Octopussy and The Living Daylights by Ian Fleming

” Octopussy and The Living Daylights ” is a short story collection written by Ian Fleming and starring James Bond , originally published in the 1960’s . Seeing as all of these stories are only a few pages long , I’m going to summarize them all in one or two sentences , to avoid spoiling them too much .

” Octopussy ” : A revenge story involving Nazi gold , ice climbing , and a hungry octopus .

” The Property of a Lady ” : Using a double agent to find another double agent at an art auction .

” The Living Daylights”: James Bond has to take out a Russian sniper while saving another agent.

“007 in New York” : Bond is sent to warn a former British agent that their boyfriend is with the KGB .

Ian Fleming is one hell of a thriller writer and it shows in all these stories . ” Octopussy” is my personal favorite of these tales even though it involves James Bond the least , it’s a suspenseful revenge story with a twist ending. ” The Property of a Lady ” is a more laid back James Bond story , it trades bullets for a competitive auction. It’s a nice change of pace but if you’re looking for violence … this is not the story for you . ” The Living Daylights ” is the most action packed of the four , an intense story that deals with the dirtier parts of the spy business. “007 in New York” is a sad story that deals with love and deception in New York , I’d like to see it expanded upon which is the mark of a good short story … it’s a shame Ian Fleming isn’t around to do it . Overall , if you’re a James Bond film , I’d recommend reading all of them . If you’re just a casual fan of thrillers in general , I’d say at least read ” Octopussy ” and  ” The Living Daylights ” stories .

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 .

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 !

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 !

The Howling 1 by Gary Brandner

The Howling is a horror story dealing with werewolves . Written by Gary Brandner , it was published in 1977 .

Karyn Beatty was living a happy , normal , middle class life . She was married to a successful editor named Roy and she had aa baby on the way . That is … until she was viciously raped one day . The rape led to a miscarriage and several nervous break downs . Karyn and Roy decide to rent a house inside a village ( named Drago ) in the California mountains in order for them to try to get their lives back together . The villagers seem to be okay people but Karyn is not all that comfortable there , she starts hearing howling noises at night . She tells Roy but he believes that she is becoming unstable . So a gap between them is made and Roy starts having an affair with the local shopkeeper . One night though , Roy gets bitten by a large wolf and he becomes sick for several days . Karyn talks to a former nun who believes there is a werewolf in the village of Drago . Karyn will find out just how true that is as she continues to listen for the howling !

This is a well written werewolf story . It’s got a little bit of mystery , seduction , paranoia , as well as cults and other fun stuff . I wouldn’t recommend it for the weakhearted but if you’re looking for a werewolf story , I’d say give this a bite … I mean give it a look .

The Little White Trip: A Night in the Pines by Peter Joseph Gallagher

The Little White Trip : A Night in the Pines is a horror novel written by Peter Joseph Gallagher , self published in the 2000’s .

Five high school graduates ( Matt who is ” writing ” this story , Dura , Sam , Ian , and Julie ) win a trip to a cabin and a ski lodge on a mountain in Arizona . Something is fishy though , on the way over there they arrive at the wrong cabin and are told that the cabin that they are suppose to go to once housed a brutal murderer that was never caught . They doubt it at first but when they get to their cabin things get creepy . They look in the basement and find a photo of the killer and his family . The next day , all of them ( except for Sam who stays at the cabin ) go skiing together but when they get back Sam is gone and the car is wrecked . What happened to Sam ? Could this killer still be alive and killing today ?

This story is told from Matt’s point of view and that is what helps this story a lot . There is a growing sense of paranoia as the story goes along and it likes to throw its twists throughout . This feels like one of R.L. Stine’s ” Fear Street ” and I mean that in the best possible way . Old clichés given new life with fun plot twists . Read it folks .

My Journey Through Horror Fiction

Since this is October , I have decided to take this time to talk briefly about my personal journey through reading horror . Horror has almost always been apart of my reading habits . I started the way most 90’s and early 2000’s kids did … reading R.L. Stine’s ” Goosebumps” series in secret at my elementary school ( ” The Haunted Mask ” sticks out the most. ) . From there , I took the next obvious step and started to read R.L. Stine’s ” Fear Street ” series .

Then one day in junior high I was introduced to Edgar Allen Poe through a story called ” The Tell-Tale Heart ” and was immediately hooked . It remains a personal favorite of mine to this day. From there on , I couldn’t get enough . My family made it a habit to go to the library or one of the book stores almost every week . Before junior high was over , I recall reading several collections of Edgar Allen Poe’s work ( there is a huge collection called ” Edgar Allen Poe Complete Tales and Poems ” released by Fall River Press that I bought at Barnes and Noble for about eight bucks . It’s basically a steal at that price . ) , H.G. Wells ( ” The Invisible Man” , ” War of the Worlds ” , ” The Island of Doctor Moreau ” ) , Bram Stoker’s ” Dracula ” , Mary Shelley’s ” Frankenstein ” , Thomas Harris ‘s Hannibal Lector series , and Stephen King’s ” Needful Things ” . Of course , those are just some of the highlights .

In high school I came across a short story collection by Clive Barker called ” The Books of Blood ” and became a lifelong fan of the man’s work . Now while I read my first Stephen King novel in junior high , I wasn’t an instant fan . I read his stuff because it was basically required of all horror fans but I didn’t get into his work . That is … until I read his post apocalyptic novel ” The Stand ” . I consider it his greatest novel to this day and it helped me appreciate his writing a whole lot more .

Now outside of high school , I’ve come across so many great authors and stories that it would be impossible for me to write them all down but I feel like I should leave a list of recommendations . So here you go : Ray Bradbury ( Something Wicked This Way Comes ) , H.P. Lovecraft ( At the Mountains of Madness ) , R.L. Stine ( Red Rain ) , Clive Barker ( The Damnation Game ) , H.G. Wells ( The Island of Doctor Moreau ) , Edgar Allen Poe ( The Raven ) , Arthur Machen ( The Great God Pan ) , Robert E. Howard ( Pigeons from Hell ) , Michael Crichton ( The Andromeda Strain ) , Robert Bloch ( Psycho ) , Thomas Harris ( The Silence of the Lambs ) , Stephen King ( It ) , Robert McCammon ( Swan Song ) , William Peter Blatty ( Legion ) , William Hope Hodgson ( The Whistling Room ) , Richard Matheson ( Hell House ) , Dean Koontz ( Twilight Eyes ) , and Harlan Ellison ( I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream ) .