Five Scary Books To Read This Halloween

Halloween is next Wednesday and to celebrate we’ve put together a list of books, both old and new, that will (hopefully) scare you silly.


The thing under my bed waiting to grab my ankle isn’t real. I know that, and I also know that if I’m careful to keep my foot under the covers, it will never be able to grab my ankle. - Stephen King, foreword from Night Shift (1978)

There are plenty of theories as to why people ‘love to be scared’, from popular science such as this article which suggests that ‘people may actually enjoy being scared’ to this short video from director Wes Craven where he describes the experience as ‘somehow exhilarating’.

Whatever the reason, there is a great deal of pleasure to be found in a terrifying book and that’s what this list is all about, a snapshot of scary reads.

twelve-halloween***The Twelve* by Justin Cronin**

The long-awaited sequel to the best-selling The Passage is finally here; the world as we know it is a wasteland, overrun and controlled by the virals, and only small pockets of humanity remain.

It’s heady stuff and our reviewer, Fiona Hardy, calls the book, ‘dystopian fiction at its most terrifying’.

road-halloween***The Road* by Cormac McCarthy**

When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he’d reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him.

The Road is bleak, chilling and completely unsettling. This story of a father and son walking alone through burned America on a seemingly futile mission, is deeply affecting. A friend once told me me she’d read the book in the middle of summer and felt cold.

sharp-halloween***Sharp Objects* by Gillian Flynn**

Our online manager, Nina Kenwood, is a big fan of Gillian Flynn, author of the massively popular Gone Girl.

Nina says Gillian Flynn’s first novel is ‘much darker and nastier than Gone Girl. Set in a small town where two young girls have recently been murdered, Sharp Objects features an array of deliciously creepy characters who will make your skin crawl. Prepare yourself for an addictive, unsettling read.’

let-right-halloween***Let The Right One In* by John Ajvide Lindqvist**

…-there was something in her, something that was…pure horror. Everything you were supposed to watch out for.

Sinister, thought-provoking and definitely worth the hype. John Ajvide Lindqvist hits a nerve for me, infusing the horror genre with serious and difficult issues such as class and school bullying. Check out this great interview with John on the benefits and disadvantages of using children in horror storytelling.

rebecca-halloween***Rebecca* by Daphne du Maurier**

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

One of my favourite books I ever discovered on my grandparents' bookshelves, and definitely the scariest, Rebecca is the story of a naïve young woman who marries a rich widower and finds herself living in a massive mansion, haunted by the memory of her husband’s first wife. Very creepy.

bronte-thumbBronte Coates is the Online & Readings Monthly Assistant. She is a co-founder of literary project, Stilts.

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The Twelve

The Twelve

Justin Cronin

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