I’ll be spending the spooky holiday curled up in front of the fire with a good book, a snuggly blanket, and the perfect fall cocktail. Oh! And my favorite candle. To celebrate the season, I’ve rounded up some terrifying reads for you to sink your fangs into. Don’t forget to look under the bed!
Ring by Koji Suzuki
This is the creepy book the movie The Ring is based on. A cursed videotape lands at an unsuspecting viewer’s home. If a certain, unknown act is not performed, the viewers die. After the death of his own niece, journalist Asakawa decides to investigate. Finding hidden messages in the tape, he journeys across Japan for answers related to a disappearing woman. Unless Asakawa figures out how to stop the curse, more will die. Buy here.
The Good Daughter by Karen Slaughter
Don’t be fooled. The Good Daughter is full of blood and gore – as in, internal body parts from a mother’s gruesome death splattering her children across the face. This is a turbulent family drama following the Quinn family: Part one reveals the harrowing murder of Gamma, witnessed by her two daughters. Part two centers around one daughter, Charlotte, 28 years later, who is first on the scene of a school shooting, a teenage girl the culprit. With the help of her father and begrudging sister, the Quinn family must work against the clock to help the teen, while facing the unspoken demons lingering from the death of Gamma twenty-eight years prior. Buy here.
Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
Home Before Dark is a creepy book with all the fixings: a haunted house and a Ouija board, and was a Book of the Month selection in June 2020.
With Maggie’s father’s recent death, she must reconcile her childhood haunted house, Baneberry Hall. Her father’s bestselling book about the house changed all of their lives, mostly for the worst. Did Maggie’s father lie about the paranormal occurrences at Baneberry? Or was he hiding something more sinister? Against her mother’s wishes, Maggie returns to the house, even though it foreshadowed her imminent death on the property. Will Maggie survive? Buy here.
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
This is a light spooky read! Set on a haunted island off the shores of Ireland, watch spoiled frat boys fall apart. If you’re a fan of Agatha Christie novels, you’ll love The Guest List, which offers a little comedic relief and plenty of creeps. The story begins with the discovery of a dead body during yuppie wedding festivities. All of the guests are vile, rich, and snobby. The ushers grew up together in a cult-like prep school filled with secrets and lingering immaturity. The women have destructive relationships with the men in their lives, and everyone has a secret…and a motive. April 2020 Book of the Month selection. Buy here.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Turn back time to the 1950s and head to the Mexican countryside. Noemí Taboada receives an upsetting letter from her cousin at High Place; Catalina believes that the walls are filled with ghosts and deadly secrets. Is it just the drab atmosphere that is making Catalina and Noemí feel ill, or is something more sinister at play? If you covet haunted houses and historical, gothic fiction, this one is for you. Buy here.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
This book is a creepy classic set in London. A novel about hedonism and luxury, The Picture of Dorian Gray chronicles the story of Basil, a coveted artist, who believes Dorian is one handsome creature. He paints a full-length portrait of him and the vain and sensual Dorian, in return, wishes his portrait would age and fade away instead of his body. To Dorian, beauty is all that is worth pursuing in life.
When his deepest desire is granted, the painting begins to not only soak in Dorian’s years, but his nastiness and his crimes; selfishness only leads to self-demise. This horror classic is eerie but poignant, and you’ll fall in love with Wilde’s prose and story-telling abilities. The movie is worth a watch, too! Buy here.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Another classic worth reading, The Turn of the Screw is a novella-length story revolving around a British governess, who becomes convinced the estate she is working in is haunted. A little bit gothic, a little bit ghost story, a lot creepy! Buy here.
The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle
Twin sisters Iris and Summer are startlingly alike, but beyond what the eye can see lies a darkness that sets them apart. Cynical and insecure, Iris has long been envious of Summer’s seemingly never-ending good fortune, including her perfect husband Adam. It’s a story full of mystery, missing persons, mistaken identities, and twisted suspense. Buy here.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
A therapist unravels the mind of a shattered woman…who may or may not be the murderer.
Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect: A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house one one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening, her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him in the face five times…and never speaks another word. Her refusal to talk turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination. The price of her art skyrockets and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the world in a secure forensic unit in North London.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to unravel her mystery takes him down a twisting path in a search for a truth that threatens to consume him. Buy here.