From pumpkin spice everything to twelve-foot skeletons in your neighbor's yard, it's not October without some seasonal flare. Occult forces, all too human monsters, and even the beauty industry make these horror novels perfect for Halloween. And remember, as the nights grow longer, you're running out of time to read scary stories in the safety of broad daylight...
1. A Dance for the Dead by Nuzo Onoh
When an author is heralded as "The Queen of African Horror," you know you're in for a good time. In A Dance for the Dead, we meet Diké as a betrayal sends him from being leader of his warrior cult into disgraced exile. His only companion is a raging ghost. And his only chance at breaking the curse is a terrifying journey to the ancestors' realm.
2. Boys in the Valley by Phillip Fracassi
St. Vincent's Orphanage for Boys: Turn of the century, in a remote valley in Pennsylvania. Late one stormy night, a group of men arrive at their door, and evil begins to spread like sickness. With lives and souls at stake, Peter Barlow and those dear to him must choose sides of their own.
3. Natural Beauty by Ling Ling Huang
After her parents' accident, an unnamed narrator abandons a music career for work at a high-end wellness store. There, she meets the owner's niece, and the two strike up a close friendship that hazily veers into more. But beneath the fancy creams and tinctures lies a terrible truth.
4. Never Whistle at Night by Norris Black, Amber Blaeser-Wardzala, Phoenix Boudreau, Cherie Dimaline, Carson Faust, Kelli Jo Ford, Kate Hart, Shane Hawk, Brandon Hobson, Darcie Little Badger, Conley Lyons, Nick Medina, Tiffany Morris, Tommy Orange, Mona Susan Power, Marcie R. Rendon, Waubgeshig Rice, Rebecca Roanhorse, Andrea L. Rogers, Morgan Talty, D.H. Trujillo, Theodore C. Van Alst Jr., Richard Van Camp, David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Royce Young Wolf, and Mathilda Zeller
A bold, clever, and sublimely sinister collection that dares to ask the question: "Are you ready to be un-settled?" All the legends herein hold in common the certainty that whistling at night can cause evil spirits to appear — and even follow you home.
5. Dead of Winter by Darcy Coates
Christa is part of a tour group in the Rocky Mountains that believes they'll be safe waiting out a sudden storm in an abandoned cabin. We know better. Deep in the night, their tour guide goes missing...and that's only the first sign one of them can't be trusted.
6. And Then She Fell by Alicia Elliott
Alice, a young Mohawk woman, has a picture-perfect life. But she could not feel more like an imposter. She just lost her own mother and can't connect to her new baby. Now strange things are happening, and Alice thinks the key to survival lies in the Haudenosaunee creation story.
7. The Queen of the Cicadas by V. Castro
2018: Belinda Alvarez returns to Texas for a wedding at the site of the urban legend, La Reina de Las Chicharras — The Queen of The Cicadas. In 1950s Texas a farmworker, Milagros, is murdered. Her death is ignored by all but the Aztec goddess of death, Mictecacíhuatl.
8. Wonderland by Jennifer Hillier
Wonderland is a magical amusement park boasting a retro charm, and it greets new deputy police chief Vanessa Castro with a dead body. A missing employee may be connected to decades of vanishings. Is this seaside town an escape, or is Vanessa in the middle of a killer's game?
9. Revenge by Yōko Ogawa
Sinister forces draw together a cast of desperate characters in this macabre novel. Murderers and mourners, mothers and children, lovers and innocent bystanders — their fates converge in a haunting tapestry of death.
10. Lone Women by Victor LaValle
The year is 1915, and Adelaide is in trouble. Following the death of her parents, she flees to Montana to take advantage of the government's offer of free land. But the secret she's tried so desperately to lock away might be the only thing that will help her survive.
11. A Guest in the House by Emily Carroll
In this haunting graphic novel, a young woman marries a kind dentist only to find a dark mystery surrounding his former wife's death. As Abby sinks deeper into confusion, Sheila's memory seems to become a force all its own...
12. Our Share of Night by Mariana Enríquez
In this dark novel, a woman's mysterious death puts her husband and son on a collision course with her demonic family. They take flight, attempting to outrun a powerful cult that will do anything to ensure its own survival. But can anyone escape their fate?
13. 101 Horror Books to Read Before You're Murdered by Sadie Hartmann
If this list isn't enough for you, you've got to check out Sadie Hartmann's new horror review compendium. Indulge your heart's darkest desires to be terrified, unsettled, disgusted, and heartbroken. From paranormal hauntings and creepy death cults to small-town terrors and apocalyptic disasters, you're sure to find something to add to your TBR pile.