My favourite time of the year is approaching – Halloween! 🦇
Here are my Halloween reading recommendations. These are the books that have scared or thrilled me over the years!
Winterbay Abbey by John Bladek and Davonna Juroe
This is a creepy, atmospheric, old style ghost story with a sad, haunting ending. Will, an architect, goes to the historic Winterbay Abbey to design a grand restoration, but Will and his wife soon fall foul of the abbey’s curse.
The in Woman Black By Susan Hill
This gothic tale is well known as being one of the scariest books in the past few years and it lives up to its reputation. Arthur Kipps goes to the isolated Edel Marsh House to sort out the affairs of the late Alice Drablow. A chilling and brilliant ghost story.
The Stand by Stephen King
The Stand is not only one of my favourite horror novels, but also my favourite book. It’s an epic, apocalyptic tale of good versus evil. The horror only begins when a deadly influenza spreads rapidly across the world.
Heart – Shaped Box by Joe Hill
This is a modern, original ghost story from Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill. Scary and gory and further proof that you should not buy ghosts on the Internet! Rock star Judge buys a ghost to add to his occult collection, with horrific results.
IT by Stephen King
IT does not need much of an introduction with the current release of the movie version. The book will always be superior – over 1000 pages of pure horror in the town of Derry at the hands of an ancient evil and the terrifying Pennywise the clown. 🤡 .The characters, settings, atmosphere and scenes are perfect.
NOS4R2 by Joe Hill
This was recommended to me by David at Blue Balloon and it is excellent. This is wicked, twisted, surreal horror – a child killer, Christmasland and a Mother trying to save her son.
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
I first read this as a very young teenager and I’ve read a dozen times since. The vampire tale of the beautiful Louis and the enigmatic Lestat is bloody, mesmerising and stunning.
Naomi’s Room by Jonathan Aycliffe
This had been the only book that I’ve ever had to leave to one side before finishing because it scared me so much. A particular gruesome, ghostly scene would not leave my head. Charles’ daughter goes missing Christmas Eve and is later found murdered. This is is only the start of the terror for Charles and Laura. A ghost story and a mystery.
The Ghosts of Sleath by James Herbert
All of James Herbert’s Ash series are excellent, but I picked this one for the list. Psychic David Ash goes to investigate a town full of hauntings. This had lots of gruesome imagery, along with heart.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Dracula, the father of all vampires and written by an Irish man. The tale of Jonathan Harker, Count Dracula and Mena is eloquent, timeless and scary. I think I need to re-read this one soon!
Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell
This is the first YA book on the list. Creepy little dolls, a windswept location, oijua boards, deaths and a tortured teen make for a brilliant YA horror.
Dark Matter by Michelle Pavar
I listened to Dark Matter in audiobook form and it entranced me. An Artic expedition results in Jack being stranded in a rough, artic Winter alone, but he’s not alone. Haunting, tense and gripping throughout.
The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Dead House is also a YA addition. A psychological, gory and original tale told from a variety of sources, including police interviews, video footage and the diary of Kaitlyn and Carly, a girl with multiple personalities.
House on Haunted Hill by Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson has a fantastic way of twisting the readers emotions and confusing them. A classic tale of terror when a group of strangers go to Hill House to take part in a study. The reader is unsure whether this is a a real haunted house or the manifestations of one of the main character Eleanor’s mind.
Zom-B Series by Darren Shan
Zom-B series is a twelve book series, with an extra novella. I read the whole series of a period of months and when it finished, I was devastated to say goodbye to B Smith and the other characters like Mr. Dowling. Zombie filled and action packed, this also highlights more political themes like racism. I devoured this like warm brains.
The Fog by James Herbert
The Fog is a brilliant, demented and grotesque book. When the fog invades a small village in England and rapidly spreads, it drives people insane and makes them act on their most depraved and horrific instincts.
Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories – edited by Doug Murano and Alexander Ward
This anthology from Crystal Lake Publishing re-kindled my love of the short story. Each story is unique, beautiful but also horrible. A mixture of poems and stories to entrance and disgust.
Turner by Karl Drinkwater
I knew that I’d love Turner from the moment I saw the bloody chainsaw on the cover.
I loved the isolated Welsh setting and the atmosphere of the village, reminded me of Summerville Island from The Wicker Man. Three strangers fight for their lives on an isolated Welsh island where the locals are not welcoming.
Hannah by Shaun Horton
When Eli, Naomi and their two children return from a camping trip, strange occurrences start in their house and family pet Hannah starts acting viciously and strangely. I’m terrified of dogs, so this canine horror scared the beejaysus out of me.
The Beast House by Richard Laymon
In true Laymon style, this is gory, twisted, sexually charged and action packed. Thanks to my old library in Dungarvan, I discovered Laymon. Tourists come to visit the infamous Beast House, where multiple murders have occurred and get more than they bargain for.
The Silence of Ghosts by Jonathan Aycliffe
Dominic, a wounded former soldier,is sent to the countryside with partially deaf sister Octavia during the blitz. This has eerie scenes, an atmospheric creepy location and a sense of dread throughout.
This House is Haunted by John Boyne
By now, you can probably tell that I’m a fan of the classic ghost story. 👻 Governess Eliza arrives at Gaudlin Hall. Abandoned children, unexplained occurrences and terrifying experiences await her.
Lockwood and Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
This book is aimed at teens and is the perfect mix of scary and humourous. This is the first in the series where the team of courageous Lucy, the enigmatic Lockwood and Georges, first start investigating hauntings across London. Hugely entertaining!
Ring by Koji Suzuki
This is the book that spawned the Ringu and Ring films. Again, the first in a series, this story of a videotape that kills you seven days after you watch it is a tense and creepy horror.
The Ghosts of Magnificent Children by Caroline Busher
Though for younger readers, this book had to make the list, everyone knows that children love ghost stories! It was haunting and gripped me until the bittersweet ending. Four magnificent and gifted children are taken to Badblood’s circus, where a dark fate awaits them. 100 years later, their ghosts appear the Irish coast, where they befriend Rua, who must help them.
The Dead House by Billy O’Callaghan
Billy O’Callaghan’s first novel is a beautifully written ghost story. Set in the wilds of West Cork, a group of friends visited artist Maggie and try out a ouija board. Maggie unravels emotionally and artistically as the real, unseen terror unfolds. The clever, perfectly eeerie ending to this book will stay with the reader for long after the last last page.
Darkmere by Helen Maslin
Darkmere is a ghost story told in dual timelines by modern day Kate and nineteenth century young bride Elinor and their experiences at Darkmere Castle. This a fun, YA horror with a mix of romance, ghosts and mystery.
The Demon Road Trilogy by Derek Landy
When Amber turns sixteen, she finds out that she’s not the boring girl she thought, she’s also a beautiful red-horned demon. This is an epic rollercoaster of a journey as Amber and Milo travel across America to try to escape Amber’s parents. A brilliant trilogy featuring demonic bikers, vampires, undead serial killers and awesome characters
Zombie Girl Saga by Alessia Giacomi
This is the second atypical zombie series on the list. Eve Brenner goes on an archaeological dig with friends Akex and Cam, and is bitten by something that causes her to become a thinking zombie. This series was full of great action sequences and friendship, it reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Hell House by Richard Matheson
It’s a very long time since I read this, but I can still remember the opening chapters and our introduction to the ominous Belasco House or Hell House. Four people are hired by a millionaire to enter the house and investigate the paranormal phenomena. Chilling and psychological, another classic ghost story.
The Haunting of Highdown Hall by Shani Struthers
This is a recent read for me and the Psychic surveys series is entertaining and scary. The series follows Ruby’s psychic investigations agency as they try to help trapped spirits. Each book has a great story at the heart and feisty characters.
The Other Side of the Wall by Andrea Mara
This is the only real thriller on the list. I had to add this as it’s the only book in a long time to really freak me out! One scene had me hiding under the covers and listening for noises downstairs. Sylvia looks out her bedroom window at night and sees a child face down in the pond next door, she races into her neighbour’s garden. But the pond is empty, and no-one is answering the door…
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Vicious, strange, heartbreaking and bloody, a vampire novel unlike any other. Loner Oskar is befriended by new neighbour, the strange Eli, who never leaves the apartment during the day. The real horror in this unfolds as Oskar is horribly bullied. Utterly brilliant and disturbing.
Mr. Sparks by Danny Weston
Ventriloquist dummies have scared me ever since I came across Mr. Slappy in Goosebumps! Mr. Sparks is an even creepier character! After Owen’s father goes missing in the war and his Mother has a breakdown, he is left with his cruel aunt in her boarding house. Mr. Sparks shows him a way out, but soon it becomes apparent that Mr. Sparks is not as friendly as he first seems. A tense, gripping and scary YA horror.
I’ve finally come to the end of my list! Have you ready any of these? What books really scared you?
Have a wicked Halloween! 🦇 🦇 🦇