The spooky season is upon us, with Halloween coming up soon! Below are some appropriate books for the season, ranging from kid-friendly to super creepy to absolutely terrifying, including new releases from Stephen King and Clay McLeod Chapman and a new audiobook installment for Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. There’s also a look back at some classic horror, such as Stephen King’s Salem Lot, The Hellbound Heart, the source material for Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, and more that are getting film adaptations.
This Halloween Reads roundup is broken up into three sections: The first list has new books that were released this Fall; the next list has titles that came out earlier this year; and the final list contains older books that were recently adapted for the screen or soon will be. Each entry includes hyperlinks to the print, ebook, and audiobook editions (were applicable).
Continue on to check out my Halloween Reading List: Spooky Book Recommendations For Fall 2022…
Legendary storyteller Stephen King goes into the deepest well of his imagination in this spellbinding novel about a seventeen-year-old boy who inherits the keys to a parallel world where good and evil are at war, and the stakes could not be higher—for that world or ours.
Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was seven, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. When Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and her aging master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.
Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.
King’s storytelling in Fairy Tale soars. This is a magnificent and terrifying tale in which good is pitted against overwhelming evil, and a heroic boy—and his dog—must lead the battle.
Early in the Pandemic, King asked himself: “What could you write that would make you happy?”
“As if my imagination had been waiting for the question to be asked, I saw a vast deserted city—deserted but alive. I saw the empty streets, the haunted buildings, a gargoyle head lying overturned in the street. I saw smashed statues (of what I didn’t know, but I eventually found out). I saw a huge, sprawling palace with glass towers so high their tips pierced the clouds. Those images released the story I wanted to tell.”
Lucky Girl How I Became a Horror Writer: A Krampus Story Paperback | Kindle
By M. Rickert
Release date: September 13, 2022
Lucky Girl, How I Became A Horror Writer is a story told across Christmases, rooted in loneliness, horror, and the ever-lurking presence of Krampus written by World Fantasy and Shirley Jackson Award-winning author M. Rickert.
Ro, a struggling writer, knows all too well the pain and solitude that holiday festivities can awaken. When she meets four people at the local diner?all of them strangers and as lonely as Ro is?she invites them to an impromptu Christmas dinner. And when that party seems in danger of an early end, she suggests they each tell a ghost story. One that’s seasonally appropriate.
But Ro will come to learn that the horrors hidden in a Christmas tale?or one’s past?can never be tamed once unleashed.
Ghost Eaters Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook
By Clay McLeod Chapman
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release date: September 20, 2022
One of Vulture’s Best Horror Novels of 2022 (So Far), this terrifying supernatural page-turner will make you think twice about opening doors to the unknown.
Erin hasn’t been able to set a single boundary with her charismatic but reckless college ex-boyfriend, Silas. When he asks her to bail him out of rehab—again—she knows she needs to cut him off. But days after he gets out, Silas turns up dead of an overdose in their hometown of Richmond, Virginia, and Erin’s world falls apart.
Then a friend tells her about Ghost, a new drug that allows users to see the dead. Wanna get haunted? he asks. Grieving and desperate for closure with Silas, Erin agrees to a pill-popping “séance.” But the drug has unfathomable side effects—and once you take it, you can never go back.
The Sandman: Act III Audiobook
Written by Neil Gaiman; Adapted by Dirk Maggs
Narrated by (cast): Neil Gaiman, James McAvoy, K.J. Apa, Kat Dennings, Shruti Haasan, David Harewood, Regé-Jean Page, Kristen Schaal, Wil Wheaton
Publisher: Audible Originals
Release date: September 28, 2022
The groundbreaking audio production of what Los Angeles Times Magazine called “the greatest epic in the history of comic books” continues. Leading perhaps the best cast ever assembled in audio, James McAvoy returns to voice Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, in The Sandman: Act III, the third installment of the New York Times best-selling audio saga. Award-winning audio trailblazer Dirk Maggs adapts the blockbuster DC graphic novel series written by Neil Gaiman (Good Omens) into another fully immersive listening experience, presented for the first time in breathtaking 3D audio.
In Act III, we follow Morpheus on a grand journey to take care of family business. He visits with his son Orpheus (Bridgerton’s Regé-Jean Page), an act that brings with it profound consequences. Accompanied by Delirium (Kristen Schaal, Bob’s Burgers), he tracks down their estranged brother, Destruction (David Harewood, Supergirl), the only member of the Endless ever to abandon their post. And at an inn at the intersection of all worlds, a group of travelers are forced together by a storm that threatens to destroy reality itself, with grave repercussions for Morpheus and the rest of the Endless.
All the original cast returns, including Kat Dennings as Death, Aidan Turner as Cluracan, and Neil Gaiman himself as The Narrator, joined by Harewood and other new cast members Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation), KJ Apa (Riverdale), Shruti Haasan (Race Gurram), and more.
It’s time to close your eyes and listen. Once again.
Fearsome Fairies Haunting Tales of the Fae Hardcover
By Elizabeth Dearnley
Publisher: British Library Publishing
Release date: October 1, 2022
Fearsome Fairies taps into the enormous fascination with fairies in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and includes cornerstone authors of the Weird genre such as Arthur Machen, M R James and Charlotte Riddell.
You see – no, you do not, but I see – such curious faces: and the people to whom they belong flit about so oddly, often at your elbow when you least expect it, and looking close into your face, as if they were searching for someone – who may be thankful, I think, if they do not find him.
There was an enormous fascination with fairies in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries which popularised depictions of benevolent, butterfly-winged beings and glittering pantomime figures. But the fae have always had a more sinister side. Taking inspiration from folk tales and medieval legends, the works of weird tale and ghost story writers such as Arthur Machen, M. R. James, Angela Carter and Charlotte Riddell show that fairies, goblins and other supernatural entities could be something far more unsettling.
Delving into a frightening realm of otherworldly creatures from banshees to changelings, this new collection of stories revives and revels in the fearsome power of the fairy folk.
Curse of the Reaper Hardcover | Kindle
By Brian McAuley
Release date: October 4, 2022
Scream meets The Shining in this page-turning horror tale about an aging actor haunted by the slasher movie villain he brought to life.
Decades after playing the titular killer in the 80s horror franchise Night of the Reaper, Howard Browning has been reduced to signing autographs for his dwindling fanbase at genre conventions. When the studio announces a series reboot, the aging thespian is crushed to learn he’s being replaced in the iconic role by heartthrob Trevor Mane, a former sitcom child-star who’s fresh out of rehab. Trevor is determined to stay sober and revamp his image while Howard refuses to let go of the character he created, setting the stage for a cross-generational clash over the soul of a monster. But as Howard fights to reclaim his legacy, the sinister alter ego consumes his unraveling mind, pushing him to the brink of violence. Is the method actor succumbing to madness or has the devilish Reaper taken on a life of its own?
In his razor-sharp debut novel, film and television writer Brian McAuley melds wicked suspense with dark humor and heart. Curse of the Reaper is a tightly plotted thriller that walks the tightrope between the psychological and the supernatural, while characters struggling with addiction and identity bring to light the harrowing cost of Hollywood fame.
The United States of Cryptids A Tour of American Myths and Monsters Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook
By J. W. Ocker
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release date: October 11, 2022
Meet the monsters in our midst, from bigfoot to Mothman and beyond!
Welcome to the United States of Cryptids, where mysterious monsters lurk in the dark forests, deep lakes, and sticky swamps of all fifty states. From the infamous Jersey Devil to the obscure Snallygaster, travel writer and chronicler of the strange J. W. Ocker uncovers the bizarre stories of these creatures and investigates the ways in which communities embrace and celebrate their local cryptids. Readers will learn about:
• Batsquatch of Washington, a winged bigfoot that is said to have emerged from the eruption of Mount Saint Helens
• Nain Rouge of Michigan, a fierce red goblin that has been spotted before every major city disaster in Detroit
• Flatwoods Monster of West Virginia, a robotic extraterrestrial that crash-landed in rural Appalachia
• Lizard Man of South Carolina, a reptilian mutant that attacked a teenager in the summer of 1988
• Glocester Ghoul of Rhode Island, a fire-breathing dragon that guards a hoard of pirate treasure
• And many more!
Dead Man’s Hand Book 1: The Unorthodox Chronicles Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook
By James J. Butcher
Publisher: Ace Books
Release date: October 11, 2022
In the tradition of his renowned father, James J. Butcher’s debut novel is a brilliant urban fantasy about a young man who must throw out the magical rule book to solve the murder of his former mentor.
On the streets of Boston, the world is divided into the ordinary Usuals, and the paranormal Unorthodox. And in the Department of Unorthodox Affairs, the Auditors are the magical elite, government-sanctioned witches with spells at their command and all the power and prestige that comes with it. Grimshaw Griswald Grimsby is…not one of those witches.
After flunking out of the Auditor training program and being dismissed as “not Department material,” Grimsby tried to resign himself to life as a mediocre witch. But he can’t help hoping he’ll somehow, someway, get another chance to prove his skill. That opportunity comes with a price when his former mentor, aka the most dangerous witch alive, is murdered down the street from where he works, and Grimsby is the Auditors’ number one suspect.
Proving his innocence will require more than a little legwork, and after forming a strange alliance with the retired legend known as the Huntsman and a mysterious being from Elsewhere, Grimsby is abruptly thrown into a life of adventure, whether he wants it or not. Now all he has to do is find the real killer, avoid the Auditors on his trail, and most importantly, stay alive.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT… SOME BOOKS RELEASED EARLIER IN 2022.
It’s one hex of an attraction in this romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Jessica Clare.
When Reggie Johnson answers a job ad in the paper, she’s astonished to find that she’s not applying to work at her favorite card game, Spellcraft: The Magicking. Instead, she’s applying to be an actual familiar for an actual witch. As in, real magic.
The new job has a few perks – great room and board, excellent pay, and she’s apprenticing to a powerful witch. Sure, the witch is a bit eccentric. And sure, there was that issue with the black cat Reggie would prefer to forget about. The biggest problem, however, is warlock Ben Magnus, her employer’s nephew and the most arrogant, insufferable, maddening man to ever cast a spell.
Reggie absolutely hates him. He’s handsome, but he’s also bossy and irritating and orders her around. Ben’s butt might look great in a crystal ball vision, but that’s as far as it goes. But when someone with a vendetta targets the household, she finds herself working with Ben to break a deadly curse. Apparently, when they’re not fighting like cats and dogs, things get downright…bewitching.
Classic Monsters Unleashed Book 1: Unleashed Series (Anthology) Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook
Edited by James Aquilone
Publisher: Black Spot Books
Release date: July 12, 2022
Stories of famous monsters in a new horror anthology featuring Joe R. Lansdale, F. Paul Wilson, Jonathan Maberry, Ramsey Campbell, and many others.
Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Bride of Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Moreau, the Headless Horseman, the Invisible Man, the Phantom of the Opera, the Wicked Witch of the West—they’re all here, in this collection of horror short stories that reimagine, subvert, and pay homage to our favorite monsters and creatures.
Written by the biggest names in the genre—including Joe R. Lansdale, F. Paul Wilson, Jonathan Maberry, Ramsey Campbell, Lisa Morton, Owl Goingback, Richard Christian Matheson, Maurice Broaddus, Dacre Stoker, Seanan McGuire, Linda D. Addison, Alessandro Manzetti, Tim Waggoner, John Palisano, Mercedes M. Yardley, Lucy A. Snyder, Gary A. Braunbeck, Rena Mason, and Monique Snyman.
And monstrously illustrated by Colton Worley and Mister Sam Shearon.
Proudly represented by both Crystal Lake Publishing and Black Spot Books.
The Most Haunted House in America A Halloween Book for Children (Picturebook) Hardcover | Kindle
Written by Jarrett Dapier; Illustrator Lee Gatlin
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
Release date: August 2, 2022
A rollicking, spooky-fun trip through the most haunted home in America: the White House!
It was late October, the moon was pale,
late in October when it came by mail:
a letter, a missive, a kind invitation
to drum at THE MOST HAUNTED HOUSE IN THE NATION!
When the Skeleton Drummers receive an invitation from the First Lady to perform at the biggest Halloween party of a lifetime—or afterlife—the band must pack their instruments, rise from the earth, and prepare to rock the White House. With gusto and bone-rattling beats, the skeletons BOOM! BANG! and CLANG! as the crowd of trick-or-treaters dance on the president’s lawn. But when the party moves inside, something’s not quite right: there’s a chill in the air and a prickle of fright. There’s one thing you might not know: The White House is haunted from top to toe!
With rhyming, rhythmic text from Jarrett Dapier and wonderfully macabre illustrations from Lee Gatlin, this musical tour of America’s most famous home is full of spooky surprises at every turn.
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook
Edited by Sangu Mandanna
Release date: August 23, 2022
READ BEFORE YOU WATCH
Here are some books that were/are being adapted to film and television, so take the opportunity to read the source material before you watch.
Bones and All: A Novel Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook
By Camille DeAngelis
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release date: September 27, 2022 (media tie-in edition)
Now a major motion picture from Luca Guadagnino starring Taylor Russell, Timothée Chalamet and Mark Rylance, screenplay by David Kajganich! (Movie release date: November 23, 2022)
Maren Yearly is a young woman who wants the same things we all do. She wants to be someone people admire and respect. She wants to be loved. But her secret, shameful needs have forced her into exile. She hates herself for the bad thing she does, for what it’s done to her family and her sense of identity, for how it dictates her place in the world and how people see her–how they judge her. She didn’t choose to be this way.
Because Maren Yearly doesn’t just break hearts, she devours them. Ever since her mother found Penny Wilson’s eardrum in her mouth when Maren was just two years old, she knew life would never be normal for either of them. Love may come in many shapes and sizes, but for Maren, it always ends the same–with her hiding the evidence and her mother packing up the car.
But when her mother abandons her the day after her sixteenth birthday, Maren goes looking for the father she has never known, and finds much more than she bargained for along the way.
Faced with a world of fellow eaters, potential enemies, and the prospect of love, Maren realizes she isn’t only looking for her father, she’s looking for herself.
[“Hellraiser” (2022) now available streaming on Hulu.]
The classic tale of supernatural obsession from the critically acclaimed master of darkness—and the inspiration for the cult classic film Hellraiser.
From his scores of short stories, bestselling novels, and major motion pictures, no one comes close to the vivid imagination and unique terrors provided by Clive Barker. The Hellbound Heart is one of Barker’s best—a nerve-shattering novella about the human heart and all the great terrors and ecstasies within its endless domain. It is about greed and love, desire and death, life and captivity, bells and blood. It is one of the most frightening stories you are likely to ever read.
Frank Cotton’s insatiable appetite for the dark pleasures of pain led him to the puzzle of Lemarchand’s box, and from there, to a death only a sick-minded soul could invent. But his brother’s love-crazed wife, Julia, has discovered a way to bring Frank back—though the price will be bloody and terrible . . . and there will certainly be hell to pay.
The Hocus Pocus Spell Book Hardcover | Kindle
By Eric Geron
Publisher: Disney Press
Release date: August 30, 2022
[“Hocus Pocus 2” now available streaming on Disney Plus.]
Dive into the world of Disney’s Hocus Pocus with this stunning spell book.
It’s all just a bunch of hocus pocus inside this gorgeous Hocus Pocus Spell Book. Fans of the annual Halloween favorite, Hocus Pocus will love this enchanting title featuring spells, potions, witch history, and more! Full of magical of illustrations, comments from Winnie, Mary, and Sarah, and more, this beautiful book is a must-have accessory for any want-to-be Sanderson sister and the perfect gift for Hocus Pocus fans of any age.
Soon to be a major motion picture [“My Best Friend’s Exorcism” now available streaming on Amazon Prime Video.]
From the New York Times best-selling author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, this unholy hybrid of Beaches and The Exorcist blends teen angst and unspeakable horrors into a pulse-pounding supernatural thriller.
The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act…different. She’s moody. She’s irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she’s nearby. Abby’s investigation leads her to some startling discoveries—and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
Joe Hill’s award-winning story collection, originally published as 20th Century Ghosts, featuring “The Black Phone,” soon to be a major motion picture from Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions. [“The Black Phone” now available streaming on Peacock.]
Jack Finney is thirteen, alone, and in desperate trouble. For two years now, someone has been stalking the boys of Galesberg, stealing them away, never to be seen again. And now, Finney finds himself in danger of joining them: locked in a psychopath’s basement, a place stained with the blood of half a dozen murdered children.
With him in his subterranean cell is an antique phone, long since disconnected . . . but it rings at night anyway, with calls from the killer’s previous victims. And they are dead set on making sure that what happened to them doesn’t happen to Finney.
“The Black Phone” is one of fifteen stories in Joe Hill’s first story collection, originally published as 20th Century Ghosts—the inventive and chilling compendium that established this award-winning, critically acclaimed, and bestselling author as “a major player in 21st-century fantastic fiction” (Washington Post).
#1 BESTSELLER – Soon to be a new major motion picture.
Writer Ben Mears has returned to his childhood home of Jerusalem’s Lot in hopes that exploring the history of the Marsten House, an old mansion long the subject of rumor and speculation, will help him cast out his personal devils and provide inspiration for his new book.
Writer Ben Mears has returned to his hometown of Jerusalem’s Lot with the hope that moving into a dilapidated mansion, long the subject of town lore, might help him get a handle on his life and provide inspiration for a new book. But when two young boys venture into the woods and only one comes out alive, Mears begins to realize that there may be something sinister at work.
In time, he comes to understand that his hometown is under siege from forces of darkness far beyond his wildest imagination. And only he, with a small group of allies, can hope to contain the evil that is tearing the town apart.