Halloween is a time for morbid emotions, hiding beneath horrific masks of terror, death and the like. For those who are looking for an extra creepy inspiration for their costumes or, better still, for those who prefer to spend the night with monstrous companions from literature, a ghostly hand has helped us to create a first-rate selection of horror books. Ranging from all time horror classics to the latest arrivals from the literary (under-)world, these are must-read books for sleepless nights.
We invite you to enjoy the perverse pleasure of reading until your blood runs cold. Whether you are searching for creatures of the underworld, disturbing situations, cursed mansions, deathly masqueraders or monstrous transformations, our digital librarians have the perfect Halloween read for you. Here is our secret for the best books of terror: They shake us up and no matter how unsettling the story may be, it becomes a matter of life or death to finish the book.
Do you dare to read our recommendations for this year?
The latest horror books on 24symbols
1. The Watchers
You can’t see them but they can see you… A.M. Shine presents us with a stunning debut novel. This is not the in-your-face kind of horror that hits you like a fist. Instead, Shine constructs his narrative slowly and carefully, he plays with the reader just as the watchers play with their victims – keeping us in the dark until the very end. So turn on your lights before starting to read this page-turner, you will definitively feel safer…
2. The Children God Forgot
Graham Masterton is known for first class horror fiction and thrillers, this jewel by the “master of horror” is no exception. Women give birth to deformed, monstrous babies without having even known to be pregnant. This is a creepy, mind-boggling read that will freeze the blood in your veins…
3. Cold Boy’s Wood
Fusing your classic ghost story with sharp, psychological insight, COLD BOY’S WOOD from Booker-shortlisted author Carol Birch is a brilliant and timely novel about loneliness, buried secrets and the havoc they play on the mind. Birch has a gift for making the words echo in your head, so make sure to get comfy because this book will not let you go until you have reached the very last page!
4. Rasputin’s Bastards
Penned by Bram Stoker Award–winning author David Nickle, this novel is a must-read for fans of horror stories with a supernatural touch. The smart mix of subtle horror, political suspense and sci-fi will keep you intrigued until the very end. Nickle drafts a chilling post-cold-war scenario where an evil Soviet elite creates chaos in order to gain ultimate power. Absolutely nerve-wracking!
5. The Tale of the Tailor and the Three Dead Kings
This year, bestselling historian Dan Jones has a special treat for us: Not only has he given the bizarre medieval TALE OF THE TAILOR AND THE THREE DEAD KINGS a modern narrative, he also delights us with his findings about the story’s origins. He even included the Latin transcript of the story by medievalist M.R. James, who was the first to discover the tale in the 1920s and is nowadays considered the father of the British ghost story. Jones’ retelling is not only creepy and fascinating, it invites us to dig deeper into the history of spine-chillers.
Classic Horror Books you must have read
1. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
For many readers, the headless horseman is an embodiment of Halloween itself, combining tricks and horror. If you have watched the movie, let yourself be surprised by Washington Irving‘s original! Sleepy Hollow is a small valley whose inhabitants believe in ghosts and the supernatural. When newly arrived Ichabod and local hero Brom Bones compete for the hand of 18-year-old Katrina, Brom uses the power of the town’s ghostly imagination to outpace his rival. Just as Arthur Conan Doyle said, where there is no imagination, there is no horror…
When published in 1897, readers appreciated Dracula as a great adventure story. It was much later in the 20th century, when Bram Stoker‘s masterpiece became the iconic novel that we take it for today. Harker, a young English lawyer, visits Count Dracula in Transylvania to wrap up a real estate deal. On his way, he is being warned about the count and given garlics and crucifixes to defend himself against the alleged vampire. He disregards the warning and finds Count Dracula to be extremely polite and educated. The days pass and suddenly it dawns on him that his visit at the castle is no longer as voluntary as he thought it to be…
What happens when experiments don’t go the way they were planned to go? There are plenty of examples in history and literature. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein surely narrates one of the most horrific outcomes a scientific experiment could have and serves as reminder that we are responsible for our actions. A reminder well needed with the technical possibilities we have nowadays…
Interesting fact: Did you know that Mary Shelley was only 18 when she started writing the novel?
4. The Masque of the Red Death
Edgar Allan Poe at his best: When a few rich noblemen (and ladies) hide in a castle and have a costume party in order to avoid a plague that is haunting the country, it only seems fair that death comes to haunt the party guests. Warning: Better don’t read this short story if you have a costume party coming up yourself…
5. The Call of Cthulhu
How could we not include H.P. Lovecraft‘s masterpiece of fantasy horror? In this tale, Lovecraft moves away from gothic horror full of ghosts and spirits to enter a new dimension of horror: one that incorporates elements of science fiction. In this hybrid journey between genres and timelines, he encapsulates cosmic nightmares that unleash atavistic fears and inoculate a type of almost material terror that traps the reader in obsessive and suffocating atmospheres.
Have you not had enough? Visit our Horror bookshelf for more recommendations, it is loaded with the best books of the eeriest genre of all time.