Spooktober is already in full swing and I’m sure most of you have already put together your reading lists for readathons and reading challenges, but I want to share a few more if spooky reads are your thing. Not all of them are outright horror and I have one middle grade book for variety. Hopefully, you’ll find some new books to add to your reading list. Leave your spooky recommendations in the comments below!
An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .
From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a novel set in glamorous 1950s Mexico.
After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find – her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.
Mexican Gothic is still my favourite book of the year and I highly recommend it for any spooky readathon. It’s a classic gothic story but one that keeps throwing ugly things at you. When you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it does.
The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips
Ebenezer Tweezer is a youthful 511-year-old. He keeps a beast in the attic of his mansion, who he feeds all manner of things (including performing monkeys, his pet cat and the occasional cactus) and in return the beast vomits out presents for Ebenezer, as well as potions which keep him young and beautiful. But the beast grows ever greedier, and soon only a nice, juicy child will do. So when Ebenezer encounters orphan Bethany, it seems like (everlasting) life will go on as normal. But Bethany is not your average orphan . . .
I recently finished this one and it was released not too long ago. I’d recommend this book to any kid under the age of ten but I honestly think anyone can enjoy it. If you like Roald Dahl you’ll like this one too.
Sanctuary by V.V. James
Sanctuary is the perfect town . . . to hide a secret.
When young Daniel Whitman is killed at a high-school party, the community is ripped apart. The death of Sanctuary’s star quarterback seems to be a tragic accident, but everyone knows his ex-girlfriend Harper Fenn is the daughter of a witch–and she was there when he died.
VV James weaves a spellbinding tale of a town cracking into pieces and the devastating power of a mother’s love. Was Daniel’s death an accident, revenge–or something even more sinister?
As accusations fly, paranoia grips the town, culminating in a witch-hunt…and the town becomes no sanctuary at all.
VV James is an incredible author and I loved her other series. So when I heard she was going to write a story about witches, I had to have it. I read it in December of last year, and it was so good. I finished it in just a few days and would’ve finished it sooner if I didn’t have any other engagements. It really is a page turner.
Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.
Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a 17th century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters your homes at will. She stands next to your bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened.
The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting, but in so doing send the town spiraling into the dark, medieval practices of the past.
This is the only book on the list I haven’t read but I’m familiar with the author. He knows his stuff and this one is his creepiest yet. He’s a Dutch fantasy/suspense author and I’m really glad he’s breaking through on a more international level. I can’t wait to get into this one and I hope you’ll give him a chance.
The Diviners by Libba Bray
SOMETHING DARK AND EVIL HAS AWAKENED… Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult. Evie worries her uncle will discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer. As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho is hiding a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened…
I highlighted this one last year too and it’s still a good choice to read if you haven’t already. New York in the 1920s is the perfect setting for a supernatural killer on the loose.
May Day by Josie Jaffrey
If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective. Just maybe not this one.
It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake.
When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does.
To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die.
Body bags on standby.
And now for something totally different, an urban fantasy with vampires. While not as spooky as the others, vampires are still one of the mythical creatures often features in spooky releases. I really enjoyed Jaffrey’s latest vampire story and it’s something completely different from her previous series (which are also worth checking out).