Halloween is almost here, which means it’s the perfect time to read spine-chilling mysteries or scary stories, and we’ve picked out 10 spooky books to help you get in the spirit! So, grab a blanket, light a fall-scented candle, curl up with one of these titles available to borrow as an ebook or audiobook on Live-brary, and get ready to be spooked!
1. Afterland by Lauren Beukes (2020)
Lauren Beukes' entire bibliography is worth a read on Halloween — but her most recent, Afterland, is especially thought-provoking in these times. The fast-paced novel is set in a world ravaged by a virus — one that only affected men. Within this landscape, a mother must protect her son from being taken from her.
2. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (1938)
After meeting and marrying a wealthy widower in Monaco, Rebecca's unnamed narrator is swept back to his remote mansion. Rebecca de Winter doesn't haunt the book's narrator; rather, her memory, which lives on in the lives of Manderley's residents, does. And the narrator can never live up. Read this book before the Netflix movie comes out.
3. The Ancestor by Danielle Trussoni (2020)
The Ancestor is a tale written in the style of gothic novels like Rebecca. Alberta ”Bert” Monte receives a mysterious letter informing her that she's the sole heiress to a house in remote Northern Italy, where her family is originally from. Once she visits the alpine house, it's too late for her to turn back — or for her to run from who she really is.
4. The Hunger by Alma Katsu (2018)
Alma Katsu combines elements of the supernatural with the already horrifying story of the Donner Party to create a tale that even Stephen King recommends not reading after dark. The isolated travelers reach the brink of desperation as members of their party disappear one after the other, and they’re left to root out the source of evil before it swallows them all.
5. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (1959)
First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, the lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers — and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.
6. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1898)
A very young woman’s first job: governess for two weirdly beautiful, strangely distant, oddly silent children, Miles and Flora, at a forlorn estate -- an estate haunted by a beckoning evil. Half-seen figures who glare from dark towers and dusty windows, silent, foul phantoms who, day by day, night by night, come closer, ever closer. With growing horror, the helpless governess realizes the fiendish creatures want the children, seeking to corrupt their bodies, possess their minds, and own their souls.
7. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954)
Read this terrifying tale about a group of British boys, who become stranded on a deserted island. Their catastrophic effort to govern themselves results in a real-life horror story. As their individual moral codes crumble, and their humanity is tested, these boys try to survive and organize in ways that will shock and scare you.
8. My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing (2019)
When an ordinary suburban couple’s 15-year marriage needs a little spicing up, they develop an unusual — and murderous — hobby. Devious and unsettlingly told, Samantha Downing’s debut promises to shock even the most avid readers of suspense. Caution: you may not look at your neighbors the same way again.
9. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1965)
Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, a pioneer in the true crime genre of literature, is a creative non-fiction work about the 1959 murders of four members of the Herbert Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas. Capote's triple narrative explores the lives of the murderers, victims, and other members of the rural community. This book will raise the hairs on your arms with its beautiful prose and chilling plot.
10. The Shining by Stephen King (1977)
A psychological horror story, and one of King's original forces, The Shining was published in 1977. It details the life of Jack Torrance, an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic, who accepts a position tending to the Overlook Hotel during off-season in the Colorado Rockies. Jack's son, Danny, has "the shining," a collection of psychic abilities that permit Danny to see the hotel's past. The ghosts that the hotel harbors impact Jack's sanity, leaving his wife and son in danger.