Five Favorites is a new feature at the LA Books Examiner in which our favorite authors share and discuss their five favorite books within a category. In this edition, Elizabeth Eagan-Cox, author of the Shannon Delaney paranormal mystery novels discusses her five favorite Paranormal books.
Paranormal: Five Favorite books by author Elizabeth Eagan-Cox
Some people might categorize the following titles as Sci-Fi or Horror. I’m placing them in Paranormal because all have some element of the supernatural and lack the outright gore factor often associated with Horror. In all the following books, the psychology of the earth-bound world versus the supernatural world is at the core of the story.
1) Dracula by Bram Stoker was published in 1897… at the height of Victorian lifestyle of opulence and blatant contrast between the privileged wealthy class in society and the poor. Stoker teases his readers throughout the story with stark contrasts as exemplified in the nearly colorless pale skin of the vampire Dracula, shrouded in elegant black against his richly hued living victim’s blush of bare neck, horrifically displayed with trickles of scarlet blood. It’s a very heady contrast of DEATH hovering, beckoning, and lusting for life immortal at the ultimate cost of the human victim. Stoker’s tale of the vampire Dracula is not a trendy smitten-by-the-bitten romance, but it is the nexus of what would become the vampire-romance novel. Before vampires were portrayed as desirable hunks, they were the essence of evil in human form. To the Victorians this served a very real purpose. It was a life lesson that for the rich or poor, EVIL does lurk beneath desirable disguises. Vampires portrayed as pure evil? Dear God, let us return to those days!
2) Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. First published in 1818 at the very beginning of the Victorian era, Shelley’s woeful tale of an experiment gone wrong brings to life the monstrosities of the human condition in its rawest form. And I’m not referring to the monster Frankenstein. At the young age of nineteen and a mother at that, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly upped that ante of challenge between herself, her husband, the poet Percy Shelly and that rogue poet George Gordon, better known as Lord Byron. The tease: Who among this talented trio could write the most entertaining and thought provoking story…judged solely by the three? T’was a dark and stormy night…the cliché is true . It was upon a stormy night that the three took to their individual desks to pen the best entertainment possible. What of Lord Byron’s and Percy Shelley’s entry into this little contest? Their stories could not hold a candle to the talented Miss Mary’s quintessential Gothic tale of the ego-brilliant scientist Victor Frankenstein who must come to terms with his own accountability as the Creator of a disastrous patchwork monster. Aside from the obvious reference to God and his own creation, that rebellious angel Satan…I can’t but applaud the masterful foresight of Shelly’s concept. One cannot but wonder, what would she write today, in the here and now, given the inspiration of human cloning?
3) Ghost Story by Peter Straub, first published in 1989. Have you ever thought you could live your life without regret…not even the tiniest, itsy-bitsy regret of having done something wrong, or maybe not doing something you should have? That you would live your life with the attitude of never look back? If so, this story is for you. Which also means, this book is for anyone who thought they could get away with something, something minor, such as stealing an extra cookie or something major…such as murder. Just as the future catches up with a group of elderly men who get together on a weekly basis to tell ghost stories, the main characters must face their own ghosts of the past as the entire town is slowly being driven mad by evil. You do not need to believe in the hereafter, be it upstairs or downstairs, but by the time you finish this book, I guarantee, you will believe in ghosts. I read this book when it first came out, and it remains my all time favorite Ghost Story.
Read the rest of her five favorite paranormal books at Frank Mundo’s LA Books Examiner.