There’s nothing us horror writers enjoy more than sharing the horror. We write because we fell in love with reading. We fell in love with stories that moved us, frightened us, aroused us, and made us say, “What the fuck?” Horror has it all. Good horror especially. Heart and soul, ghouls that take hearts and souls, love stories, lust stories, blood and rain (he, he, he) and all the guts, perseverance, and monsters and heroes you could ever want, or want to see bested.
Here’s a few of my favorite October reads ever, and a few other suggested titles, too.
Ben Mears has returned to Jerusalem’s Lot in hopes that exploring the history of the Marsten House, an old mansion long the subject of rumor and speculation, will help him cast out his personal devils and provide inspiration for his new book. But when two young boys venture into the woods, and only one returns alive, Mears begins to realize that something sinister is at work—in fact, his hometown is under siege from forces of darkness far beyond his imagination. And only he, with a small group of allies, can hope to contain the evil that is growing within the borders of this small New England town.
With this, his second novel, Stephen King established himself as an indisputable master of American horror, able to transform the old conceits of the genre into something fresh and all the more frightening for taking place in a familiar, idyllic locale.
It all has to start somewhere…. My favorite book of all-time, STEPHEN KING’s ‘SALEM’s LOT. I’ve read this four times (all in October). You can do no better than this one.
Purchase here: ‘SALEM’S LOT
The town of Stillwater has a very unwelcome resident.
The town of Stillwater has been dying – the long and painful death of a town ravaged by floods and haunted by the ghosts of all who had lived there. Yet this most recent flood has brought something with it – a creature that nests among the good folks of Stillwater…and feeds off them. The children who haven’t disappeared whisper the same word – “vampire”. But they’re wrong. What has come to Stillwater is something much more horrific.
Easily one of my other all-time favorites, Ronald Malfi delivers the perfect October concoction with his novel, THE NARROWS. If you’ve enjoyed his recent hits (BONE WHITE, LITTLE GIRLS, THE NIGHT PARADE), try this one for your next October read.
Purchase here: THE NARROWS
“Hell House is the scariest haunted house novel ever written. It looms over the rest the way the mountains loom over the foothills.” — Stephen King
Rolf Rudolph Deutsch is going die. But when Deutsch, a wealthy magazine and newpaper publisher, starts thinking seriously about his impending death, he offers to pay a physicist and two mediums, one physical and one mental, $100,000 each to establish the facts of life after death.
Dr. Lionel Barrett, the physicist, accompanied by the mediums, travel to the Belasco House in Maine, which has been abandoned and sealed since 1949 after a decade of drug addiction, alcoholism, and debauchery. For one night, Barrett and his colleagues investigate the Belasco House and learn exactly why the townsfolk refer to it as the Hell House.
Okay, definitely one of the scariest books I’ve ever read. HELL HOUSE reads like a highbrow literature version of a Bentley Little book. Twisted, scary, and wonderfully written, Richard Matheson reset the true standard for haunted house tales.
Purchase here: HELL HOUSE
The classic supernatural thriller by an author who helped define the genre
First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.
My wife is currently reading this one for the first time. Jackson set the original standard for haunted house novels with this beauty. THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE has a creeping death type of vibe. By which I mean, it crawls under your skin and slowly pulls you down. Jackson succeeds without the gore and gruesome revelations of say, HELL HOUSE or THE SHINING, but hits with just as much impact.
Purchase here: THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE
There are all kinds of legends about the forests of Central Pennsylvania, and in this sequel to DARK HOLLOW, the truth about those legends is finally revealed.
Halloween is coming, and a new haunted attraction is open for business in LeHorn’s Hollow. Folks will come from miles around to walk down the spooky trail and get scared witless. But there’s one thing the owners of the ghost walk haven’t counted on. There really is something waiting in the woods-a vast, ancient evil whose hunger threatens to consume all life on Earth. Soon, the unsuspecting customers will pay their money and get in line… to die. And only one man, occult detective Levi Stoltzfus, can save them and stop the evil before it is unleashed.
What’s better than a book set around a Halloween attraction? Brina Keene’s GHOST WALK is a fun October ride with one of his best characters, Levi Stoltzfus.
Side rant here…. I am probably in the minority, but I prefer his Leisure book covers over the newer Deadite ones. To me, the LB covers look more professional. The newer ones would actually deter me from picking up the books. A little too nasty for my taste. BUT each and every one of Keene’s novels are worthy of your time. Pick one up today!
Purchase here: GHOST WALK
During the great depression, a small backwoods community in Iowa face even more difficult times than most, having to endure the slowly fading sanity of their leader, Reverend Joshua Miller. When it’s clear the man has slipped beyond the edge of reason and perhaps signed a deal with the devil, the citizens unite to stop him any way they can, breaking into the church to lash the reverend to his wooden alter cross then boarding up the windows and doors to leave him to fate and God’s judgment. The people of Oak Valley then abandoned their town to the cornfields and woods; ending the madness for what they hoped was forever.
They were wrong!
Seventy-four years later, the corn and trees have taken back the area and not much is left of the once thriving little community but Joshua Miller’s desecrated church still stands, and within its boarded up and sun-baked walls something that used to be a holy man waits for whoever is unfortunate enough to release him from his cross…
THE SCARECROW WILL WALK AT MIDNIGHT
One of my favorite books by Gord Rollo. This one is guaranteed to scratch your Halloween horror itch. Also, if you’re a fan of King’s IT, check out Rollo’s other offering, CRIMSON.
Purchase here: VALLEY OF THE SCARECROW
THE PAST NOT ONLY HAUNTS. IT HUNTS.
In a small, rural Arkansas town in the midst of World War II, hotel house detective George “Jojo” Walker wearily maintains the status quo in the wake of personal devastation. That status quo is disrupted when a hygiene picture roadshow rolls into town with a controversial program on display and curious motives in mind. What begins with a gruesome and impossible murder soon spirals into hallucinatory waking nightmares for Jojo—nightmares that converge with his reality and dredge up his painful, secret past. Black magic and a terrifying Luciferian carnival boil up to a surreal finale for the town of Litchfield, when truth itself unfurls and Jojo Walker is forced to face his own identity in ways he could never have expected.
Ed Kurtz delivered in last year’s THE RIB FROM WHICH I REMAKE THE WORLD. Fans of the classic Leisure Books Horror stories will mLOVE this one. If that’s you, make this your next buy.
Purchase here: THE RIB FROM WHICH I REMAKE THE WORLD
Another recent scare, DREAM WOODS, from author, Patrick Lacey, offers some great characters set in a Little-esque world. AND it’s just 99 cents!
Terror abounds! A theme park setting is the perfect horror ride.
Purchase here: DREAM WOODS
And if you’ve read all these already, check out Sinister Grin Press for more. ALL of their eBook titles are on sale for $2.99 or less!
Check them out here: SINISTER GRIN PRESS
Lastly, check out any of books here: GLENN ROLFE