As someone who gets scared very easily, it’s understandable that I’m not the biggest fan of a holiday that celebrates the idea of being scared. However for 2016 I am embracing the holiday with some Halloween recommendations, some scary, most of them not, just for you.
The Perfectionists and The Good Girls by Sara Shepard 🌟🌟🌟
From the author that brought us the Pretty Little Liars series, comes this fun little duology, emphasis on fun. It’s a YA thriller, set around the murder of Nolan Kotchiss the most popular guy in school, and a conversation 6 girls had about killing him a few days before he is murdered. This really reminded me of I Know What You Did Last Summer style thing, where it’s almost too cliched to be scary. Definitely the highlight of this book is the characterisation of the main characters, and if you’ve read some of her other books you cans see him much she’s improved as a writer.
Dracula by Bram Stoker 🌟🌟🌟🌟
I don’t need to recap the plot of this one, I mean it’s Dracula. But I will recommend this to anyone who loves vampires because it’s really interesting to see the best known vampire. The for of this novel is also quite interesting, made up of diary entries, letters, phonograph records and newspaper clippings which gives you a few different perspectives. It’s also surprisingly fast paced for something written in the 19th century.
Misery by Stephen King 🌟🌟
I never thought a book could be scary, and then read Misery. This is the first and only Stephen King book I’ve read and when I think back now I can appreciate how excellent his writing was and I’m sure still is. This is the story of a famous writer who gets into a car accident and is ‘rescued’ by his biggest fan, who isn’t happy about the ending of his new book. There’s also a film adaptation of this, which I haven’t seen but looks just as terrifying. This is the reason I stay away from horror novels, because it showed me just how terrifying a book can be.
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis 🌟
This is another one that, on reflection should have had a 4 or 5 star rating but I was a bit young when i read it and didn’t really understand the point of the book. This is I guess a black comedy thriller that follows, from the 1st person, Patrick Bateman a business man in the 1980’s who likes to murder people. These were definitely some of the most graphic sections of murder I’ve read, and I’m not usually squeamish. This is a book that will definitely make you appreciate, or at least understand the difference between a good description and a vivid, I can legit see it in front of me, description. Even so, I really want to re-read American Psycho so I can, hopefully, fully appreciate the satirical tone, that just went over my head when I first read it.
You by Caroline Kepnes 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Continuing in the vein of murders comes this 1st person story of a guy, Joe, who becomes obsessed with a girl he meets by chance in a bookshop. It’s also told almost to the object of his affections, so for instance it will say something like ‘The first time you came into the bookshop, I knew I loved you’. This one isn’t satirical, and the focus lies on the obsession and thought process of Joe, rather than the violence of his actions. Personally I prefer it to American Psycho but maybe the will change with a re-read. If you’re interested in the psychology of a murderer, if you enjoy Criminal Minds, I think you’ll really enjoy this. You, despite a 1st person narration keeps you guessing as to where Joe is going next because this guy doesn’t have the same thoughts as us, or at least me.
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Welcome, welcome, welcome to my favourite series of vampire novels, and believe me I love a good vampire novel. This is a Urban Fantasy set in the town of Bon Temps, in Louisiana where vampires have ‘come out of the coffin’, which means they announce their existence a few years back just after Japanese Scientists created synthetic blood. We follow Sookie Stackhouse a waitress in this small southern town, who just so happens to be telepathic. I should probably point out that even though there are vampires, and obviously they do play a big part, the main driving plot is a spate of murders around Bon Temps. I can’t even tell you how much I love this series!
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
I’m hoping that you’ve already read some of Patrick Ness’ books, if not then here’s the perfect place to start. A Monster Calls is about a young boy named Connor who is visited my a monster one night. This monster begins to tell him stories and these stories resonate with things that are happening in real life. Beautifully lyrical, this is a book about dealing with problem you might be faced with, and I’m purposefully avoiding telling you something juts because I didn’t know about it when I read it. It’s probably not a spoiler but I think it’s best just to go into this pretty blind. Also, I would definitely recommend the hardback illustrated edition. It’s just as beautiful as the story itself. You may want to have some tissue to hand for this one.
Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Robert Lindsay 🌟🌟🌟🌟
If you’ve seen the excellent TV show then you’ll already be familiar with the dark humour of this character. Our protagonist in this instance is Dexter Morgan, Miami based blood-splatter analyst by day and compulsive serial killer by night. Unlike some of the other serial killer books this is probably the most tame and generally enjoyable. Like the other two you’re in Dexter’s head but you’re not subject to anything to traumatising. He adheres to a strict code of conduct wherein he only kills other serial killers. I know, a serial killer with morals, who would though it? Dexter is the most comedic of the serial killers and I really like the way that the plot comes together not around serial killer-Dexter but around another serial killer than he is hunting. Making Miami after, one kill at a time.
Kiss the Girls by James Patterson 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Definitely one of the more scary ones, this is the second book in the Alex Cross series, and my favourite out of the ones that I’ve read. Kiss the Girls follows a psychologist/detective Alex Cross as he tracks a new serial killer. Veering more to the darker side of serial killers this is the epitome of a good thriller where we have two killers at either end of the country (forgive me if my American geography is wrong) one abducting girls from campus’ and the other murdering people in their homes. But are they communicating or competing? It has been a while since I’ve read this, but I remember it cementing James Patterson as someone you could trust to deliver you a good story. I can also recommend the first one Along Came a Spider about the abduction of a senators daughter, but this is my favourite.
A Series of Unfortunate Evens by Lemony Snicket 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
This is one of my absolute favourite series’ and I still love reading them despite being technically children’s books. These 13 books chronicle the tragic tale of three orphans, Violet, Klaus and Sunny as they try to escape from a very greedy distant relative who is obsessed with steeling their fortune. Basically these books are a lot of fun and begins pretty short, being a children’s series which means that 13 books isn’t as daunting as you would think. But what makes these books even better is the author, Lemony snicker, who is part author, part narrator and just mysterious as hell. His distinctive writing style will have you gripped from The Bad Beginning to The End. Understandably these are probably the least Halloween-y books on my list, but they do have a very gothic style feel, leaving them suspended in time almost. If you’re a fan of mysteries, conspiracy theories, disguises, adventure and very fancy doilies, then you’ll love these.