Joanna Briscoe’s latest novel Touched is a spine-chilling tale of a creepy cottage and a mother’s terror as, one-by-one, her daughters start to go missing. So who better to compile a list of her favourite books that go bump in the night? Here are Joanna’s top 10 terrifying tomes:
1. BELOVED BY TONI MORRISON (1987)
If I had to choose one favourite novel of all time, it would be this. Profound, important, beautiful - it takes my breath away.
The haunting it describes represents the whole legacy of abuse and tragedy of American slavery.
As the story of an individual mother and the daughter whose spirit returns, it is so utterly moving, so disturbing, it has me in tears every time I re-read it. A masterpiece.
2. THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGHTER BY KATE MOSSE (2014)
This isn’t even published until September, but when I heard about it, I knew I had to get my hands on it! I was struck by the idea of a museum of stuffed carrion birds (who wouldn’t be?), of a tale featuring bell jars and a decaying house. Even the title itself is high in thrills and chills, and Kate Mosse does gothic like few other modern writers. Her settings seem to be alive.
3. THE TURN OF THE SCREW BY HENRY JAMES (1898)
This is a classic of ghost literature and has to be chosen. Unusually - and it feels terribly low-brow saying this - I prefer the film (The Innocents) to the novel. The script was partly written by Truman Capote, and the eerie lighting is masterly.
It’s a great story of a governess and two small children who seem to be in the grip of evil influences, all the more haunting for its ambiguities. (read the full list at The Express)