Top Ten Tuesday: Horror Books For Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels

toptentuesday Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Ten Books For Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels

As it’s October, I thought I’d make it even harder for myself by choosing Horror/Thriller books.

Character-driven novels are those where the character’s arc is the main element of the story, rather than the actual plot. I’m not entirely sure if all the these books would officially be classed as character-driven, but they are all novels in which the characters are well developed and undergo some kind of personal growth throughout.

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1. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice: Whether it’s the books or the film you’re familiar with, Anne Rice’s Vampire tale is very character-led. Each character has a strong arc, and has completely changed by the end of it. Or are y’know, dead.

2. Procession of the Dead by D.B Shan: Darren Shan’s first series for adults is one of my favourites in the horror genre, as long as we don’t talk about the last book! Protagonist Capac Raimi begins as a lovable young rogue, turns into the thing he feared the most, and has a monumental fall from grace.

3. Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes: We follow Cathy from the present day where it’s clear that horrific events in her past have traumatised her beyond recognition. She has debilitating OCD and finds it hard to leave the house. Throughout the book we are taken back to the events that led up to her current state, and while this is also quite plot-driven, it’s very much about Cathy’s growth as a person, and letting go of the past.

4. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King: I love this sequel to The Shining. We get to how little Danny Torrence grew up and how Abra Stone impacts his life. They are both strong characters who have intense character arcs. I felt like this book was much more character-driven than the first.

5 & 6. The Woman in Black & The Mist in the Mirror by Susan Hill: I feel like most of Susan Hill’s books are very character-driven. Maybe it’s because they are gently paced with an emphasis on the character’s reactions to the supernatural. These are the two books of hers that stand out for me, character-wise.

7. Doll Bones by Holly Black: This is my current read so I don’t know how it ends yet. It’s a creepy tale about dead girl’s spirit trapped inside a china doll, but really it’s about three pre-teen friends feeling pressured into growing up, and their loss of innocence and imagination.

Gah I hate it when I can’t think of 10. What did I miss?

What do you Want Most in the World?

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Needful Things by Stephen King

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Title: Needful Things
Author: Stephen King
Series: N/A
Edition: Hardback, 698 pages
Publication Details:1991 by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.
Genre(s): Horror
Disclosure? Nope, I bought a secondhand copy.

Goodreads
Purchase

A new store has opened in the town of Castle Rock, Maine. It has whatever your heart desires…if you’re willing to pay the price. In this chilling novel by one of the most potent imaginations of our time, evil is on a shopping spree and out to scare you witless.

Despite having some new releases on the list, I wanted this to be my first Horror October read…but that may have been a bit of a mistake.

I love Stephen King. I have issues with his endings a lot of the time, but no one can argue with his craftmanship or imagination. Needful Things however, was a massive struggle.

In this book, King makes a return to Castle Rock, Maine, which I first heard about from his previous novels, It (shudder) and Pet Sematary, and he’s right, I did feel like I’d been there before.

From the off, King works his magic in introducing you to a location and its inhabitants, making it feel instantly real and ominous. We meet Leland Gaunt, owner of the eponymous new shop with its mysterious name and strange products. In a small town like Castle Rock, this is understandably big news, and the townsfolk are full of gossip and speculation.

There is something for everyone in Needful Things, you just have to think about what you want most of all, and Leland Gaunt can find it. But he doesn’t want your money, he wants something else altogether…begging the question, how far will you go for the thing you want most?

I did love certain parts of this book. I loved the prologue most of all, where we get a tour of town from an anonymous narrator who gives it a sinister Carnie sort of feel. And as with most of King’s work to date, he slowly introduces a large cast of characters, all of them unique and intriguing.

But after the good start, my heart really wasn’t it. I found Needful Things so hard to get through. It probably didn’t help that I only manged to find thirty minutes at a time to read it, and that the font was so small every page seemed to take an age…and I just wanted it to speed up, or end.

A few of the characters did keep me reading though. Brian Rusk for one, and also the relationship between Alan Pangborn and Polly was interesting, but ultimately it wasn’t enough for me to love this book. I loved the idea of it, and appreciated the whole materialistic message, but it didn’t excite me, or creep me out like I was expecting.

I think this is one of those cases where I just wasn’t in the right mindset to read a slow-burning tome, so hopefully one day I’ll return to Castle Rock and have an altogether different experience. I live in hope.

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Needful Things is available in paperback from Waterstones now.

Horror October: Coming Up!

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It’s time to dust up your costumes and cultivate your spiderwebs, because Horror October is back.

It’s the best time of year to read all of those books you’ve been too scared to open, and curl up on the sofa to watch you favourite scary movie, so I’m dedicating a whole month to doing just that.

However, if you’re not a fan of horror, do not fret, I’m using the term quite loosely and hope that there will be something to suit everyone (it’s not like I could go a month without reading any Children’s or YA)!

Join me!

The Books

I clearly won’t get round to all of these within the month (especially considering how long it’s taking me to read Needful Things), but I’m going to give it a bloody good try.

Click on the images to for the Goodreads page

New & Upcoming Releases


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Printer’s Devil Court
A mysterious manuscript lands on the desk of the step-son of the late Dr Hugh Meredith, a country doctor with a prosperous and peaceful practice in a small English town. From the written account he has left behind, however, we learn that Meredith was haunted by events that took place years before, during his training as a junior doctor near London’s Fleet Street, in a neighbourhood virtually unchanged since Dickens’s times.

Living then in rented digs, Meredith gets to know two other young medics, who have been carrying out audacious and terrifying research and experiments. Now they need the help of another who must be a doctor capable of total discretion and strong nerves.

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An English Ghost Story

A dysfunctional British nuclear family seek a new life away from the big city in the sleepy Somerset countryside.

At first their new home, The Hollow, seems to embrace them, creating a rare peace and harmony within the family. But when the house turns on them, it seems to know just how to hurt them the most—threatening to destroy them from the inside out.
 

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Ice Massacre
A mermaid’s supernatural beauty serves one purpose: to lure a sailor to his death.

The Massacre is supposed to bring peace to Eriana Kwai. Every year, the island sends its warriors to battle these hostile sea demons. Every year, the warriors fail to return. Desperate for survival, the island must decide on a new strategy. Now, the fate of Eriana Kwai lies in the hands of twenty battle-trained girls and their resistance to a mermaid’s allure.
 

 

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Wakening the Crow
With the looming shadow of Edgar Allan Poe falling over one family, Gregory takes the reader into a world of uncertainty and fear.

Oliver Gooch comes across a tooth, in a velvet box, with a handwritten note from 1888 to say it’s a tooth from the boy Edgar Allan Poe. He displays it in his new bookshop, and names the store Poe’s Tooth Books.

Oliver took the money from his small daughter Chloe’s accident insurance and bought a converted church to live in with his altered child and wife. Rosie hopes Chloe will came back to herself but Oliver is secretly relieved to have this new easy-to-manage child, and holds at bay the guilt that the accident was a result of his negligence. On a freezing night he and Chloe come across the crow, a raggedy skeletal wretch of a bird, and it refuses to leave. It infiltrates their lives, it alters Oliver’s relationship with Rosie, it changes Chloe. It’s a dangerous presence in the firelit, shadowy old vestry, in Poe’s Tooth Books.

Inexorably the family, the tooth, the crow, the church and their story will draw to a terrifying climax.

From the TBR Shelves

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Needful Things
Leland Gaunt opens a new shop in Castle Rock called Needful Things. Anyone who enters his store finds the object of his or her lifelong dreams and desires: a prized baseball card, a healing amulet. In addition to a token payment, Gaunt requests that each person perform a little “deed,” usually a seemingly innocent prank played on someone else from town. These practical jokes cascade out of control and soon the entire town is doing battle with itself. Only Sheriff Alan Pangborn suspects that Gaunt is behind the population’s increasingly violent behavior.

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Doll Bones
Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . .

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Dark Satanic Mills
Set in a near-future Britain, Dark Satanic Mills tracks a young girl’s journey from the flooded landmarks of London to the vast, scorched and abandoned hills of the north. Framed for a murder she did not commit, the innocent and beautiful Christie has no other choice but to run for her life. Both a cautionary tale and a rip-roaring road trip, Dark Satanic Mills is altogether an intelligent, captivating and thrilling ride – The Wizard of Oz for a new generation, told in exhilarating shades of light and dark.

 
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Killer Spiders
It is 2005 in Great Britain, and an invasion of venomous spiders has hit the country. Hitchhiking’ in imported food, the spiders are able to thrive in the changing climate. At first, coverage of the attack is overlooked in favour of world events, but soon the spiders begin to take over. They cover everything they come across in gigantic webs and kill everything in sight. Their favourite food? Humans. Immune to insecticides and pesticides, the spiders multiply and take over towns and villages, spreading outwards from the London sewers. Dire consequences ensue for many residents of Great Britain as they fight to keep the killer spider epidemic under control…

Ghostly Guest Posts /Features

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I have some great features and guest posts lined up – here is but a taster (in other words the ones I can remember off the top of my head/the ones that are finished and ready to go).

Necro-nom-nom-icon: Cookbook of the Dead by Braineater Jones

Ever wondered how to feed your pet zombie? Braineater Jones himself stops by to give us some tips on how to keep the undead happy.#Cheerstobraineaterjones

Revisiting Point Horror

I take a look at some of my favourite Point Horror books and see how reading them today compares.

When the 90’s Come Back to Haunt You

Kimberly G. Giarratano, author of Grunge, Gods, and Graveyards takes us back to the 90’s with a haunting Halloween playlist.

You’ve Been Here Before

Think horror, and you can’t help but think of Stephen King. I have a gander at some of the most King-esque non-King things there is. Try saying that when you’re drunk.

Forgotten Fangers

You might have missed these Vampire Movies. Shame on you!

Friday Feature: Ghostly Guest Posts & Slimy Submissions Wanted!

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Brush the cobwebs off your costumes, because Horror October is fast approaching!

After the success of last year’s horror-themed month I’ve already started planning to make this year’s bigger and better. There will be reviews, features, guest posts, and all the blood you can stomach.

If you’d like to get involved, (anything goes – well, almost anything!) leave a comment or email me on:

lipsyylostnfound[at]gmail[dot]com.