Horror: Scary Books for Halloween!

So, with Halloween around the corner, it’s time for some scary books! There are, of course, the classics such as Dracula or Frankenstein. You can’t go wrong with works by Edgar Allan Poe or H.P. Lovecraft, either. If you want something more modern, Stephen King has quite the list of scary books to choose from — I’m currently reading It myself. Still, there’s a lot more out there, and these horror novels certainly deserve a bit more time in the spotlight.

Without further ado: here’s a short list of scary books for Halloween!

Bird Box – Josh Malerman
This was definitely one of the most tense books I’ve read in my life. ‘Things’ that drive people mad and eventually lead them to commit suicide when they see them cause the world as we know it to end. People board up their houses and only dare to go outside blindfolded. This book follows two timelines: a pregnant woman immediately after the outbreak as she finds shelter, and the same woman trying to raise two kids as she prepares to leave their safe house. The scary part of this book is that the threat can’t be seen, which makes the characters nervous whenever they venture outside. Are the rustling leaves caused by the wind or something else? Do characters imagine a touch on their shoulder or did something really touch them? Bird Box has some very tense scenes that kept me on the edge of my seat.

HEX – Thomas Olde Heuvelt
I’ve read the 2013 Dutch version of this novel (the ending was changed in the 2016 version when it was released in America), but it’s still a very well written horror book that is somewhat reminiscent of Stephen King’s work. You can read more about it in my review, but basically it’s about a witch haunting a small village. Her eyes and mouth have been sewn shut and she appears and disappears at will. When her eyes and mouth are opened, disaster is supposed to happen. No one can leave the village either way, though. The threat mainly stems from what the villagers perceive the witch to be, but having a lady with sewn eyes and mouth standing next to your bed, whispering words that drive you to suicide, is bound to be a scary experience.

Let the Right One In – John Ajvide Lindqvist
A vampire novel done right, taking place in Stockholm, Sweden. Twelve-year-old Oskar is bullied, but when a girl moves in the apartment next to his, he ends up befriending his strange new neighbour who only comes out at night. In the mean time, people are gruesomely murdered; their corpses are emptied of blood. This book is creepy, has some very unsettling and even disturbing scenes, but the evil and creepiness doesn’t stem from the novel’s resident vampire. No, humans are actually the source of disturbing creepiness. It’s also one of the better portrayed romances between a vampire and a human, just don’t expect the sparkly teenage love kind of romance. The main characters are very well written and the atmosphere is amazing.

Slade House – David Mitchell
The entrance to Slade House opens only once every nine years, and only under certain conditions. People who are lonely or different make for easy victims, so in several short stories the house’s residents ensnare their victims, playing off their desires, fears, and emotions. These short stories combine in an overarching plot that spans several decades, and it’s definitely interesting to learn more about the two residents of Slade House. The ending can be a little anticlimactic, but the excellent first few sections definitely make it worth checking out, especially because it’s a little different from the usual haunted house story. It’s bizarre, creepy, and a little different from ‘usual’ horror. The victims themselves are very well written as well. Apparently, it takes place in the same universe as The Bone Clock, but it’s definitely possible to read Slade House without having read Mitchell’s previous works.

Here we are, my recommendations for Halloween. What about you guys? Any horror novels that are definitely worth checking out? Feel free to leave their titles in the comments — I might check them out myself.

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