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Spooky Reads for Halloween

Cindy Burnett
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Spooky reads

Halloween is the perfect time for a creepy read. 

Halloween looks a little different this year so getting in the spirit with a spooky read is one great way to still celebrate the season. While I enjoy writing about spooky books, I do not always enjoy actually reading them so I solicited scary book recommendations from my book friends on Instagram and received some great suggestions. 

I have generally sorted the books by theme to help guide people towards the right type of scary read for them. A number of these books could fit in more than one category so I tried to slot them into the one that I felt fit best. I have starred the books that I have read and enjoyed, and they are listed below in no particular order. 

This year I read two scary books that I absolutely loved and have recommended them to so many people. The first is The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James (which will be in my top 10 books of the year) and Home Before Dark by Riley Sager. I highly recommend both and chose them as top picks for my Buzz Reads column. Here are some other fun reads for the season:

Mildly Creepy:

  • *The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
  • The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
  • Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
  • *Broken Harbor by Tana French (or anything else written by her)
  • *The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe (short story)
  • *The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allen Poe (short story)
  • The Return by Rachel Harrison

Really Dark Reads:

  • The Whisper Man by Alex North
  • The Stand by Stephen King (as the master of suspense and horror, he has numerous other books that qualify here)
  • A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge
  • The Chain by Adrian McKinty
  • Night Film by Marisha Pessl
  • Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
  • The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

Gothic Reads:

  • *The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James
  • *The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
  • *The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
  • *The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
  • *Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier 
  • The Ancestor by Danielle Trussoni

Ghost or Supernatural Stories:

  • *A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan
  • *The Last to See Me and I See You So Close by M. Dressler 
  • The Broken Girls by Simone St. James (she has written numerous other ghost stories too)
  • *The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Scarier Ghost/Supernatural/Horror Stories:

  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson 
  • The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  • Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay
  • Pet Cemetery by Stephen King
  • The Deep by Alma Katsu

I want to hear about your favorite creepy books below in the comments!

For more book recommendations and bookish thoughts, see Cindy’s monthly Buzz Reads column, her Thoughts from a Page Podcast or follow @ThoughtsFromaPage on Instagram. Find upcoming Conversations from a Page events here.

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