What’s the scariest book you’ve ever read?

Day 19 of the 40 day book challenge is ‘a book that scared me’.

As you know, I’m a big wuss and I generally don’t read scary books. But I wasn’t so sensible in the past. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris really scared me – I remember trying to read it with my eyes shut. (It didn’t work.)

I had to read a Stephen King book at uni – Desperation – and it totally gave me the heebie geebies. I read Misery voluntarily and although I thought it was brilliant, it still scared me (I should read it now that I’m an author, but it might tip me over the edge! I have had the odd message saying “I’m your biggest fan” and while that’s absolutely lovely, of course, I still hear it in Annie Wilkes’s voice.). There’s another Stephen King book, Insomnia, which I thought was brilliant but terrifying.

I think Stephen King is a great writer and a brilliant storyteller which is why every now and then I scare myself with one of his books. I have tried a couple of his non-horror books but haven’t enjoyed them – if enjoyed is the right word – quite as much.

I’m sure there are lots more I’ve missed – I’m thinking I’ve surely read some ghost stories, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

What about you?

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7 thoughts on “What’s the scariest book you’ve ever read?

  1. I am a wuss with scary books and TV or films. I avoid anything with ghosts. The last scary book I read was actually by accident. I bought it for my dad as a present and as we sometimes like the same crime/thriller (but not too scary) books I read the first few pages to see if I would want to borrow it and it gave me nightmares it was so terrifying. It’s called Scream by Nigel McCrery who created Silent Witness and involved a serial killer torturing people to hear them scream. I didn’t read the description on the back first and the first pages were so awful I had to read the end to make sure he was caught. Phil was away and I did not want to go to bed or turn out the light or get out of bed once I was in it. It took me weeks to get over it!

    1. God, that sounds horrible. There’s no way I would have kept reading. I read The Mermaid’s Singing by Val McDermid YEARS ago, but one scene still pops into my head every now and then and makes me shudder.

  2. I’m not a big fan of scary books but I did read The Secret of Crickley Hall by James Herbert and that spooked me out!!! Tend to read more crime lately – Jeffrey Deaver, James Patterson, Lynda La Plante etc 🙂

  3. I have read a few scary books in the past, including a freaky one about a cat with it’s head chopped off!! These days I avoid any crime or horror books. I am sure I am missing out on some great books but I prefer to be able to sleep at night!!

  4. You should try The Shining because a) it’s about a writer too and b) Joey Tribianni keeps it in the freezer. But the book that scared (scarred) me the most was When the Wind Blows.

    1. I think I’m done with Stephen King books. I’ve seen The Shining film though. (*shudder*) And I’m way too scarred from the whole Protect & Survive business to even think about When the Wind Blows.

  5. I read Pet Semetery (the book is spelt with an ‘s’, isn’t it?) when I was 14 and I was scared into some delightful frenzy (I loved scaring myself half to death – and if a book didn’t it wasn’t good enough).

    Nowadays, I don’t read many scary books……..

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