Top 5: Scariest Novels for Halloween!

October 22, 2013 § 7 Comments

1. House of Leaves – Mark Z Danielewski

House of Leaves is the tale of a family whose house is expanding on the inside, but not on the outside. What makes this book so disturbing is not the subject matter exactly, but the convoluted way that the story is told. Danielewski paints a portrait of unravelling sanity, but it’s not like anything you’ve ever experienced before. House of Leaves is a book that must be read in print, as there is simply no way to transcribe its format to an e-reader or tablet. It will have you frantically flipping pages, turning the book upside-down and scribbling notes. You’ll sit down to read a few pages one morning, and the first time you look up from the book, it’ll be midnight. In short, House of Leaves will consume you.

What it looks like in your head when you're trying to read HoL.

What it looks like in your head when you’re trying to read HoL.

2. The Shining and Doctor Sleep – Stephen King

Alright, so it’s a bit of a cop-out to include The Shining in a list of scariest books. The Shining was published in 1977, so surely, it’s a given that it’s one of the top picks for Halloween?
Be that as it may, The Shining deserves special mention this year. Thirty-six years after its publication, Stephen King has released a sequel to his infamous novel – Doctor Sleep. Centring on the son of the protagonist of The Shining, Doctor Sleep is already gathering critical acclaim. I am yet to read it, but I think it will be my go-to on Halloween night!

NOPENOPENOPENOPE.

NOPENOPENOPENOPE.

3. The Descent – Jeff Long

I’m only halfway through The Descent, but I’m calling this one early – this book is scary as hell. Literally. And let me tell you, the 2005 film is but a mere teaser of the horrors that await you in Jeff Long’s original novel. When some unsuspecting hikers are trapped in a cave in remote Tibet, they inadvertently make the biggest discovery in known history. Underneath the surface of the earth is a sub-planet, populated with a species known as “hadals”. The world is rocked by the scientific revelation that should never have been – Hell is a real place, and it is beneath our feet. More detailed review to come, but suffice it to say, since I started this book, I haven’t been sleeping so well…

Well said, Austin, well said.

Well said, Austin, well said.

4. The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris

Although it’s not your traditional spooky Halloween novel, The Silence of the Lambs remains the most frightening novel that I have ever read. I don’t think that there is anything that scares me more than the sheer inescapability of Hannibal Lecter’s will. If he wants something from you, he will find a way to obtain it, and there is very little chance that you will be able to outsmart him in the process. He’s one of the most terrifying characters you will ever encounter. The fact that Hannibal is human (rather than supernatural) makes him all the more monstrous – especially given that he is an amalgamation of real-life serial killers. Side note: The Silence of the Lambs is the exception to the rule that the book is better than the film. In my opinion, the two are equally excellent.

If this scene doesn't scare you, nothing will.

If this scene doesn’t scare you, nothing will.

5. World War Z – Max Brooks

Are you concerned about the possibility of a zombie apocalypse? No? Read World War Z and I guarantee, you will be. This is the story of the breakdown of global society, told through the eyes of the UN Postwar Commision in the form of documents from all over the world. Beginning with “patient zero” in rural China, World War Z tracks the transmission of the virus that rapidly decimates the world’s population. Author and zombie aficionado Max Brooks takes the story of the apocalyptic epidemic and traces the environmental, social and political effect it has on the world. World War Z scared me half to death because it’s all so official. It’s easy to remember that other zombie stories are fiction because they’re told to us in a more familiar format. However, when you read governmental reports and WHO press releases detailing the way the international community is going to cope with the end of the world, the actuality of it begins to affect you.
Now, who’s ready to start planning their zombie apocalypse strategies?

Gotta admit, this scene in the film was AWESOME.

Gotta admit, this scene in the film was AWESOME.

What will you be reading this Halloween? Are you a fan of horror, and do you have any recommendations for the rest of us who only dabble?

Want to order a copy of any of these? Call Pulp Fiction Booksellers on (07) 3236-2750, or visit them here, or add them on Facebook here to keep up to date with new releases in fantasy, sci-fi, mystery and crime!
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§ 7 Responses to Top 5: Scariest Novels for Halloween!

  • ErinKCSmith says:

    Red Dragon by Thomas Harris (the first in the Hannibal Lector series) is much better (in my opinion) than Silence of the Lambs. Silence of the Lambs is my all time favorite movie, which is why I think I had so much trouble reading the book. It’s one of the few examples of a movie being better than the book version. But, Red Dragon is a really great book.

  • Marika says:

    Yep, have read these books and also blogged about own favorite 5 – are a bit different than yours, but just as scary -)

  • Gina Scofield says:

    It by Stephen King is one of the scariest books I’ve ever read! It is the reason the I am afraid of clowns to this very day! It is wonderfully written of course and very, very creepy! I definitely think k it should be on this list.

  • This is my Planned Halloween Reads for this year:-

    1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
    2. Blockade Billy – Stephen King
    3. Day Watch (Book 2) – Sergei Lukyanenko
    4. The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
    5. Brother Odd – Odd Thomas (Book 3) – Dean Koontz
    6. The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon
    7. Doctor Sleep – Stephen King

    Not all of them are scary, but supernormal, paranormal or downright creepy is generally the norm.

  • Thank you. I just bought a couple of these books based on your list

    sitarasbonnie@gmail.com
    bonnie sitaras

  • Allison Craig says:

    Thank you for including The Descent on this list. It a brilliant, often overlooked work that is truly scary and original. Awesome!

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