Halloween is the one time of year when everyone is drawn to the mysterious and spooky. This year, skip the same-old 1980s horror film marathon. Stay away from the Stephen King books you’ve read dozens of times. Instead, embrace the darkness of the season by trying some horror novels that look far beyond the darkness of monsters and into the evils of society. Warning: These books tend to be just as polarizing as they are brilliant.
- The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
What would you do if a group of people ruined your vacation by taking your entire family hostage? Even worse, the intruders believe that one of you must choose to die in order to save the world. If you saw signs that their seemingly wacky beliefs might actually be real, could you sacrifice yourself to prevent mass destruction? Tremblay masterfully examines these topics and more in this Bram Stoker Award-winning book.
2. Ghoster by Jason Arnopp
Imagine you meet the perfect person. Then, 24 hours before you’re supposed to move in with them, they completely ghost you. Most people would be angry, but they’d never do the insane series of things that play out in this highly entertaining, multi-layered novel. Before the end, the term Ghoster takes on multiple meanings as the author explores the darkest side of addiction.
3. Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman
Everyone’s read or seen the smash hit Bird Box by now. Why not stray from the safe path by trying on one of Malerman’s more esoteric works this Halloween season? Black Mad Wheel is a deeply layered story about a rock band sent into the desert to discover the source of a terrifying sound. Things get weird, then they get really, really weird. A must read for fans of esoteric horror.
4. Sinkhole: A Horror Story by April A. Taylor
Sinkhole should be part of every horror fan’s TBR pile. Taylor masterfully weaves a lightning fast tale that’s ostensibly about an apocalyptic situation but has oh so much more going on. Readers’ Favorite recently said Sinkhole’s “overarching plot sits well, shifting the perspective of what a horror novel really has the potential to be,” and I agree. If polarizing horror and paralyzing grief is your thing, you may want to start with this author’s earlier book, The Haunting of Cabin Green.
5. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
This is the concept album of horror books. Explaining the plot is an exercise in futility because you can’t even begin to understand Danielewski’s genius until you read it for yourself. You might become obsessed with it along the way, as so many others have, but that’s just part of the experience. Don’t let the 700+ pages scare you off; this is a denser and yet somehow much faster read than you’d expect.
Which deep horror reads are your favorites? Leave me your recommendations in the comments!