As the fall creeps in and the temperatures drop and the leaves begin to change, we reach for a good spinetingler to curl up with along with our cardigans and hot apple cider. I always love a good creepy thriller, and so I'm going to share with you some of my favorites.
For great horror you can't beat the grande dame, Shirley Jackson. I loved We Have Always Lived in the Castle, the short but oh-so-scary tale of Merricat and Constance, two sisters who live with their cat and elderly uncle. Everything is fine- just fine- until Cousin Charles arrives to destroy the castle the sisters have built.
Last year one of my favorite writers published one of my favorite creepy books. Jeannette Winterson's The Daylight Gate is a modern classic almost-true witch and ghost story set in 17th century Lancashire. You simply must read this book this month if you want a scary time between the covers.
William Lindsay Gresham's Nightmare Alley is a fantastically scary crime novel set amid circus folk during the Great Depression. The American backwaters of the 1930s never seemed so sinister!
Mallock's The Cemetery of Swallows is a scary crime novel set in the Dominican Republic and France that includes elements of both supernatural and all-too-real horror, about a man murdered by a total stranger for no apparent reason. It will have you clinging to the edge of your seat and turning the pages wildly for sure.
For a more comedic horror experience, can I suggest the "Bad Rides" portions of John Waters' recent memoir/fiction, Carsick? Because some of those bad rides- and even some of the so-called "good rides" are the stuff of nightmares for sure. He gives us stalkers, serial killers, mutilation, disease and more. And the stuff that won't gross you out is pretty funny. Oh, and- get the audio. His narration is worth every penny.
Finally, I'd like to recommend Jeff VanderMeer's genuinely creepy Annihilation, first of his Southern Reach trilogy, all of which are out and
available now (I have yet to finish the series). This first book takes place in a future world where a group of scientists must chart an uncharted region and report back on what they find. But how uncharted is this place, and what is it? And what happened to the last dozen research teams sent there? This book asks- and starts to answer- some very scary questions. Arresting, absorbing and disturbing fantasy about Area X, a secret place filled with the bizarre and supernatural. The book was like a cross between Christopher Priest and Lovecraft, strange beings and happenings written in a luminous, complex and immersive style. It will certainly affect the quality and quantity of your sleep!