Tulku : A Tale of Modern Ninja by Stephen K. Hayes

” Tulku ” is a ninja thriller written by Stephen K. Hayes , published in the 1980’s .

The Matsutani Shoji company is a business like other businesses with one exception , it is actually ran by an ancient Japanese ninja clan . They look to set up a safe energy plant in India but discover phosphane gas being transported to their facility . Sabotage ! But by whom ? The ninja are sent to investigate . Meanwhile , elsewhere in the world , a Tibetan monk lives out his final days being watched over at a medical facility . Spreading his message to whomever will listen : reporters , doctors , other patients , and other monks . These seemingly two unrelated stories collide in a race against time involving terrorists , ninjas ,torture , and … possible reincarnation ?

This is a 1980’s ninja story written by an actual ninjutsu expert . If that doesn’t intrigue you , I’m not sure what will . It’s a strong thriller with a spiritual journey added in . The characters are likeable , maybe not the most sophisticated character development , but not bad at all . Check it out folks !

Dr. Phibes by William Goldstein

” Dr. Phibes ” is a mystery/horror story written by William Goldstein , originally published in the 1970’s .

Dr. Phibes died in a car crash while speeding off to see his wife as she dies on the operating table … or did he ? Several doctors in London start dying in weird and horrible ways . The first gets killed by bees , the second was ripped apart by bats , the third involved a frog mask , and a fourth was drained of all his blood . The investigators believe these murders are based off the biblical plagues of Egypt but they don’t know why the doctors have been targeted . Will the investigators find the other targets before all ten plagues have been performed ? What involvement do they have with Dr. Phibes ? Is Dr. Phibes really as dead as people think ? Come find out in ” Dr. Phibes ” ?

I first heard about this book after watching the movie version of it that starred the legendary horror film actor Vincent Price ( which I also recommend )  . This is a fun , smooth , mad scientist story with plenty of twists and sympathetic characters . By the end of the story  , you’ll understand everything . Overall , I’d say check this one out if you’re into mysteries and old school mad scientist stories .

Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky

” Metro 2033 ” is a post-apoclyptic horror novel written by Dmitry Glukhovsky , published in the 2000’s .

The year is 2033 , the setting is a Russian metro stations , the surface world is unlivable to normal human kind and has been over run by mutants . The story revolves around a young man named Artyom and is told mostly from his point of view . Artyom’s metro station is under constant attack from telepathic mutants known as ” the dark ones ” . One day a man called Hunter visits Artyom’s station and says something along the line of ” I’ve got a mission , if I’m not back tomorrow that means I failed and you got to finish it . ” Guess what happens ? Hunter fails so Artyom goes on an epic journey throughout the metro . A journey that has him dealing with fascist , communist , the dark ones , mutant dogs , philosophers , psychics , librarians , and more !

This is a fun but dark book , juggling different political and philosophical beliefs . Artyom knows little of how the world was before it was destroyed , so it’s his first time really dealing with all these beliefs and you feel his confusion . There is a debate throughout the story dealing with the concept of fate and if it exists or not which is interesting . The best parts of this book ( in my mind anyways) are Artyom’s nightmare sequences which are written supremely well .

Favorite quote : ” Could it be that the determination , rage , and desperation that drove him to take every next step created , in some unknown way , a reality that wove a set of chaotic events and someone’s thoughts and actions into an ordered system , thereby turning an ordinary life into a plot , as Sergei Andreyevich had said ? “

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

” The Manchurian Candidate ” is a political thriller written by Richard Condon , published in 1959 .

Sergeant Raymond Shaw and the rest of his platoon are captured during the Korean War . They are taken to Manchuria where they get worked over and brainwashed by communist scientist . The scientist put on a demonstration of their brainwashing abilities by having Shaw kill two of his fellow soldiers in front of Chinese and Soviet officials . They then proceed to brainwash Shaw and his group, telling them that they were ambushed by Chinese soldiers but Shaw heroically took out every single one of the people who had attacked them . This leads to Raymond Shaw winning the medal of honor . Now the communist have a brainwashed sleeper agent going around with a medal of honor , what evil deeds do they have planned ?

This novel feels like a time capsule of the 1950’s in America . Dealing with issues such as the Korean War , the threat of political assassination , Joseph McCarthy , the red scare , etc . It benefits you if you have some knowledge of the era but it gives you enough knowledge inside so you don’t get lost . One hell of a thriller , I can see why it made such a big impact back in the day . Would not recommend it to everyone though , most of the characters throughout the novel are evil people and there is some fairly taboo stuff in there dealing with incest , but if that doesn’t affect you then by all means check it out .

Twilight Eyes by Dean Koontz

Twilight Eyes is a suspense horror novel written by Dean Koontz , published in the 1980’s .

This novel starts off the same year as the Kennedy assassination . The main character is a 17 year old runaway named Carl Stanfeuss (but since he goes by the name Slim Mackenzie most of the novel we’ll just go with Slim ) . Slim has a special ability , he can see the future to an extent and he can see through some people and see goblins . These goblins are creatures of pure evil intent who feed off the suffering of us humans and Slim has made it his mission to kill any of them he can . Slim joins up with a traveling carnival to get some money and sanctuary . He works under the cold but beautiful Rya and begins to fall in love with her almost immediately . Things get intense though as he has visions that something bad is going to happen at the carnival . Get ready for a tale involving sabotage , carnys , goblins , psychics , betrayal , and that is just the first part !

This book was recommended to me by a friend of mine and I can’t thank them enough . It reminds me a lot of another book of his called ” The Funhouse ” , at least aesthetically , which was also pretty good . The time frame , the traveling carnival , cool side characters , a strong protagonist , a revenge plot , and a romance in a horror story that I can actually buy , all combine together to make one hell of a good read . Get it people !

Who Goes There ? by John W. Campbell , Jr.

” Who Goes There ? ” is a science fiction horror story written by John W. Campbell , Jr ( as Don A Stuart ) , originally published in the 1930’s .

A crew of scientist are on an outpost in Antarctica . They find an alien creature and it’s ship frozen in ice . Naturally curious , they strive to thaw out both . The ship is destroyed by accident but the creature survives and starts attacking the outpost dogs . The creature is electrocuted to death but the scientist discover something that instantly frightens them . The creature was turning into one of the dogs and one of the scientist admits to dreaming about the creature . In the dreams , the creature can not only change itself into any creature it ingests but it can also read minds and project it’s thoughts into others . Come read a tale of paranoia , murder , and survival .

This is a short story but it has a huge punch inside . It is one of the best uses of paranoia in a story that I’ve ever read . If the story sounds close to the John Carpenter movie ” The Thing ” , that’s because the movie is based on this story . I would recommend this story especially to people who enjoyed that movie as well as fans of old school science fiction in general .

Magic by William Goldman

Magic by William Goldman is a psychological thriller that was originally published in the 1970’s .

Corky is a successful magician but he is not yet ready to take the next big step . He goes back to his childhood city one day without telling his manager where he is going and why he is . He rents a house by a lake from an old crush of his . He spends his time trying to reconnect with her , reminiscing about his family life there , and talking to his ventriloquist dummy . You know , normal stuff . Can you imagine things start going wrong ?

I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll just say this . This is a great thriller , it keeps you guessing , keeps a sense of humor , with a sense of dread throughout . Read it folks !