Spooky Reads for a Scaredy-Cat

Every October I get the itch to pick up a book for spooky season. The only problem is that I’m a lifelong scaredy-cat. When it comes to horror movies or tv series, I can only handle small doses. But against all odds, I do enjoy reading an occasional spooky story. It all started when I picked up the classic Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Somehow those tales of horror and things that go bump in the night were less creepy if they were just words on a page.

If you’re looking for some spooky reads, here are a few recommendations. Just remember to read them with the lights on.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

The only thing keeping Patricia Campbell sane is her book club, a close-knit group of Charleston women united by their love of true crime. One evening after book club, Patricia is viciously attacked by an elderly neighbor, bringing the neighbor’s handsome nephew, James Harris, into her life. James is well traveled and well read, and he makes Patricia feel things she hasn’t felt in years. But when children on the other side of town go missing, their deaths written off by local police, Patricia has reason to believe James Harris is more of a Bundy than a Brad Pitt. The real problem? James is a monster of a different kind–and Patricia has already invited him in. 

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

This 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.

The Outsider by Stephen King

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is discovered in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens–Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon have DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face?

The Shadows by Alex North

You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree committed a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat. Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree–and his victim–were Paul’s friends. It’s not long before things start to go wrong. Paul learns that Detective Amanda Beck is investigating another copycat that has struck in the nearby town of Featherbank.

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas

At the end of a dark prairie road, nearly forgotten in the Kansas countryside, is the Finch House. For years it has remained empty, overgrown, abandoned. When best-selling horror author Sam McGarver is invited to spend Halloween night in the house, he reluctantly agrees. At least he won’t be alone; joining him are three other masters of the macabre, writers who have helped shape modern horror. But what begins as a simple publicity stunt will become a fight for survival. The entity they have awakened will follow them, torment them, threatening to make them a part of the bloody legacy of Kill Creek.

-Melinda