The Lurking Fear
by H.P. Lovecraft
Our Nameless Narrator in this short story is perhaps an ancestor of Fox Mulder, a paranormal investigator before the term paranormal was even coined. He doesn't do it for fame, and he doesn't do it for money. Instead, he does it all in the name of obsession.
In this instance, the obsession leads our narrator to investigate an old secluded house that some have said to be haunted, the apex of a series of bizarre mutilation murders. He assembles a team to assist in the investigation, and when they're dragged from their beds in the middle of the night, well, he just assembles another one.
This isn't the best of Lovecraft's work, nor is it the most original. It shares its serial format with the previous great work "Herbert West: Reanimator" (doing away, thankfully, with the reiteration of the previous chapter at the beginning of each new one), but it takes itself much more seriously--which is in step with the majority of the author's work. It is partly a haunted house tale, and partly a forerunner of Tremors, which may sound quite novel, but the surprise ending will come as no surprise to anyone who has read Lovecraft's own "Beast in the Cave" and "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family", of which this tale is relatively derivative. If you haven't read those stories, and you're going into this one fresh, you may have an enthusiasm for "The Lurking Fear" that I just can't quite muster.
It seems almost as if Lovecraft was unhappy with these earlier pieces, and so pilfered the aspects that he thought could be reworked into something usable. Regardless of this, it remains a very well-written (perhaps over-written) story with a few chilling scenes, and you could do much worse if looking for a suitable jumping-on point.