Nothing gets you quite in the mood for Halloween like a good horror book. But which ones are worth your time and which are just so much background noise? Here are some extra spooky books from 2017 to get you in the dark and creepy mood.
1) Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King
Release Date: September 26, 2017
King is the master of horror, and it looks like his two sons are following in that tradition. You can see one of his son’s works on the list, but for this one, he teamed up with his other son, Owen. The book imagines a world where all the women fall asleep and become encased in a cocoon. Well, all except one – Evie, though that’s not seen as a blessing by everyone. Horrors at the hands of messed up human beings occur, as is King’s bread and butter.
2) The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke
Release Date: October 10, 2017
It is literally no secret that I love Lore. I love it’s quiet creepiness, I (usually) love the subjects, and I really love how the storytelling is done. So there’s no way I wasn’t going to recommend this book. If you’re looking to learn more about the weird urban legends and historical tales of horror, this is the book to get you in the spooky mood.
3) What the Hell Did I Just Read? by David Wong
Release Date: October 3, 2017
David Wong’s fiction is often biting, sarcastic, and goes right off the rails in the best way. Wong is more interested in cosmic horror, with weird creatures hiding in plain sight and a weird little town where things have never been quite right. The third book in the series, John, David, and Amy tell the tale of a shape-shifter, but can they be believed? You don’t necessarily need to read the other two books of the series in order to have a good time with this one. Get ready to laugh and scream this Halloween.
4) It Devours! by Joseph Fink
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Welcome to Night Vale is one of those podcasts that took the world by storm with its blended of comedic darkness and strong character writing. If you like the idea of horror, but still want to be able to sleep at night, then this is more your speed. The second book in the series, this book revolves a weird cult in the podcast known as the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, and their darkest secret that threatens the little desert town of Night Vale. No experience with the podcast is required! Just sit down and let this book take a bite out of you.
5) Strange Weather by Joe Hill
Release Date: October 24, 2017
Horror doesn’t have to come in the form of a big, long novel — sometimes, having little bite-sized morsels of terror is more fun. Joe Hill’s horror collection takes on subjects like memory, sanity, natural disasters, powerlessness, and more. If you’re looking for more than one kind of horror, or just enjoy reading a good scary story on your lunch break, then this could be the creepy read for you!
6) Thornhill by Pam Smy
Release Date: August 29, 2017
Aimed at a young crowd, Thornhill is a gentle step into that dark, dark path to a love of horror. The graphic novel follows two parallel stories of two lonely young girls, one in 1982 and one in 2016. This story of ghosts and the dark past that can haunt us all is appropriate for kids in middle school on, so it’s great to give as a Halloween treats for tweens and teens. Also, the art is so gorgeously detailed, you’ll probably want to read it yourself before giving it to anyone else. A story sure to haunt your favorites list, and maybe even your nightmares.
7) Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Who doesn’t love a a little Lovecraft? This novel looks at the lore of Lovecraft – Cthulhu, the Deep Ones, and the town of Innsmouth – and expands on it. The US government takes all of the inhabitants of the coastal town deep into the desert. However the government now needs the help of one of the survivors, Aphra Marsh, as they worry that Russians may be trying to use the magic found in the ocean’s depth to win the Cold War. The only issue is that Aphra has so little left of her past, she may not be able to reconnect with her more mysterious ancestors and their secrets. A must for lovers of cosmic horror or maritime terror.
8) Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Horror doesn’t just come from supernatural phenomenon, nor unexplainable events — it can come from the cruelty of others. This is a short story collection creates extreme situations of horror and despair around women that tap into terrible truths. It is a particularly deft collection of stories, and is even up for the National Book Award, which should give you an idea of the talent of its author, Carmen Maria Machado. Pick this up if you’re not of the faint of heart, perhaps in more ways than one.
9) Universal Harvester by John Darnielle
Release Date: March 1, 2017
In a small town in Iowa, a video rental store gets complaints that the VHS copies they are renting have other footage on it – creepy and dark footage. But that’s not where it ends, and things in the little town start to get more sinister, especially for the video clerk. Music fans might recognize the author as the primary member of the popular band The Mountain Goats, though this is not his first foray into the literary world. Some readers find it terrifying, others find it confusing, but it’s almost certainly a tale that will have you on the edge of your seat.
10) The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Last but certainly not least is this true crime story that takes readers back to nineteenth century West Virginia. The case of the Greenbrier Ghost is about a murder trial wherein the ghost of the victim, a young bride, was called to give testimony. And that’s not where the strangeness stops either, as we learn more about her, her husband, and her mother, who first cried foul about her daughter’s mysterious passing. A ghoulishly good read for those more into non-fiction, and a great way to dig into more American folklore.