I don’t know about you, but when October rolls around, I like to track down books and movies that will scare the crap out of me. I polled the Haunted by Reading Facebook followers to name one book that creeped them out so much they couldn’t turn off the lights – and this list is the result!
There were definitely some themes. I had an overwhelming response of Stephen King novels. It’s no wonder he’s considered the king of horror, when his books haunt people long after they read them. Another theme was somewhat surprising – true crime and true haunting stories. I guess the old adage holds true that real life is stranger – and scarier! – than fiction.
This post is broken up into three parts: my personal top 5, the poll from the Haunted by Reading community, and a segment just for the King.
👻Happy Spooktober! 👻
These 5 titles have haunted me since the moment I closed their covers for the last time. 10/10 would recommend you read these STAT.
|With nothing but the clothes on his back—and something horrific snapping at his heels—Jack Winter fled his rural Georgia home when he was still just a boy. Watching the world he knew vanish in a trucker’s rearview mirror, he thought he was leaving an unspeakable nightmare behind forever. But years later, the bright new future he’s built suddenly turns pitch black, as something fiendishly familiar looms dead ahead.
When Jack, his wife Aimee, and their two small children survive a violent car crash, it seems like a miracle. But Jack knows what he saw on the road that night, and it wasn’t divine intervention. The profound evil from his past won’t let them die…at least not quickly. It’s back, and it’s hungry; ready to make Jack pay for running, to work its malignant magic on his angelic youngest daughter, and to whisper a chilling promise: I’ve always been here, and I’ll never leave.
Country comfort is no match for spine-tingling Southern gothic suspense in Ania Ahlborn’s tale of an ordinary man with a demon on his back. Seed plants its page-turning terror deep in your soul, and lets it grow wild. |AMAZON|
|Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.
Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”
Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son. |AMAZON|
|Megan Parker and her young son move into an old farmhouse with a haunted pond on the property. But they find there is more living in the pond than only fish and turtles. Far more…
Megan soon discovers the dark curse of Hemlock Pond will touch her family in ways she never could have imagined. |AMAZON|
|Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a timeless collection of chillingly scary tales and legends, in which folklorist Alvin Schwartz offers up some of the most alarming tales of horror, dark revenge, and supernatural events of all time.
Available for the first time as an ebook, Stephen Gammell’s artwork from the original Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark appears in all its spooky glory. Read if you dare! |AMAZON|
| A Complete Collection of Classic Poe
Collected here is the ultimate Kindle edition of the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe—all of his tales and poems in one convenient, easy-to-use volume at a fantastic price.
Included in Edgar Allan Poe: The Complete Tales and Poems are:
• The complete text of all of the tales and poems written by Edgar Allan Poe (over 125 works), each elegantly formatted for ease of use and enjoyment on your Kindle reader.
All of Poe’s tales, poems, and essays are included—over 125 works. |AMAZON|
A complete listing of titles from the Haunted by Reading Facebook poll – recommended by readers for readers!
|For the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices.
The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.
Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams. |AMAZON|
| Two days to save her . . .
For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive.One day . . .
As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows that even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.Zero.
With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out as the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller. |AMAZON|
| Past midnight, Chyna Shepard, twenty-six, gazes out a moonlit window, unable to sleep on her first night in the Napa Valley home of her best friend’s family. Instinct proves reliable. A murderous sociopath, Edgler Foreman Vess, has entered the house, intent on killing everyone inside. A self-proclaimed “homicidal adventurer,” Vess lives only to satisfy all appetites as they arise, to immerse himself in sensation, to live without fear, remorse, or limits, to live with intensity. Chyna is trapped in his deadly orbit.
Chyna is a survivor, toughened by a lifelong struggle for safety and self-respect. Now she will be tested as never before. At first her sole aim is to get out alive—until, by chance, she learns the identity of Vess’s next intended victim, a faraway innocent only she can save. Driven by a newly discovered thirst for meaning beyond mere self-preservation, Chyna musters every inner resource she has to save an endangered girl . . . as moment by moment, the terrifying threat of Edgler Foreman Vess intensifies. |AMAZON|
| When Miranda moves with her family to a new house in a small Massachusetts town, she discovers a mysterious antique—a dollhouse. Through the windows, she is shocked to find what seem to be living people in the tiny rooms, and gradually she realizes that scenes from the lives of the big house’s past inhabitants are being replayed there.
“With numerous deftly sketched characters, including a sympathetic boy next door, an intriguing plot, and such dividends as a secret room used to hide escaping slaves, this should keep readers interested. Well wrought and entertaining.”—Kirkus Reviews |AMAZON|
|One On One With Satan
A chilling and highly convincing account of possession and exorcism in modern America, hailed by NBC Radio as “one of the most stirring books on the contemporary scene.” |AMAZON|
|At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate. This far from civilization they can do anything they want. Anything. But as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far removed from reality as the hope of being rescued. |AMAZON||
| The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.
To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.
Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface—and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil. |AMAZON|
|Something is out there . . .
Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.
Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now, that the boy and girl are four, it is time to go. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?
Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey—a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motely group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside—and confront the ultimate question: in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted? |AMAZON|
|At the top of the stairs there are four secrets hidden. Blond, beautiful, innocent, and struggling to stay alive…
They were a perfect family, golden and carefree—until a heartbreaking tragedy shattered their happiness. Now, for the sake of an inheritance that will ensure their future, the children must be hidden away out of sight, as if they never existed. Kept on the top floor of their grandmother’s vast mansion, their loving mother assures them it will be just for a little while. But as brutal days swell into agonizing months and years, Cathy, Chris, and twins Cory and Carrie realize their survival is at the mercy of their cruel and superstitious grandmother…and this cramped and helpless world may be the only one they ever know. |AMAZON|
|The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.
The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid’s Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and a tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best. |AMAZON|
|The classic and terrifying story of one of the most famous supernatural events–the infamous possessed house on Long Island from which the Lutz family fled in 1975. |AMAZON||
|The story of the most terrifying case of demonic possession in the United States. It became the basis for the hit film The Haunting in Connecticut starring Virginia Madsen. Shortly after moving into their new home, the Snedeker family is assaulted by a sinister presence that preys one-by-one on their family. Exhausting all other resources, they call up the world-renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren who have never encountered a case as frightening as this… No one had warned the Snedekers their new house used to be an old funeral home. Their battle with an inexplicable and savage phenomena had only just begun. What started as a simple poltergeist escalated into a full-scale war, an average American family battling the deepest, darkest forces of evil a war this family could not afford to lose. |AMAZON||
| New York Times bestselling author Robert Graysmith’s investigation of California’s unsolved Zodiac murders.A sexual sadist, he took pleasure in torture and murder. His first victims were a teenage couple, stalked and shot dead in a lovers’ lane. After another slaying, he sent his first mocking note to authorities, promising he would kill more. The official tally of his victims was six. He claimed thirty-seven dead. The real toll may have reached fifty.
Robert Graysmith was on staff at the San Francisco Chronicle in 1969 when Zodiac first struck, triggering in the resolute reporter an unrelenting obsession with seeing the hooded killer brought to justice. In this gripping account of Zodiac’s eleven-month reign of terror, Graysmith reveals hundreds of facts previously unreleased, including the complete text of the killer’s letters. |AMAZON|
| Julia and Valentina Poole are twenty-year-old sisters with an intense attachment to each other. One morning the mailman delivers a thick envelope to their house in the suburbs of Chicago. Their English aunt Elspeth Noblin has died of cancer and left them her London apartment. There are two conditions for this inheritance: that they live in the flat for a year before they sell it and that their parents not enter it. Julia and Valentina are twins. So were the girls’ aunt Elspeth and their mother, Edie.
The girls move to Elspeth’s flat, which borders the vast Highgate Cemetery, where Christina Rossetti, George Eliot, Stella Gibbons, and other luminaries are buried. Julia and Valentina become involved with their living neighbors: Martin, a composer of crossword puzzles who suffers from crippling OCD, and Robert, Elspeth’s elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. They also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including—perhaps—their aunt. |AMAZON|
|Thus begins the most astonishing true-life odyssey ever recorded—one man’s riveting account of his extraordinary experiences with visitors from “elsewhere” . . . how they found him, where they took him, what they did to him, and why.
Believe it. Or don’t believe it. But read it—for this gripping story will move you like no other. It will fascinate you, terrify you, and alter the way you experience your world. |AMAZON|
| In this absorbing and equally inspiring companion volume to his classic trilogy—The Road Less Traveled, Further Along the Road Less Traveled, and The Road Less Traveled and Beyond—Dr. M. Scott Peck brilliantly probes into the essence of human evil.
People who are evil attack others instead of facing their own failures. Peck demonstrates the havoc these people of the lie work in the lives of those around them. He presents, from vivid incidents encountered in his psychiatric practice, examples of evil in everyday life.
This book is by turns disturbing, fascinating, and altogether impossible to put down as it offers a strikingly original approach to the age-old problem of human evil. |AMAZON|
|An epic battle for survival begins between man and vampire in The Strain—the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy from one of Hollywood’s most inventive storytellers and a critically acclaimed thriller writer. Guillermo del Toro, the genius director of the Academy Award-winning Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy, and Hammett Award-winning author Chuck Hogan have joined forces to boldly reinvent the vampire novel. Brilliant, blood-chilling, and unputdownable, The Strain is a nightmare of the first order. |AMAZON||
|Originally published in 1971, The Exorcist is now a major television series on FOX. It remains one of the most controversial novels ever written and went on to become a literary phenomenon: It spent fifty-seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, seventeen consecutively at number one. Inspired by a true story of a child’s demonic possession in the 1940s, William Peter Blatty created an iconic novel that focuses on Regan, the eleven-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C. A small group of overwhelmed yet determined individuals must rescue Regan from her unspeakable fate, and the drama that ensues is gripping and unfailingly terrifying.
Two years after its publication, The Exorcist was, of course, turned into a wildly popular motion picture, garnering ten Academy Award nominations. On opening day of the film, lines of the novel’s fans stretched around city blocks. In Chicago, frustrated moviegoers used a battering ram to gain entry through the double side doors of a theater. In Kansas City, police used tear gas to disperse an impatient crowd who tried to force their way into a cinema. The three major television networks carried footage of these events; CBS’s Walter Cronkite devoted almost ten minutes to the story. The Exorcistwas, and is, more than just a novel and a film: it is a true landmark. |AMAZON|
|One by one, three young girls vanish in a small town in upstate New York. With the first disappearance, the townspeople begin to mistrust outsiders. When the second girl goes missing, neighbors and childhood friends start to eye each other warily. And with the third disappearance, the sleepy little town awakens to a full-blown nightmare. The Church of Dead Girls is a novel that displays Stephen Dobyns’ remarkable gifts for exploring human nature, probing the ruinous effects of suspicion. As panic mounts and citizens take the law into their own hands, no one is immune, and old rumors, old angers, and old hungers come to the surface to reveal the secret history of a seemingly genteel town and the dark impulses of its inhabitants. |AMAZON||
| Feed your fears with this terrifying classic that introduced cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter.
FBI agent Will Graham once risked his sanity to capture Hannibal Lecter, an ingenious killer like no other. Now, he’s following the bloodstained pattern of the Tooth Fairy, a madman who’s already wiped out two families.
To find him, Graham has to understand him. To understand him, Graham has only one place left to go: the mind of Dr. Lecter. |AMAZON|
I don’t think Mr. King needs an introduction, does he? Click the cover to see it on Amazon!