Seeking a deliciously dark, macabre tale featuring characters and plots you’d rather hide from than sit in your bedroom with? Glad to be acquainted.
Those with a nervous disposition should probs sit this one out.
From spine-chilling Stephen King classics to freaky fiction guaranteed to have you sleeping with the light on, here’s a round-up of the boo-kish delights to gorge on this Halloween. Those with a nervous disposition should probs sit this one out. Go cuddle some kittens for a while.
Let’s ease you in gently! Despite the title, this is not your average run of the mill scary monster novel. This is a moving classic that’ll have you mopping up your tears with the nearest fake spiderweb or black cat you can find. Who knew a tree could make you so emotional.
Misery by Stephen King
Nobody does the stick-your-book-in-the-freezer fiction quite like Stephen King. Misery is about a famous novelist who crashes his car in a snowstorm and is rescued by none other than his mentally-unstable number one fan.
Paul Sheldon has plans to make the transition from writing historical romances featuring heroine Misery Chastain to publishing literary fiction. Annie Wilkes, Sheldon’s self-proclaimed number one fan, rescues the author from the scene of a car accident. The former nurse takes care of him in her remote house, but becomes irate when she discovers that the author has killed Misery off in his latest book. Annie keeps Sheldon prisoner while forcing him to write a book that brings Misery back to life. If you’re after a book that will be best placed locked in a cupboard with a padlock, this is a good shout.
Our Zoella Book Club read for October! A modern reworking of a classic tale, this is one literary rabbit hole you’ll be all too glad to stumble down. When Alice’s troubled best friend Bunny goes missing, she becomes obsessed with finding her. She begins retracing her steps and looking for clues in her pigeonhole when she discovers an invitation to Wonderland: the elite party to end all parties. Could this lead her to Bunny? Or is this really a case of finding herself?
The Deaths of December is the ultimate anti-Christmas gift, all wrapped up with a bloody bow to boot. When an advent calendar arrives at the police station, DC Becky Greene makes a gruelling discovery behind each door. As the country relaxes into festive cheer, Greene and DS Eddie Carmine must race against time to catch the killer. Because there are four doors left, and four murders will fill them… It’s an absolute cracker.
Action, suspense, plot, this book has it all going on. The first in a five-book thriller series by Gregg Hurtwitz, Orphan X is the story of Evan Smoak, who joined a top-secret operation known as the ‘Orphan Program’ when he was 12. Raised and trained as an Orphan, he was sent to bad places to do things the government denied ever happened. Then, he broke with the program, using everything he learned to disappear. But someone is on his trail. If the blurb’s anything to go by, you’re in for a nail-biting read.
A gripping high-school thriller like no other, The Magpie Society: One for Sorrow is a book you’ll want to devour in one fell swoop.
Illumen Hall is an elite boarding school of tradition and achievement. But tragedy strikes when the body of a student is found dead on the beach – and on her back is a tattoo of a magpie. For new student Audrey, it is just another strange and unsettling thing about her new surroundings, along with the secrets the school seems to hide and its weird obsession with magpies. For her roommate Ivy, the death of her friend Lola is just one thing she desperately wants to get past – and having a new student asking questions and cluttering up her personal space is not helping a bit.
But the two girls are forced into an unlikely alliance when a mysterious podcast airs, with one sinister headline: I KNOW WHO KILLED LOLA. AND ONE OF YOU IS NEXT.
Chanting a ghost’s name five times in front of a candlelit mirror at a spooky boarding school… Never going to end well, guys. Asking for trouble, that! When Bobbie, her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to summon the legendary ghost, Bloody Mary, for a Halloween dare, it looks like nothing eerie happens, until Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror that says: five days. Read it at your own risk, preferably five days before Halloween for peak paranoia.
A dark YA novel with one utterly compelling unreliable narrator. Seventeen-year-old Hannah Gold has always been treated like a grown up. As the only child of two New York professionals, she’s been traveling the world and functioning as a miniature adult since the day she was born. But that was then. Now, Hannah has been checked into a remote treatment facility, stripped of all autonomy and confined to a single room.
Hannah knows there’s been a mistake. What happened to her roommate that summer was an accident. As soon as the doctor and judge figure out that she isn’t a danger to herself or others, she can get back to her life of promise and start her final year at school. Until then, she’s determined to win over the staff and earn some privileges so she doesn’t lose her mind to boredom.
But then she’s assigned a new roommate. At first, Lucy is the perfect project to keep Hannah’s focus off all she is missing at home. But Lucy may be the one person who can make Hannah confront the secrets she’s avoiding – and the dangerous games that landed her in confinement in the first place.
It’ll have you second-guessing yourself right the way through.
A missing girl, a desperate family, a detective at breaking point – this one’s got all the ticking-clock appeal you could ever want in your Halloween reading. If you liked The Fall, you’ll be all over this crime fiction treat. It’s the stuff of nightmares, in a good way.
Now a major Netflix series, Shirley Jackson’s best-known novel is as creepy and unsettling as they come. There’s nothing like a slow-burning psychological horror to scare the bejesus out of you.