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2017 01 25 Tom Deady List

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Seven Retro Horror Paperbacks You Need To Read

Written by Tom Deady

The seventies and eighties are often associated with the resurgence of the horror novel. Even before King and Koontz firmly established themselves as household names, the paperback horror market was overflowing with talent. Not only bookstores, but supermarkets, drug stores and department stores all offered a wide selection of paperbacks. Here, in no particular order, are seven that had a huge impact on my writing and I suggest everybody should read (or reread!):

The Cell Cover

The Cellar by Richard Laymon

Richard Laymon is known for his no-holds-barred approach to horror. Straight to the point and with no shortage of blood, violence and death. Laymon taught me that every story doesn't need a happy ending and that it's okay to show the horror instead of just hinting at it. Gruesome is good!

The Keep Cover

The Keep by F. Paul Wilson

F. Paul Wilson creates a brooding atmosphere that reeks of menace. The Keep is a finely constructed tale of good and evil. I learned the importance of mood and place from Wilson. The castle, set high in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, is the perfect horror setting. Very reminiscent of Dracula's Castle.

The Manitou Cover

The Manitou by Graham Masterton

Graham Masterton takes a new approach to the good versus evil theme in The Manitou. His antagonist is a reincarnated Native American shaman seeking revenge on the white men who invaded his land. This novel taught me the powerful impact historical fact can have in fiction. The world is full of past evils just waiting to be turned into horror stories.

Off Season Cover

Off Season by Jack Ketchum

Jack Ketchum is most famous for his disturbing (more disturbing because it is loosely based on real events) novel The Girl Next Door. If you read horror to escape real-world tragedy, Off Season is a better pick. Ketchum's writing is just as raw and gritty, but the story lends itself more to old-school pulp horror than something you might see on the news. Like The Girl Next Door, it's a great character study on just how far people will go.

Prophecy Cover

Prophecy by David Seltzer

David Seltzer actually wrote the novel based on the film of the same title. It's the story of an environmentalist sent to report on a Paper Mill on the shore of the Androscoggin River. What he finds is that chemicals from the mill's waste have caused mutations in a bear. The story is a great use of fiction to bring awareness to real-life issues.

The Amityville Horror Cover

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson

Whether you believe the events are real or a hoax, The Amityville Horror remains a terrifying read forty years after its publication. Anson's possessed house tale is a gripping combination of human and supernatural scares, along with the great backstory of the house itself. Anson taught me how a writer can make the most common things frightening...in this case – flies.

Salems Lot Cover

'Salem's Lot by Stephen King

This is the book that started it all for me. I picked it up off one of those spinning wire racks in a local Woolworths when I was thirteen, and it is a big part of why I'm a horror writer. The lessons I took from this book were plentiful, but three in particular stand out. First, small towns can seem like safe, comfortable places, but in reality can be very isolated and scary. Second, it is possible to take a tired, old trope and breathe new life into it. Most important, I learned that characters are the most important ingredient in a story.

I hope you'll give these books a chance if you haven't read them before. They are all classics in their own right and stand up pretty well to the test of time. In fact, many of today's horror novels, my own included, owe a lot to these trailblazers.

Tom Deady, born and raised in Malden, Massachusetts, is not far from the historic (and spooky) town of Salem. He has endured a career as an IT professional, but his dream has always been to be a writer.

Tom has a Masters Degree in English and Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University, and is a member of both the Horror Writers Association and the New England Horror Writers.

Tom's first novel, Haven, was released in 2016 by Cemetery Dance Publications.

His new release, Eternal Darkness will be published by Bloodshot Books.

As always, he is actively working on his next novel.

Horror DNA would like to thank Tom Deady for sharing this list with us. Be sure to pick up a copy of his latest novel by clicking one of the links below and you can keep up witih him at his official site.

Something is killing the people of Bristol, Massachusetts. Do you dare to find out what? First, a young boy goes missing. Then, his abusive father is slaughtered. Next, his grieving mother burns in an unnatural fire. The only thing you know for sure? Something’s not right. Ben Harris and his best friends Richie and Jack know the stories. Now, they must separate truth from lore when they dig for answers. Who will survive and who will succumb to the eternal darkness?

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