Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Top 10 horror books

Charlie Higson is a comedian and author.

For the Guardian, he named a top ten list of horror books.

One novel on the list:
The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson

There has been a lot of fuss recently about the film of this book. But the book – which is every bit as extreme and upsetting as the film – has been around since as long ago as 1952. Amazing how you can get away with so much more in books without people really noticing. "Oh, it's a book, it must be good for you." Well, this book is certainly not good for you. I remember reading it and thinking – should I be reading this, should anyone read this? It is a horrific trip inside the mind of a cold-blooded psychopathic sadist, who is nevertheless good company and at times unnervingly funny. Not in a flip, post-Tarantino way; this is very disturbing and upsetting stuff. There is never any question as to where Thompson stands – the narrator is a monster. We watch his destructive relations unfold and discover the reasons for his condition from the reading equivalent of "behind the sofa". Unlike a lot of modern writers who go into this area in a sort of gleefully voyeuristic adolescent way that is entirely fake (stand up Brett Easton Ellis). Jim Thompson lived the life. He understood these people and fought many demons of his own. He is my favourite author by a long chalk, and this is an extraordinary book, but it's also certainly one of the most extreme (and extremely upsetting) things I've ever read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Killer Inside Me also appears among Alex Barclay's top ten psychological thrillers and Henry Sutton's top ten unreliable narrators.

--Marshal Zeringue