My friend Robby posted on Facebook earlier today asking for some horror novel recommendations. I spam-posted a bunch of them on his status, which may have been a smidge annoying, so I figured I'd just create this blog post. I'll include the ones I recommended for him as well as some new ones and tag him (and another friend who loves horror literature) as well.
So here goes...
I've only read a few Dean Koontz novels, but my holy trinity of his works are Watchers, Phantoms, and Twilight Eyes. Phantoms and Watchers have some of the most interesting monsters/antagonists I've read in fiction and Twilight Eyes is pretty darn cool too. Reading Dean Koontz in general taught me how to spread out description of a scene through action--i.e. something like "gripping the huge Desert Eagle pistol in his even bigger tattooed hand, he put a .50 caliber bullet through the rectangular mahogany panes making up the wall" as opposed to a much wordier description that overall slows the story down.
From author James Byron Huggins are Leviathan and Hunter. Although the former might be too Christian for some people it's got some interesting concepts, while Hunter is generally a fun read that'd make a great movie (and at one point was being developed into one).
F. Paul Wilson has this huge cycle of novels beginning in the WWII era and culminating in the apocalyptic tale Nightworld. I've read a bunch of them, but I haven't read them all. If you want to get started, read the very first book in the series The Keep-- which has some really disturbing moments--and The Tomb,which begins the tale of secondary protagonist Repairman Jack, whose story ultimately merges with the main cycle.
The prehistoric uber-shark Carcharadon megaladon is best known for appearing in Steve Alten's MEG series, but a better outing featuring this critter is Charles Wilson's Extinct. A pity it went out of print rather than spawning sequels and even potential movie development, but at least you can get it on Kindle. And for more undersea horrors (this time with Nazis), there's Peter Benchley's Creature
and Robert McCammon's The Night Boat.
If you're looking for some good short stories, Irish writer John Connolly has a collection entitled Nocturnes. One of the stories, "The New Daughter," was even made into a direct-to-video horror movie starring Kevin Costner (okay, maybe that's not really that great of an endorsement even if it got decent reviews). Another story, "The Erlking," is particularly memorable.
If you want to go a bit old-school, in the 1980s Whitley Strieber (this is before he went off into UFO la-la land), wrote a novel called The Wolfen.It was adapted into a movie that, as you may expect, totally changed everything in a bad way. However, it's a fun book even if it is rather hard to find these days. I don't know if Stephen King's The Stand counts as horror per se, but it's got some disturbing moments and is generally well-done. If post-apocalyptic counts, Strieber also had a novel called Warday that has some very vivid descriptions of events during and after a (very) limited 1980s nuclear exchange between the US and USSR. It shows just how terrible the situation would be, even for the "winners."
And for the younger set, Paul Zindel, most well-known for The Pigman, also wrote some young-adult horror I read and enjoyed in middle school. The first one I read was Lochand the second--and better--one is The Doom Stone. There were others, but I'd only read one of them and didn't like it as much. I'd love to see them adapted into films.