I’m really excited to be sharing some Halloween books recommendations chosen by Gabriel Dylan, author of the upcoming Whiteout, The tenth book in the Red Eye series. It’s available to request on Netgalley right now! I’m really looking forward to this one, I’ve been waiting for Vampires to make a comeback for ages.
Books to read this Halloween!
Everybody loves a good scare. There’s nothing better than dimming the lights, picking up a creepy book, and letting yourself be swept along on a wave of fear.
My love for the horror genre started as a teenager, when one of my friends sneaked me a copy of James Herbert’s The Rats. That led me to Stephen King, Richard Laymon, and many other writers who often left me afraid to turn the lights off. There were, however, some that creeped me out a little more than others…
Richard Laymon – Darkness, tell us.
To quote Stephen King, if you’ve missed Laymon, you’ve missed a treat. Laymon’s always been a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, and I read most of his stuff before he passed away a few years ago. He gave a modern spin on classic horror tropes, and his novels usually involved a group of teen characters, trying to escape one grisly death or another. Darkness, tell us is, I reckon, one of his best, and it revolves around Ouija boards, lost teens, isolated mountains, and an ill fated camping trip – gory, scary and lots of fun.
Stephen King – IT
Although this book is maybe not quite my favourite King novel (that would be The Stand, with its epic, apocalyptic feel), It was probably the one that scared me the most. I read It when I was a teenager, and I loved the two storylines, past and present day, and the terrifying, supernatural horror that underpins both stories and permeates the whole of the fictional town of Derry. There’s a few scenes here that really got to me, not least the voices of dead children down the drains, and the opening chapter where the main character’s little brother meets a very grisly demise. An epic tale, and one that definitely made me afraid to go to the bathroom after dark. And who isn’t scared of clowns?
James Herbert – Domain
Domain introduced the teenage me to apocalyptic fiction, something that seems to be everywhere now (The walking dead, The 100, Hunger Games etc) but back when I was growing up there was nowhere near as much dystopia as there is now. I’d read Herbert’s other books in the Rats trilogy, and found them creepy, but this one, with the survivors of a nuclear strike being pursued by mutated blood-thirty rats, brought something different to the rest of the series. I found the setting really haunting, and for me it ignited a real fascination for apocalyptic fiction, and what people are willing to do when the world falls apart.
John Ajvide Lindqvist – Let the Right One In
There’s a fantastic Swedish film adaptation of this (not the American one – avoid!), but the book is even better. It’s a creepy, atmospheric tale of a bullied little boy, Oskar, who lives in the Stockholm suburbs. One night, out in the playground near his block of snowbound flats, Oskar befriends an odd little girl, Eli. Both of them are outcasts, and they become friends, confiding their problems in one another. Except Eli is a vampire, and has been alive for thousands of years. But for a little boy being ruthlessly bullied at school, she’s the perfect confidante. A dark, Scandi twist on the vampire mythology, with a touching tale of love and friendship at its heart.
Richard Bachman – Thinner
Stephen King again, but I’m hoping to get away with this one as he was writing using a pseudonym, Richard Bachman. There’s a bit of body horror here, although it’s more psychological than gory, and that ending…… Thinner tells the story of a normal guy who accidentally runs over an old lady who is part of the traveller community, and, as punishment, receives a gypsy curse placed on him. At first he thinks his odd weight loss is nothing to worry about. Then he gets thinner, thinner, and thinner, and realises that the curse was true after all. And as he twists and turns in his attempts to break the curse, things just get worse and worse. Thinner introduced me to a different type of horror, and that ending….. I dare you.
Alex Bell – Frozen Charlotte
I feel very humbled that Whiteout is number ten in the Red Eye series, particularly when stories as great as Frozen Charlotte have preceded it. A proper creepy, atmospheric tale of tiny scary dolls, gothic settings, and odd, disturbing characters, Frozen Charlotte grabs you from the get go with a modern twist on a séance that goes very badly wrong. Once you start reading, it doesn’t let go. One thing’s for sure, if there was a frozen charlotte doll in my room, I would not be sleeping!
About the Author:
Gabriel Dylan is not only an exciting debut writer, he is also a surfer, snowboarder and secondary-school teacher. The inspiration for his first novel came from being snowed in whilst leading a school skiing trip to a remote village in the Austrian Alps. Gabriel is based in Gloucestershire.