If given a choice of a romantic, adventure, historic, or horror reading genre I will always choose horror, with hopes that a dash of the others are mixed in. Bring on the rancid smells and spilling guts – as long as it’s the villainous creature’s and not the hero’s.
A favorite horror book of mine is The Monstrumologist (Book one) by Rick Yancey. In it we meet young Will Henry who has a curious job – apprentice to the Monstrumologist. AKA Pellinore Warthrop, this19th century scientist studies and hunts monsters and has 100% job satisfaction.
Anthropophagi are carnivorous breeding creatures recently discovered in Will’s hometown. Food of choice for these creepy thugs: humans. The Monstumologist’s challenge is to hunt these animals and protect the community from their brutal killing rampages.
Read a couple of horror novels, see a few monster movies, and it’s instinct to look over your shoulder as you run up the basement stairs. 12-year-old Will practices this same ritual. Only he has a real cause for his fear. In his basement hangs a once living, now dead Anthropophagus.
The weathered boards creaked and groaned beneath my trembling tread; the hairs on the back of my neck stood up; and my calves felt numb and tingly as imagination overcame cool intellect. With each step my heart beat faster, for in my mind’s eye I saw it beneath the stairs, crouching on all fours upon the sweating stone floor, a headless beast with blank black eyes set deep in its shoulders and a mouth overflowing with row upon row of glistening teeth, the lion in the savanna brush, the shark in the reef shadows, and I the grazing gazelle, the juvenile seal frolicking in the surf. It would rise as I descended. It would reach through the open slats and seize my ankle with its three-inch barbs. Once in its relenting grip I was doomed, doomed….
This Printz Honor Book explodes with good writing, a tight plot, and has gore galore. No, no, you squeamish people won’t enjoy it so read no further. Many humans are attacked and Yancey holds nothing back: disembowelment, brain and flesh eating, limb ripping, maggots. Oh and my favorite: (it’s the nurse in me) worm infestation complete with pus-filled carbuncles.
You’ve been warned…this is scary Walking Deadlike gothic gore with disturbing carnage. And I wouldn’t advice reading it late at night or alone in the dark, lest you see things in the darkness that aren’t really there.
Please, do share your favorite horror books in the comments.