October is traditionally the time of the creepy reads what with Halloween around the corner. Coming from a different culture this time of the year has always been gloomy and sad rather than festive. In Hungary we have 2 memorial days in October: 6th when we remember the execution of generals which ended the revolution in 1849 and 23rd, the day we stood up against the Soviet Union in 1956. It ended pretty badly for us. And then comes November 1st which is the time of the year when we visit the graveyards and remember our loved ones. As a kid this season was more of an “ugh, not again” time for me rather than fun. So, as an adult it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact why people want to deliberately read creepy stuff (then again, I’m generally not really into this kind of thing). But having friends from all over the world and seeing how much fun everyone seems to have with the coming season, I can kind of understand. It definitely has its magic and unique atmosphere.
So, the Ladies of the Asylum teamed up to give you some recommendations of creepy reads for the spooky season. If you are still in need of a few.
I admit, “creepy” is pretty much subjective (what isn’t when it comes to books, huh?), and thus each of us picked their recommendations differently. You might find them creepy, you might not. It all comes down to personal interpretations.
Disclaimer: we are not taking responsibility for accidental drownings due to toppling TBR mountains.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s see our lists!
The Faerie Hounds of York by Arden Powell
England, 1810. The north is governed by a single rule. Faerie will take as it pleases.
William Loxley is cursed. A pale and monstrous creature haunts his dreams, luring him from London to the desolate, grey landscape of his forgotten childhood. There, it will use him to open a door to Faerie—a fate that will trap Loxley in that glittering, heathen otherworld forever.
His only hope of escaping the creature’s grasp lies with John Thorncress, a dark and windswept stranger met on the moors. The longer Loxley stays in Thorncress’ company, the harder it becomes to fight his attraction to the man. Such attraction can only end in heartbreak—or the noose.
But Thorncress has his own bleak ties to Faerie. They come creeping in with the frost, their howls carrying on the winter wind. If Thorncress’ past catches up with him before they can break the curse, then Loxley will not only lose his soul.
He’ll lose Thorncress, too.
“An entertaining, eldritch fairy tale with a gut-punch of a plot twist that I very much basked in reading.“
Starving Ghosts in Every Thread by Eric LaRocca
Teddy has a secret.
She’s so consumed with guilt that it compels her body to literally unravel unless she feeds off the emotions of others. Teddy’s parasitic condition is usually tempered easily and is invisible to most, unless she feeds from them. However, her insatiable hunger has already begun to threaten her safety. Trapped in her tiny Connecticut hometown thanks to a careless mistake which cost her a prestigious scholarship, Teddy grieves her father’s death and cares for her neurotic mother, Mercy, who is convinced scorpion venom is the only remedy for her own peculiar skin ailment linked to her daughter’s sadness.
Once an aspiring songwriter, Teddy now merely alternates between shifts at the local market and visits to the house of her eccentric neighbor, Mr. Ridley, for fresh scorpions to bring to her mother. It’s during one of her routine visits to Mr. Ridley’s subterranean grotto of exotic animals that Teddy meets an unusual young girl named Kiiara. Immediately enamored with one another, Teddy soon discovers that Kiiara is hiding a gruesome secret, too – a secret that will threaten to undo everything Teddy has ever known and loved, and violently touch all those who cross their path with disaster.
“Sorrowfully intimate, Starving Ghosts in Every Thread‘s uncanny atmosphere makes for the perfect Halloween read, though it can certainly be enjoyed at any part of the year.”
Biosphere: Hazard by B.W. Cole
When Kit escapes the boredom of space settlement Oasis-7 for a more exciting life, he leaves behind his brother, Jay, and sets him on a journey of his own to try and regain what he lost.
Imprisoned renegade, Sola, serves her time on a nameless moon under the shadow of giant planet Tian. When her friends disappear due to a mysterious illness, secrets begin to unravel, and the true and terrifying nature of the moon is revealed.
There is only one choice. Escape. At all costs.
Events are set in motion that can never be undone. Can you ever truly go back from where you came? If you return, what is the cost?
Dripping with the Gothic atmosphere of Bladerunner and Alien, lovers of dark science fiction, suspense stories and horror will happily sink their teeth into Biosphere: Hazard.
“Combining the rush of a fast-paced journey with dark elements, creepy suspense, and even the emotional ties of family and friendship, this book would make a fantastic Love, Death & Robots episode.”
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
One of Ray Bradbury’s best-known and most popular novels, Something Wicked This Way Comes, now featuring a new introduction and material about its longstanding influence on culture and genre.
For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside. The show is about to begin. Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. Two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes…and the stuff of nightmares.
Few novels have endured in the heart and memory as has Ray Bradbury’s unparalleled literary masterpiece Something Wicked This Way Comes. Scary and suspenseful, it is a timeless classic in the American canon.
“It was my intro into the fantasy genre and even though I read some of his other work before- this was the one that helped me discover the world of fantasy and sparked a love for a whole new genre.”
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends domestic drama, psychological suspense, and a touch of modern horror, reminiscent of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In, and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.
The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.
To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.
Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface—and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.
“Sometimes scary, sometimes just plain sad. I’ve had a book hangover from this since I finished it a few days ago. This was just a disturbing read on several levels, and the ending is when you realize just how many levels there were.”
The Demons Within by Ashe Armstrong
Grimluk is an orc with one purpose: hunting demons.
An isolated farming town has a demon problem, and Grimluk is on hand to fix it. But this time, things aren’t that simple. While Grimluk hunts the demon, a rock crashes from the sky; a rock containing something alien to the world of Arkod. Something oozing and grotesque. Something hungry.
Hunter becomes hunted as this new threat pursues Grimluk, all but immune to his bullets. Worse, the creature’s deadly shapeshifting nature means it could be anywhere – or anyone – around him. Despite his efforts to protect his new friends and the rest of the innocent townsfolk, Grimluk learns all too quickly that it’ll take more than a quick hand and a strong will to win this fight.
For nothing is deadlier than the demons within.
“With its old west feel and campy horror movie vibe, The Demons Within is a hugely fun entry into this series.”
We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix
In the 1990s, heavy metal band Dürt Würk was poised for breakout success — but then lead singer Terry Hunt embarked on a solo career and rocketed to stardom as Koffin, leaving his fellow bandmates to rot in rural Pennsylvania.
Two decades later, former guitarist Kris Pulaski works as the night manager of a Best Western – she’s tired, broke, and unhappy. Everything changes when she discovers a shocking secret from her heavy metal past: Turns out that Terry’s meteoric rise to success may have come at the price of Kris’s very soul.
This revelation prompts Kris to hit the road, reunite with the rest of her bandmates, and confront the man who ruined her life. It’s a journey that will take her from the Pennsylvania rust belt to a Satanic rehab center and finally to a Las Vegas music festival that’s darker than any Mordor Tolkien could imagine. A furious power ballad about never giving up, even in the face of overwhelming odds, We Sold Our Souls is an epic journey into the heart of a conspiracy-crazed, paranoid country that seems to have lost its very soul…where only a girl with a guitar can save us all.
“This book has everything you might wish for: a dark tale, gritty scenes, a crazy road trip, monsters, relatable characters and metal. We Sold Our Souls is the perfect bland of prose, characters, the darker side of the world and so many great quotes that I had to restrain myself to use them all.”
Danse Macabre by Laura M. Hughes
The dead beckon and the little girl obeys. Night after night she answers the graveyard’s call, though she dreads her encounters with the creature that dwells there.
But she’ll soon come to learn that memories are much more dangerous than monsters…
“Danse Macabre is the perfect read for a cold, foggy autumn/winter afternoon which you spend curled up with a hot drink to chase away the chill of the weather and the story both. Blue and her journey will keep you glued to the pages, clench your heart and leave you utterly broken. It’s not hard to imagine a world so cold and cruel as the one Blue lived in after all.”
Devouring Dark by Alan Baxter
DEVOURING DARK is an urban horror novel about a man plagued since childhood by a malevolent darkness that threatens to consume him. After a lifetime spent wrestling for control over this onslaught, Matt McLeod has learned to wield his mysterious paranormal skill to achieve an odious goal: retribution as a supernatural vigilante.
When one such hit goes bad, McLeod finds himself ensnared in a multi-tentacled criminal enterprise caught between a corrupt cop and a brutal mobster. His only promise of salvation may be a bewitching woman who shares his dark talent but has murderous designs of her own.
” The atmosphere, the complexity of the characters and the curiosity just sucks you in. Devouring Dark is a gritty, tension filled read from the start until the end.”
As you can see, we have a bit of everything, so we hope you’ll find at least one creepy read you’ve been missing for the spooky season. You should also keep an eye out for a list of Sci-fi Horror coming your way by Arina.