Welcome to the SheReads Bookish Entertainment column! Each week, enjoy a new article by Garrett Billings— Bookstagrammer, blogger, book-to-screen junkie—on all things Reading + Hollywood. Stars’ book club picks and trailer reveals, book-to-screen news and book pop culture, and of course, Gare’s specialty, choosing his ideal Hollywood casts for book adaptations—Bookish Entertainment has you covered.
It may only be August, but spooky season is right around the corner, and some of us are already counting down the days. With a Friday the 13th in August, it’s the perfect time to prepare yourself to get creeped out! If you’re looking for something to kick off your weekend on a day that some consider a mini-Halloween, look no further. From creepy camps in the middle of the woods to stories inspired by true crime, these six books are guaranteed to keep you up way past your bedtime and petrified of what really goes bump in the night.
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
If there’s any read that reminds me of Friday the 13th (the movie), it’s The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager due to the camp setting and the mystery behind three girls disappearing. At Camp Nightingale fifteen years ago, Emma watched her three friends sneak out of the cabin and into the night, only to never be seen again. Now, in present time, the disappearances haunt Emma, whose paintings of Camp Nightingale catch the attention of the owner of the camp as they prepare to reopen. Between an offer she can’t refuse and the possibility of finding clues as to what happened to her friends, Emma returns to Camp Nightingale to confront her past…in the same cabin she last saw her friends.
Look What You Made Me Do by Elaine Murphy
For fans of Dexter and Dead to Me, this is the perfect pick for you! Darkly comedic and immersive, this is a story you can easily devour in one day. Carrie Lawrence and her sister Becca Lawrence couldn’t be more different. Carrie dreams of the day she can lead a boring life and not be summoned to the woods at odd hours of the night to help Becca hide another dead body. Becca has been getting away with murder for over a decade and has no anxiety whatsoever—because in her mind, every single person she’s killed had it coming to them. When thirteen bodies are discovered by the police and the people suspect a serial killer may be living in their small town, Becca and Carrie are both terrified of what to come. The problem? Becca swears the bodies aren’t hers and now the sisters realize that Becca isn’t the only serial killer in town.
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
Do you miss Pretty Little Liars? Then Two Can Keep a Secret is the perfect read for you! McManus is a superb YA thriller author and this book is sensationally spine-tingling! Ellery is moving to small-town Echo Ridge to live with her grandmother and although she’s never been there before, the idea is unsettling. Ellery’s aunt had gone missing in Echo Ridge when she was a teenager and five years ago, the Homecoming queen was brutally murdered. Shortly after Ellery’s arrival, a local teenager goes missing and someone is promising to reign terror on homecoming this year. As Ellery wonders if the murders and disappearances are connected, she learns that the entire town is full of secrets, especially the members of her family.
The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix
Horror movie lovers are in for a treat with this action-packed and captivating tale about what really happens to women who find themselves the sole survivors of a massacre. With plenty of references to Scream, Friday the 13th, and beyond, this story just may inspire a movie marathon! After surviving a mass murder a decade ago, Lynnette Tarkington has been meeting with a support group of other “final girls” like herself. Struggling with attempting to put their lives back together after decades of dealing with trauma, the group is horrified to learn that one of the members goes missing and their fears become reality when they worry that someone may be determined to pick them off one by one.
Trace of Evil by Alice Blanchard
If you’re looking to start a new series that is atmospherically chilling that features a police procedural aspect combined with a small-town murder, Trace of Evil is just what you need! Burning Lake, New York is infamous for its history and detective Natalie Lockhart is no stranger to the town’s dark secrets as she still deals with the unsolved murder of her sister. When a schoolteacher is found murdered in her home, Natalie’s main suspect is in a coma and she realizes there may be more beneath the surface of the life of her victim.
Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey
Murderinos rejoice! Those who love true crime and crime fiction are in for a night of terror with Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey. Inspired by a true story from her hometown, this book is undeniably harrowing and terrifying. Taking place in Minnesota during the 1980s, this story is part coming-of-age story and part thriller about a girl named Cassie whose life changes when someone in her hometown is abducting young boys. Each boy is found alive, but drastically different from the youthful carefree children they were before their abduction. As Cassie begins to wonder what is really happening in this small town, the rumors start to swirl and the fingers are pointed at everyone.