Recently, far too often, I browse the horror section looking for truly creepy books, find a winner and end up disappointed by the lack of fear it invoked in me.
I do enjoy Bentley Little’s novels. He holds nothing back and the endings are never predicable. With his books, I often cheat and read the last page because you never know who’s going to die. The atmosphere and the scenes ensnare you so even though you are afraid of what happens next, you’re compelled to turn the page. My favorite is The Ignored. Although the protagonist is often unlikable and whinny, the story is brilliant and the ending is satisfying even though he never answers why those things were happening to the characters.Though, I do like the writing style and the worlds created by Kim Harrison, Laurell K. Hamilton and L.A. Banks, I don’t consider them when discussing frightening tales because I don’t think the authors intend the books to be scary.
It’s become so hard to find new books where I reach the end breathless and amazed at how beautifully macabre the story was. Not only were the scenes and situation frightening but the atmosphere had me feeling like rough finger were scrapping my spine. I don’t often want to do the mental gymnastics required to read authors like Edgar Allen Poe and Henry James but I also don’t want a storyline that doesn’t give my brain a little exercise.Frightening situation are great but a terrifying atmosphere is gold.