I'm a big fan of Stephen King since the mid-seventies, when he conquered the literary world with his first novel, Carrie, about a young girl with impressive telekinetic powers. King, of course, went on to write many other fantastic novels. Some were great, some not so great. Here are my top 5 Stephen King books from the previous category:
1. Salem's Lot – Undoubtedly my favorite book by Stephen King of all time. This chilling classic – King's second book after Carrie – about a Dracula-like vampire named Kurt Barlow, who spreads his plague of vampirism through a small Peyton Place-style town exudes pure horror and menace from every page. And being a big fan of Bram Stoker's Dracula, well, what can I say? Salem's batch marks all the right boxes for me. A true horror classic and my second favorite vampire novel of all time, after Dracula.
2. The Shining – The best story of haunted hotel. King does a brilliant job here telling the story of Jack Torrance, who carries a lot of emotional baggage with him (triggered by his torturous relationship with his father) and takes a job as Overlook Hotel's winter caretaker, accompanied by his wife Wendy and son Danny The Overlook is truly the hotel of its worst nightmares, and as all its resident ghosts and malevolent atmosphere begin to manifest in Torrance's life, you can really feel the claustrophobic feeling of horror that the snowy family begins to experience. The Shining is a true masterpiece of scary fiction.
3. Misery – Stephen King really created a terrifying and unforgettable character in Annie Wilkes, the psychotic nurse who keeps writer Paul Sheldon trapped in his secluded cottage after getting him out of a car accident in which he broke both legs. You can simply cut the tension with a knife while Annie, enraged to find that Paul killed her favorite character, Misery Chastain, forces him to bring her back for a new romance. And nowhere is his insane anger more evident than in the notorious lame scene. Annie Wilkes really is the crazy fan of hell.
4. Pet Sematary – My favorite story of the undead. Certainly, there is a valuable lesson to learn here for anyone who can harbor crazy ideas about trying to resurrect a deceased pet or a loved one: Never bury your corpse in an ancient Indian cemetery. You may regret that the protagonist of this novel, Louis Creed, was certainly in this truly terrifying novel. Loved the movie version too.
5. IT – What could be more horrible and disturbing than finding a shape-shifting entity that can take the form of our worst fear? Well, meet Pennywise, the demonic clown who does just that in King's epic novel about a small town intermittently terrorized by a monster as old as time itself. IT is a truly fantastic read and a huge doorframe for a novel too. From the moment evil Pennywise makes his first appearance in the midst of the storm and provokes – and eventually kills – poor Georgie, I was completely addicted from start to finish. And when I finally finished the book, I liked it so much that I still felt I could keep reading more. It really was so good. I especially loved all the little homage to classic horror monsters, like the vampire and werewolf that King peppered in his story. So if you want to be stuck with IT, my advice is to read the novel and avoid the three-hour TV movie, which wasn't nearly as good.