Cold Horror: 5 Books You Should Read This Winter
It’s that time of year – winter is settling in. It’s cold, it’s dark and all we want to do is curl up with a good book. If you’re a big fan of horror like I am – I imagine you are, if you’re a regular visitor to Kendall Reviews – then this time of year feels perfect for a creepy read. I decided to come up with a list of the best books to read over this season (they are eerie stories set in winter or in cold, desolate weather).
So curl up, make yourself a hot chocolate and read these gems whilst the weather is bad…
Maynards House by Herman Raucher
This book is deliciously creepy – an atmospheric tale set in Maine. It follows the story of Austin Fletcher, a Vietnam war veteran, who has been left a house in a will from a fellow soldier who died in battle. The house is in a remote, desolate part of land where there is no one around for miles. The landscape is bleak, the weather is cold and unforgiving, and there’s just something eerie about the setting. There are trees that cast no shadow, strange noises and night-time terrors that set our central character’s sanity on edge. The land on which Austin Fletcher finds himself is full of legend, myth and history, with lots of dark things having happened in the past. Fletcher sets about finding out as much as he can about his home and the land on which it sits – and let’s just say, there’s not much to be happy about for the young man. Considering packing up and leaving, Austin wonders whether to try to face whatever is out there….
I loved this bleak, wintery book and I highly recommend it.
Dark Matter by Michelle Paver
Dark Matter by Pavel is a story set in the Arctic, so crisp, cold, snowy weather is an essential backdrop to this eerie, unsettling tale. The story is essentially in the form of a journal written by character Jack Miller. Haunted by back luck and misfortune, he feels he’s missed out on his ambition of being a physicist, and so he jumps at the chance to go on an Arctic expedition. One by one each member of his team falls by the wayside and soon he is left completely alone in the snowy wilderness. Strange, creepy events occur and the reader is left uneasy as the character is struck by the isolation he finds himself.
A great, haunting read. Wonderful for this time of year.
White Road by Sarah Lotz
Set on the cold, snowy backdrop of Mount Everest, this novel is wonderfully creepy.
The White Road follows main character, Simon Newman – an adrenaline junky – who decides he’s going to join an expedition to climb Mount Everest. Motivated not by the chance to reach the mountain’s peak, but instead to film his adventure for fans of his Journey to the Dark Side website, Simon gets more than he bargained for when he finds that something dark and disturbing stalks the mountain around him. Will he record footage that will change his life when out there on the mountain? Will he survive?
This story will definitely please horror/paranormal genre fans. I was especially interested in the story because it involved a backdrop of mountaineering – something that although I haven’t ever done in my lifetime, I find fascinating, mysterious and alluring.
Hark the Herald Angels Scream: An Anthology
This collection of short stories – all set over the Christmas period for obvious reasons – makes a fantastic read for this time of year. Quite often in short horror story collections, there are a few that stand out and a few that are more forgettable, but I honestly think this anthology is extremely strong throughout. With stories from Josh Malerman, Scott Smith, Sarah Pinborough and many more, I think there is something for everyone in this book. My personal favourite was Christmas In Barcelona – so shocking was one moment I actually gasped out loud when reading it and had goosebumps!
The Shining by Stephen King
Okay, so most of you will have read this book and seen the film, but it’s good enough to revisit, let’s face it! The Shining is probably the ultimate winter book, set in a hotel and amidst a wintery snowstorm, it has the perfect elements for a spooky tale for this time of year. I’d say this is probably one of my favourite King stories (second only to Pet Semetary for me, personally). I probably don’t need to tell you anything – you’ve probably read it, but if you haven’t, fix that today! The Shining is a solid, scary and creepy tale and there is no better time to revisit it.
Fiona has had several horror novels and short stories published, including Nails and The Hidden. She is also a freelance writer for various websites. Passionate about literature, music and film, Fiona has studied drama, film studies, psychology and theology. You can find her on Twitter over at @Angel_Devil982 where she’ll likely be tweeting about horror, cats and coffee (in no particular order).