Chilling, Thrilling Halloween Reads
Halloween is just around the corner, and that means it's time to stock up on some shiver-inducing, sleep-with-the-lights-on reads! Granted, nearly every single book that I read could count as a Halloween read, so today I'm recommending crime books that are supernatural-y, horror-y, extra gory, and all around guaranteed to get you in the Halloween spirit. You'll find three rankings following each mini-review: scare factor, whether or not the book includes supernatural elements, and its violence level. Happy haunting :)
A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS by Paul Tremblay. Tremblay takes the classic demonic possession and exorcism storyline and turns it on its head - complete with "blog excerpts," reality TV shows, and more - proving in the process that the worst evils aren't otherworldly, but very human. I recommended this book for Halloween last year, and I can't help but recommend it again. An excellent choice for horror movie buffs and crime fiction readers alike. Amazon link here.
Scare factor: 4/5 -- Supernatural? Yes AND No -- Violence level: 3/5
DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL'S ROCK by Paul Tremblay. Tremblay's sophomore effort is arguably even better than his first. When a boy goes missing in a local forest, police consider him a runaway - but ghostly apparitions and bizarre happenings in his family's home lead his mother to consider more unconventional explanations. Like A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS, this title also includes unique chapters featuring increasingly disturbing journal entries from the missing boy's diary. Amazon link here.
Scare factor: 3.5/5 -- Supernatural? Yes -- Violence level: 2/5
THE ICE TWINS by S.K. Tremayne. An oldie-but-a-goodie. The life of a perfect couple with two beautiful twin daughters is struck by tragedy: one of their daughters dies in an accident. In hopes of repairing their family, the couple moves to a beautiful, remote island - but things soon take a turn for the worse, when their surviving daughter begins to claim that she is not herself, but is actually the twin believed dead. Winter descends on the island, and the increasingly volatile weather reflects the tension and confusion swirling within the family as isolation and desperation for the truth take hold. I will forever recommend this book for a fast-paced, utterly chilling read. Perfect for fans of Mary Kubica, Gilly Macmillan, and Clare Mackintosh. Amazon link here.
Scare factor: 3.5/5 -- Supernatural? Yes -- Violence level: 2.5/5
THE GATES OF EVANGELINE by Hester Young. Southern gothic meets the supernatural in this compelling story of loss. When a young mother's son dies, she begins experiencing vivid dreams about a young boy asking for her help. Naturally, she attributes these dreams to her grief at first... but soon finds herself traveling to Louisiana to investigate a missing child case that has haunted a prominent Southern family. She soon discovers that her dreams might not be fiction after all. This is a richly atmospheric, character-driven suspense novel. Not outright scary, but filled with plenty of spine-tingling, haunting moments. Amazon link here.
Scare factor: 2/5 -- Supernatural? Yes -- Violence level: 2/5
BLOOD WEDDING by Pierre Lemaire. A woman suffering from memory loss wakes to discover that the boy in her care has been brutally murdered, and goes on the run, finding shelter with a mysterious man. A twisted story of love and manipulation; a truly compelling psychological thriller, packed with plot twists and truly shocking moments. This is the perfect choice if you love books like THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, but want to up your game for Halloween. Amazon level here.
Scare factor: 4.5/5 -- Supernatural? No -- Violence level: 5/5
BROTHER by Ania Ahlborn. Cannibals in Appalachia. Need I say more? But really, I was completely surprised by how much I liked this book. It's gory, graphic, and all around twisted: I couldn't stop turning pages, yet was utterly horrified by what I was reading. This is not crime fiction - it's straight horror, and it's complete with characters you'll root for and wish the best for - against all odds. Don't read this one while eating. Amazon link here.
Scare factor: 5/5 -- Supernatural? No -- Violence level: 5/5