Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Top Ten Halloween Reads

I'm thrilled to welcome Ty Drago, author of The Undertakers series. Ty is currently promoting The Undertakers: Queen of The Dead, the second of the undertakers series. Since it's October I asked Ty to recommend his top Halloween reads! Please help me welcome Ty Drago!

Well, when we’re talking about my take on the best ten scary books to curl up with in between Trick-or-Treaters, the first five roll right off my tongue. The second five might be a little tougher, so work with me here.

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

1) THE SHINGING 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 thsis 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.

The dead have risen again and are set on taking over the world. But how do you make sure the dead stay dead? Join Will and his friends as they try to put the dead to rest once and for all in The Undertakers: Queen of The Dead. (October 2012; Sourcebooks Jabberwocky; $7.99; Ages 10+)

In the second of the undertakers series, Will Ritter and his rag-tag army of teenage resistance fighters may have triumphed over the Zombies (alien-possessed corpses) last time...but that’s the thing about the dead- they keep coming back. A new Corpse leader has crossed the rift and taken command of the invasion: The Queen of the Dead is even more brilliant and ruthless than her predecessor, and her ambitions are even deadlier. Will and his friends are the only ones that can stop the corpses. They’re the Undertakers- the earth’s first, last, and only defense against the undead.

Will and the crew must somehow rescue his mother, prevent an assassination, and show FBI Agent Ramirez the truth about the Corpses—and the danger the world faces. But how do a bunch of kids prove to a grown-up that monsters are real?

I want to thank Ty for sharing his top Halloween Reads! I know I plan on reading Rot and Ruin this month. To learn more about the Ty Drago visit: http://www.tydrago.com


  1. Awesome list. I really need to try Frankenstein.

  2. Oh, I've been talking with the kid about reading Rot & Ruin. We are looking for books for him to read for school and he likes the zombie ones. :) Sounds like a great list. Thank you!

  3. I agree with your number one, that was is definitely a halloween favorite.