In my previous post, I talked about “Five Non-Fiction Books to Read for this Halloween.” In this one, I’m giving you five fiction books to give you goosebumps (pun intended).
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
This is the story of eight boys who go out trick or treating on Halloween night only to meet a mysterious figure, Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud, at a haunted house. One of their friends, Joe Pipkin, is mysteriously taken away and Moundshroud takes the boys on a journey through time and space to find him. They visit ancient Egypt, Greece, the British Isles, and Mexico, seeing how different cultures have viewed death and celebrated and honored the dead throughout history (even if the information isn’t always entirely accurate). The book is filled with lively prose and vivid imagery, making it read like poetry at times. It is a nice whimsical tale that delves into the true meaning of Halloween.
Buy at Amazon: https://amzn.to/30ybmkL
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Series by Alvin Schwartz
This trilogy of short scary stories by author Alvin Schwartz is based on folklore and urban legends. The series may be aimed at a younger audience, but for kids who read the books in the 80s and 90s, the stories, and the accompanying illustrations even more so, scared us silly. When reading them again as an adult, most of the stories aren’t frightening and you probably won’t believe that many of them are actually only a page or two long. You will, however, still find the original illustrations by Stephen Gammell just as creepy and appreciate them all the more for it. You may be familiar with some of the stories like the one where a baby sitter keeps receiving terrifying phone calls or the one in which a person is being followed home by someone flashing their high beams. Some of the more frightening stories are “Harold,” “The Trouble,” “The Wendigo,” “The Curse,” and “The Haunted House.” They will make for good fun around a midnight campfire.
Buy at Amazon: https://amzn.to/3nlci61
Ruined by Paula Morris
A ghost story set in New Orleans should be an indication of how good this book is. Newcomer Rebecca Brown finds out that adjusting to a new town and school is the least of her problems. Her status as an outsider is heightened when she learns about the hierarchal social structure of New Orleans’s old families. Then one night she meets a local ghost haunting the Lafayette Cemetery and finds out about the skeletons inside the closet, or in this case tomb, of one of the upper class families, the Bowmans. Soon dark family secrets become revealed as Rebecca learns that a curse was placed on the Bowmans more than a hundred years ago. This book is a fun page turner complete with mean girls, twists upon twists, and Mardi Gras festivities. It will keep you on the edge of your seat as you try to determine who is trustworthy and just how exactly the curse will play out.
Buy at Amazon: https://amzn.to/33vSsNr
Pretty much anything by Edgar Allan Poe
One of the fathers of horror, Poe’s poems and short stories don’t fail to create chills. Besides the well known “The Raven,” some of his other good poems include the beautiful “Evening Star” and “Spirits of the Dead” which makes one contemplate their own mortality. I especially like “Annabel Lee,” a poem about undying love which musical icon Stevie Nicks turned into a song. As for his short stories, “The Cask of Amontillado” makes you question if the narrator’s revenge is warranted while “The Masque of the Red Death” shows you the horror of illness personified. “The Pit and the Pendulum” builds terror and suspense as the narrator must consistently escape the many ways the Inquisition attempts to put him to death and “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether” makes you wonder just who exactly are the patients and who are the staff at a peculiar mad house. There are plenty more terrifying tales to read by Poe.
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The Catacombs by Jeremy Bates
This thriller will play tricks with your mind as you follow the main characters through the underground maze that is the Paris Catacombs. Will, who is spending a few months in Paris to write about the nightlife there, decides to accept his friend Danièle’s invitation to travel down into the catacombs with her and two friends. After finding a camera and viewing the footage, they are on a mission to find the woman who dropped it and mysteriously disappeared in the subterranean labyrinth. Throughout the pages, you can feel the characters’ paranoia and fear as they traverse the dark tunnels and come across all sorts of dangers. The sense of foreboding only heightens when you realize the author really did his research in mapping out the various areas of the catacombs. But for Will and the others, getting lost in the tunnels turns out to be the least of their problems as they soon find themselves in a fight for their lives. (P.S.: Skip the prologue, it gives away too much.)
Buy at Amazon: https://amzn.to/3dpWPwP
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