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Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

October 14, 2015

It’s Under My Bed - Horror and Halloween

by Alison DeLuca

I love this time of year for many reasons: the beautiful weather, leaf piles, warm coffee, candy corn… Most importantly, the advent of Halloween gives me an excuse to satisfy my desire for horror.

When it comes to scary movies, I’m the biggest wimp there is. Here I am at a ‘certain age’ and still hiding behind my hands when it comes to the ghouls and blood. I have yet to watch Sixth Sense and see the room tent scene with Vomit Girl. Because you know what? I’m hiding behind the couch pillow, that’s what. Pathetic.

It’s easier with books, although I read Salem’s Lot (scariest book ever) while house-sitting for a professor. She lived in a revolutionary farmhouse wayyyyy out in the country. There were no streetlights to be seen, just me and the dog and the vampires. Of course I should have stopped reading at sundown, but Salem’s Lot is also a really good book. I read the last page at 3 am and waited for dawn with the lights on, thank you very much. But at least the experience didn’t come with a little kid singing lullabies in some creepy soundtrack or a boyfriend who thought he was funny as he grabbed my ankle in the dark.

Over the years I’ve read the rest of King’s books with a great deal of pleasure. The characters like Carrie, Mrs. Torrance and Tom Cullen grabbed me like hands appearing out of a cemetery at midnight. Perhaps my favorites (besides The Stand) were 11/22/63 and Under The Dome (so much more than the TV show.)

In fact, I just can’t get enough – it’s difficult to wait in between King releases. So when I discovered Joe Hill, I was thrilled.

Spoiler alert – Joe Hill has a very famous dad. Do you see where I’m going with this?

When I read Heart-Shaped Box, I rediscovered that creeping fear and addictive storyline. Judas Coyne, the aging rock god and his goth girlfriend, Georgia, are surprisingly relatable. What happens to them when Judas buys a ghost on eBay, or at least a haunted suit, is terrifying.

Granted, the ending is not as wonderful as the rest of the book, but we all know that’s a failing of the King family… Yeah. Joe Hill is actually Stephen King’s son – a fact I did not know until I finished Heart-Shaped Box.

He also wrote Horns, on my TBR list ever since I saw the movie with Daniel Radcliffe. But for this October I’m reading N0S4A2, another horror story with a definite Stephen King vibe.

And I have to stop here and apologize for comparing Hill to his famous dad. However, it’s just so great to get a new serving of fantastic characters and kick-ass action, plus amazing concepts.

In N0S4A2, Victoria McQueen can ride her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike over a covered bridge to a place where missing objects lie. The power gives her migraines, but she can’t stop until she follows Charles Turner Manx to Christmasland, a place where he kidnaps children.

Victoria is a great character, well able to hold her place next to King’s famous adolescent boys: Gordon LaChance of The Body, Danny Torrance of The Shining, and Ben Mears of Salem’s Lot. Victoria’s desperation and dreadful childhood drew me in immediately. Obviously Hill has discovered King’s formula to “Make the readers love the characters, and then release the monsters.”

Oh, and the Kindle edition is only 1.99, so there's that.

If you are a Stephen King fan and searching for more books, I recommend the books by Joe Hill. I plan to read my way through his catalogue, 20th Century Ghosts and Horns included.

It’s going to be a good Halloween.

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