If there’s one thing we all love about Halloween, it’s the sweets. A chance to get a massive bucket of your favourites and pretend they are for all those trick or treaters. Or is that just me? Another great thing about Halloween, which compliments that massive bucket of sweets is all the spooky reads that start coming out! So, we’ve gathered all our favourites and divided them into two categories:
Trick – for the scarier category of books – they aren’t for the faint of heart!
Treat – something where you won’t necessarily have to hide behind your pillow and has a nice dollop of romance.
So, grab that aforementioned bucket of sweets, pick your favourite book and chow down this October 31st with a creepy trick or a sweet treat!
by Jonathan Maberry
Released: October 25, 2011
Series: Dead of Night #1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
A prison doctor injects a condemned serial killer with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake while his body rots in the grave. But all drugs have unforeseen side-effects. Before he could be buried, the killer wakes up. Hungry. Infected. Contagious. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang…but a bite.
“…we left ‘sane and normal’ behind the first time Volker said ‘zombie’.”
Years ago I listened to Jonathan Maberry talk about his research in creating this novel and the way the zombie virus he uses in this book is actually a very simple possibility that could scientifically happen. It always stayed with me and I wanted to try this book. DEAD OF NIGHT is a fast-paced, intriguing read. There’s mystery more than horror but it’s a fun ride all the way through. Mr. Maberry’s writing is addictive, the characters are witty. If you read one book outside of your comfort zone this Halloween, this is a great choice!
by L.A. Fiore
Released: October 12 2018
Series: Ivy Blackwood Chronicles #1
Words like unnatural and impure started the whispers.
From the very beginning, Ivy Blackwood was different. She was only a child when she was accused of setting the fire, one she passively watched engulf the small house she had called home. Her fingertips burned and her hair singed. Some who watched her crossed themselves, convinced she was soulless for she showed no emotion at all. Calm and dispassionate, even when the screaming started that quickly turned to bellows of agony before dying into nothing but the roaring of the fire.
She was locked away where she couldn’t bring harm to herself or others. To all involved, they had protected the world from a monster, but sometimes things are not what they seem.
“He lives here.”
“The devil lives here?”
“Yeah, in Vegas.”
“The devil lives in Vegas?”
I guess of all the places in the world he could live, Sin City made sense.
“He owns the Bellagio.”
There is something gruesome about this story. It finds a mix between the Experiment in Terror series and Dreamfall by Amy Plum. Something feels very new adult about it but it’s adult characters (in adult situations 😉 It’s paranormal romance with a dash of horror, mythology and scary creatures. Set in NOLA. Perfectly spooky.
by Rachel Caine
Released: December 12th 2017
Series: Gwen Proctor #2
Published by Thomas & Mercer
Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.
Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…
You’re not safe anywhere now.
Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.
But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.
“Melvin Royal stalks me in the brief darkness when I close my eyes. Blink, and he’s on the street. Blink, and he’s walking up the stairs of the motel to the second floor’s open walkway. Blink, and he’s outside the door. Listening.“
Gina Royal had no idea that her husband was a serial killer. But no one believes her, even after been proved innocent in court. So, she transforms into Gwen Proctor and takes her two children and runs, not only from the malicious media but from her now ex-husband. If I though the first book in the series was creepy, it was nothing in comparison to the second. Killman Creek was downright terrifying. Caine is fantastic at creating a tense and moody atmosphere, so much so that at some points you don’t know whether it’s paranoia or if they really are out to get you…
by Hester Fox
Released: October 2, 2018
Published by Graydon House
Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.
Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences, but those around you, as well.
New Oldbury, 1821
In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.
The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.
All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…
“The door to the dining room is closed. It beckons me, yet repels me, exuding a sense of silent occupation. My ears buzz. A singsong chorus of whispers grows as I approach.
Are you ready?
I am here.
You attract them.
Are you ready?
Prepare for what lies ahead.
What an excellent debut novel! This book is perfect if you want something atmospheric and haunting. Just a slight touch of gothic romance. A story about a woman’s journey as she’s dealing with family drama thanks to her sister, sibling rivalry, falling in love, sacrifices…. But also discovering she’s descendant from a Salem witch. Witchcraft and ghosts, this is the right amount of spooky mixed in with a lovely romance. Great storytelling! Couldn’t put it down.
by Kerri Maniscalco
Released: September 18th 2018
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #3
Published by Jimmy Patterson
In this third installment in the #1 bestselling Stalking Jack the Ripper series, a luxurious ocean liner becomes a floating prison of scandal, madness, and horror when passengers are murdered one by one…with nowhere to run from the killer. .
Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.
But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?
“Truth is poison. Beware how much you ingest at once.”
While this is a series, if you were to pick up this book out of order you could probably follow along just fine. And this book is perfectly themed for the season. The gothic murder/mystery feel, the play on the Tarot, the macabre circus and the dead bodies and body parts… Few books will get you in the Halloween mood better than this.
by Sandra R. Neeley
Released: June 17th 2018
Series: Whispers From the Bayou #1
Raised by a father who curses the day she was born, Carolena finds herself in the swamps of south Louisiana under the guise of overseeing her father’s investments. In truth, she is making every attempt to avoid forced marriage to any of the men he would have her shipped off to. When she arrives in the deep-south, she catches the eye of a local backwoods family of brothers. The eldest decides that he is deserving of a step-up in life, takes her against her will to his hovel of a home at the edge of the swamps to be shared between himself and his brothers. Carolena — not the shrinking flower they think her to be, flees into the deepest, darkest, wildest portion of the swamps in an effort to escape the brothers and their plans for her. Death at the hands of the creatures in these wetlands is a better option, in her mind. Little does she know, she’s also caught the eye of the most dangerous creature there, one of legend — of nightmares. He’s watching her every move, admiring her bravery — and he’s decided he’s keeping her.
Carnage is a Gargoyle. He’s also volatile, dangerous, unpredictable, and lonely. One evening minding his own business at the edge of the sanctuary he calls home, he spies a female. A human female, and she’s running headlong into his swamps, with no regard for her own safety. Then he sees the reason; three men, and they’re hot on her trail, torches in hand, hell bent on catching her before she can get away. He watches as they get closer and closer to her, easily following her trail. Carnage makes a snap decision that changes both their lives forever; he drops out of a tree right behind her, slaps one clawed hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming, wraps her in his huge arms and goes right back to the treetops. He shelters her while the men traverse the ground below, unable to determine why her trail disappeared. Carnage admires this little female — she was brave to run into the swamps alone. There are many creatures lying in wait for just such a meal. But she no longer has to worry about that, because now she’s his. He only hopes that she doesn’t fear him too much once she gets a good look at his blue-grey skin, his fangs and his horns. Because regardless of what she thinks, or the rules of his community — he’s not giving her up.
You know what you need this Halloween? Sexy gargoyles. Luckily Sandra Neeley delivers that in her Whispers of the Bayou series. Carnage may have a scary name and yes, he may even look a little terrifying, but it all disguises a protective, loyal and loving heart. So, if you want to relax and snuggle up with a terrifying and terrifyingly cute gargoyle this Halloween, make sure you pick up Carnage.
by Lee Hollis
Released: August 30th 2016
Series: Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery #8
Published by Kensington
For Hayley Powell, food and cocktails columnist for the Island Times, Halloween is all about costume parties and holiday treats—until a killer crashes the party...
This Halloween, Hayley can’t imagine a worse trick than her ex-husband Danny returning to Bar Harbor. Her kids may be happy to see their dad, but Hayley’s determined not to be taken in by his charms, and suspects he’s in financial trouble—again.
Still, the haunted holiday is about to get a whole lot scarier after Danny’s moonshine-making uncle is found lying dead next to a tombstone in a cemetery—and Danny quickly becomes the prime suspect. To prove her ex is innocent, Hayley will have to dig deep into her own bag of tricks to unmask the real culprit . . . before anyone else—including her—ends up in the graveyard...
Includes seven delectable recipes from Hayley’s kitchen!
Praise for Death of a Cupcake Queen
“The real treat is the author’s skill at writing witty, light-hearted humor, which makes this series truly shine.”—RT Book Reviews
If you’re looking for a perfect Halloween read, then look no further. Lee Hollis has a lot of holiday type reads but this one was extra special because it has that spooky Halloween feel without going too over the top with it. Trouble seems to follow Hayley around, especially when her ex husband rolls back into town. And when one of their friends turns up dead and Danny is suspected to be the killer, Hayley must put her efforts together to find the real killer.
by Sheila Connolly
Released: October 6th 2015
Series: Orchard #9
Published by Berkley
Wedding bells are ringing for Meg and Seth in the latest Orchard Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Picked to Die…
The fall harvest may be just about over, but orchard owner Meg Corey is busier than ever planning her wedding to Seth Chapin. Who knew picking apples would be less work than picking out rings and a dress? And even though the happy couple has invited most of Granford, Massachusetts, to the ceremony, they might have to make room for one more guest…
Ex-con Aaron Eastman has unexpectedly reappeared in his hometown, searching for answers to the tragic fire in his family’s past that put him behind bars twenty-five years ago. Moved by his sincerity, Meg vows to do everything she can to help him solve the cold case. As she cobbles together the clues, it becomes increasingly clear that Aaron may have been considered the bad seed of the family, but someone else was one bad apple…
Includes Delicious Recipes!
This one is a different taste of Cozy Mysteries. This is perfect to get you into the Halloween mood but instead of going the ghouls and ghosts route, Connolly focuses more on the fall harvest instead. It still gives the vibe of Halloween without being so direct and with the extra wedding touch that Meg and Seth are going through, it gives off that cozy vibe perfect for the colder weather.
Want more recs? Check out previous years list here.
What are your favorite spooky reads?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!