The Scariest Book I’ve Ever Read

31 Oct

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

This is the first post of a rolling blog tour on the topic of The Scariest Book I’ve Ever Read. To read previous blog tours, check out What Do Readers Want? and Plot vs. Character. At the bottom of this post you’ll find the other participants in today’s tour, and a link to the next article in the series.

I still remember the feeling of dread that came over me as I read this book, and I wouldn’t even pick it up unless there was someone else at home! Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel about a young woman named Eleanor Vance, invited to stay as a guest in a haunted house, is considered one of the best ghost stories of the twentieth century.

Eleanor is an intriguing character, a solitary, mousy young woman who has spent the last several years of her spinsterhood looking after her dying mother. The Haunting of Hill House is a psychological ghost story, and we’re never sure whether the supernatural manifestations that occur are caused by the house itself, or are coming from inside Eleanor’s mind.

This story is more intelligent than your average tale of horror, and the gradual terror that threatens to possess and invade Eleanor threatens the reader also. Hill House is a powerful villain, and puts the reader under its spell. A word of warning: if you have a tendency to be claustrophobic, don’t read this book! Ms. Jackson was a master at evoking a setting that suffocated and trapped all who entered her world. Like Eleanor, the reader gradually realizes –with horror — that there is no escape from Hill House.

What about you? What is the scariest book you’ve ever read?

To learn about other scary books read by mystery authors, check out the other stops on the blog tour:

Kathleen Kaska

Ryder Islington

Happy Halloween!

6 Responses to “The Scariest Book I’ve Ever Read”

  1. Kathleen Kaska October 31, 2011 at 9:51 am #


    It’s been years since I thought of this book. I remember all the talk about it, but I’ve never read it. I’ll put it on my list. Was it made into a movie? I like the idea of the house being the villain, a villain that can’t be controlled.


    • nancyelizabethlauzon October 31, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

      Actually, there were two movies made, one in the 60’s (the best one, in my opinion) and one in the 90’s, which wasn’t as true to the book, and didn’t get as good a review.


  2. Suzanne Adair November 2, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    THE WOMAN IN BLACK by Susan Hill. The play is scary, too. No gore, no sex, no cussing. It’s all done with atmosphere and the five senses.

    Suzanne Adair

    • nancyelizabethlauzon November 3, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

      Sounds like my kind of book. Those are the scariest, in my opinion.

      Thanks for stopping by!


  3. thorlovesyou November 2, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    Reading THE SUPERNATURALS now and it’s quite scary. David Golemon is the author.

    • nancyelizabethlauzon November 3, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

      It’s a great time of year to read a scary book! Enjoy!

      Thanks for your comment,


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