There are so many ways to celebrate the beauty of autumn. For many, it involves getting out cozy sweaters and adding pumpkin to everything. For some of us, it means our reading turns a bit darker. What better way to get in the Halloween spirit than to start an October horror novel binge?
While I tend to like the dark stuff year-round, in October, I definitely want to read something scary. I just finished two books that were exactly what I was looking for: creepy, atmospheric, and absolutely engrossing. If you like a good slasher film, Security by Gina Wohlsdorf is the book for you. It's set in the ultimate luxury hotel, just days before its grand opening. Staff are scurrying around the building taking care of all the last minute finishing touches when someone begins hunting them down. You won't be able to stop turning pages to find out who makes it out alive. (Note: this book is not for the faint of heart - if it were a movie, it would be R-rated.)
For something with less blood, Jac Jemc's take on a traditional haunted house story, The Grip of It, is an excellent choice. Julie and James, needing a change, decide to move out of the city to a small town a few hours away, where they buy a beautiful old fixer-upper with lots of character - just the kind of place they want to start the next chapter of their lives. However, there's more to this old house than they bargained for. Told in alternating chapters from Julie's and James's perspectives, we see that Julie and James might not be the house's only inhabitants... It's a beautifully written, chilling tale that will put you in the Halloween spirit.
As I was looking for new books to add to my October to-read list, I realized it's harder to find really great horror novels written by women than I thought it would be. Security and The Grip of It fit the bill, and you can't go wrong with Lauren Beukes (The Shining Girls is a masterpiece - a time-traveling serial killer?!?) or Caroline Kepnes (You, a tale of love turned obsession, is somehow frightening and hilarious at the same time). Ania Ahlborn's books come highly recommended - I plan on checking out The Devil Crept In - and of course, Shirley Jackson, author of The Haunting of Hill House, is the utimate queen of creepy. Are you planning some Halloween horror reading? What's on your list?