Which book has haunted you the most? Read on to find out what keeps The Killer Reads team up at night…
The Terror of Living by Urban Waite
Oh yes, the title says it all. Of course I expected to be scared by this one, and – praise be! – I wasn’t disappointed.
The thing is, it starts off so quietly. It’s all very modern-day Western; Phil Hunt dons his Stetson, saddles his horse and heads off into the North American mountains to pick up a very special delivery. There’s beautiful scenery, a nice travelling companion, and time spent just enjoying the good old open road. But of course, this is a drug run and the package at the other end contains $100K worth of cocaine.
Perhaps he was too busy admiring the view, but Hunt is soon busted by an off-duty cop. As he makes his escape, the traffickers set out to reclaim what’s theirs, and believe you me, this – this – is the scary bit.
Grady, the hitman sent to dispose of Hunt, is a psychopath of the most special variety. Polite to all who meet him, he minds his Ps and Qs and always says a friendly hello to those who cross his path. After all, he’s just a nice guy doing his job. That is before he sticks his knife in them and twists.
He cheerfully goes about his business, with a blood-lust that can’t be quenched, and whether he’s butchering pigs, kittens or people, there’s one thing that’s for sure: this will all come to a very bloody end. A great debut from a great author – Urban Waite is definitely one to watch.
Pretty Little Things by Jilliane Hoffman
Half way through this book. I hid it under my bed and tried to forget about it. If I wasn’t reading it, it didn’t exist.
But it very clearly did exist as after four days I had to retrieve it. The story centres around Lainey Emerson a teenage girl who goes missing after meeting someone through an internet chat room. Special Agent Bobby Dees is called in to investigate and he knows the feeling of desperation at losing a child all too well, after his daughter went missing a few years previously. Bobby is facing his own personal struggle as well as knowing he has to find Lainey before it’s too late. The plot is extremely gripping and Hoffman writes the characters so convincingly, it literally kept me on the edge of my seat.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Without question the book that has haunted me the most (and continues to haunt me) is Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. It has all of the successful elements which make up modern day psychological thrillers: intrigue, deception, unsettling visions, continual suspense, jaw-dropping moments of terror and a true villain in the character of Mrs Danvers, housekeeper of Manderley. In terms of the “classics”, she ranks right up there with Bertha Mason, Mr Hyde and Conrad’s Kurtz. du Maurier’s writing has influenced some of the most unsettling films of the twentieth century including The Birds and Don’t Look Now. Rebecca is the perfect introduction to du Maurier’s writing – never again will you see the romance in the lines, ‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley.’
Birdman by Mo Hayder
When I was asked which book has haunted me the most, I didn’t even have to think before I answered. In fact, just one sentence will probably sum up for you why this book still makes me shudder almost seven years on: a pair of necrophiliacs murder girls before replacing their hearts with live birds so that it feels like they’re still alive while they…
Okay, I think I’ve relived enough.
But please don’t let you put this off. Although the subject matter may be a little…well…stomach turning, the reason that this has stayed with me for so long is because Hayder has the ability to make you experience true horror. And after I finally returned to sleeping with the light off, I couldn’t help picking up The Treatment (possibly more disturbing still…).These are not books where everyone trots off into the distance happily ever after having wrapped up the crime and saved the day; these are gritty and horrifying, but ultimately unforgettable.
So what do you think? Do you share our opinions? Which book has haunted you the most? Write in and let us know – we’re always willing to add a new book to our reading lists!