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I love Halloween. I love fall. I love spooky and creepy things. I’m wearing pumpkin earrings and skeleton hand hair clips as I write this.
I’ve been thinking about fall and scary things for weeks already. I just love it! I’ve been in a thriller book mood all year and now I’m in a really scary book mood.
I’ve read probably half of these and the other half I already have and haven’t read yet or will be getting ASAP.
I’ve been on a mission to find actually scary books and I think these fit the bill pretty well whether it’s the story that’s scary or the atmosphere just depends on the book.
It’s a good mix of haunted house, serial killer, plague, witches, sci-fi/fantasy, and good old psychological spooks. These are the perfect books to read in October or anytime of year you really want to be scared.
- If you want to listen to some of these, consider trying Audible! You can get your first month free (one free book) plus tons of others they have for free. Get that Audible deal here.
- If you’re on more of a budget, try Scribd! You can get your first month free there. You can read books and listen to audiobooks. It is unlimited (especially the reading) but if you listen to tons of new audiobooks you may be restricted after a few. I don’t listen to enough to confirm this, but I do use Scribd myself and like it a lot. Sign up for Scribd here!
- Shop my collection of bookish goodies on Etsy! These aren’t my shop items, but other shops I’ve curated into a book-themed collection. Shop my Etsy bookish goodies here!
- If you want to read more on your Kindle but don’t want to buy books, Kindle Unlimited is a wonderful option. It’s $9.99 a month but if you read a lot and like to read more than just new releases, it could be worth it. Get Kindle Unlimited here!
- Get $5 off of $25 from BookOutlet! This is a great place to find new books for pretty cheap. They also have sales quite a bit, so keep an eye out for those. I tend to check here for books I want if they’re more expensive other places. They don’t have everything but they do have a lot. Shop BookOutlet here!
- Thrift Books has become my go-to when I’m looking for a book and want it cheap. It’s great if you like buying used books. With this you can get a free book after spending $30!
- Shop my book lists here! You can find every book list I have on Bookshop.org (except my monthly round-ups) and I add everything I can but they occasionally won’t have some. I do occasionally add extras though. If any lists are empty, they’ll be filled in shortly! Shop my bookshop.org book lists here.
- Shopping internationally? Check out Book Depository!
Tom Kennedy takes his son, Jake, to Featherbank after the sudden death of his wife believing a fresh start will help, but the town has a dark past.
Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Then Frank Carter was caught and nicknamed “The Whisper Man” for luring his victims out by whispering by their windows at night.
Just as they settle down, a young boy vanishes and it resembles Frank Carter’s crimes reigniting rumors that he worked with an accomplice. Now detectives have to find the boy before it’s too late. But soon, Jake starts acting strange and hears a whispering at his own window.
While I didn’t personally love the whole of this, it was great as far as atmospheric creepiness goes.
Every year, Tim Riggs leads a group of scouts on a camping trip near Prince Edward Island. But this year was different. A horrendously hungry, pale, and skinny man shows up on the island and exposes them all to the nightmare bioengineered bug. It’s a harrowing struggle for survival to fight infection and each other.
I read this one last year and it’s very creepy! If you’re looking for horror books that will actually scare you, this is a good option.
Felix Allsey is a travel writer with a unique and not so lucrative niche of haunted places. After a lot of hard work, he convinced the owner of the Rotterdam Mansion to let him stay for a haunting 13 nights after he convinced himself that this would be his big break.
Soon, his oldest best friend Thomas joins him and the two avoid talking about a recent rough patch in their friendship before falling into their old dark humor rhythms. Soon things start going wrong when they hear screams and see figures around the house. Felix realizes his book, and his mind is tilting from nonfiction to true horror.
I also read this one a couple of years ago and really like it.
I first read this on Reddit NoSleep and I literally couldn’t sleep. My mom came into my room at like, 4 AM after I had read every part and all the comments and asked why I was up and I actually couldn’t sleep because I was so freaked out. I re-read this one every couple of years.
In this novel, a man starts investigating a series of unrelated bizarre, tragic, and horrific events throughout his childhood. Soon he finds out that these early fragments are really all part of one terrifying story that shaped his entire life, as well as those around him.
Every small town like Fell, New York has a place like the Sundown Motel, especially back in 1982. Some guests are out-of-towners and others are locals trying the hide their secrets. Viv Delaney is the night clerk and determined to uncover all their secrets, but things don’t go as planned and her niece follows her footsteps years later uncovering even more.
I was so excited to read this one last year and I loved it!
A group of four American friends are on vacation in Mexico when they meet some Greeks, Pablo, Juan, and Don Quixote, and a German, Mathias.
Mathias’s brother is missing after looking for some ruins with an archaeologist he met so the Americans and Pablo set out to look for the ruins and his brother. They get to Coba and what starts as a fun day trip slowly turns into an inescapable nightmare leaving the group hopeless in the jungle fighting the terrifying presence that lurks on the hill.
I loved this one. I understand how people don’t but I loved it, and the ending. So good!
Black Spring is a Hudson Valley Town that happens to be haunted by the Black Rock Witch who happens to have her eyes and mouth sewn shut. She enters homes, watches children sleep, and roams the streets. Everyone knows her eyes can never be opened or the consequences will be dire.
The town has been quarantined by the town elders thanks to high-tech surveillance equipment, but the teens of the town are sick of being kept in lock-down and take the towns haunting viral, but with this, they bring the town back to it’s dark, evil practices.
I got this on a Kindle deal, too and I’m very excited to read this one!
The Prophet’s word is law in Bethel which makes existing a blasphemy for Immanuelle Moore. Her family was cast into disgrace after her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity like all the other community women.
Soon, she is lured into the forbidden Darkwood, which happens to be where the first prophet chased and killed four powerful witches, surrounding Bethel after a mishap.
The spirits lurking there gave Immanuelle a gift that she never expected: her dead mother’s journal that reveals she once sought sanctuary herself in the wood. She is fascinated by the secrets in the journal and wants to know more about why her mother was consorting with witches. In the process she finds out dark truths about the Church and it’s history.
I think this one is pretty high on my fall TBR this year.
The Atargatis set off to film a mockumentary in the Mariana Trench seven years ago. It was meant to bring ancient creatures of the sea to life but instead, it was lost at sea with everyone aboard. Some say it was a hoax, some say it was a tragedy.
Now, there is a new crew but they’re aim isn’t to entertain. Some want the truth, some want to validate their life’s work, and Victoria wants to uncover the fate of the sister she lost. They can only find the truth underwater and it comes with a price.
The Finch house sits at the end of a dark prairie road in the middle of nowhere Kansas. It’s been empty and overgrown for years but the door will be opened for the first time in decades soon. Something is lurking in the shadows to greet its new guests.
I haven’t read this one yet but I can’t wait to!
Jane and her mother move from cheery California to dreary Maine after her father’s death. They just want a fresh start but the history behind the North Manor’s doors is leaving them tormented. She finds solace in old books and memories of her father.
Their new life begins to take shape but her mom is also struggling with memories of her childhood home and Jane doesn’t know why. Then she discovers the storage room her mother kept locked isn’t actually a storage room but a bedroom left untouched and not as empty anyone thought.
Noemí Taboada receives a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin saying she needs to be saved from a mysterious doom in High Place, a house in the distant Mexican countryside. She knows little about her cousins husband or the region and is an unlikely rescuer, preferring chick gowns and red lipstick of amateur sleuthing. She’s also tough and not afraid.
Her only ally in the inhospitable abode is the shy youngest son who wants to help her but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. As Noemí digs deeper into the past, she unearths stories of violence and madness. I’m so excited to read this one!
This is the story of four Native American men and their families, haunted by a deadly event from their youth. Years later, they’re being tracked by an entity set on revenge. They’re left helpless while culture and traditions left behind catch up to them in a violent way.
Everyone knows a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. He’s someone you could always imagine doing something terrible. And twenty-five years ago he did. He committed a murder so awful it inspired more than one copycat.
Paul remembers the case all to well since Crabtree and the victim were his friends. He slowly put his life back together but knows it’s time to go home and things start to go downhill fast.
He learns detective Amanda Beck is investigating another copycat in the nearby town of Featherbank. At the same time, his mother’s dementia is getting worse and she’s insisting that something is in her house. And that something is following him. Because of this he is reminded of the worst part of that day so long ago. It wasn’t just the murder. It’s that Crabtree was never seen again.
I didn’t love The Whisper Man by the same author that much but I will definitely be giving this one a shot, too!
Miranda Crabtree’s father was killed when she was a child. Since then, she’s managed to keep her head down while moving contraband for a mad preacher and his declining band of followers to make ends meet and protect and old witch and secret child from harm.
Human and supernatural forces are at work conspiring to disrupt Miranda’s life in the bayou. She’s set on a desperate and dangerous path when the preacher makes an unthinkable demand, forcing her to consider what she’s willing to sacrifice to keep loved ones safe.
The day after they moved in, Coraline started exploring their new home. It has twenty-one windows and fourteen doors, thirteen of which open. The fourteenth is locked with a brick wall on the other side until the day Coraline unlocked it and found a hallway to another flat in another house that looks just like theirs.
Things seem great at first with better food, more toys, books with moving pictures, and chattering dinosaur skulls. Other Mother and Other Father want to keep her there. They want to change her and never let her go. Soon she finds other trapped children and she is their only hope of rescue.
On Marin’s island, day lasts for fourteen years, night lasts for fourteen more. The sun is going down and everyone is preparing to leave for the Desert Lands. They prepare the houses with strange rituals that none of the adults will discuss.
Just as the ships are preparing to leave, Line, Marin, and her brother’s best friend, are found to be missing. They ran off to find Line since they were the only ones that knew the truth about where he was. But night is falling, the island is changing, and when they return to the ships, it may be too late.
I read this one last year and this one was sufficiently creepy in the best ways. But also being trapped on an island in perpetual night like my nightmare.
Have you read any of these actually scary books? What are some of your favorite scary books?