Scary stories for the modern reader

Through Milan Perera, Artistic writer

Horror, fantasy and supernatural tales have been the cornerstones of storytelling for generations. The following list proves that, even in the 21st century, the horror genre is bursting with new possibilities and is alive and well.

Horowitz horror -Anthony Horowitz

The creative genius behind Foyle’s war and Alex Cavalier refuses to be cataloged. Its huge repertoire covers genres ranging from historical fiction (Robin from Sherwood with Richard Carpenter) to the semi-fictional dramas of the world war. This collection of ghost stories could best be described as ghost stories for the Harry potter fandom. Although the target audience is young adults (due to the omission of gratuitous sex and graphic violence), the collection can still be enjoyed by readers of all ages. This compilation of nine short stories, each consisting of approximately 20 pages, makes your heart beat faster as you navigate scenes of malicious ghouls and their chaos. From the first volume, for example, Killer camera is a dark and ominous tale of a ghostly spirit trapped in a camera, causing the destruction of any object or person it captures! The rest is just as pleasant.

Procession of the dead by DB Shan

Procession of the deadDarren O’Shaughnessy author (also known as DB Shan) has had runaway success with the children’s series The saga of Darren Shan and The Demonata. He Now turns its attention to adult fiction with this promising start. In this curtain-raiser from a three-volume series, the action takes place in an unnamed town, simply called The Town. Considering the scathing one-star reviews from Goodreads, I had very little faith in this book when purchasing. The premise, however, certainly doesn’t disappoint. Like a novel that recalls both The Sopranos and Philip Pullman, it breaks the horror mold. The young protagonist Capac Raimi dreams of becoming a big gangster. Equipped with confidence, intelligence and eagerness, Capac Raimi embarks on a journey to materialize his dream, until he crosses the path of Cardinal, the gift of the underworld. Cardinal is no ordinary mob boss, but a strange mix of eccentric ignorant and vengeful god. The plot is well constructed and the script advances at a rapid pace; a pleasant and quick reading.

Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovich

Set in today’s London, the story begins with the discovery of a decapitated body, bringing DC protagonist Peter Grant to the scene. Its main witness, without spoiling anything, is ghostly to say the least. A worthy successor to Angela Carter Bloody room, Aarovitich changes the pace by incorporating genre aspects of magical realism and weaving the geography and the belly of London beautifully into the narrative. The first third of the book is a fast-paced marathon of action, but your persistence will pay off when you fully immerse yourself in Aaronovich’s carefully crafted and well-put together storytelling. The magical, haunting, and mysterious elements of the novel create a tour de force of a fantasy thriller with a satisfying ending. There are seven more books in the series with a ninth in the works!

Dead boys by Gabriel Squailia

While she might not be a household name, Gabriel Squailia is a writer with an extraordinary imagination as well as a transgender activist who highlights the lack of trans visibility in the fantasy / horror genre. The premise of the fiction is fresh and daring. Sometimes he borders on the idioms of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman but lists his own cosmology without any trace of plagiarism. Its ‘Land of the Dead’ is intended for all those who manage to live eternity. Death is no joke, but the author engages in a wickedly funny talk about death and life afterwards. A blend of philosophy and intellectual reflections, the story revolves around a deceased taxidermist who is in search of the living man who seems to have cheated death.

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Have you read any scary fiction this season so far?

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