It’s October: the nights are drawing in, the temperature is dropping, and the shops are full of grinning pumpkins and delicious Halloween treats. As we approach October 31st, the most terrifying time of year, it’s the perfect time of year to rediscover your inner child – and terrify them with one of our selection of scary, spooky (or just plain deadly) books.
These recent and upcoming releases will keep you up all night – though whether that’s from terror, or from the urge to read ‘just one more chapter …’, we’ll leave it up to you to decide.
Whether you buy or borrow (we 💖 libraries), happy reading!
The Showstone – Glenn Cooper
If you love archaeological adventure stories like Indiana Jones or Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, make sure you pick up the new Glenn Cooper. His novels have sold over six million copies in more than thirty languages, and it’s easy to see why. In the latest Cal Donovan thriller, the Harvard professor investigates a mystical stone linked to the deaths of his parents. Mysticism, angels and evil spirits abound in this thrilling adventure tale.
Dressed to Kill – Kathleen Delaney
The latest instalment of Kathleen Delaney’s gripping Mary McGill dog mystery series is absolute perfection for lovers of hounds and Halloween. Mary and her cocker spaniel Millie get the fright of their lives on Halloween when they hear gunshots coming from the bank, and the robber, dressed in a clown costume, points a gun at them. What happens next? The answer is best discovered, in our opinion, from the comfort of your sofa, with a dog for company and a mug of hot chocolate in your hand.
The Murals – William Bayer
Jason Poe, a former war photographer, is transfixed by a disturbing set of murals he encounters in the attic of an abandoned house. What is the secret behind him? And does he really want to find out? This multi-layered psychological mystery, from New York Times bestselling author William Bayer, is the perfect heart-pounding read for Halloween. Read it if you dare!
Music Macabre – Sarah Rayne
Gothic horror? Tick. Psychological suspense? Tick? A terrifying connection to infamous Victorian serial killer Jack the Ripper? Tick tick tick! Sarah Rayne, the queen of creepy, ticks all the boxes with “an engaging page-turner” (Kirkus Reviews). Perfect for fans of Daphne du Maurier and Phil Rickman, beware picking up this cursed book – as you may find it impossible to put down . . .
The Hocus Girl – Chris Nickson
Murder, lies, betrayal . . . Chris Nickson’s “historical tour de force” (Kirkus Reviews Starred Review) starring thief-taker Simon Westow is the ideal read if you’re looking for a historical mystery with multiple twists. Vivid descriptions of life in the early nineteenth century and colourful characters just add to the heart-pounding fun. Just watch out for that killer ending – BOO!
From the Grave – Jay Brandon
Legal eagles are in for a tense, twisty treat. From the Grave sees a disbarred defence attorney face a terrible moral choice – in order to win his case, he has to lose. But as the trial approaches, he finds himself caught up in a different case altogether: one of cold-blooded murder. Expect intriguing insights into murder and the criminal justice system from Jay Brandon, along with the cracking plot. Like John Grisham and Scott Turow novels? You’ll love this.
Dark Truths – A.J. Cross
What could be more perfect for Halloween than a gripping forensic mystery, a la Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs? If you agree, you’re in for a terrifying treat with forensic psychologist A.J. Cross’s latest novel. The first in a gripping new series sees criminologist Will Traynor called in to assist the police when they discover the headless body of a young woman on a popular jogging trail. It’s enough to put anyone off exercise for life.
A Rush of Blood – David Mark
We think David Mark is amazing, but don’t just take our word for it. Multi award-winning crime author Peter James thinks so too: “Truly exhilarating and inventive, Mark is a wonderfully descriptive writer and an exciting young talent.” In his new standalone psychological thriller, ten-year-old Hilda is convinced that something bad has happened to her friend when she fails to turn up to dance class one evening. (Spoiler alert: She’s right.)
Dreams of Fear – Hilary Bonner
Jane Ferguson suffers from horrific nightmares, so when her body is found in her family’s seaside home, it looks like suicide. But things are not what they seem in this taut thriller from Hilary Bonner, and the deeply disturbing story unearthed by the police investigation may leave you with a nightmare or two of your own . . . if you dare crack the spine and try it out! (NB: You really, really should.)
The Case of the Reincarnated Client – Tarquin Hall
“Beautifully written, amusing, and intensely readable.” That’s what Alexander McCall Smith thinks about the Vish Puri, India’s Most Private Investigator, series, and who are we to disagree? We might, if pressed, admit that this latest instalment isn’t the most terrifying of Halloween reads, but as Vish Puri’s client claims she was murdered in a past life, we think it’s spooky enough to fit the bill.
Have we missed a great Halloween read for 2019? Have you tried one of the above and are dying (terrible pun very much intended) to talk about it? Let us know in the comments below!