Ten Dark Tales for Halloween

Spine-tingling atmosphere, mounting dread and unhinged characters equal great Halloween reading. Ten of the best modern classics in Gothic horror.

  1. The Other, Thomas Tryon. In 1930s Connecticut, twins Niles and Holland are yin and yang. Witty psychological thriller.
  2. We have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson. The last remaining members of the Blackwood family don’t quite come to terms with their recent past. Black comedy.
  3. Fever Dream, Samanta Schweblin. Reality and nightmare collide in this feverish Argentine hospital horror.
  4. Starve Acre, Andrew Michael Hurley. A couple devastated by the loss of their son dig deep in Yorkshire folklore.
  5. You Let Me In, Camilla Bruce. Who to believe in this tale of child abuse, vengeance and fairies.
  6. The Driver’s Seat, Muriel Spark. An overlooked thirtysomething throws up her mundane life for fun in the sun. If you can, listen to the Audible version read by Judi ‘you’re not my type’ Dench. Nihilistic metaphysical shocker.
  7. The Little Stranger, Sarah Waters. A family’s sinister secrets will out.
  8. The Woman in Black, Susan Hill. Young solicitor, Arthur Kipps, is entrusted with sorting through the papers of the late Mrs Drablow of Eel Marsh House. Regularly isolated from the mainland by the tide, the house is shrouded in fog and something sinister. Classic ghost story.
  9. The Fall River Axe Murders, (short story in the collection Black Venus) Angela Carter. Lizzie Borden in the seconds before the clock strikes six on that fateful day. Claustrophobic.
  10. House of Leaves, Mark Z Danielewski. A tattooist, an old man and a young family are drawn into the history of the house on Ash Tree Lane, a house which measures three quarters of an inch longer inside than it does outside. Get the full colour edition if you can. Inventive metafiction that is moving and creepy.

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