13 unique books for thriller fans and the enthusiasts of the macabre or sombre comedy to read at Halloween time. If you like to sleep with your lights on, pick one book from my 13 for Halloween list.
1. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
This book will give you the story of a mysterious writer with her own dark, ghastly past that will make your skin crawl. You will want to throw the book across the room to get rid of it, yet you won’t be able to, caught under its spell.
Blood-curling. Creepy. Disturbing.
Published in 2006.
2. Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie
A Halloween classic that will make your hair stand on end, plus you get Ariadne Oliver to torment Hercule Poirot. When a children’s party goes wrong, only looking into the past will help solve it. Ghoulish. Eerie. Witty.
First published 1969.
3. Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs
One of my favorites by this author, it takes you to excavations conducted on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. It has corpses, tombs, tight spaces, and forensic anthropology. This the Temperance Brennan #8 book, but can be read as a stand alone.
Frightening. Bone-chilling. Magical.
Published in 2005.
4. Silent Heroes, When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for by Patricia Furstenberg
Sometimes violence, death, and gore are part of modern day history and we choose to ignore them, while making up our own versions, safer ones, of what Halloween looks like. A brutal read what life and humanity mean to the soldiers, the dogs and the civilians caught in the War in Afghanistan.
Petrifying. Real. Deadly.
Published in 2019.
5. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind
A timeless, international sensation and a classic, this is a petrifying and unnerving read. A hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.
Omnius. Wicked. Haunting.
First published 1985.
6. The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie
Death, witches, a spooky inn and Ariadne Oliver sleuthing. Published in 1961, The Guardian wrote: “the black magic theme is handled in a masterly and sinister fashion.”
Witchful. Superstitious. Spook-takular.
First published 1961
7. Dracula by Bram Stocker
Written as a series of diary entries, it has vampires, spooky locations and everyone will mention it, at some stage. And, no, it is not based on Vlad Tepes Dracula, or Vlad the Impaler, ruler of Wallachia, Romania.
Supernatural. Bloody. Fang-tastic.
First published 1897
8. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Not many know, but the latent reasons behind Mary Shelley’s narration of Frankenstein is the death of her first child, Willy, whom she had thoughts to restore to life. A Gothic thriller and a passionate romance, Shelley wrote this book when she was 18 years old.
Black. Pagan. Eerie.
First published 1823.
9. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
What would Halloween be without a ghost? Both a Gothic horror novel and a romance story, it will capture you and fill you with a terror that the musical could never emulate.
Moonlit. Chilling. Unearthly.
First published 1909.
10. The Complete Tales And Poems Of Edgar Allan Poe
Pick this collection of ghastly stories for words that will stick to your skin like a cobweb. A classic, must-read from the pioneer of short stories.
Unearthly. Fear-inspiring. Strange.
First published in 1902.
11. It by Stephen King
A 1138 page horror novel by a haunting author and a book that has been refereed to in mass media more than we care to count to out loud. Read it quietly and with a friend near you or a clown will show up at your door. NOT for people suffering from coulrophobia.
Frightening. Nightmarish. Nasty.
First published in 1968.
12. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
A dark and funny comic tale for lovers of satire and spine chilling reads. A book written in the Soviet Union between 1928 and 1940 during Stalin’s regime and censored by Stalin; first censored edition out 1966, full manuscript published in 1967 in Paris, after the author’s death.
Dark. Spine-chilling. Mischievous.
First published 1967
13. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
First published in 1886, this Gothic novella can still hold the modern reader’s attention. For the book lovers of split personalities and classic horror.
Supernatural. Gothic. Occult.
First published 1886.