Things that go bump in the night.

As a child who could not watch Gremlins without hiding behind the sofa, you can imagine my parent’s surprise when I started reading Stephen King books at the age of 13. I’m not a lover of ‘slash and dash’ or ‘make you jump’ films. I have no urge to seek the short adrenaline rush they provide whilst you wait for the bad guy to jump out of the predictably dark woods and the same applies to the books I read. I like a story that keeps me in suspense, keeps me guessing on what could happen next and pleasantly surprises you with every twist and turn. (Can you have pleasant surprises in thrillers?)

This month’s theme had me thinking about what makes these books so scary. Quite often they are set in everyday locations, based on people you can relate to as your friends, family and co-workers. Do we all, deep down, fear the same things? How do authors achieve tapping into these fears and writing such amazing books that keep us on the edge of our seats and awake at night?

According to research these are people’s top ten fears:

  • The Dentist
  • Dogs
  • Flying
  • Thunder & Lightening
  • The Dark
  • Heights
  • Other people
  • Scary Spaces i.e. Lifts, Bridges, Public Transport
  • Creepy Crawlies
  • Snakes

I’m scared of two of these things, which I like to think makes me quite brave. But when you put this list into a thriller/horror or similar style book, can I be quite so confident? Nope.

Whilst thoroughly enjoying Enclave by Ann Aguirre, I did find myself sat in work one day wondering would I survive a world filled with Zombies (my fear list is up to seven in this situation) and who would be in my band of warriors. Team Sharon included Captain America and Thor, my friends, Becky who is Zombie mad and Mountain Man Andy who is on a mission to become the next Bear Grylls. As only two of these four people exist I don’t like our chances!

For this month’s read, I am returning to a book I first picked up at the tender age of 14, Misery by Stephen King. I remember how this book filled me with fear as the story slowly meandered its way around Annie Wilkes’ mind and Paul Sheldon’s terrifying situation. Will be as scary a read for me now?  I’ll let you know.


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