Ratman’s Notebooks by Stephen Gilbert

” Ratman’s Notebooks ” by Stephen Gilbert is a horror novel published in the late 1960’s .

This novel opens up with notebooks being handed to the author . The notebooks writer is unknown but they detail the writers strange interactions with the local rat population . The writer first meets the rats when his overbearing mother tells him to kill them . He attempts to drown them at first but has a change of heart whenever he looks into the mama rats eyes . He then begins to train the rats to do basic tasks but most of them prove difficult to teach . One stands out though as intelligent which the writer calls Socrates . Soon the writer’s mother dies , leaving the writer alone with a house that is falling apart , a low paying job with a cruel boss , and no money . The writer soon finds a new rat which he names Ben who also displays intelligence . The writer then begins to train the rats under the command of Socrates to do various crimes such as tearing tires , robbery , and possibly murder .

This is a legendary book and it’s often credited along with Ira Levin’s ” Rosemary’s Baby ” and William Peter Blatty’s ” The Exorcist ” as the novels that rejuvenated the horror genre. It’s a great read , written from our nameless protagonist’s point of view , you really dig deep into this guys mindset and you follow him as he starts to turn more and more corrupt as the novel goes on . It was later turned into a movie called ” Willard ” that became a big enough hit to spawn a sequel entitled ” Ben ” and a remake later on . Out of all of these , I admit I’ve only seen the remake , but that was a good enough film . Overall , if you’re into the animal horror sub genre or if you’re just curious about horror story history , check it out .

The Long Walk by Stephen King

” The Long Walk ” by Stephen King ( as Richard Bachman ) is a psychological horror story originally published in the late 1970’s .

In the future a contest is held every year called ” The Long Walk ” in which a bunch of young adults walk for as long as they can without losing pace . They sometimes cross whole states even and the person who walks the longest wins a prize , the prize being whatever they want for the rest of their lives . One small draw back though , if you drop below pace more than three times , you will be shot and killed . We follow this contest through the sixteen year old Ray Garraty as he struggles to survive a cruel pace , hardcore competitors , potential starvation , changing weather , and his damaged mental state .

Stephen King is a master story teller , you don’t need me to tell you that . This story , while definitely  dark , seems tame compared to a lot of his other stories and almost comes off as a young adult novel . This isn’t a bad thing , as I do enjoy this story , but if you want a full on , no holds barred traditional Stephen King novel … try another one . On the other hand , if you just looking for a well written dystopian future story with psychological horror elements , check it out . Seriously , if a story about walking can keep my interest for a full novel , you know it’s got to be good .

Valentine by Tom Savage

” Valentine ” by Tom Savage is a mystery novel originally published in the mid 1990’s .

Jillian Talbot is a bestselling suspense novelist living in New York with her artist boyfriend . She is living a comfortable life writing her books , hanging out with her actress friend , and she loves her boyfriend . Everything is going well up until a stalker appears into her life , sending her Valentine’s day cards with intimidating messages , always signing the card ” Valentine ” . The story becomes more and more suspenseful as she hires a private investigator to find out this stalker is and why they are sending her threatening letters , dead animals , and roses . Come find out in Tom Savage’s ” Valentine ” .

This book is a thrilling mystery . It switches point of view often between Jill and her stalker , giving the novel a voyeur type quality which I enjoy … don’t read too much into that statement . The only complaint I have about it is that I feel the themes of Valentine’s day could’ve been used more but admittedly its a minor thing and probably only bothers me . A movie based off of this book was made and I watched it as well . The movie is a very loose adaptation at best , actually the movie seems to be a ” I Know What You Did Last Summer ” knock off with the book being used as a superficial dressing . Overall , recommend the book to mystery and suspense fans , and recommend the movie to lovers of B-movie slashers .

Final Girls by Riley Sager

” Final Girls ” by Riley Sager is a mystery/thriller published in the late 2010’s .

Quincy Carpenter was the lone survivor of a brutal massacre ten years before the start of this story . When her story went public , the media labeled her as well as two other woman ( Lisa and Sam ) who went through similar ordeals as ” Final Girls ” . Quincy does her best to put it behind her . She gets in a good relationship , starts a baking blog , and pops xanax  pills like her life depends on it . One day though , Lisa is murdered and Sam suddenly comes out of hiding to check on Quincy , or at least that is what Sam says . Sam makes Quincy’s life difficult , she pries into Quincy’s past , has to be bailed out of jail , they shoplift , and eventually end up putting a man into a coma . Quincy becomes suspicious of her and she also wants to investigate Lisa’s death . She gets the feeling that all of this is connected to the massacre she experienced ten years ago … the problem with that being she can’t remember what happened . Will she remember what she needs before it’s too late ? Come find out in ” Final Girls ” !

Alright , so this is my first time reading a Riley Sager novel and it was a fun read . The protagonist , Quincy , is a sympathetic figure and Sam is a clever and manipulative * expletive * , perfect for a good mystery story . I’m sure the experienced mystery reader could predict the twist at the end but I believe the journey to that point is entertaining enough to suggest that you check it out .

Werewolf Cop by Andrew Klavan

” Werewolf Cop ” is a supernatural thriller/ mystery written by Andrew Klavan , published in the mid 2010’s .

A brutal murder attracts the attention of the Extraordinary Crimes Unit , specifically detectives Zach Adams ( The Cowboy ) and Martin Goulart ( Broadway Joe ) . They notice the crimes were committed using broadswords and that leads them to believe that the crime was committed by the BLM ( a German-Russian gang ), not only that , the leader of the group ( Dominic Abend ) was there himself . The two detectives have never been closer but Zach is having to deal with some complications . His boss brings him in to her office and tells him that Martin might be on the take , also Zach is being blackmailed by a former lover . He finds a potential lead in Germany in the form of a professor . The professor tells him a crazy story involving immortal Nazi’s , magic daggers , and werewolves . He doesn’t believe her … until the moment she turns into a werewolf before his eyes . From there , the story turns into a fast paced supernatural thriller involving police corruption , German cults , and one hungry werewolf cop !

This is my first time reading an Andrew Klavan novel , I’ve seen some of the movies he wrote ( One Missed Call , True Crime , Gosnell ) and enjoyed those so I figured that his novels would be worth reading . Let me tell you , ” Werewolf Cop ” is one hell of an introduction to the guy . Dark and fun are the two words I would use to describe this masterpiece . It’s not for the weak of heart but if you enjoy a good detective story or are just into werewolves , read it folks !

The Mask by Dean Koontz

” The Mask ” by Dean Koontz is a supernatural thriller that was originally published in the early 1980’s .

Carol and Paul are a young couple looking to adopt a child but some complications arise . First , a freak lightning storm smashes the office of the lawyer who is helping them out and they lose their application in the process . Second , mysterious noises start popping up all around their house . Third , they start having intense nightmares . Paul hires someone to check out their house to find the source but they end up finding nothing and the man tells Paul a story about poltergeist . Carol ends up running over a fifteen year old girl who was wandering around in a daze . The girl is not seriously injured but she does seem to have a case of amnesia . Carol , feeling guilty , ends up visiting the girl often and they make a connection . The search for the girls parents doesn’t go well so Carol decides to bring her home with her and Paul . The girl starts to have nightmares as well and creepy things continue to happen around the house . Join this family as they endure a tragic tale dealing with fire , ax murder , possessed cats , and a killer game of Scrabble !

” The Mask ” by Dean Koontz is an intense a supernatural thriller as any other the author has written before. The characters are likable and the pace of the novel never drops . If you start reading this , you’ll want to finish it in one sitting . It’s that intense and it’s that good , read it folks !!!

The Spy Who Loved Me by Ian Fleming

” The Spy Who Loved Me ” is a spy thriller written by Ian Fleming and published in the early 1960’s .

Vivienne Michel accepts a job at ” The Dreamy Pines Motor Court” after several romances gone bad . When vacation season ends , Viv is put in charge of looking over the motel at night , so the owner can take inventory and close it up for the winter . Two mobsters , who work for the owner , arrive to burn down the place for insurance money . Before they do that however , they treat Viv very cruel , and attempt to rape her but they are interrupted by James Bond coming in to get a room . The rest of the novel follows Vivienne as she watches Bond take on the two gangsters in a battle of wits, violence , and the fallout that follows .

” The Spy Who Loved Me” is a unique James Bond novel for several reasons . The first reason is that the novel takes place completely from Vivienne’s point of view . Another reason is that the book largely takes place in one location . One more reason is that Bond himself doesn’t come until the last third of the novel . It’s relatively short compared to the other novels and it’s probably the most sexually explicit as well . I find it to be a fun experimental Bond novel and if you’re a fan of the character , read it .