August 12 - Fear-inducing

This is the place to report on two fear-inducing books of your choice.

Please format your annotations like this:

Your Name
1 —
Author's name. Title of book. Year of publication. Number of pages.

Plot Summary: approx. 3-line plot summary.

Appeals: pacing, characterization, story line, frame
2 —
Author's name. Title of book. Year of publication. Number of pages.

Plot Summary: approx. 3-line plot summary.

Appeals: pacing, characterization, story line, frame

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Mary Menzel
1 —
Brian Keene. The Rising 2004, 321 pp.

"The dead scrabbled for an entrance to his grave. His wife was among them, as ravenous for Jim in death as she'd been in life…" And we're off and running, as our hero embarks on a cross-country trip to save his son from a plague of intelligent zombies.

Appeals: lots of suspense and jolts, for the lover of traditional zombie stories but with a few new twists (these zombies can speak); hero is not particularly complex but sufficiently sympathetic to keep you reading.

2 —
Orson Scott Card. Lost Boys 1992, 448 pp.

A married couple, struggling with tight finances, a growing family and an unpleasant job relocation, realize that their eight-year-old son has conjured up a posse of imaginary friends. They are horrified to learn that the friends' names match the names of several children who have disappeared over the last year, possibly the victims of a serial killer.

Appeals: endearing characters; "small town horror" with no gore; interesting background of family's Mormon beliefs which may put off some anti-religion readers; very leisurely pace (too leisurely for some, at 448 pages, so the basic plot can be read in a short story, also entitled "Lost Boys," published 1989).

Cathy McGowan
1 —
King, Stephen. The Stand. 1978. 823 pages.

Plot Summary: Those who are left after most of the world's population has died from a contagious illness begin to have dreams that draw them to one of two locations, with Randall Flagg, the walking man, or with Mother Abigail. The decision they make and stand they take will effect all their lives.

Appeals: very suspenseful and a page-turner, even at 823 pages, though you'll obviously have to put it down, well-developed characters you come to care about or fear in a situation that seems eerily possible. Good vs. Evil in a big way with religious overtones.

2 —
Schlosser. Fast Food Nation.2001 . 270 of pages.

Plot Summary: This history and expose of the fast food industry makes you fearful both for our economy and our health. It traces the beginnings of mega food businesses to the power the wield today, and how our culture has been effected by as well as contributing to their development.

Appeals: very well researched, companies we all know are the subject, personal stories from those who raise our food, process our food, and food business executives, facts about the laws that protect us (or don't)

Michael Habata
1 —
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Wolf, Leonard, editor.The Essential Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde: The Definitive Annotated Edition of Robert Louis Stevenson's Classic Novel. 1995. 297 pages.


Plot Summary: In 19th Century London, lawyer Utterson fears for the health and reputation of his longtime friend Dr. Henry Jekyll, especially regarding his association with a disreputable associate, Edward Hyde. Jekyll has secretly been involved with unorthodox medical experiments to separate the good and evil aspects of human personality into separate personas.

Appeals: Although written in the 1880s, the story has a modern feel, with complex characterization, psychological insight, and aspects of detective fiction. The plot is fast-paced until the last chapter, which is Jekyll’s narrative of his transformation into Hyde. The horror of the story comes from Jekyll’s desire to distance himself from his baser impulses, and yet allowing himself to indulge in them: anger, destructiveness, sensuality, power over others.

2 —
Gore, Al. An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It. 2006. 327 pages.
Plot Summary: Former Vice President Al Gore presents evidence through photographs, charts and graphs, on how the earth is being adversely affected by human behavior. In essays, he speaks about the human bond with nature and the ecosystem. He urges readers to take global warming as a serious threat, and gives examples of how to change one’s everyday lifestyle.

Appeals: Gore effectively uses before-and-after photographs and statistical charts to instill fear in readers about changes in the environment and health of the planet. The language is straightforward, without complex scientific terminology, aimed at about a seventh- or eighth-grade understanding.

Glenda Gamboa
1 —
Hamilton, Laurell K. Guilty Pleasures. 1993. 266 pages.

Plot Summary: Anita Blake is an Animator who raises the dead and as a sideline, she is a vampire slayer. The last thing she wants to do is to help the vampire queen of St. Louis figure out who or what is murdering master vampires, but in order to save her friend's life as well as her own, she must complete the task.

Appeals: This is a gritty novel told in first-person. Anita Blake is a strong female character. It is fast-paced and packed with interesting primary and secondary characters, both human and supernatural. There is just enough blood and fear to satisfy readers with bloodlust.

2 —
Moore, Christopher. Blood Sucking Fiends. 1995 . 300 of pages.

Plot Summary: Jody is like any other single female in San Francisco, looking for love in all the wrong places, until she is attacked one night and two days later she awakens and discovers she is a vampire. She dumps her current boyfriend and lucks out in finding another one, Tommy, who is more sympathetic. She and Tommy are being threatened by the vampire who turned her, we follow their search for the answers to why she was turned and why they are being framed for murder.

Appeals: The story is humorous and filled with quirky characters. This would appeal to readers of cozy horror.

Elizabeth Guth
1 —
Langan, Sarah. The Missing. 2007. 400 pages.

Plot Summary: When 4th grade teacher Lois Larkin takes her class on a fieldtrip to the abandoned woods near Corpus Christi, Maine one of her students unleashes a malevolent virus. The virus spreads quickly and soon almost everyone in the town is either infected, or hunted.
Appeals: Surprisingly complex characters, small town, virus – medical and supernatural, third person point of view from numerous townspeople – though focus on one family, fast paced, moderate gore

2 —
Sebold, Alice. The Lovely Bones. 2002. 328 pages.

Plot Summary: After fourteen-year-old Susie Salmon is raped and murdered by her neighbor, her soul spends the next ten years watching her family struggle with the pain her death caused.
Appeals: Complex appealing characters, ultimately uplifting ending, deliberately paced – after the first murder scene, coming of age story, small town 1970s, first person narration

Marita Klements
1 —
Jeff Long. Year Zero. 2002. 498.

A collector of ancient Christian relics, seeking the blood of Christ, accidentally unleashes a plague that devastates humanity worldwide. As Nathan Lee Swift fights his way across the globe trying to save the daughter he barely knows, Miranda Abbot, the child prodigy of the scientific community, clones men who were crucified in the first century A.D. in her search for an antidote. Will Nathan Lee find his family? Will Miranda find a cure? Will humanity find its savior?

Appeals: fast paced adventure, elements of survival drama, and romance. Christian readers may be put off by the book's ambivalent take on religion.
2 —
Steven King. Carrie. 1974. 199.

Carrie, a socially awkward girl raised by a fanatically religious mother, is tormented by her classmates in a small town high school. As the drama and pettiness of teenage life unfolds around her Carrie warped and vengeful mind unveils a powerful and terrible gift.

Appeals: simple and relatable teenage characters, suspenseful twisting plot, small town settings.

Oleg Kagan
1 —
Various. Edited by John Betancourt and Sean Wallance Horror: Best of the Year, 2006 Edition. 2006. 310 pages.

Plot Summary: Collection of 17 stories covering a range of themes from the aftermath of 9/11 to student-teacher relationships.

Appeals: As Del said, reading short stories is nice because at 20-25 pages it's the perfect length to develop a setting, a few characters and play out an effective plot. The stories in this collection are not slashers, in fact, some of them don't even have violence - most of them, however do have characters I wouldn't want to spend much time with; druggies, crazies, evil boyfriends etc. There are some disgusting scenes, but most of the horror in this anthology takes place under the surface.

2 —
Fialkov, Joshua Hale and Tuazon, Noel and Keating, Scott A. elk's run. 2007. 215 pages.

Plot Summary: Elk's Ridge is a secluded small town utopia created by a group of Vietnam veterans. Everything is hunky-dory until a teenager is killed, mob justice is delivered, and a few teenagers become determined to escape.

Appeals: graphic novel, thrilling, suspense, fast-moving, violent, small town, possible allegory for growing up, in color, combines comic book action with graphic novel plot.

Sheila Purcell
1 —
Finney, Jack. Invasion of the Body Snatchers. 1998. 216 pages.

Plot Summary: Alien pods are growing in a small town in California. When the locals are asleep they are killed and replaced by duplicates that spawn from these pods.

Appeals: action and dialogue heavy make it a fast-paced read despite first person narration, timeless, open-ended
2 —
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 2003. 139 pages.

Plot Summary: A virtuous man decides to explore his dark side and creates a split personality that overpowers him.

Appeals: Victorian setting and style, gothic atmosphere, good versus evil, elements of detective story, tormented main character, psychological

Sarah Clark
,,1 —
Straub, Peter. Ghost Story. 1979. 483 pages.
Plot Summary: In the small town of Millburn in upstate New York, four older men meet regularly to tell each other scary stories. Haunted by the death of a former group member, by their own stories, and by a secret they thought they had buried in the past, a tale of revenge and horror slowly unfolds.

Appeals: Multiple, intersecting storylines and a large cast of characters. Story slowly unfolds in a mysterious and chilling way. Presence of ghost.
,,2 –
Rice, Anne. Interview with the Vamipire. 1976. 342 pages.
Plot Summary: Plot Summary: A 200-year-old vampire, Louis, tells the story of his life in this retrospective tale. Louis, a rich plantation owner in New Orleans at the end of the 18th Century, becomes fascinated with a bloodthirsty vampire, Lestat, and soon receives the “dark gift” and begins a second life as a vampire.

Appeals: Dark, gothic in tone. Erotic, and sometimes homoerotic. Inner turmoil of protagonist who must battle with his new, bloodthirsty instincts. Slow to unfold and engrossing.

Rachel Longaker
1 —
Ramsey Campbell. Cold Print. 1985. 217 pages.

Plot Summary: A collection of short stories which fall into the Cosmic Paranoia category in Genreflecting these “15 tales of relentless evil incarnate,” were inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s horror tales, according to the preface. In one story, “The Church in High Street,” the first person narrator receives an urgent message from a friend living in a bleak town near London who has mysteriously vanished. In trying to discover what happened to his friend, the hero must resist the power of the evil energy which is pulling him to a strange netherworld below the town’s church.
Appeals: Pacing: Readers are quickly drawn into the stories where normal people and situations quickly become out of whack. The characters seem somewhat generic and take second place to the plot and atmosphere. The frame is suspenseful and the story line is bleak and foreboding.
2 —
Tananarive Due.The Between. 1995. 274 pages.

Plot Summary: A contemporary novel about an African American man, Hilton James, whose grandmother died while saving him from drowning when he was a young boy. He becomes a social worker when he grows up so that he can help others and assuage some of his guilt. Married with two children, Hilton is haunted by recurring dreams and feels like he himself may be a ghost. This feeling intensifies when his wife who is a judge is threatened by a racist stalker and Hilton’s past intertwines with his need to save his family.

Appeals: The novel is engrossing and a quick read. The characters are plausible and well drawn. The story line gives equal weight to the characters’ inner lives and the unfolding plot. The frame is mystical and suspenseful.

Simon Lee
1 —
Brite, Poppy Z. Lost Souls. 1992. 359 pages.

Plot Summary: Nothing — born a half-human, half-vampire — struggles to contain the instinctual inclinations and urges for blood, lust, longing, and belonging. His break from humanity would ultimately test his ability to control the needs of vampirism while maintaining any human conscience left within. In the face of its dark atmosphere, the gore, bloodlust, and erotica, shine.

Appeals: Atypical/untraditional vampires, highly influential cast of interconnected characters, fast-paced story that is multi-character-driven, dark and bloody with explicit sex; extremely homoerotic.
2 —
Levin, Ira. Rosemary's Baby. 1967. 218 pages.

Plot Summary: Rosemary and her husband moves to The Bramsford, a complex haunted with an unsettling history. The couple are not bothered by the building’s past as they settle comfortably into their new home. Everything is seemingly normal until Rosemary begins to piece together the present evil that is linked to the unexplainable past.

Appeals: Well-developed multi-dimensional characters, reader’s are immediately ensnared into an uncomfortable atmosphere, chilling build-up of suspense, psychologically disturbing, deliberately-paced to build to a heart-pounding climax. Horrific and petrifying.

Danica Sheridan
1 —
Harris, Charlaine. Grave Sight. New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 2005. 263 pages.

Plot Summary: Harper, hit by lightening as a kid, has the ability to sense how a person has died. With her brother Tolliver by her side, she travels the country helping the living get closure by connecting them with their dearly departed. It's a job that has its risks - deadbeat clients, seemingly pious denizens calling her Satan - that sort of thing. They make it a point to breeze in and out of town, NEVER getting wrapped up in their cases or with those who have hired her. But, something in Sarne is different. Something in Sarne just won't allow them to leave.

Appeals: Detective story, strong female protagonist, romance, speaking-with-the-dead, many quirky small-town characters. Light, quick read.

2 —
Straub, Peter. In the Night Room. New York: Random House, 2004. 330 pages.

Plot Summary: A woman's life is not what it seems. A man is visited by very real or imagined creatures who torment his every waking hour. Two authors living within each other's plots, eventually meet and share a bond like no other.

Appeals: Spooky, ghosts and other undead creatures, crime underworld, urban setting, complex plot with many veins to follow.

1 —
Nigel Bennett & P.N. Elrod. Keeper of the King. 1997. 400 pages.

Plot Summary: By day, Richard Dunn is a counter-terrorist agent; by night, he's a vampire. But not just any vampire, since he started off life as King Arthur's righthand-man, Lancelot du Lac — a man of honor who would never suck another person's blood. Imagine his horror, then, when he's suddenly overwhelmed by a desire to drink human blood!

Appeals: Unusual portrayal of Sir Lancelot. Fast pace. Lots of ghoulish monsters. Minor romance with Sabra, Dunn's long-time lover who made him into a vampire all these many years ago.

2 —
Angela Knight. Master of Swords. 2006. 305 pages.

Plot Summary: Ever wonder why King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table are immortal? It's because they're vampires! But because they are who they are, they do not drink human blood; instead they drink the blood of their significant others, who have supernatural powers of their own. This volume — 4th in the "Mageworld series" — focuses on Gawain, the famous lady's man, and how he loses his heart to Lark, a witch who also happens to be Sir Tristan's granddaughter.

Appeals: Fast-paced. Fantastical with lots of horrible monsters that do horrible things to unsuspecting humans. Highly romantic with several scintillating sex scenes.

Kim Tocco
1 —
Dean Koontz. Shattered. 1973. 289 pages.

Plot Summary: A jealous killer stalks his ex-girlfriend's fiance and her brother as they drive across the country on the deserted open highway .

Appeals: Fast pacing, likable characters.
2 —
Bernard Taylor. The Godsend. 1976. 184 pages.

Plot Summary: An empathetic, warm family takes in a homeless pregnant girl who delivers her child, then leaves, coldly abandoning the baby. The girl is adopted by them, but their seeming "godsend" is not what she seems. Horror soon grips their world as events unfold; scariest story I've ever read.

Appeals: Fast pacing, believable characters, fascinating story line, extremely suspenseful.

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