Books to Scare Your Socks Off
October 29, 2013
It’s almost Halloween… are you spooked yet? If not, then allow me to suggest that you’re not trying hard enough! Here are some books to keep you up at night, with a handy ranking system to help you determine which one is right for you. Or, if you’re feeling exceptionally brave, read them all!
World War Z by Max Brooks
The dead have risen and (almost) eaten the world. Several survivors look back and tell their tales of the zombie war. Fright rating: nightmare-inducing, like when you were seven and your older cousin let you stay up to watch The Shining.
Lost Boy, Lost Girl by Peter Straub
A writer investigates his 15-year old nephew’s disappearance. Perhaps the boy ran away, or perhaps he was kidnapped, but the answers lie in an abandoned house with a grisly past. Fright rating: creepy, in a cold-fingers-on-the-back-of-your-neck kind of way.
The Radleys by Matt Haig
The fire has gone from Mr. and Mrs. Radley’s marriage, while their two children amble through life with depressing mediocrity—until teenage Clara unwittingly discovers the family secret. Fright rating: that queasy suburban malaise with a hint of bloodlust.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Hill House is possibly haunted, possibly evil, and possibly just misunderstood. Whatever the case, Eleanor likes it there, and you can’t make her leave. Fright rating: that feeling you get when you wake up in the middle of the night and have to turn on the lamp just to make sure nobody’s watching you.
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
Two million dollars is missing. A sociopath is on the loose. An ordinary man is running for his life. And, an aging sheriff doesn’t know what to make of the world any longer. Fright rating: unsettling, as in “I know there’s not a serial killer in my basement but I’m not going down there, just in case.”
The Chuckling Whatsit by Richard Sala
A series of secret societies rob, cheat, backstab, and blackmail one another in an effort to gain control of a mysterious artifact. As the bodies pile up and allegiances shift, nobody knows who to trust or who is even human. Fright rating: Guillermo del Toro directs a Muppet movie starring Christopher Walken.
Baltimore, or the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden
As his troops lay dying on a battlefield, a soldier defies a ravenous vampire and lives to pay the price. Fright rating: nauseating, like that time you watched Midnight Meat Train while eating Chinese takeout.