October Thrillers: Books for a Spooky Read

Thriller and spooky books to read for Halloween

I would not say I am a horror genre aficionado, but every October, when creepy crawly things appear on people’s lawns, the days get colder and the sun disappears earlier each day, I love to curl up with a good, dark book. My favorites are a mixture of magic and dystopian reality, with a pinch of psychological thriller, and a big dose of the unexpected. The stories that give me the shivers are probably tamer than my younger kids would ever deign to admit that they read (the older ones seem to be coming around), but these are a few of my current favorite spooky books.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I have never been a big fan of circuses. My fear of watching a trapeze artist fall or seeing a person get mauled by a lion is pretty strong. But this nighttime circus, a monochromatic love story of two magicians forced into a high stakes competition, held my attention. The beautiful Celia captivates her audiences every night with her illusions which blur reality. And her competitor Marco moves behind the scenes creating mesmerizing sophisticated circus acts that keep people guessing as to what could possibly come next. When they fall in love the sparks really start to fly, and made the book impossible to put down.

Fans of the The Night Circus should watch for Erin’s new novel of high seas pirate adventure comes out next month: The Starless Sea.

The Philosopher’s Flight by Tim Miller

Looking for an adult Harry Potter series for more adult tastes? Here it is! The story is told from an outsider male witch perspective, but don’t let that keep you from enjoying this world where some witches specialize in flight on broomsticks and others teleport or cast spells. And women rule the world.

The second book in the series came out in hardcover this year: The Philosopher’s War.

Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

This is one of those books where after I finished I started asking everyone I know if they had read it or if I could send them a copy so they could read and we could discuss. For anyone who grew up watching The Exorcist, the premise of the book made it sound like this book would be a rehash of that. Wrong. It sucked me into a modern story of a family dealing with a teenager named Marjorie that might by possessed, or might be mentally ill. The story is told from both through Marjorie’s sister’s flashbacks and the viewpoint the reality television series the family signed on to in hopes of getting out of the debt created from their daughter’s problems. Paul Tremblay’s storytelling will scare the socks off of you.

Another Paul Tremblay books worth the read is Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (you will be hugging your kids extra tight after this one which involves the disappearance of a teenage son).

The Institute by Stephen King

Twelve year old genius Luke Ellis wakes up one morning to find he is a subject at The Institute – a place where children with special gifts show up and never leave. This novel is classic Stephen King: kids versus evil and guaranteed psychological thrills. Make sure your doors are locked and all the kids are accounted for before you read this one.

Other Stephen King novels on the read list: Carrie, The Stand and Different Seasons.

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

If you could not put down The Road by Cormac McCarthy or The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood even though they both deeply disturbed you, then this book is for you. It all starts as a flu that seems to be spreading far more quickly than it should… Several years later a troupe of artists travel across what was the Great Lakes region civilization, trying to bring art and music to the people that are left.

Other dystopian novels you should have on your radar: The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood, The Book of M by Peng Shepherd, and Z for Zachariah by Robert C O’Brien.

If you have a favorite spooky book or thrilling read, let us know about it in our Facebook Group (free to join).  It may be featured in our next post.


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