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So You Want to Read Occult Horror: Here’s Where to Start

Black magic, sinister cults, and unseen supernatural forces are the stuff of occult horror, a genre loosely related to the gothic and “weird” fiction of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. H. P. Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, and other writers laid the groundwork for occult horror with short works like “The Call of Cthulhu”, and “The Great God Pan”, and the genre continues to be very popular today. Here are some great modern works in the genre.

  1. 1
    The Damnation Game Book Cover Picture
    The Damnation Game Book Cover Picture

    The Damnation Game

    by Clive Barker

    Ex-con Marty Strauss gets pulled into a world of faustian bargains and hardcore drug addiction when he signs on as the personal bodyguard of Joseph Whitehead, an eccentric billionaire. Whitehead has good reason to be scared: Decades ago, he entered into a contract with a person who may very well be the devil, and now it’s time to pay the piper. Barker has written a lot of fiction about ordinary people bargaining with supernatural forces, and The Damnation Game is one of the best of the bunch.
    The Damnation Game Book Cover Picture
    The Damnation Game Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $9.99

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  2. 2
    Ghost Story Book Cover Picture
    Ghost Story Book Cover Picture

    Ghost Story

    by Peter Straub

    In the sleepy town of Milburn, New York, four old men gather to tell each other stories—some true, some made-up, all of them frightening. A simple pastime to divert themselves from their quiet lives. But one story is coming back to haunt them and their small town. A tale of something they did long ago. A wicked mistake. A horrifying accident. And they are about to learn that no one can bury the past forever…
    Ghost Story Book Cover Picture
    Ghost Story Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $9.99

    Also available from:

  3. 3
    The Burn Palace Book Cover Picture
    The Burn Palace Book Cover Picture

    The Burn Palace

    by Stephen Dobyns

    The Burn Palace Book Cover Picture
    The Burn Palace Book Cover Picture

    Available from:

  4. 4
    The Stand (Movie Tie-in Edition) Book Cover Picture
    The Stand (Movie Tie-in Edition) Book Cover Picture

    The Stand (Movie Tie-in Edition)

    by Stephen King

    A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon: a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world’s population within a few weeks. Those who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge—Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious “Dark Man,” who delights in chaos and violence. As the dark man and the peaceful woman gather power, the survivors will have to choose between them—and ultimately decide the fate of all humanity.
    The Stand (Movie Tie-in Edition) Book Cover Picture
    The Stand (Movie Tie-in Edition) Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $18.00

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  5. 5
    The Ruins Book Cover Picture
    The Ruins Book Cover Picture

    The Ruins

    by Scott Smith

    Trapped in the Mexican jungle, a group of friends stumble upon a creeping horror unlike anything they could ever imagine. Two young couples are on a lazy Mexican vacation–sun-drenched days, drunken nights, making friends with fellow tourists. When the brother of one of those friends disappears, they decide to venture into the jungle to look for him. What started out as a fun day-trip slowly spirals into a nightmare when they find an ancient ruins site . . . and the terrifying presence that lurks there.
    The Ruins Book Cover Picture
    The Ruins Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.95

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