I don’t know about you, but I am ecstatic that spooky season has arrived because it means it’s the perfect time for spooky books. There is something so thrilling about the beautiful fall foliage, the chilly weather and hardcore hibernating with your favorite bone-chilling reads. Being a book blogger, I am meticulous every month about what I want to feature on my ever-growing TBR but, let me tell you: September through November planning makes me anxious to the point that only a mega pumpkin spice latte can keep my anxiety from going through the roof.
Luckily, for all of you book-fiends who can’t get enough of the creepy reads, I’m here to tell you which books you need to make this the spookiest season yet. Full of supernatural and police procedural novels, these picks will scare your fuzzy socks off.
In the Vines by Shannon Kirk
If you haven’t been doing some digging or don’t particularly rely on non-police procedural novels to give you the major willies, you need to get yourself a copy of In the Vines. Shannon Kirk is one of those storytellers who is incredibly blessed in the creativity department and this story is one that will reel you in within the first magnetic and jaw-dropping chapter. I can’t tell you too much about this story other than that it is a brilliant psychological thriller with a dual timeline and a sensational setting. Mop belongs to one of the wealthiest families in the country and returns to her aunt’s seaside estate to get some answers regarding her mother’s untimely death two years prior. Told in an alternate timeline between Mop on the evening that all hell breaks loose and her Aunt Liv’s life, this story is harrowing, electrifying and brilliantly told. Not sold yet? There’s a scene that will stay with you so long after the epic conclusion involving a woman screaming into the night, shooting a nail gun into the air.
Bone Music by Christopher Rice
I have been a fan of Christopher Rice since I was in high school and I often blame him for exposing me to the joys of being addicted to reading. What I love about Rice is that he leaves no stone left unturned. The characters, setting, plot, details… everything dazzles. Bone Music is the first in The Burning Girl series and it is the perfect combination of a vigilante thriller with a serial killer backstory, blended stunningly with some supernatural elements. Charlotte Rowe’s first years of her life were spent with two serial killers who murdered her birth mother only to be caught when she was seven. Think the nightmare is over? Far from it! After this tragic start to Charlotte’s life, her birth father did all he could to exploit this terrifying story and gave Charlotte some serious trust issues in the process. After all this trauma, Charlotte is given an experimental drug that gives her powers and makes her into something resembling a superhero. Using her new powers, Charlotte embarks on a dangerous road by playing a little cat-and-mouse game to take down a serial killer. My advice? When you order this one, you might as well order book two as well – you’re going to need it.
A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill
Shaun Hamill has crafted a story that combines the family elements of This Is Us with some eerie and effective horror elements in A Cosmology of Monsters. Told over the span of 40 years, this novel tells the story of Noah Turner who can see monsters. Yes, monsters. His father saw them and was inspired and obsessed (in an Amityville Horror-esque way) to build a haunted house fueled with fear. With a mother who has experienced things she refuses to believe are real, and an older sister who lives so heavily in denial that she literally disappears, Noah is in for a crazy life. And that’s just the surface of this novel, the rest will leave you speechless. Hamill’s writing is emotionally charged and brutally scary, creating a haunting story with the perfect amount of horror and (no pun intended) a monstrous ending that will have you looking forward to the day you can go back and start this one from the beginning again.
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
One day when I am an old man, people will be asking me about the books I recommend while chugging a pumpkin coffee next to a pile of books. When that day comes, I will still be gushing about The Broken Girls by Simone St. James. Featuring a dual timeline in the beautiful landscape of Vermont, the state itself almost plays as an additional character. In the 1950s, Idlewild Hall served as a home for unwanted young women and is rumored to be haunted. The story follows four roommates in a coming-of-age styled storyline full of ghost stories, growth and poignant pasts that bond them together. But then, one of them mysteriously disappears. Decades later, in 2014, journalist Fiona Sheridan is still trying to get to the bottom of what happened to her older sister when she was brutally murdered 20 years ago. Although her sister’s boyfriend was convicted of the murder of Fiona’s sister, Fiona can’t shake the idea that something just isn’t right. Then, Fiona hears word that Idlewild Hall is being restored making her suspicions grow even more because her sister was found dead on the property. If there’s one novel that is perfect for the supernatural and cold-case murder fans, The Broken Girls is the story you’ll want to binge-read well into the night.
Final Girls by Riley Sager
What kind of list would this be without Riley Sager? What kind of spooky season and Halloween celebration would it be without Final Girls? When I was just a little baby blogger, Final Girls was the first ARC I received via NetGalley and what a perfect read to kick-off my blogging career! Final Girls is probably my favorite book ever. The plot is sensational and creepy, yet poignant and full of mystery. I found the characters in this one to be fantastic and loved the small police procedural aspect, the backstories of the three main women and the burning question of what really happened to Quincy at Pine Cottage. If you usually avoid thrillers or have been living under a rock, here’s a brief synopsis: Quincy Carpenter went camping with friends in college and was the only survivor of a brutal massacre, dubbing her a “final girl.” Years after Quincy’s experience at Pine Cottage, a fellow final girl is found dead and another is at Quincy’s doorstep questioning if the death was intentional or something more sinister. This book races towards a brutally harrowing and bone-chilling ending that will debunk all of your theories as to what is really happening in this sensational novel. Trust me, my only complaint about this one is that it wasn’t 900 pages – Riley Sager is a brilliant storyteller who will always be on my radar.
Some Choose Darkness by Charlie Donlea
Can’t get to all of these reads before Halloween is over? Don’t worry, Some Choose Darkness by Charlie Donlea comes out in paperback right in time for Christmas with a brand-new cover and it is amazing. Seriously, I have no room on my bookshelves and I am scooping up a paperback copy – thank u, next to my rule about having multiple copies of one book. This terrifying novel features two timelines and two brilliant women, and it is splendid. In the summer of 1979 in Chicago, five women went missing, followed by a package sent to the police by Angela – a woman who solves the case right before she disappears. Forty years later, Rory Moore comes across some information and clues that maybe this case isn’t what it seems. A blend of an eerie serial killer in Chicago combined with brilliant characterization and forensic work, this is one that will creep you out and keep you invested until the final page.
What You Don’t Know by JoAnn Chaney
If you want a brutally dark and unsettling thriller, What You Don’t Know by JoAnn Chaney is the novel you need. This book includes an accurate portrayal of the ugliness the real world can offer with devastatingly real characters and a storyline that will emotionally terrorize you. When a pillar of the community is found to be a serial killer, you would think the nightmare is over, but even after the 30+ bodies are pulled from the house of Jacky and Gloria Seever, the repercussions are still lingering. Not only is this story harrowing but it is also gritty and relentless in detail, making it downright terrifying. I love that the story follows the breakdown of the lead detective on the case, the relentless reporter that followed every detail of the case and Gloria. Chilling, well-paced, and riveting – be prepared to be even more creeped out by clowns.
The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup
This 500+ page beast is too legit. Unsettling and engrossing, The Chestnut Man is the novel written by the creator of the TV show The Killing. It’s also going to be turned into a Netflix series soon and I am so, so, so ready! A serial killer in Copenhagen is terrorizing the town and leaving a “chestnut man” at their brutal and gory crime scenes. Then, to get even crazier, detectives soon find the fingerprint of a girl who had been kidnapped and murdered over a year ago on one of the chestnut men and all hell breaks loose. Featuring short and fast-paced chapters, this police procedural and serial killer thriller has not only a fantastic story but has some really memorable parts that are not only scary but also cinematic and original. I am desperate for book two from this genius because if you didn’t love Nordic Noir before, you will now.
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