Shriek Week at the Library

It’s Shriek Week at AUM, so the focus this week is on authors who make you scream! Check out some of these horrifying titles by some of the spookiest writers around.
Anne Rice: Queen of the Undead
In the now-classic novel Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice refreshed the archetypal vampire myth for a late-20th-century audience. The story is ostensibly a simple one: having suffered a tremendous personal loss, an 18th-century Louisiana plantation owner named Louis Pointe du Lac descends into an alcoholic stupor. At his emotional nadir, he is confronted by Lestat, a charismatic and powerful vampire who chooses Louis to be his fledgling. The two prey on innocents, give their “dark gift” to a young girl, and seek out others of their kind (notably the ancient vampire Armand) in Paris. But a summary of this story bypasses the central attractions of the novel. First and foremost, the method Rice chose to tell her tale–with Louis’ first-person confession to a skeptical boy–transformed the vampire from a hideous predator into a highly sympathetic, seductive, and all-too-human figure. Second, by entering the experience of an immortal character, one raised with a deep Catholic faith, Rice was able to explore profound philosophical concerns–the nature of evil, the reality of death, and the limits of human perception–in ways not possible from the perspective of a more finite narrator.
While Rice has continued to investigate history, faith, and philosophy in subsequent Vampire novels (including The Vampire Lestat, The Queen of the Damned, The Tale of the Body Thief, Memnoch the Devil, and The Vampire Armand), Interview remains a treasured masterpiece. It is that rare work that blends a childlike fascination for the supernatural with a profound vision of the human condition.
Tess Gerritsen: Queen of Suspense
Tess’s first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Her suspense novels since then have been: Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), The Bone Garden (2007), and The Keepsake (2008). Her books have been translated into 33 languages, and more than 20 million copies have been sold around the world.
Her books have been top-5 bestsellers in both the United States and abroad. She has won both the Nero Wolfe Award (for Vanish) and the Rita Award (for The Surgeon.) Critics around the world have praised her novels as “Pulse-pounding fun” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “Scary and brilliant” (Toronto Globe and Mail), and “Polished, riveting prose” (Chicago Tribune). Publisher Weekly has dubbed her the “medical suspense queen”.
Edgar Allan Poe: King of Fright
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was orphaned at the age of three and adopted by a wealthy Virginia family with whom he had a troubled relationship. He excelled in his studies of language and literature at school, and self-published his first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems, in 1827. In 1830, Poe embarked on a career as a writer and began contributing reviews and essays to popular periodicals. He also wrote sketches and short fiction, and in 1833 published his only completed novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Over the next five years he established himself as a master of the short story form through the publication of “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” “The Tell-tale Heart,” and other well-known works. In 1841, he wrote “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” generally considered the first modern detective story. The publication of The Raven and Other Poems in 1845 brought him additional fame as a poet.
Edgar Allan Poe is credited with having pioneered the short story, having perfected the tale of psychological horror, and having revolutionized modern poetics. The entirety of Poe’s body of imaginative work encompasses detective tales, satires, fables, fantasies, science fiction, verse dramas, and some of the most evocative poetry in the English language.
Stephen King: Master of Horror
Walk into the dark with bestselling author Stephen King, who has terrified readers with his classic novels over the past three decades.
Here are some short descriptions of some of King’s most successful books.
Pet Sematary – “Sometimes, death is better.” Those are the ominous words spoken by Jud Crandall, an elderly resident of Ludlow, Maine to newcomer Louis Creed. Dr. Creed and his family have just moved in to a house across the road from Crandall, who warns them to approach the intersecting highway with caution since many large trucks frequently pass by.
One day Jud takes them for a walk into the forest and shows them a burial ground for dead pets, many of which were run over on the highway. Later, the two men travel further, over a difficult barrier of thick foliage to another cemetery once used by the Micmac Indians. It is here that the dead can come back to life, but when they do, they aren’t quite the same. When Gage, their youngest son, is killed by a speeding truck and then buried in the Native American graveyard, there are horrific consequences for the rest of the Creed family.
It – In the town of Derry something evil is living below the ground in the sewers and storm drains. It likes to kill children, and then hibernate for twenty-seven years before awakening once again to satisfy it’s appetite for human flesh. A group of young kids fight this monster in 1958, and must do so again as adults in 1985 after they find out “It” has come back, and is hungry. They must come to grips with their repressed memories of that fateful encounter long ago, as well as destroy the creature once and for all.