The AU Review film buffs have had their say, now it’s time for the Books Team to have theirs! If you’re considering spending Halloween buried in a book with the lights firmly on (no judgement here!), allow us to recommend a few spooky season reads!
From the Corner of His Eye by Dean Koontz
On the day Bartholomew Lampion is born, everyone agrees he has the most unusual, beautiful eyes.
On that same day, a dangerous man a thousand miles away learns he has a mortal enemy named Bartholomew.
And then there’s the girl, the child of a brutal rape, who’s destiny is tied both to Bartholomew and the man who hunts him.
Lyn says: Such a well written novel – it made me angry, happy, worried, and in awe at various stages. A psychological thriller with twist and turns throughout. The most terrifying thing might be how authors think up these characters!
Grab yourself a copy of From the Corner of His Eye through Booktopia, HERE.
Little Heaven by Nick Cutter
A trio of mercenaries – Micah, Minerva, and The Englishman – are tasked by Ellen Bellhaven to check up on her nephew, who she believes has been kidnapped by a cult in remote New Mexico.
But as they arrive at Little Heaven, things turn even more ominous, and it seems that a clandestine religious cult might be the least of their worries.
Jodie says: When a horror writer can boast that he “scared the hell” out of Stephen King, you know you’re probably onto a winner. And though it was The Troop that had King sleeping with the light on, it was Nick Cutter’s Little Heaven that had me checking under the bed.
This one came out back in 2017 and I still think about it. The foreboding atmosphere, the cracking cast of characters, and the strong horror scenes had me spending a good chunk of it reading through my fingers! It might be titled Little Heaven, but this one is closer to a little slice of hell!
Grab yourself a copy of Little Heaven through Booktopia, HERE.
Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver
One day in 1913, Edward Stearne snatched up an icepick, marched into the orchard of his manor house, and murdered the first person he came across. Declared insane and sent to Broadmoor, he filled his days painting a vast triptych depicting Hell.
More than half a century later, his daughter Maud still lives in Wake’s End, a lifelong fascination with the beautiful yet deadly Fen that encroaches upon the estate making it hard for her to leave. When her father’s frightening paintings start to attract attention, the reporters start knocking.
Maud could use the money, but is she ready, after all these years, to tell her side of the story?
Simon says: When it comes to horror, I prefer my books to err on the gothic. Think misty fens, dark, poorly lit homes and oh so many secrets. Wakenhyrst delivered all that for me – it proved to be quite an unsettling read, a real page turner, but one which an almost palpable sense of unease and dread nestled amongst the pages. Perfect for the spooky season.
Grab yourself a copy of Wakenhyrst through Booktopia, HERE.
Creed by James Herbert
Sometimes horror is in the mind. Sometimes it’s real. Telling the difference is the hard part.
While out trying to snap the usual unsavoury celebrity candids, paparrazo Joe Creed takes a photo of something impossible. Something that isn’t supposed to exist. Something evil.
Lyn says: One of my favourite thriller/ horror writers. It’s a creepy read but one I’ve always remembered. An older book, but a classic.
Grab yourself a copy of Creed through Booktopia, HERE.
The Rich Man’s House by Andrew McGahan
Walter Richman’s new home is finished and ready to receive guests. The Observatory, as it’s known, sits atop The Mount, in the shadow of the mighty mountain that he, and he alone, has conquered; the world’s biggest, in fact, known as The Wheel.
But Rita Gausse doesn’t understand why she has received an invitation to the Observatory’s grand opening. Her father designed the place, sure, but she hadn’t spoken to him in years. And, more worrying still, he’d died there. What on earth could Walter Richman want with her?
But Rita soon has more to worry about than the whims of the impossibly rich, as the weather begins to shift and the dangers of The Wheel reveal themselves…
Jodie says: I reviewed this one for The AU Review back in 2020, and I know it sounds more akin to a thriller than a horror (though what’s a horror without some thrills?), but I assure you, this book is terrifying.
If you judge your horror by how well you sleep right after consuming it, then know this: after finishing The Rich Man’s House, I watched RuPaul’s Drag Race with the lights on until the sun came up.
Grab yourself a copy of The Rich Man’s House through Booktopia, HERE.
Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley
When their young son dies suddenly, Richard and Juliette Willoughby find different ways to cope with their grief.
Richard, trying desperately to forget, tends a field opposite their house, Starve Acre, in search of a legendary oak tree. Meanwhile, Juliette, convinced Ewan’s spirit still lingers, seeks the help of occultists to try and contact him.
Simon says: This is another one that errs on the side of the gothic; with a story that draws inspiration from folklore, Starve Acre practically revels in the macabre and supernatural. It’s a short read, pacy, but one which seeps into your bones almost. It made me immediately buy Hurley’s back catalogue, all of which are similarly themed.
Grab yourself a copy of Starve Acre through Booktopia, HERE.
The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
Elsie Bainbridge, newly widowed, is sent to her late husband’s estate to see out the last few weeks of her pregnancy. With a skeleton staff, abandoned, dusty rooms, and a surrounding village terrified of the house, The Bridge is far from the haven Elsie hopes it to be. And when she and Sarah, her husband’s cousin, discover a beautiful painted figure behind a locked attic door, things begin to spiral out of control. The figure is not alone and she is not friendly.
Jodie says: For good old fashioned Gothic horror these days, you need look no further than Laura Purcell.
Crumbling mansions, shifty servants, and paintings that follow you with their eyes occupy prominent roles in The Silent Companions, alongside a frustrating and, in its own way, equally terrifying exploration of women’s roles in the Victorian era.
Grab yourself a copy of The Silent Companions through Booktopia, HERE.
Luckenbooth by Jenny Fagan
1910, Edinburgh. The devil’s daughter arrives at a tenement building to fulfil a contract. But something goes wrong and she curses the building and all for live there for a century.
The years pass, and the residents of 10 Luckenbooth Close go about their lives, the curse moving through the nine floors of the tenement. Their stories are revealed and, with them, the truth of what happened to the devil’s daughter all those decades ago.
Simon says: My favourite book of 2021, so I had to sneak it in here. Is it horror? Sort of. The Devil’s Daughter, a murder or two, some unnerving graffiti and even the odd seance. So it might not be horror, but it occasionally hangs out in that world. You’ve also got the gloriously gothic city of Edinburgh as a backdrop – so what more could you possibly want for in a spooky read?
Grab yourself a copy of Luckenbooth through Booktopia, HERE.
Melmoth by Sarah Perry
If you like your Gothic a little more contemporary, this beautifully written chiller is for you!
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Want to keep things traditional this Halloween? You can’t go past the OG.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Devoured Mike Flanagan’s Netflix series of the same name? Go back to where it all began.
(For Bly Manor‘s origins, you’ll need to track down some Henry James!)
Well, that’s more than enough from us – now it’s over to you! Head to our socials and let us know your favourite spooky season reads!