Monday 30 September 2013

RIP update: Two excellent haunted house novels, and one determined WW2 ghost


  I have been very bad at doing reviews this year, and as part of my motto to start being a good blogger again, I'm starting today with catching up with what I've been reading for RIP:  Awesome haunted house and ghost stories. Ghost stories of all kinds,  all of which want one thing: to possess the teller of the tale.  *shiver*  It's been wonderful reading so far.  So, for your reading contemplation, are the reviews of Hell House, The Shining, The Greatcoat,  all read in September. 

I've also devised a chill meter, to help me rate the scariness of what I'm reading.  Hair rising on my arms, jumping at noises while I read, and seeing shadows out of the corner of my eyes, and most of all, not being able to read it while I am alone in the house.  All these factor in to my chill-o-meter.

  Hell House is one of Richard Matheson's unsung masterpieces.  Unsung because unless you read horror, you won't have heard of this book.  And yet it is as good as The Shining, or The Haunting of Hill House, though in a different way.  And it's a shame it's not better known, because Hell House is as frightening a ghost story as any book you will read.  I have seen the movie made from Hell House, Legend of Hell House, and it is equally as frightening, though some of the interior characterizations are missing, of course.  I find that reading about atmosphere and ghostly settings is as frightening to me, as seeing it visually.  It is very difficult to create a ghost movie that is realistic and effective on everyone, which is interesting when  you are trying to show a good friend what frightens you, and half way through, they say, "Is anything going to happen?  Because this is kind of boring."  Real story, it happened to me once!  So, I know that even if I find Hell House and The Shining deeply frightening, it won't be for everyone.  If you like ghosts, if you like evil ghosts who want to possess the character just because they can, if you like hauntings where there really is hauntings and it's not just in people's minds, then both Hell House and The Shining are for you.

Ok, to Hell House itself.  The Belasco mansion is a house built in 1919 in Maine, by a wealthy millionaire who early on showed a habit of being able to bend people to his will.  It was built in a remote location in Maine, near a village as the only means of human habitation, tucked away in the wilderness. At the mansion, parties and soirees and long holiday stays were held, and as the years wore on, people came and stayed.  What went on in the mansion was never spoken about publicly, as Belasco, the owner, ensured the silence of anyone who attended.  Many people never left.  What went on?   Belasco set about creating a private world where people could do what they wanted to, with no repercussions.  It's chilling to think about, and Matheson uses this fear of what people would do if they could, to great effect in Hell House.  After Belasco's death, the house sits in silence, until a psychic investigator brings a group in to investigate.  Rumours have abounded about hauntings and smells and noises, and deaths, and excesses in the parties - unexplained deaths, suggestions of murders, orgies, human decadence and degradation. Slowly it gets the name of Hell House, as the supreme haunted house. 

    Out of the original 9 people psychic party  members in 1940, only one survivor:  Benjamin Fischer.  And as the novel Hell House opens, another group of psychic investigators is going in, twenty years later. Ben Fischer is one of them.  Even he isn't sure why he is returning, since he barely made it out alive the first time.  As the novel progresses, though, he realizes that he has to act, he has to do something to stop it all, to save who he can.  Miss Tanner, who runs a spiritualist church and is a recognized eco-plasm medium, is the other.  She senses things, feels things, and does seances.   Dr and Mrs Barrett round out the four people.  Dr Barrett wants to prove that psychic phenomena doesn't  mean that ghosts exist, that there is a rational explanation for everything. He does not believe in ghosts.  He is the person running the investigation, and has all the latest psychic equipment for measuring phenomena that exists. Mrs Barrett doesn't want to leave her husband alone, although the truth is, she doesn't do well on her own without him.  And one September day they arrive for a one week stay at Belasco House.  Only two will make it out alive.

     Hell House is  about a house that is haunted, and about the exploration of possession and evil and how little defenses there are against such things.  Richard Matheson has created a novel that is disturbing and frightening - but not in a bad way, we don't see the debasement and debauchery that went on in the house, we only hear about it when the characters talk about the history. Only one scene really is graphic from the earlier time period when the house re-enacts some of what happened in it.  There is some Christianity religion involved, which would have made this book racy in the way The Excorcist was, and The Omen, back when they came out in the 1970's. Hell House was written in 1971, so it is similar in tone to them, where religious symbols being debased is shocking and part of the horror.  It is still sickening to read about now, though I find the shock value is gone in the time between the 1970's and now.   The malevolence of the spirits is terrifying. And yet, this isn't a novel where everyone dies, there is a resolution to it, and a satisfying one.  It is a very good horror novel, and an excellent novel about hauntings and how dangerous they are.   It has more than enough spookiness and atmosphere for me.  It's one I can't read (or watch) by myself at all.  4.5/5  chills.  Highly recommended

The idea of a house like this existing lingers on, afterward for me.  Could it happen?  And would you be able to go into one and withstand it, if it did exist?

The Shining  - Stephen King.  The Shining is one of my all-time favourite books.  I love this story with a passion,  of little Danny Torrance and the horrors he endures at Overlook Hotel.  I just finished re-reading it last week, and I was surprised by a few things:  just how good a novel this is:  the characters are fabulous and the exploration of the marriage between Jack and Wendy is perfect; the horrors that Danny goes through are completely believable and chilling each and every time I read them, and

I have found that I have forgotten some of the novel, so when I read the scene of Danny in the cement tube, I swear I got goosebumps as he tries to dig himself out and something is crawling after him to grab him.  Just writing about it makes me chilled!  I'd forgotten about the basement, and I'd forgotten about how much of the hedges are scary.  I did also forget that the two little girls from the Jack Nicholson movie, are not in the book.  That movie scared the living daylights out of me,specifically the two little girls appearing at the top of the stairs - for years and years I had to turn the lights on to go up staircases.  When I got to the end of the book, I thought, the girls! where are they?  and then realized - they aren't needed, they were never part of the book. It surprised me, but didn't lessen how much I enjoyed The Shining. I had completely forgotten the last scene in the shed, and was horrified at what almost happened there.  There is as much evil haunting in The Shining as there is in Hell House, and even some of the partying/murders/people behaving terribly in the hotel as in the house.  But for me, even though I like Hell House very much, I love The Shining.  The characters in Hell House aren't quite as well rounded as in The Shining.  I don't like Jack Torrance very much, but I understand him so well.  This is Stephen King's great gift, that he can create such real characters.  They are people we know, who live next door, get on the bus with us, go grocery shopping, and have hopes and fears like we do.  Wendy Torrance is a much better character than she is in the movie.  She is much smarter (than in the movie), and we see how her family relationships shaped her for a man like Jack Torrance and why she would stay with him.  It's brilliant psychology, and makes what happens to this family so vividly real.  At the heart of The Shining is Danny Torrance, the 5 year old boy who shines like no one else.  The Shining is the gift to perceive things as they are, to psychically be aware of what has gone on before, and to come.  The second sight, precognition.  And Danny Torrance has it in spades.  In the hands of a lesser author, Danny would never be as realistically drawn.  It is difficult to write about children without making them precocious or unreal.  Indeed, in The Shining one of the doctors Jack and Wendy take Danny to, says that he is very bright, advanced for his years in his reading and verbal skills.  We do see him teaching himself to read, because his father is a writer and teacher, and Danny gets rewards as he learns to read more. It's things like this that make the book real.  This is what we would do with a precocious child who is anxious to make his father proud of him. What they don't know is that Danny wants also to be able to read a sign he keeps seeing in his visions: redrum.  He is trying to find a way to stop what is going to happen, although he can't because it's him the hotel wants, his shining gift that makes the hotel become stronger.  And he is 5, and so is still at the mercy of everything around him, including his parents' dysfunction and weaknesses.  So what shouldn't work, a 5 year old hero at the heart of a ghost story, works wonderfully well here. Danny is so brave, and doesn't know how to stop what is happening to his father.  That is some of the horror at work here, this wonderfully drawn little family, and the helplessness with which they watch one fall to his ruin, and cannot do a thing to stop it because he can't, or won't, do it himself.

 Wendy knows that Danny knows things, though it is only at The Overlook Hotel that she realizes how much he can see what is going to happen.  They work on each other, Danny and the hotel, and this is a fascinating idea, that a person with a psychic gift can influence a site to become stronger in its' hauntings or presence or influence. 

Fabulous horror book, good haunting scenes, eerie moments, frightening ghosts - one of the best ghost stories, ever.  Chills abound, 5/5 

Other reviews of The Shining:
Kelly at The Well-Read Redhead
The Book Smugglers
Wendy at Musings of a Literary Feline

 The Greatcoat - Helen Dunmore.    Set in 1952 Yorkshire, The Greatcoat is about a young woman,  Isabel Carey, who has just started out on married life as the wife of a young doctor.  She finds a RAF great coat in the wardrobe and draws it around her because she can't get warm in the cold flat she and her husband are renting. Isabel is not self-assured,  due to many losses from the war in her own life, and it is this lack of foundation in herself that leaves her open to being worked on by the wishes of others.  She becomes haunted by a young pilot, from the Second World War.  Who is he?  And who is it that he thinks she is?  This is not a simple little ghost story, it is a disturbing, thoughtful and eerie one.  Why does no one see Isabel when she sets out to the  airfield out of town with the pilot?  Why does he know her as someone else?  Whose memories are she getting?  When near the end, she faces a choice: to be herself, or let someone take her over, is the haunting truly over when she makes her choice? Can it be?  Or does after one feels the imprint of another time and another person's memories, do they truly go away?  Is Isabel  more vulnerable because she feels as if she is on the outside looking in, as she says, not feeling real in her own life? 

It is also a lovely ghost story, filled with little moments of Isabel learning about herself and who she wants to be, and her husband's view of her and their life together, and some of the memories of the ghost haunting her.  But it's not that simple, and it becomes dangerous to Isabel at the end.  I liked the setting of Yorkshire, and the empty abandoned airfields, with all the losses of the war still hanging over everyone as they try to move on.  What happens to those who didn't come back, who were cut short at age 18, 20, 22?  Where do everyone's desires go?  When you are young and vulnerable, and someone really really wants something, what happens?  There is a lot going on in this slender novel, and it is very enjoyable read.  I really liked it. This is not a scary story, there are no real chills or jumps, but it is eerie, and disturbing.  Ghosts aren't supposed to be comfortable to be around, they are of a time and place - a person - no longer here. I liked how the haunting was done, and why.  Although I wasn't sure if I would like Isabel, I did end up caring about her in the end.  I'm pretty sure I will carry the last image around with me for a while to come.  It's a very good ghost story, and highly recommended.  4/5 chills

Other reviews of The Greatcoat:
Eva at A Striped Armchair
Bride of the Book God

Please let me know if you have reviewed any of these, and I will add them to the post.

Now, for Doctor Sleep! 

Saturday 28 September 2013

new Jane Austen cookbook, and other cookbooks I want

I was just going through my facebook reader, and I discovered this lovely little article in the UK Telegraph, from last week.  "Dinner With Mr Darcy" is the name of a new cookbook coming out in October, featuring recipes from meals or food mentioned in Jane Austen's novels.                                          
The white soup recipe listed in this article is from this book.  It looks like an interesting book, and of course I want it.  Jane Austen recipes, recreated so we can make it!  I would LOVE to do a Georgian tea party one day, wouldn't you?  Look at this recipe for roast pork loin.  Mmm.  I'm getting hungry!

Speaking of cookbooks, another cookbook I have my eye on is this one:  Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, by Anya Von Bremzen.  I was looking at it at the store tonight.

 It combines memoir and Soviet food through the decades of her family life in Russia.  Another book that looks fascinating.

I have long wanted A Cook's Year in a Welsh Farmhouse by Elisabeth Luard. 

It is still in hardcover.  I wish it would come out in softcover, which are easier to open and use in the kitchen.  Cath at Read-Warbler gave this lovely review earlier this summer. A farmhouse out in the country side, eating seasonally, what more could one ask?  Except to be there, of course......

One last cookbook that I have been gazing at longingly in the book stores is this one:  Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews. 

It looks splendid and has so many recipes in it.  Plus a bit of Irish history.  Being part Welsh and Irish, I am interested in exploring more about the foods of my culture and ancestors.     This book is to drool over, literally and figuratively!!

So are there any cookbooks you are wanting to buy, dear reader? 

Monday 23 September 2013

A Reader's A to Z survey


 I came across this meme on three sites tonight:  Ana at Things Mean Alot, Care at Care's Online Book Club, and  Suey at It's All About Books.  The original meme/survey started here, at Jamie the Perpetual Page Turner's blog. So, I'm joining in, for the first time in a long time. This is a fun survey, and it's all about books and reading.

Author I've Read The Most Books From:  Jane Austen (only Mansfield Park and her unfinished novel Lady Susan remain to be read).  Agatha Christie. Arthur Conan Doyle. ( The latter two as a teenager, when I read whatever I could find of those two.  What I read is mostly lost in the mists of time now, so I have to go back and reread them.  They don't tell you that when you are growing up, either! ) L.M. Montgomery.  Currently: Mary Oliver, Phil Rickman, and Charles de Lint. Oh, and Stephen King.  Not everything, but most of his, including his non-fiction.  Connie Willis. Jo Nesbo.
Best Sequel Ever: I am drawing a complete blank here. 
Currently ReadingThe Greatcoat - Helen Dunmore.
Drink of Choice While Reading: tea, or hot chocolate in the evenings.  In my ideal world, I wouldn't have diabetes and I could drink hot chocolate every evening while reading.
E-Reader or Physical Book: Physical book, every time!!  I will eventually get an E-reader, but I will always be afraid that the battery will run out, or I'll lose it. I love the physicality of real books, of their texture, smell, the colours on the covers, the text, the pages.  They are evocative and lodge in the mind, the best books become a part of us.  I love holding them in my hands.
Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Dated in High School: Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables. I'm not sure he would have dated me, but he was my first serious fictional love (Mr Darcy was a long way away), and I adored him from the moment he pulled Anne's braid in class in Anne of Green Gables. Sigh.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:  Fables: Wolves.  My first Fables book, and one of my first graphic novels I tried.  I loved it, and have been reading a few graphic novels every year since.

Hidden Gem Book:  Middlemarch, by George Eliot.  I realized that I could read and even better, enjoy the classics.  I had recovered from studying them for university, and could now enjoy them again as stories.  I was blown away by the depth of characters and the life in the village covered in this novel. 
Important Moment in Your Reading Life:  When I realized that I would rather buy books than anything else. Followed by, realizing that I want to write stories, too, the kind I like to read.

Just Finished:  The Shining, by Stephen King.
Kind of Books I Won't Read:  this is hard, because if I were desperate, trapped in a bookstore or library say, for a long time, I'd eventually read these too.  I'd have to have some kind of fresh food source, so I could eat, and sleep.  Possibly at the end of the world?  Then I would read everything there including these. Since I still read the back of cereal boxes and magazines from cover to cover when I'm desperate, there really isn't much I won't read. So in fiction, I'd say:  Erotica and romance, erotica because I find it boring (I have a vivid imagination anyway for myself), and romance because I read so many as a young teenager - anyone remember Harlequin Romances, and the many lines of Harlequin Presents, etc? with the white covers?  I read those for about 2-3 years, anything I could get my hands on.  I've never recovered my ability to read romances after that, though a few of the characters still come up in my thoughts often.  Kathleen Woodiwiss?  I read everything she wrote, too.
Longest Book I've Read: Middlemarch? Jonathan Strange and Dr Morrel? any of the Wheel of Time books?  Later Stephen King books?

Major Book Hangover Because: ?? occasionally I get burned out because I read so many books over a period of time, and I watch a few movies to give my mind a break.  It doesn't last more than a day or two, and is rare.

Number of Bookcases I own:  13.  One is currently being used as a dvd storage holder, which I count as a bookshelf (it was built to be one) until we find a proper storage place for all the dvds we have.  And I still don't have enough shelves!

One Book I have Read Multiple Times: Persuasion, by Jane Austen. Among my favourite books of all. 
Preferred Place to Read: Currently, at the kitchen table, since it has the best lighting.  Sofa is the second favourite place.  I will be buying a reading chair soon, for the reading corner we are making as part of my 50th birthday year.  Then I will always be found there...
Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All the Feels From a Book You've Read:  Erasmus: "When I get a little money, I buy books. If any money is left, I buy food and clothes.The first time I saw this quote, I felt excited.  I wasn't alone.  Someone else, even long ago, even as famous as Erasmus, loved books as much as I do. 

Reading Regret:  There are so many, many good books to read.  More being published every year.  How can I pick and choose from them, when they all sound interesting and I want to read them all?  My biggest regret is not being able to read all the books I want to read.

Series You Started and Need To Finish (All the books are out in the series):  There are so many, since I read mostly series in both mystery and fantasy.  Currently working on catching up in mysteries: Peter James, Peter Lovesey, Ian Sansom, Stephen Booth, Carol O'Connell, Deon Meyer, Fred Vargas...... fantasy: Songs of Fire and Ice (stuck on book 4), Gail Carrigher Parasol series, Maureen Johnson, Stina Leicht (book one is my fantasy of the year so far), Wheel of Time (some day I will catch up),
Three of Your All-Time Favourite Books:  The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Doomsday Book by Connie Willis.

Unapologetic Fangirl For:  Ian Rankin.  And he's coming to Ottawa in November!!!  I'M SO EXCITED!!  I've missed the last two times he's been here, so this time I'm going.  I've caught up in the John Rebus/Malcolm Fox series, too, except for the new one, Saints of the Shadow Bible, which isn't out until November here.  He will be reading from it.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:  The Magus of Hay by Phil Rickman.  The latest Merrily Watkins is out on Dec 24!!!!  At least according to Amazon.  I have to have this for Christmas.  I love Merrily, the Anglican exorcist reverend, and the Borderlands where she makes her home, and the creepy atmosphere of hauntings and ghosts and evil. 
Worst Bookish Habit:  Taking out too many books from the library, reading 1/10th of them, and not returning them in time.  I run up a debt every year. 
X Marks The Spot: Start at the Top Left of Your Shelf and pick the 27th Book:  Dubliners - James Joyce.  Partially read, of course.

Your Latest Book Purchase:  Police by Jo Nesbo.  I just picked it up on Thursday.
ZZZ-Snatcher Book- Book That Kept You Up WAY Too Late:  The Shining, by Stephen King.  I was up until 2 last night, and almost 3 am the night before.  It was that unputdownable.  I love it.  I once stayed up until close to dawn to read The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice, long ago when I was young and could stay up that late.

Saturday 21 September 2013

An interview with Stephen King, and some thoughts on The Shining

I"m in the middle of reading The Shining today.  It was a lovely dark and rainy day, perfect to catch-up on one of my favourite horror novels.  For some reason I forget how well-written King's novels are - he does description mixed with unsettling overtones very well.  In one of my few times away from the book today, I found this interview with King today over at the Guardian Online.  There are a few plot points given away, but if you are skilled at skimming as I think many of us are (so we don't get to spoil books we haven't read) then the interview is very good. 

Doctor Sleep in 3 days!!!!!  I've already ordered my copy from Amazon, though I did what is a silly thing - Amazon have changed their policy and if you select 'super saver no shipping costs', everything gets sent in one box.  And one of the things I ordered takes a month to come in.  So my plan to read it next weekend might not work out.......I used to be able to select that, and Amazon would send things separately anyway, which I keep hoping will happen.  

 The Shining is as good as ever.  And frightening.  Danny Torrance is one of the best 5 year old heroes in literature, and what he has to endure is horror.   Some of what makes The Shining so frightening for me is that Danny has to endure it alone, and that scares me to think about.  This is what makes the movie The Sixth Sense so scary for me too.  Psychic children who have to deal with terror on their own.  They are figures representing the terrors encountered in childhood, and how to find their way through it, except that The Shining is written for adults.  We are both Danny Torrance, encountering the unknown, and his parents, simultaneously, adults who also encounter the unknown.  And the horror in The Outlook affects adults and children.  So no one is safe.  Doesn't that creep you out just a bit?  That's fear and horror that we all feel in our deep instinctual natures, far away from logic.  The deep part of ourselves that knows that ghosts exist, remenants of the past, and badness and evil.  This has been a very bad week in so many ways, in the world, and that fear of the evil people can do to one another that as a world we are witnessing - the mass shootings in the US on Monday, and in Kenya today - is the same kind of evil that lurks in minds everywhere.  Most people are able to turn away from it, and choose love and kindness and compassion.  But something in Jack Torrance - his willingness to blame his problems on anything but himself, really - his unacknowledged desire to strike out at everyone around him - the darkness that lies where people hurt one another - that is what is at the heart of The Shining. The isolation of The Overlook Hotel exaggerates  whatever people bring with them to the hotel.  It works on their innate sense of themselves.  And then there is the Overlook Hotel itself, with the evil at the heart of it.  Places do affect people. I firmly believe that buildings, places in natures, contain memories of what happens, impressions, sort of.  But all this is to try to explain how The Overlook Hotel could be real, which is another way of saying, a haunted hotel can exist.  And that is the question that horror novels try to answer: what happens if ghosts and haunted places are real?

I do know that if I had Danny Torrance's gift, or Dick Hallorann's, I wouldn't be able to stay at the Overlook Hotel.  I know it's not a real place.  I'm thankful!!  But.....the book.  The book scares me that much, that I can't read it when I'm alone.  Delicious, creepy, haunting (certain scenes have haunted me for most of my life), frightening, as I watch the slow unravelling of Jack Torrance, his wife's inability to protect herself or see the truth until it is almost too late - though I don't blame her, she is a perfect characterization of what happens in a marriage - and Danny himself, small Danny, horror lurking in every passage and corner and wall for him. 

I so hope Doctor Sleep is as good.  It will be different, of course. Danny is grown up, and an alcoholic, reliving his father's pattern (as families do), without the anger. A small child, a little girl this time, is part of the book, again, which can only be good.  And it's all about the Shining and how it is used. I want to be scared, the way The Shining scares me, every time I read it.

Back to reading The Shining.  I'm just at the part where Jack has threatened to write the history of the Overlook Hotel and been told in no uncertain terms by his ex-alcoholic friend who sits on the board, that he will be fired if he does.  Things are about to get much, much worse for the Torrances.

Tuesday 3 September 2013

R.I.P. VIII at long last, and plenty of scary books to come


RIP is finally here!  Even though I am late with my post, don't fear, Gentle Readers.  I have already been busy and read a book for this challenge on Sunday, the first day the challenge began!

    As always, I thank Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings for hosting this challenge.  This is one of my two most favourite challenges, the other one being Once Upon a Time in the spring, which he also hosts.  Fantasy and horror, my two favourite genres along with mystery.

Above are the books I am considering reading.  I hope to read many of them in the pile, just to get more read from my shelves (and because I do really want to read each and every one of them).  Missing from the pile are the new Stephen King Dr Sleep, because it's not out yet, Drood by Dan Simmons because I'm afraid if I put it on the list I won't read it (and I've owned it for 5 years now), and the new Stuart McBride mystery Birthdays for the Dead, which I forgot about until after I took the photo.

The list is:
Hell House - Richard Matheson ***just read on Sunday, will review next post. Mini first impression:  Really enjoyed it. Could not read alone at night. Too scary for that!
I Remember You - Yrsa Sigurdardottir - not one of her Thora Gudmunsdottir mystery series.  This is a stand-alone ghost story. It looks very creepy, and she is good with eerie atmosphere. I am curious how good a ghost story this will be.   I bought it last week  along with
Children of the Night - Dan Simmons, which I suddenly discovered I had NOT read, and it features vampires, and I love Dan Simmons (despite not having read Drood yet, which is more because the copy I have is hardcover and is so darn big I can't carry it anywhere.  I almost bought the paperback just so I can read it this time around.  The Terror by him is one of my all-time favourite horror novels, (linked to my review in 2008) and I just discovered that this fall is a bonanza time for me because there is a new book coming out by Dan Simmons also!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This would be Book 3 of the Books I Really Want This Fall:
                         The Abominable.  While it features snow and ice, this time it's climbing mountains, not lost in the Arctic.  It's out Oct 23, so I might be able to talk myself into getting it before RIP is over.  As this is just before my two boys' birthdays, it's sometimes difficult to buy something for me in the midst of their special days.  Christmas, then.  For sure!!!
     Anyway, back to Children of the Night: vampires.  Romania after it opened in the 1990s - remember the stories of the abandoned children in all those orphanages? Dreadful times in history, and I didn't realize this novel is based in that time.  A baby in an orphanage is dying, and responds to a blood transfusion.......
The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield:  because my friend Pat over at Here, There and Everywhere Blog LOVES this book.  Now there's another book by the same author out, Bellman and Black, and I should read the one I do own, first.  I can't link to the review Pat has of The Thirteenth Tale, though it does crop up often in her posts (she loves it that much).
Dead Scared - S.J. Bolton.  This is the second book in the Lacey Flint series.  In the first book, Now You See Me, reviewed here, Lacey has to deal with a serial killer who is playing on Jack the Ripper story.  In Dead Scared, she goes to Cambridge University to catch someone who is drugging people, who then commit suicide.  *shiver*
Talking to the Dead - Harry Bingham - I've seen this reviewed over at Crime Fiction Lover,  and somewhere else that I can no longer remember.  DC Fiona Griffiths is recovering from a breakdown, and may or may not pick up things that no one else can.....
Every Dead Thing - John Connolly - first in the Charlie Parker series.  I managed in July to get past the horrific scene of his dead wife and child.  Now, to start again and this time try to get through this lovely mystery with a very evil killer (which gives me chills).
Angel Cafe - Jill Morrow - a psychic, fortune telling, a spirit guide who isn't nice.....
I am Legend - Richard Matheson - I enjoyed the first movie based on this book, the Charlton Heston  movie Omega Ma. Then the Will Smith version came out, and it was even better.  It's time I went to the original source and read the book.  I still get the heebie-jeebies at the idea of being all alone in the city, and then something moves.
Moon Over Soho - Ben Aaronovitch.  2nd in the Peter Grant 'he can see dead people' mystery series.  What's not to love in this series?  Serious magic, a wizard for a chief detective, and Peter himself, an novice in the field of seeing the dead, and kind to boot.  Set in London, a bonus.
Deadline - Mira Grant.  2nd in the Georgia and Shawn Mason  zombie series.  I read the first one, Feed, and really enjoyed it.  It took me this long to recover from the ending of the first book enough that I now have to know what happens next.
The Shining - Stephen King - so I am refreshed and ready for Doctor Sleep.  The Shining is one of my ultimate horror books.  I'm so anxious for Doctor Sleep.  I'm a little afraid it won't be as good as The Shining, but I have high hopes.
The Summoning - Bentley Little.  Anyone who wins Horror Novel of the year is a good horror writer,so I am curious to try him.  This looks interesting, a series of unexplained events in a small Arizona town...
The Small Hand - Susan Hill.  A ghost story by the author of The Woman in Black!  I don't need to say anymore, do I?  Except that I loved The Woman in Black, so I'm hoping to get some eerie chills again.
The Greatcoat - Helen Dunmore.  Another ghost story, a rave review by Eva over at A Striped Armchair, and Bride of the Book God, and I had to get this.
A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness.  It sounds terrifying, a little boy whose mother is dying of cancer, and he has to fight another kind of monster all on his own.  Also heartbreaking.  I'm almost scared to read this, since I am sure I will cry while reading this.
Red Bones - Ann Cleeves - 3rd in the Shetland Island series featuring Jimmy Perez.  I really liked the first two books in this series.  There is something island-like and claustrophobic that is appealing (the solitude, nature, the sea) and not so appealing (everyone knows you, hard to be a recluse or hide away without being some kind of outcast), and downright nasty murders.  I was thrilled to see Book 5 has just come out, so it's no longer the Shetland Quartet.
The Last Policeman - Ben Winters. Thea James from The Book Smugglers posted a lovely review at Kirkus last month, and pushed this book up onto this pile for me.  An end of the world mystery novel.  What would you do if the world was coming to an end?  Would you stay in your job?  Would it matter if crimes were solved?  That's the theme of this book, with the policeman, Detective Hank Palace, staying in his job because for him, it does matter.  That feeling of icy dread in your stomach?  That's the end of the world coming.....definitely a book for RIP VIII.

 So this means I am going for Peril the First, which is   : Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (the very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature. It could be King or Conan Doyle, Penny or Poe, Chandler or Collins, Lovecraft or Leroux…or anyone in between.
I am also going for Peril the Screen.  Definitely!  Legend of Hell House, which I have already seen, and now that I've finally read the novel, want to re-watch.  Possibly The Haunting of Hill House, and The Shining (to go along with reading the novel). Finish Ripper Street.  A whole bunch of possibilities.....
and I am, as ever, going for Peril The Short Story.  I think I might make a post up of some of the collections I have, just so you can ooh and awe over how many collections there are (and I don't have them all! definitely not) and pique your interest.  There are so many good horror collections, anthologies, short stories, to choose from.

Happy scary reading, everyone!