My Favorite Horror Novel
By Mark Allan Gunnells
When someone asks what my favorite horror novel is, I like to say that it’s too hard to choose. That there are way too many fantastic novels out there to pick one.
That’s what I like to say, and it’s mostly true…but it’s not entirely true. When someone asks me about my favorite horror novel, there is one title that immediately jumps to mind. Yes, it is immediately followed by dozens of others, but there is one that makes it to the front of the crowd.
Which one? Well, I’ll tell you. Misery, by Stephen King. I think it is almost the perfect novel, and I’m going to give some reasons why.
It by King is often cited as the quintessential horror novel, and I do love it, but I find Misery ultimately the stronger and more affecting tale. While lacking any supernatural element, it is undoubtedly horror. Annie Wilkes is a nightmare of a character, even more so because of the humanity still in her. She isn’t a cartoon monster, but a real person with real insecurities and humor but all buried under this psychosis that is more terrifying than any boogeyman.
The situation, being trapped and isolated with someone that unhinged, is chilling. The structure of the novel, which for the most part only consists of two characters in one setting, heightens the tension and fear. Both characters are dynamic and fascinating.
The plot is a perfectly tight suspense tale, not a word wasted. It rockets along, the suspense ratcheting up all the while, leading to a crescendo of a climax. It is the kind of book I like to call “unputdownable,” the type where you don’t want to stop because the need to know what comes next is so powerful.
But what really elevates this for me, what makes it more than just a good horror novel and into a great horror novel, is that there is a layer deeper than the suspense and terror. This book has a lot to say about the art of writing, why we do it, what drives writers, the compulsion we feel when a story takes over and demands to be written. Misery does so in a way that doesn’t feel shoe-horned in, but feels quite natural and organic.
That is a neat trick to pull off, being both a thrilling read and a thoughtful read. Not just as a writer, but as someone who loves story, it offers so many insights into the creative mind. It is because of both these sides of the tale that it is my favorite horror novel.
Mark Allan Gunnells
Mark Allan Gunnells loves to tell stories. He has since he was a kid, penning one-page tales that were Twilight Zone knockoffs. He likes to think he has gotten a little better since then. He loves reader feedback, and above all, he loves telling stories. He lives in Greer, SC, with his husband Craig A. Metcalf.
You can follow Mark on Twitter @MarkAGunnells
Curtis, a young college student, is dragged to his first gay club by his best friend Jimmy for a night of dancing, drinking, and sex…at least until the dead start to rise and attack the club.
Trapped inside the Asylum are a small band of survivors, including a drag queen, a male stripper, a Vietnam vet bartender, a pretentious gay couple, and an unstable DJ.
Will this motley crew survive the hungry undead rattling the sealed-off doors?
Will they survive each other?
Will they survive their own personal demons?
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The Daylight Will Not Save You
You may have been warned to beware the things that go bump in the night…but do not let this lull you into a false sense of security during the daylight hours.
In this collection, you will find that many horrors await you even in the glaring illumination of the sun.
A would-be hero who makes a tragedy even worse.
A young mother whose thirst for attention leads her to commit an unspeakable act.
A grieving widower who tries to hold on to his lost love.
A jealous ex who seeks revenge in an unusual way.
These and many other characters you’ll encounter within these pages, and they will teach you the lesson that THE DAYLIGHT WILL NOT SAVE YOU…