If you are looking for some scary or atmospheric books to read this Halloween, then this list is for you. It includes some horror, fantasy and dark academia, and is sure to get you in the spooky season spirit.
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
In this gothic novel, the protagonist marries a man who lives in a old mansion called Manderley. It is there that she deals with the ghost of her husband’s dead wife, Rebecca. The house takes a role of its own and adds to the atmospheric and creepy setting.
Veniss Underground by Jeff Van der Meer
This spooky and strange story tells the tale of Veniss Underground through multiple voices and viewpoints. Nicholas goes to the underground to escape his demons but faces the devil himself. Nicholas’ twin sister Nicola is scouring the underground looking for her brother and as she does so finds secrets to the city. Nicola’s lover – spurred on by Nicola’s disappearance – goes to look for her in this nightmarish city and gets a lot more than he came for. Jeff Van der Meer is known for his bizarre and horrifying novels that are perfect for this time of year.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
This book is known to be filled with ‘unnerving terror’. It follows a host of characters which make their way to the Hill House in search of the haunts that supposedly live inside. At first it seems that the house is just filled with unexplainable horror, but soon the house takes on a life of its own and will choose one of the characters to claim for itself.
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
This is the first book of The Broken Earth series and is very popular amongst fantasy readers. This story follows the way that the world ends and three horrible things that happen in one day. It follows a brutal murder, a mass murder and a natural disaster. This starts a war in which our main character, Essun, must try to survive and save his family.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
This book is a dark academia following classics students in a New England college. Everything seems to be going well until, under the influence of their classic’s professor, they slip from obsession to corruption and betrayal. There also is a murder involved which makes it perfectly spooky for an October read.
The Shining by Stephen King
The Shining follows the Torrance Family as they move into the Outlook Hotel for the winter. The son, Danny, has a special power that allows him to ‘shine’. This means that he can see the future and read people’s minds, and what he sees for the upcoming months at the Outlook Hotel are scary and horrifying. The hotel – which is meant to be empty – takes on a life of its own. The evil force is too strong to ignore. This is one of Stephen King’s best and more scary novels, but any of his books are great October reads as they are all filled with horror and adventure.
Image: Madhuri Rambaran