10 TERRIFYING BOOKS OF STEPHEN KING THAT WILL GIVE YOU SHIVERS
1. It (1986)
A scary clown, Pennywise who terrorises the town of Derry, every 27 years, when he resurfaces to feast on little kids isn't even the beginning of where the chills begin to rise with this magnum opus by King. The way the clown plays on the fears of the club of Losers - a group of childhood friends - who make a pact to come back to end Pennywise; even as grown up, is as real as any scare ever gets. You feel yourself cowering under the blanket of your room; secretly hoping a red balloon doesn't rise up from the dark abyss that is the underside of your bed. While the movie that released in 2017 was critically acclaimed, it doesn't come anywhere close to the story line of the book; but gives movie goers a fair idea of what they've missed out on in the book.
2. The Shining (1977)
Never has a book been scarier than a movie; but then never has a director been in the mind of Stephen King; the evil genius with plots so twisted, it could make The Conjuring seem like a bedtime story. The Overlook hotel has been overshadowed by ill fate and tragedy long before the Torrence family decides to set foot into it. And right from the start, young little Danny can sense the evil entities that reside in the hotel; the dead lady in Room 237 and the twins are not even the beginning of his visions as Danny sees the invisible monster take over his father's soul. Stanley Kubrick's recreation of the book, with Jack Nicholson playing Jack Torrence is not even half as scary as the original plot of the book.
3. Pet Sematary (1983)
The pretext of this story is simple: What would you do to bring back someone you love and care about but is now, dead? And so the book follows the lives of Louis and Rachel Creed, along with their two kids, Ellie and Gage. They move to the town of Ludlow where their lies a 'sematary' where kids bury their dead animals in the hopes of bringing them back to life. But, they soon lose their two-year-old sun to a road accident and, in a desperate bid to bring their son back to life, Louis buries Gage in the 'sematary'. What comes back though is a shadow of the boy, along with something murky and it eats into the family. The book ends with a rather morbid twist after Louis tries to bring his wife back the same way and the closing lines will leave you feeling as if it's your shoulder a cold hand just rest itself upon. You may not want to see your own furry pet after reading this one; let alone visit a cemetary.
4. Cujo (1981)
This is the tale of a family dog gone so horribly wrong, next time you'll think twice before adopting an animal, letting them out in the open, letting them get bit even by a mosquito and you'll shudder when they bare all their teeth, without a doubt. Cujo was just a friendly neighbourhood St. Bernard dog - and the Camber family's pet - before he chased a wild rabbit down a hole where he got his nose stuck and then, bitten by a rabid bat. The dog slowly begins to go mad with the infection from the bite and, while his humans are away, he kills their alcoholic neighbour, and Joe Camber. The dog then scares Donna Trenton and her son, who lock themselves into their Ford car while hoping for help to come. The book ends with Cujo trying repeatedly to kill the family while being beaten, impaled and finally shot dead. It's as bloody and brutal as it gets. Basically, you'll never see dogs the same way ever again.
5. Salem's Lot (1975)
While Bram Stoker holds the award for best vampire story ever, King's Salem's Lot - which is an ode to Stoker, by the way - comes pretty close. The story is about a writer, Ben Mears who returns to Jerusalem's (or Salem's) Lot in Maine - a town that has always discarded him in the past - after 25 years, to find the residences have turned into vampires. Amidst the fight against vampires, the plot follows Ben's relationship with graduate student Susan whom he fall sin love with, only to drive a stake through her heart later when she turns into a vampire. There's also a Van-Helsing like character in Father Callahan who is then threatened by the leader of the vampires, Kurt Barlow who is the evil driving force behind the town's vampirism. It ends with the protagonist fleeing the town after having finished Barlow, only to return later in hopes of wiping out the leaderless vampires. The story and incidents described will do more than give you a random jump scare here and there and you might end up sleeping with a cross, or some garlic... you know, just in case.
6. The Mist (1980)
Before the movie, there was the book and it did well to leave you scared of literally any white misty air you ever passed through thereafter. After a deadly thunderstorm, Bridgton, Maine is covered by a white mist and anyone who steps out into the mist is killed by invisible tentacled-creatures. Amidst all this, a group of people are stuck at a supermarket that include the protagonist, David Drayton and his son, Billy. The story then follows the group of individuals as they try to wait it out in a supermarket while blood-thirsty creatures lurk outside. There soon emerges a religious sentiment where a Mrs Cormandy decides that a human sacrifice will end the mist. And then it's a battle of wits and survival of the fittest while you try to gauge whether the real enemy is the creatures out beyond, or the ones within.
7. Mr Mercedes (2014)
This is the first part of King's Bill Hodges' trilogy series and deals with a psychopath 20-something killer who calls himself Mr Mercedes following the robbery of a Merc with which he goes on a killing spree in town. That's when retired officer Bill Hodges comes in after receiving a letter from Mr Mercedes who claims responsibility for the murders. However, the plot gets murkier as it is revealed that there is indeed more to Mr Mercedes than meets the eye as he begins to stalk and observe Hodges and the people he interacts with during the course of his investigation; not to mention the incestuous relationship the culprit shares with his mother. The book ends on a major cliffhanger which leads into the remaining two books in the series and leaves you wondering what the hell just happened, all the while.
8. End Of Watch (2016)
The third and final part of the Bill Hodges' trilogy comes back to the origin of the plot - Brady Hartsfield; a.k.a Mr Mercedes who is now confined to a hospital in a vegetative state; except that around the time of his impossibly speedy recovery, a slew of suicides begin to take place and once again, Bill Hodges - who is now on borrowed time fighting pancreatic cancer - is investigating the case, along with this partner, Holly. As they angle closer to the truth behind Hartsfield's inhuman powers they begin to see how the suicides are all connected back to the original case involving Mr Mercedes and how they may be fighting a supernatural force entirely.
9. The Outsider (2018)
King's latest novel is so brilliant, you won't even know when the creeps start setting in; until they do and then you're left feeling strangely uneasy even though you have no reason to be - it's just a book, right? The Outsider follows the story of a select few individuals living in or connected to Flint City - a fictitious town in Oklahoma - and how they've been roped into a murder investigation that might as well have not happened; except that it did, even if the murderer is not who they think it is. As they begin to connect the dots, they realise similar incidents have occurred in neighbouring towns as well and they are, in fact, dealing with a supernatural entity. The story connects with the Bill Hodges' trilogy by involving Holly as one of the detectives. The spook factor stems from how a seemingly crime novel turns itself into a horror novel, quite effortlessly and leaves you feeling extremely unnerved as you progress.
10. Misery (1987)
Fans can be freaky. This theory is proven in King's book, Misery which is the story of a best selling author whose encounter with his biggest fan turns out to be a plea for what could be his life on the line. After completing the manuscript on his latest book, Paul Sheldon is on his way back to Los Angeles when a snow storm causes him to drive of a cliff and crash. However he's saved from the wreckage - albeit with broken legs - by Annie Wilkes, a former nurse who also happens to be his biggest fan. But, there's more to Annie as Paul unearths a scrapbook while being captive in her house where he learns that she's indeed a murderer and has killed babies and patients, alike. In a bid to survive through the ordeal while he's trapped in Annie's house, and finally making it after a harrowing battle for his life - losing his leg and a thumb along the way, for good - Paul returns to normalcy, following Annie's eventful death, and now battles nightmares about her while turning to painkillers and alcoholism while suffering from writer's block. This is one of King's more complex stories told brilliantly and will grip you till the very end.