American Horror Story: Hotel premieres tonight, and I. cannot. even. deal. Sure, I may watch the show from behind my fingers, my heart racing a mile a minute, and maybe there’s been a time or two when I’ve actually screamed aloud because I’am so spooked. But two seconds later I’m laughing, and that’s what I love about American Horror Story: its amazing blend of macabre humor, great storytelling, and legitimately terrifying spookiness. It makes you shudder, but it’s a delicious shudder. And if you, like me, are addicted to AHS, check out these books in time for the new season. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Soul Mates, by John R. Little
Savannah and Alannah are identical twins who’ve lived a rough life. So rough, in fact, that they move all the way across the country in an effort to start over—but they just can’t shake the persistent presence of a dead boy. Meanwhile, Jeremiah, a magician with a tragic past, is struggling to deal with the guilt and anguish he still suffers. A meeting between the twins and Jeremiah is inevitable, and it won’t be a happy one.
The Fifth House of the Heart, by Ben Tripp
Be warned, Tripp DOES NOT shy away from gore. But his use of it is realistic to the places and times he writes about, and the carnage is tempered by his masterful exploration of human dramas. Plot-wise, The Fifth House of the Heart is a radical departure from his previous novels, taking readers on a journey into the heart of vampire horror. Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang is an antiques dealer, wildly successful and known for his ability to procure priceless objects. But Sax’s accomplishments are based on a dark secret: he steals his treasures from vampires. Unfortantely for Sax, his past is about to catch up with him and those he loves the most. A creature unlike any he’s ever faced is hunting him, and it won’t stop until he’s paid for his sins.
The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, by Stephen King
This anthology collects some of King’s greatest short stories and several newly penned tales. Trust me, these short stories are good, like, AHS good. Stephen King is literally the master of horror, able to infuse his macabre stories with the insidious darkness that can lurk in the human psyche. My personal favorite is “Obits,” a tale of what happens when a newspaper columnist learns he has the ability to kill any person by writing their obituary. As a special bonus, each story is accompanied by King’s in-depth commentary on the inspiration behind it.
Rolling in the Deep, by Mira Grant, Julie Dillon
This tightly written tale of horror is about what happens when a science fiction channel sends a crew out to film a documentary (I use that word very loosely) about a possibly fake, definitely haunted ship, the Atargatis. The crew discovers mermaids are real, but not necessarily the beautiful, ethereal—these mermaids have teeth, and they aren’t particularly friendly.
The Other Child, by Joanne Fluke
Crumbling Victorian mansion? Check. Whispers of hauntings and things that go bump in the night? Check. Naïve family convinced it’s all superstitious hogwash? Check. The Other Child has many elements of your typical story about poor schmucks who move into a creepy new home and accidentally unleash a terrifying evil. Lucky for you, that’s where the comparisons stop. Karen and Mike buy an old Victorian mansion despite the rumors, and their daughter is the first to realize they’re sharing their new home with something that goes bump in the night. But this spirit isn’t just malignant, its seductive—by turns terrifying and compelling, adding a psychological edge to the story. Fluke has a good eye for detail, building suspense slowly, keeping you on the edge of your seat the entire book.