Growing up, there were few things I loved more than a good ghost story. From sleepovers with friends in which we’d share scary stories, to reading my way through as many R.L Stine’s and Point Horror’s as I could stomach, little would trump a dark and stormy night curled up under the covers with a seriously scary book.
And while the Goosebumps series might not have the same effect on me as it once did, there are certainly a number of scary books for when I’m in the mood to be spooked. And with tonight being the scariest of the year, with strange goings-on a-plenty and all things ghostly in their Halloween best, I thought I’d put together some of my very favourite scary books.
- Don’t Look Now – Daphne Du Maurier: One of my all-time favourite authors, many of Du Maurier’s novels have a gothic-esque sentiment that lends itself well to all things horror. From the chilling Rebecca to the brooding Jamaica Inn, Du Maurier has a sinister style of writing down to a fine art. Perhaps, however, her most menacing tale is short story Don’t Look Now. Disquieting, dark and deeply disturbing, its haunting climax stayed with me long after I turned the final page.
- The Woman in Black – Susan Hill: The finest teller of ghostly tales, Susan Hill’s Woman in Black is undoubtedly her most famous – having since launched both on-stage and screen adaptations since its first publication in 1983. Threatening and ominous in equal parts, The Woman in Black is the ultimate ghost story, eerie to its frightening finale, and one of the ultimate scary books.
- The Winter Ghosts – Kate Mosse: Another of my very favourite writers, few people do description quite like the wonderful Kate Mosse. And so, when she pens a haunting tale such as her 2009 offering – The Winter Ghosts – it’s little wonder that it’s both evocative and atmospheric in nature. Stirring and affecting, it’s a beautfully written tale about love, loss and murder, and perfect for All Hallow’s Eve.
- Dracula – Bram Stoker: One of literature’s most renowned horror stories, Count Dracula is the father of all gothic villains, in spite of it being one of the last Gothic fiction novels to be written. The decaying castle in which the book begins is testimony to the eeriness that follows, and the novel offers an exploration of all things paranormal and supernatural. Nail-biting from the very start, Dracula is one of the finest formidable tales on offer.
- Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte: One of gothic fiction’s most famous classics; Wuthering Heights Yorkshire Moors’ setting provide the perfect backdrop to this tale of woe. Simmering, spooky and abundant with pathetic fallacy at its finest, few love stories are quite so haunting as the tale of Cathy and Heathcliff.
- All Things Cease to Appear – Elizabeth Brundage: The most contemporary novel on my list, All Things Cease to Appear is the perfect combination of noir and gothic fiction, with a chilling backdrop as prominent as any of the characters that lie therein. A tale of murder of the most sinister sort, the author weaves an intricate plot spanning two time frames that will chill its reader to their very core.
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