by Joseph Andress
Flannel shirts are coming out of the closet for the first time in months, candy corn is overtaking store shelves, and pumpkin spice lattes are flooding out of coffee shops across the globe. Fall is here, and after a sweltering summer, it’s long overdue.
This season has no shortage of traditions, but the one that always seems to reign over the rest is indulging in horror and scary stories. From classic monster tales to cerebral thrillers, there’s no shortage of chilling novels to soak in this spooky season with. If you’re looking for a way to get into the spirit, these riveting reads are sure to make you consider sleeping with the lights on until the calendar hits November 1.
The Final Girl Support Group
One of the most popular tropes in horror is the “final girl,” the one survivor at the end of a book or movie who escapes the killer and lives to see another day. Grady Hendrix takes this trope and twists it into a horror story of his own design with The Final Girl Support Group.
Six final girls still navigating the trauma of what they survived must now contend with a new horror, as someone intends to finish the job their respective killers failed to complete. Rife with delicious tension, The Final Girl Support Group is the perfect novel for fans of slasher flicks looking for a fresh take on a horror staple.
Science-fiction as we know it can trace its roots back to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. This literary classic, born out of a competition to create the best horror story, is one of the most recognizable horror novels alongside Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Grappling with themes of knowledge and the subversion of nature, Frankenstein delivers an enriching tale perfect for fans of the classic gothic style. If you’ve ever wondered how the iconic monster became the pop culture icon it is today, then Frankenstein should jump to the top of your to-be-read list for the next month.
If one name has dominated the horror genre over the last sixty years, it’s Stephen King. From Carrie to It, it’s difficult to overstate just how influential King has been to modern horror as we know it. Of all his creations, however, The Shining is one that stands out as one of the most thrilling.
Following the Torrance family and their haunting winter at the Overlook Hotel, The Shining is filled with supernatural scares. Whether you want to see how the novel compares to the film, or you’re looking to dive into Stephen King’s work for the first time, The Shining makes for a great read as the leaves start to change.
Neil Gaiman’s Coraline may be classified as a children’s novel, but it’s nonetheless a chilling read. Following the titular Coraline Jones as she adventures through a strange, parallel universe, this novel is perfect for a rained-in weekend or a late-night binge read. Gaiman’s twisted world practically leaps off the page as it does with his other classic stories.
She is a Haunting
For readers looking for a modern, gothic ghost story, She is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran fits the bill. Filled with all the style of modern young adult fiction, and the unnerving suspense of the best horror tales, Tran’s debut novel is a triumph of the genre.
She is a Haunting centers on Jade Nguyen as she spends a few weeks in Vietnam with her estranged father. Jade quickly discovers that something isn’t right with the dilapidated French colonial home her father has been fixing up, and is visited by a ghost who bears a chilling warning. A story that’s as romantic as it is spine-chilling, She is a Haunting deserves a spot on any horror fan’s shelves.
Halloween may wait until the end of October to come around, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend the entire month getting in the spirit. Whether you devour books or take them one page at a time, there’s more than enough literature out there to inject some frights into your life. So grab your favorite pumpkin-infused beverage, dim the lights, and spend spooky season getting lost in some haunting and fantastical tales.