Here are some of our favorite spine-tingling, terrifying reads.
Andrew's world is cleaved in two when his best friend Eddie dies from an apparent suicide. He then inherits the life Eddie left behind: a million dollar fortune, a plantation manor, a drag racing group of friends, an unfinished thesis on rural Tennessee folklore, and a very familiar revenant that haunts his every step.
This book is a nonstop thrill ride of subplots: a best friend to lovers romance, a backwoods drag racing, a murder mystery, a survival story, a Southern gothic horror tale, a ghost story.
Above all else, Summer Sons is a look at coming to terms with your identity after an unimaginable loss, and accepting grief as a weight you can't outrun.
Gripping, thrilling, and intoxicating, Summer Sons is the perfect Halloween read. - Jessi
This is a novel written as a documentary which is written by a blind man about videos of a shape-changing House that he obviously couldn’t see, which could also have been completely fabricated to make a great premise for the blind man’s opus, which we’ll never know because he’s deceased and so we can’t ask him, which is then edited by a complete stranger to the blind man and the project who becomes fanatically obsessed with learning the truth of the matter, but also professes in his increasingly schizophrenic tirades that he tends to lie a lot.With me so far?Come along, then. We’ll pick up the stragglers later.The house of title fame belongs to a Pulitzer-winning photojournalist named Will Navidson who resides in this quaint countryside abode with his wife and two children. Everything seems just fine and dandy until the hallway appears.This hallway doesn’t connect two rooms. Rather, it branches off a living room wall and extends into total darkness. It is dark, featureless, and eerily cold. The general consensus is that it’s giving everyone the heebie-jeebies. So of course, Navidson busts out the camera and goes exploring. The walk from the living room entryway to the wall inside takes him five and a half minutes to complete. Sufficiently creeped-out, the family did the only sensible thing they could do: they boarded up the hole and stuck a door on it. Not surprisingly, this doesn’t help. Unable to contain his curiosity, Navidson opens the door for a peek only to find that the hallway has stretched out even farther.Soon, they discover an entire catacomb of corridors and chambers has manifested behind the living room wall. Navidson hires a team of explorers to investigate the area. When they don’t return, he and his own team move in to rescue them. What they step into is a dark and foreboding place whose architectural make-up alters and moves while they’re inside. Where the darkness had once been utterly silent, now an otherworldly growl begins to draw nearer.But what Navidson and his team find in the darkness isn’t a growling monster, it’s more terrifying than that. What they find in the darkness is what slowly drives poor Johnny Truant insane, it’s what we can assume made the blind man so obsessed with Navidson’s story, and what probably drove him a bit crazy, too. The madness they uncover starts being mimicked by the book itself, with strange cross-outs, entire missing sections, incessant and disrupting footnotes, backwards print, and formatting that makes the writing near impossible to read.Even though you’re positive you’re reading a novel and it’s fiction and you know in your noggin that the Navidson Record doesn’t exist, even though the characters in the book are themselves doubtful anything occurring is real at all, even though it makes no sense that a blind man would review a video documentary, even though there’s that ever-present Johnny Truant who has a penchant for fabricating wild, elaborate stories, what they find there in the darkness will make you keep the night light on. Even more frighteningly, you probably won’t be sure why.And if that hasn’t convinced you, pick up the book and flip to the middle. Trust me on this one. - Nikki
Sundial had me cringing, gasping, whispering obscenities to myself in disbelief. Twice, I was on the verge of dry heaving.
Young Callie reminded me far too much of myself years ago. I too was once a morbid, creepy child obsessed with death and murder and bones. It was like looking into a VERY uncomfortable mirror.
It is a supremely messed up story... and the perfect read for yours truly. I don't know what that says about me and whether I should be concerned, but Sundial is likely making it onto my Top Reads of 2022 at the end of the year. -Jessie
A delightfully creepy horror novel set at a secretive summer camp and a profound exploration of grief, privilege, and genderfluidity. - Alyssa
Totally original, dark and chilling story about a group of friends who discover an addictive drug that allows them to see dead people. Well, not allows, more like forces, and it gets intense. This was impossible to put down, but please, read it with the lights on! - Laura
Jurassic Park meets fluffy designer pets in the heart of New York City. - Nikki
Gailey never fails to write with a creeping sense of dread that slowly wraps its way around you and pins you to the page.
After ten years of being sent away by her cold mother from the house her father built, Vera Crowder is called back to help her dying mother clean out the house.
But dark secrets lurk in the shadows and floorboards of Crowder House, and Vera might not be able to leave until she confronts them all on their own.
This gothic horror had me checking under the bed before I drifted to sleep. It's sure to haunt you in the best possible way. - Jessi
Olivia Prior has spent her entire life within the gray walls of Merilance School for Girls seeing ghouls and feeling like an outsider, the only connection to her family being her mother’s mysterious rambling diary. But when Olivia is summoned to the family estate by her estranged uncle, she soon realizes that her family is hiding a dark secret about the deaths of many of its members, and is thrust into a world where the lines between dreams and reality blur, where a seemingly innocent crumbling garden wall has a malevolent air around it, and where a family bloodline is the only thing keeping an ancient hungry entity from devouring the rest of Olivia’s family - and even the rest of the world.
Fans of Coraline, Stranger Things and gothic horror will enjoy this book about a family bound to a house - and the terrifying monster held on the other side of a crumbling garden wall that has more to it than meets the eye.
Read this one with a night light and make sure you check under your bed for ghouls before going to sleep! With creeping horror and dread, this book had me utterly transfixed and I read it in one sitting into the darkest parts of the night. - Jessi
Pallbearers Club is a top read of the year for me, for sure.
The decades-spanning plot involves a toxic friendship, funerals, folklore, lots of punk rock references, and maaaaaaaybe psychic vampirism? Who's to say?
The story is told as a manuscript of a m̶e̶m̶o̶i̶r̶ novel written by one character (Art Barbara) and edited by another (Mercy), and this narrative device is REALLY COOL. These narrators are unreliable as hell, and to have the two of them competing for the truth is a real treat. What is fact? What is fiction? Can either of these weirdos be trusted? - Jessie
THE BOOK EATERS by Sunyi Dean is a completely original monster story about a mother's love and the lengths she will go to to protect her son. Devon is born into an insular patriarchal community of book eaters, who get sustenance by consuming written matter. But sometimes another kind of child is born. A monstrous child whose insatiable hunger can only be sated by feeding on the minds of others.THE BOOK EATERS is the story of a mother's love for her child, and fight to bring him a better life. Dean has told an incredible story of breaking away and sacrificing everything you have for a child that needs you more than anything. An amazing weird dark fantasy book that will stay with you long after you have put it down. - Vickie
With terrifying visuals and haunting prose, Into the Drowning Deep dragged me under and left me gasping for air.
Tory is determined to figure out what happened to her sister on a voyage to Mariana's Trench in search of mermaids - even if it kills her.
This monster horror novel sank its teeth into me and held me captive in its maw and I loved every bloody second of it. - Jessi
Newly widowed and pregnant Elsie comes to live at her late husband's rundown estate, where deeply unsettling occurrences begin happening after she finds a painted wooden "companion" behind a locked door .Dripping with Victorian gothic aesthetic and told from multiple points of view and time periods, the relentless dread in this novel builds and builds and never lets up, culminating in ghastly scenes that, years later, still give me nightmares. (You'll never look at cardboard cutouts or splinters the same way again.) - Jessie
That the title was a quote from a Lord Byron poem did not surprise me, but it fits in the context of the book. It was creepy and suspenseful and does not condescend to its intended 8-12 y/o audience. Think Stranger Things meets Stand by Me meets Coraline. - Laura