When it starts getting dark outside at 14:30, it feels like the perfect time to crawl into bed and curl up with your pumpkin spice drink of choice and a good book. This selection features creepy thrillers and novels with supernatural twists ranging from the slightly eerie to the downright spooky to help get you in the Halloween spirit and escape from this chilly Autumn weather.
Dr Jekyll and Mr Seek by Anthony O’Neill (2017)
A contemporary sequel to the classic horror tale Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, O’Neill follows Jekyll’s lawyer Mr. Utterson in Victorian London. After the tragic death that befell him in the first book, when a strange imposter shows up claiming to be Dr. Henry Jekyll, Utterson knows this is impossible. What ensues is a man driven almost to madness with suspicion as everybody else is taken in by this stranger. It’s a fast-paced and gripping read, and do not worry as it is not necessary to have read the original novella as O’Neill deftly weaves in any necessary details.
The Shining by Stephen King (1977)
You can’t have a good Halloween booklist without including the king of horror himself, and The Shining is one of his classic books. Adapted in 1980 into a hugely successful film by Stanley Kubrick, it’s one of the best “haunted house” stories of all time. When Jack Torrance takes a job at the Overlook hotel, he is hoping for an idyllic escape for him and his family, but things take a very sinister turn. It’s a little slower than the film but King weaves this tale with very creepy and atmospheric prose. It’s a great introduction to King’s work and if you enjoyed the recent film adaptation of IT, but don’t have time to tackle a huge book around Uni reading, then this is a perfect fit.
Gilded Cage by Vic James (2017)
The first in a three-part series, this young adult novel follows two families in a dystopian Britain, where a magical elite control everything and the rest of the commoners must complete ten years of compulsory slave service. The story follows two separate families, one belonging to the aristocracy and one normal family who are beginning their “slave-days”. There is a variety of characters and different plot twists and turns to get your head around, making it a great novel to get stuck into to escape the miserable weather outside.
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier (1951)
As it was remade for the screen in a drama starring Rachel Weisz back in June, this year is the perfect time to revisit this Du Maurier mystery. The moody setting of 19th century Cornwall and slow-burning descriptive writing establish a perfect gothic atmosphere. The main character of this book, Phillip, becomes so infatuated with his cousin’s beautiful, mysterious widow, Rachel, that he is completely blinded to her dark side. Similar to Du Maurier’s earlier novel, Rebecca, this book features a naïve protagonist and psychological suspense that will leave you questioning each character’s true intentions.
Mr Murder by Dean Koontz (1993)
In this disturbing crime thriller, Koontz tells the story of Martin, a writer, who is dubbed “Mr. Murder” by the press for his successful crime novels. Martin and his family find themselves embroiled in a real-life nightmare when Martin starts having blackouts and a ruthless killer seems hell-bent on stealing his identity. The plot is quick-paced and the writing not too challenging. If you liked Girl on the Train, then this is a good crime read which plays with suspense and a main character who can’t quite piece things together.
Horns by Joe Hill (2010)
Ignatius Perrish wakes up one morning, after going on one hell of a bender, with a pair of horns sticking out of his temples. This is after a year of grieving for his girlfriend Merrin, who died in a brutal murder, a crime everyone believes Ig committed. He finds that alongside the new hair accessories he has gained the power to make everyone he comes across spill their deepest darkest fantasies. I picked up this book because I was highly intrigued by the premise and I found it to be a darkly entertaining read.
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (2009)
If you’re more into romance than horror, this novel serves up sweetness with a quirky supernatural twist. Twins Julia and Valentina move into their aunt Elspeth’s flat in London when she passes away, and soon befriend the building’s other residents, including Robert, their aunt’s widower. It’s doesn’t focus on an epic love story in the same way as Niffenegger’s more famous effort The Time Traveller’s Wife but it’s about the difficulty of love that is cut short by grief. The wonderfully chosen setting of Highgate Cemetery gives this novel a wintry, more magical feel making it a great book to cosy up with this November.
– by Sarah Roberts