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.
Certain things were meant to be paired together like wine and cheese or popcorn and a movie. Another thing I love to pair together are scary movies and thrilling books. For every scary movie out there, there’s a book bound to keep you up late into the night and double-check all the locks before crawling under the sheets. It’s time to pop your popcorn and grab your favorite bookmark: here are some scary movie and crime fiction pairings for all fans of the most chilling flicks!
Love the Final Girl story of Halloween? Check out Final Girls by Riley Sager
The latest Halloween movie tells you what Laurie Strode’s life was like for the past 40 years after the original film and the devastating effects that night had on her. If you’ve ever wondered what happens to the final girl in a horror movie after the credits role, this is the book for you. A decade ago, six friends went to a cabin in the woods and only one came home. After that night, Quincy Carpenter became part of a group the press named “The Final Girls”: a group of women who survived horror movie situations. In the present day, Quincy is seemingly doing well until one of the other Final Girls is found dead and another one shows up at her door in hopes that if they stick together they won’t be next.
Fan of movie references in Scream? Check out The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky
How could anyone forget Drew Barrymore’s famous bob and the most horrifying 13 minutes in cinematic history? Scream was a fresh and witty horror movie with a ton of movie references. If you love a terrifying opener reminiscent of a slasher film and the movie references Scream provides, then get yourself a copy of The Mary Shelley Club ASAP! Rachel Chavez finds comfort in horror movies and uses them to put her past behind her. Rachel is recruited by the Mary Shelley club, a mysterious society of students who conduct Fear Tests as a competition and soon enough, the stakes are raised and the game turns deadly. Can Rachel use her cinematic trivia to survive her own horror movie?
Did Get Out get under your skin? Check out When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole
Get Out isn’t a movie that relies on jump scares and masked killers to get your skin crawling. It’s the type of movie that makes you feel unsettled the entire time until its sinister and twisted ending. Much like Get Out, When No One is Watching has an ominous feel throughout that makes the reader aware there’s so much more to the story than what is being told so far. Sydney Green’s neighborhood is changing right before her eyes. Her neighbors she’s known her whole life are disappearing to the suburbs and condos are being built everywhere. When Sydney and her neighbor Theo dive into the history of the community, they realize something much more sinister is brewing behind the scenes in this terrifying novel of gentrification.
Do you love a story of female friendship in a coven like in The Craft? Check out The Furies by Katie Lowe
The Craft has that perfect combination of supernatural witchcraft with a coming-of-age story that makes it one of the best movies to watch this time of year. I loved the plot of having a girl meet a new group of friends and creating their own coven. Similar to The Craft, The Furies takes place in the nineties and is a wild treat about a dead girl found on a swing at her boarding school. A year prior to that, Violet is the new girl who steps foot on campus, looking for a fresh start, and befriends a trio of girls who are obsessed with the school’s history—including witchcraft. As Violet gets closer to her new friends, she realizes they may have picked her for a reason: Violent looks oddly enough like a former member of the group who had previously vanished.
Loved the terror of the supernatural from The Blair Witch Project? Check out The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Who doesn’t remember how terrified they were when watching The Blair Witch Project for the first time? Combining that trapped setting with those eerie cackles and different pacing made viewers refuse to go into the woods. If a little supernatural combined with pure terror is your thing, then check out The Sun Down Motel. In 1982, Viv takes a job a the Sun Down Motel to make some extra cash so she can move to New York City, only to realize the motel is haunted. In 2017, Viv’s niece Carly visits the motel where her aunt mysteriously vanished years ago in hope she will get the answers to what really happened to her. After getting a job at the motel, Carly finds herself in the same situation Viv was in right before she disappeared. Will Carly get the answers she was looking for—or end up with a fate similar to Viv?
Did you binge the Fear Street trilogy? Check out The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
When Netflix released the Fear Street trilogy this summer, they helped revitalize the slasher genre and cleverly combined the nostalgia of the books they were based on. If you grew up reading the Fear Street novels and watching the entertaining slasher films of the 90s and early 2000s, you’ll love The Cheerleaders. In Sunnybrook, cheerleaders are dying in mysterious ways. Two cheerleaders died in a car accident only to have two others murdered by a neighbor and finally, a tragic suicide. Five years later, the town wants to remember those cheerleaders they have lost, but Monica just wants to leave the past where it belongs as her sister was the one who committed suicide. Now, things are starting to unravel and the past is about to come back to haunt Monica.
Do you love a police procedural combined with a savvy serial killer like The Silence of the Lambs? Check out The Sandman by Lars Kepler
The Silence of the Lambs is one of the best thrillers and Hannibal Lecter is an iconic villain. If a police procedural element combined with a terrifying cat-and-mouse game is your thing, you’ll get lost in The Sandman. A young man is found in Stockholm—except he was declared dead with his younger sister thirteen years ago. Thought to be the victims of Sweden’s most notorious serial killer, Jurek Walter, the man tells the police his sister is alive and being held by someone called The Sandman. Detective Joona Linna is assigned to the case as he believes Jurek has an accomplice. Joona and Jurek have a sordid past as Joona had made personal sacrifices to put Jurek behind bars. In a bold move, Joona teams up with Saga Bauer, a young detective, and places her under cover in the psychiatric ward where Jurek is being held hoping she can help bring the missing girl home before it’s too late.
Was the survival element of Ready or Not just what you love in a movie? Check out Ski Weekend by Rektok Ross
If you’re into survival horror like Ready or Not or Wrong Turn, then the claustrophobic and chilling Ski Weekend may be your next favorite read! There’s something horrifying when you combine characters trying to brave the elements in a trapped setting. Stuck in a car with her brother, some classmates, a dog, and her brother’s handsome friend, Gavin, Sam would much rather be anywhere else than on her way to her senior ski weekend. When the SUV crashes, Sam and her friends are stranded with no cell service and battling the winter weather. When trying to venture out for help, Sam’s brother ends up injured and with a fever that is only getting worse. As the situation begins claiming the lives of the group of friends one by one, Sam fights to keep her brother and herself alive.
Looking for a spooky family-friendly story a la Nightbooks? Check out The Witches by Roald Dahl
If you’re craving a family-friendly movie with spells and vivid cinematography, you should check out Netflix’s latest spooky thriller Nightbooks. While Nightbooks tells the story of a boy trapped by a witch and features that locked room setting in a very unique way, another story like this is The Witches by Roald Dahl (also a feature film from 1990 and 2020). In this story, a boy goes to live with his grandmother after the tragic death of his parents and becomes obsessed with her stories about real-life witches; especially the most ruthless witch of all, the Grand High Witch. The witches can’t stand children and are determined to rid the world of them. Upon traveling, the boy and his grandmother find themselves face to face with the Grand High Witch herself.
Did The Woman in the Window have you guessing until the finale? Check out The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
The Woman in the Window on Netflix combines elements of a psychological thriller with a murder mystery and an unreliable narrator that results in a film that you can really get lost in. If you’re looking for these elements in a book, then The Silent Patient is definitely a story you can sink your teeth into. Alicia and Gabriel looked like the perfect couple, until Gabriel comes home from work and is shot five times in the face by Alicia—and she never speaks again. Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has been waiting his whole life to work with a patient like Alicia. But not everything is what it seems when his desire to get the truth about what happened that night turns into a tale of obsession.
Anticipating a haunting house story in No One Gets Out Alive? Check out The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Did you love the novel or Netflix adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson? No one does spooky season and a creepy setting like Jackson, and Netflix really blew its viewers out of the water with the series. Upcoming soon is another Netflix release based on the novel No One Gets Out Alive by Adam Nevill. This story about a young woman who moves into an affordable room for rent that comes with a perfectly kind landlord, high ceilings, and stability. Soon after moving in, she begins to hear things, feel an ominous present, and fears that something is haunting her and eventually things become hostile.
Are you counting down until you can devour There’s Someone Inside Your House? Check out One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus is a thrilling YA whodunnit about five high school students walk into detention and before the end of the day, one is dead and four are suspects. Did you love this book? Then you are going to be thrilled to tune into Netflix’s adaptation of There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. With elements of another high school whodunnit, this one is a story about a young girl named Makani who moves to Nebraska to live with her grandmother. Shortly after her arrival, students are being brutally murdered by an unknown assailant and Makani is at the center of it all.
Did Carrie creep you out? Check out The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson
If the novel, the original movie, or either remake of Carrie ignited your interest with it’s combination of supernatural elements weaved into a suspenseful story of bullying and revenge then you’re in for a treat with The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson. The only thing that the Springville residents can confirm about what happened on prom night is that the carnage was because of Maddy Washington, a girl constantly being bullied. When a surprise rainstorm reveals that Maddy is actually biracial and has been passing as white for her entire life, a video of Maddy being bullied goes viral and the school is in an uproar. To help their image and show unity, the school plans it’s first integrated prom…but Maddy has more secrets bubbling on the surface.
Did the time-travel slasher flick Happy Death Day keep you cackling and screaming? You don’t want to miss out on How to Survive Your Murder by Danielle Valentine
If you loved the black comedy and slasher flick Happy Death Day with its twisty plot full of suspense and full-bellied laughs, then you will devour How to Survive Your Murder by Danielle Valentine. Sisters Alice and Claire couldn’t be any different. Claire is the popular blonde girl-next-door type, while Alice is the nerdy horror-movie lover, but they are still best friends. That is, until Claire is murdered, and Alice is the only witness. As Alice is preparing to give her testimony, she is knocked over by someone who resembles a famous horror movie character and awakes on Halloween night….a year ago when Claire was murdered. Alice only has until midnight to change Claire’s fate from that night and find the killer before they continue their murder spree.
Did We Need to Talk about Kevin chill you to the core? Check out The Push by Ashley Audrain
If you enjoy psychological terror combined with the complexities of motherhood in We Need to Talk about Kevin, then The Push by Ashley Audrain is one that will downright terrify you. Blythe Connor just gave birth to her beautiful baby girl, Violet, and she is determined to be the perfect mother. Between the exhaustion and sleep depravity, Blythe notices that Violet isn’t like the other kids, while her husband, Fox, thinks she’s overreacting. When Blythe and Fox have a son, Sam, Blythe finds herself finally having the connection with Sam that she wished she had with Violet. When a horrific event causes Blythe and Fox to get to the truth about their family, they are soon to find out how life can truly change in an instant.
Did the gothic psychological thriller Rebecca entice you? You’ll die to meet The Wife Before by Shanora Williams
Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier is a wonderful combination of psychological thriller, domestic suspense—even some romance. If this movie is one you could watch over and over again, The Wife Before by Shanora Williams is a book you could devour in a single evening. Samira Wilder’s life is a bit rocky after her latest job goes up in flames. That is, until she meets the wealthy pro-golfer Roland Graham, and the two quickly fall in love. After Roland proposes and Samira accepts, the two jet off to his beautiful Colorado mansion. As Samira gets acclimated with her new life, she finds journals from Roland’s first wife, Melanie, who died in an accident. The more the pages turn in these journals, the more Samira wonders if Melanie really did die in an accident—and her trust in Roland begins to decrease page by page.
If the supernatural and spooky Insidious gave you goosebumps, you’ll need a sweatshirt for Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak
Insidious is the perfect combination of supernatural elements with high-tension terror. If you want this combination in novel form, you should run (not walk) to get your copy of Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak. Mallory Quinn hasn’t been out of rehab very long before she takes a job babysitting five-year-old Teddy Maxwell. Mallory loves Teddy and his parents, Ted and Caroline, are fantastic to work for. Mallory gets closer and closer to Teddy, who loves to draw in his sketchbook, but one day finds something very sinister – Teddy has drawn a picture of a man in a forest dragging a dead woman’s body. Are these photos completely imaginary or something Teddy witnessed? And why does this woman resemble a cold case murder victim?