Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Top 10 Halloween Reads by Ty Drago (author of The Undertakers series)

Queen of the Dead (book 2, The Undertakers series) Read my review of his new novel here

Ty Drago, author of Queen of the Dead shared his list of his Top 10 Halloween Reads! Pick one up today:

Ty Drago’s Top Ten Halloween Reads

Let’s start by assuming – modestly, if inaccurately – that my books don’t belong on the list! 

1) THE SHINING by Stephen King: This is, hands-down, the scariest book I’ve ever read. It tells the tale of ill-fated Jack Torrence who, along with his wife and psychically-gifted six-year-old son Danny, accepts a job as winter caretaker for The Overlook Hotel, high in the Colorado mountains. To call this huge hotel haunted is like calling Mt. Everest “a bit of a climb.” It’s been made into a movie with Jack Nicholson and a mini-series with Stephen Weber. But, in my humble opinion, neither treatment can touch King’s subtle, terrifying prose. It’s a masterpiece.

2) ROT AND RUIN by Jonathan Maberry: A classic zombie tale, but one that’s character driven instead of plot driven. Fifteen-year-old Benny Imura lives with his older brother Tom in a fenced town somewhere in post-zombie apocalyptic California. Outside the fence is the Rot and Ruin, a fast nothingness prowled by the living dead. Not a good place to be. But when some very human nasties kidnap Benny’s friend, he and Tom set out to rescue her, heading straight into that zombie wasteland. Maberry is a living encyclopedia of zombie lore, and his world in this book is the best conceived Z-Land I’ve ever read.

3) SWAN SONG by Robert McCammon: Not, strictly speaking, a horror story, this is the chronicle of post-nuclear war America. In the radiated aftermath, an ancient and terrible stranger walks amongst the survivors, whispering despair and hopelessness in their ears. But one little girl, graced with an inner light as bright as the sun, might just be able to stand against him. A long, epic read, McCammon somehow manages to be uplifting in some places, and downright terrifying in others!

4) PHANTOMS by Dean R. Koontz: An early work, this is a creepy tale about a small town rendered empty by something unseen and utterly alien. To reveal anymore would be a crime. But suffice it to say that Koontz plays up the tension to a fever pitch. I’ve read the book twice and it never fails to give me … uncomfortable … dreams.

5) RELIC by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child: Set in New York’s famed Museum of Natural History, this is a modern take on a good old monster story. Beautifully told and, sadly, made into a lousy movie, the story remains a rollercoaster of scares. The book’s success launched more than one series, but this original piece remains my favorite.

6) IT by Stephen King: My second favorite King book, this tale of childhood courage against unspeakable evil has passages that made me have to stop reading for a few minutes. For a horror novel, there is no higher praise! Thirty years ago, seven friends battled an entity that feeds on innocence, defeating but not destroying it. Now, as adults, they return to finish the job, but at what cost?

7) OFF SEASON by Jack Ketchum: Not for the timid, this tale of modern cannibals living in a remote American backwater is violent, visceral and extremely unsettling. Hardcore horror. You have been warned.

8) CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT by Dan Simmons: Count Dracula is back, but in a way quite different than you might imagine. This modern day vampire tale puts a wonderfully original spin on the legend, and even lets us see into the mind of the ancient bloodsucker himself. Inventive and wholly unique, it’s my favorite vampire novel – aside from Stoker’s masterwork, of course.

9) THE WOMAN by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee: A “grandchild” of OFF SEASON, this terrifying - and surprisingly socially-powerful - tale of a rural lawyer who “rescues” a feral woman and tries to tame her, will make you wonder just who the real “monster” is. It was recently made into an amazing movie by Moderncine.

10) DEAN R. KOONTZ’S FRANKENSTEIN: This is actually a series, not a single book, and a series I’ve only recently gotten into. Victor Frankenstein is back, this time as a sociopathic genius bent on populating the world with his manufactured “new race”. And against him stand two New Orleans cops - and Deucalion, once known as the “Monster”, a man born of lightning and now devoted to undoing his creator’s evil plans.

There you have it! Oh, and by the way, if you find yourself looking for yet another scary, might have suggest … oh, I dunno … THE UNDERTAKERS series?

That’s right. I have no shame.
Ty Drago


  1. Ty's list is pretty close to what mine would be!
    Dan Simmons also wrote another epic horror novel called
    The Terror (one of the best I've ever read). Preston & Child are amazing as a team, and on each their own. But Phantoms is one I've never read, so I'm really glad he mentioned this one - putting it on my Halloween read list lol :)

  2. I read Phantoms years ago and want to reread it now. Total Koontz fan!