It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and no, there won’t be any mistletoeing and my heart won’t be glowing – it’s the time for pumpkin ales, haunted hayrides, and reading horror. Now, 90% of what I read nowadays falls under the horror category, but every October I try to find some books that capture the essence of my favorite month. Books like Ray Bradbury’s The October Country or Richard Laymon’s Night in the Lonesome October. I’ve compiled a list of five books I plan on reading this October:
The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon – When the one-night-only Traveling Vampire Show arrives in town, promising the only living vampire in captivity, beautiful Valeria, three local teenages venture where they do not belong, and discover much more than they bargained for.
All Hallow’s Dead by Bryan Smith – It’s Halloween week in Willow Springs, TN, and a mad slasher is on the loose! Twenty-five years ago, a group of local boys did a very bad thing. Now a masked killer is leaving a trail of corpses and bloody pumpkins all over town. Brutal vengeance against his former tormentors and thirty-one dead for Halloween are the madman’s demented goals. As the body count mounts, local law enforcement scrambles to track down the seemingly unstoppable killer and bring the carnage to an end.
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill – Arthur Kipps is an up-and-coming London solicitor who is sent to Crythin Gifford—a faraway town in the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway—to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of a client, Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. Mrs. Drablow’s house stands at the end of the causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but Kipps is unaware of the tragic secrets that lie hidden behind its sheltered windows. The routine business trip he anticipated quickly takes a horrifying turn when he finds himself haunted by a series of mysterious sounds and images—a rocking chair in a deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child’s scream in the fog, and, most terrifying of all, a ghostly woman dressed all in black. Psychologically terrifying and deliciously eerie, The Woman in Black is a remarkable thriller of the first rate.
Off Season by Jack Ketchum – THE STORY: A beautiful New York editor retreats to a lonely cabin on a hill in the quiet Maine beach town of Dead River, during off season; awaiting her sister and friends. Nearby, a savage human family with a taste for flesh lurks in the darkening woods, watching, waiting for the moon to rise and night to fall.
Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge – Halloween, 1963. They call him the October Boy, or Ol’ Hacksaw Face, or Sawtooth Jack. Whatever the name, everybody in this small Midwestern town knows who he is. How he rises from the cornfields every Halloween, a butcher knife in his hand, and makes his way toward town, where gangs of teenage boys eagerly await their chance to confront the legendary nightmare. Both the hunter and the hunted, the October Boy is the prize in an annual rite of life and death. Pete McCormick knows that killing the October Boy is his one chance to escape a dead-end future in this one-horse town. He’s willing to risk everything, including his life, to be a winner for once. But before the night is over, Pete will look into the saw-toothed face of horror–and discover the terrifying true secret of the October Boy . . .
These are my picks for Halloween 2016. What are you reading this October?