Carved your pumpkin? Got your costume at the ready? Had the annual screening of Hocus Pocus? Well, in the case there’s only one thing left to do- curl up with a spooky tome by candlelight!
Here’s my top ten best reads for you to sink your fangs into!
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
It’s a classic. It’s Gothic, Romantic and with a dash of the Science Fiction about it, this is a genre-blasting monster of a read. Plus, because I’m a sucker for an underdog, I always end up feeling a bit sorry for The Creature. I WILL LOVE YOU YOU SCARY GREEN CREATURE.
- Switch Bitch by Roald Dahl
Or actually any of the short story collections for adults penned by the King of Mischief himself. The stories are wonderfully macabre, with vicious twists, black comedy and weird, creepy characters. Try Lamb to the Slaughter as your first toe-dip into these collections. My FAVE.
- The Birds & Other Stories by Daphne Du Maurier
Another collection of shorts, this volume contains the inspiration for the classic Hitchcock movie of the same name, and how iconically scary is Tippi Hedren flapping amongst her feathered frenemies? It’s great and though this is the stand-out story of the collection, the rest are well worth zipping through too!
- Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Stories by Robert Louis Stevenson
Again, a classic. We all know the tale, the respectable doctor who succumbs to his evil dark side. I think this story always fascinated me as someone who tussles with mental health issues on the regular and the idea that we all have this lurking darkness within us. Ooh I’ve gone all shuddery.
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Selling your soul to the devil in return for a life where you look super hot all the time and can live a life of hedonistic pleasure, sex and opium and murders and the like? SURE THING SOUNDS GOOD.
- Kiss of the Spiderwoman by Manuel Puig
Torture, spies, Nazi propaganda, guerrillas, zombies, witch doctors, the mafia, prostitution- this is darrrrk. It’s also written in a really modern way, stream of conciousness, dashes to indicate who’s speaking etc. It’s wild and a bit marmite but DO give it a go.
- Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier
In my humble opinion, Daph is the KWEEN of the cliffhanger. Oof she knows how to make you keep reading until the wee hours, she really does. Jamaica Inn is one of my absolute faves. Smugglers, a rugged, rough Cornish coastline and a creepy inn with a drunken, violent landlord. There’s fistfights, and fleeing, and murders, and snogging and it’s all spooky and tension-tastic and it’s just GREAT. Yeah, read it.
- The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings by Edgar Allen Poe
Oh POE my favourite of all the hair-raising writers. In this short story, we see a family in their final hours, driven to the brink of madness by tragedy and the presence of the past. It’s FAB. This particular collection also has a handful more horrid tales PLUS the bonus of all his fabulously sinister poems, including The Raven. *GASP* was that just a tapping at my chamber door?!
- Grimm Tales by Philip Pullman
Ever since I saw the immersive theatrical version of Pullman’s retellings of the classic fairy-tales I knew they were something special. His versions are stylish and modern whilst cleverly retaining the essence of the original stories at the heart of it all. And I mean like, I love Disney and all, but the traditional fairytales where people get their eyes gouged out, and pushed into ovens and stuff, are just better in my opinion.
- The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale
This one is non-fiction and instead takes the famous Road Hill House murder as it’s focus. At a Victorian village manor in the dead of night, a four year old boy disappears from his bed and is found slashed and stabbed to death in the outhouse. Mr Whicher was called from Scotland Yard to solve the case where the family and their servants are the suspects. It’s gripping, it’s grisly and it’s true.
What are your favourite spooky reads?