Throughout most of the year, I tend to shy (okay RUN) away from scary movies and books, but once a year -when the leaves have turned red and I can pull out my cozy knit sweater – I am convinced to watch a scary movie with a group of friends. And though it is comforting to face fears with friends, there is something brave and independent about enduring a scary book by yourself. Of course, it is essential to do so in the safety of your own home, with a cozy blanket and a cup of tea to keep you warm (especially when the scary stories send shivers down your spine). This week, I’ve collected a list of the 10 Top Ten Halloween Reads for Adults. So whether you’re like me and usually hide from scary stories, or if you enjoy thrillers year-round, myself and my coworkers highly recommend these scary stories to add to your To Be Read pile this October!
1. Twisted Cakes by Debbie Goard
I will ease you into the list slowly. This book has a TERRIFYING cover, but it is the most ingenious, delicious Halloween book out there. It is called Twisted Cakes, and it is a cookbook that includes “deliciously evil designs for every occasion.” San Francisco cake designer Debbie Goard, whose work has been featured on The Food Network’s “Cake Off” challenge, showcases creepy cake and cupcake designs, including the Creepy Clown and the Can of Worms, that are perfect for Halloween.
2. Horns by Joe Hill
On the anniversary of his girlfriend’s murder, Ig drowns not his sorrow, but his anger in alcohol. He is filled with rage – not only did he lose Merrin, but one year later he is still the sole suspect for her murder. When he wakes up the following morning, Ig has more than a hangover. He has horns. Growing from his temples. They are paired with new, dark powers that Ig plans to use to find the real person responsible for Merrin’s death. Horns is from bestselling author Joe Hill and its movie adaptation starring Daniel Radcliffe is in production, so it should definitely be on your reading list this Halloween!
3. Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
Elizabeth Haynes’ debut novel tells a convincing story of obsession and love gone wrong in Into the Darkest Corner. It has been five years since Catherine has seen her ex-boyfriend, the once-loving turned dangerous Lee. But upon hearing the news that Lee may be released from prison, her fears of his return overcome her ability to live a normal, everyday life.
4. Devil Said Bang by Richard Kadrey
Devil Said Bang is the fourth installment in the Sandman Slim series and James Stark still wants to escape hell. He could too, if it wasn’t for one tiny issue: he’s running it. But he’s dealt with angels, devils, monsters and mobsters and if anyone can escape Hell, it’s Slim. If you’re a fan of the series, or looking for a gripping, energetic read, then Devil Said Bang is a great place to start.
5. The Vanishing Point by Val McDermid
This is not a spooky Halloween read; it is the chilling story of a child’s abduction from his godparent, who he was recently left with after his mother passed away from cancer. It’s not a parent’s worst nightmare, but a godparents. This, and Val’s unwavering talent and encapsulating prose are reason enough to pick up The Vanishing Point this October.
6. Enter, Night by Michael Rowe
This is Michael Rowe’s first novel, and he has already been compared to critically-acclaimed thriller authors Stephen King and Robert McCammon. Christina, her daughter and her brother-in-law Jeremy have returned to Parr’s Landing, a small town in Northern Ontario, after her husband’s death. But Parr’s Landing is not as quiet as it seems; a three-hundred-year old evil resurfacing…
7. Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom
I confess, Krampus: The Yule Lord is a book that I have yet to pick up, since the cover alone terrifies me. The premise is equally as terrifying (though I admit, extremely intriguing) as it tells the story of Krampus, the Lord of Yule and the dark enemy of Santa Claus who reveals Santa’s darkest secrets one Christmas Eve to unsuspecting Jesse. From then on, Jesse witnesses an ancient feud over the (potentially dark) magic of Yule. Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy, has said of Krampus: The Yule Lord, “[it is a] wild ride….I loved it. It hooked me and I couldn’t put it down.”
8. The Drowning by Camilla Lackberg
International bestseller Camilla Lackberg delivers a chilling and suspenseful mystery about an unhappy novelist, Christian Thydell, who is receiving death threats from an unstable stranger. After two men are found murdered, the police realize that there is a connection – and that Christian is in danger. The police investigate into the victims’ past, uncovering secrets that were meant to be taken to the grave.
9. The Strain Trilogy by Guillermi Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
The Minneapolis Star Tribune said it perfectly: “Chuck Hogan is known for his taut thrillers, Guillermo del Toro for his surreal horror films…The Strain brings out the best of each.” The Strain, The Fall and The Night Eternal tell the terrifying story of vampires, reinventing how we could have ever imagined them. This series is terrifying and imaginative… you will not be able to put them down.
10. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
If you’re like me, and spooky isn’t always your thing, than you’ll love Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. It’s spooky, but not scary, and mysterious, but not jumpy. It tells the story of a young man who works in a 24-Hour bookstore, but the books (and the customers) are not what they seem. The story follows the quest to solve the mysteries of My. Penumbra’s bookstore, and is the perfect read if you’re looking for an eerie adventure without the fright this Halloween.
Follow me on Twitter @ktvncnt