Last Updated -
While ghost stories and haunting spooky novels are especially popular around Halloween, they are loved by supernatural aficionados pretty much all year long. We don’t celebrate Halloween much in Europe, but for me spooky ghost stories are some of my most favorite books to read (except mysteries and thrillers).
I have already listed here 5 scary books to read for Halloween, however personally I know I could read much more than only 5… don’t you? So let’s see what new books have authors of mystery written in 2013 that are all about ghosts, hauntings and a spooky atmosphere.
Here are 7 great ghost stories and spooky tales that are scary, chilling, creepy and gothic, which make for some fun reads for this holiday – and the next…and the next…
1. Help for the Haunted by John Searles
Help for the Haunted is a recently published ghost story which has already received lots of positive reviews and ratings from readers of ghost fiction, both at Goodreads and at Amazon as well. People characterize it as “creepy, disturbing and compelling”, which is right up my alley.
Anyone who is obsessed with the paranormal, with hauntings and scary things will really enjoy this book. I’ve already started reading it, but I’ve only a few pages in – and let me tell you, it is already turning out to be creeeeeeepy!
Just to give you a taste, the story is about Sylvie Mason, a girl who has as parents two occult lovers – demonologists as it were. They are dabbing much into supernatural and that affects Sylvie greatly. When her parents are murdered in a church (of all places they could be murdered at), Sylvie and her sister Rose realize that now they have to deal not only with the living, but also with the dead…
2. Delia’s Shadow by Jayme Lee Moyer
Delia’s Shadow by Jayme Lee Moyer is another new book in the paranormal mystery genre. It is in fact the first in the Delia Martin series, which is great for anyone who wants to start a new book series from its first novel.
The book is a bit different from the usual in that it takes place at the beginning of the last century in San Francisco, in a setting that is nothing short of gothic. Delia can see ghosts of dead people. She got “the sight” when as a child she experienced an earthquake and a fire which killed both her parents, after which she left the city. So why is this relevant? Well, while she could see spirits ever since that old tragedy, now it seems that Delia is literally haunted – by a woman who keeps following her around. So Delia decides that it’s time to go back home and face her history.
A fun new novel with a mix of mystery, suspense, supernatural and gothic, the right blend for a fun read around the Halloween holidays. Btw I LOVE the book cover!
3. Joyland by Stephen King
I have already discussed briefly Stephen King’s book Dr. Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, which is his latest novel, but earlier this year he has also written another spooky story called Joyland. I got this book in paperback on loan from a neighbor and read it a few months ago. It is a typical Stephen King novel in writing (reminding me a bit of his older style books), but it’s a bit thinner too at less than 300 pages. Nevertheless it does pack a punch, despite its shortness and despite the fact that the beginning seems to drag just a bit. The later part makes up for it in more ways than one.
The story is about Devin Jones, a college student who takes a temp job at an amusement park for the summer. His girlfriend left him and he needs to keep his mind busy with something else than his pain from the breakup. Of course as it usually happens in amusement parks in books – there is a murder, and Devin is the one who tries to solve it.
One thing I didn’t understand is why it’s a Hard Case Crime since it’s anything but. Maybe I should read it again to see what I missed. Otherwise an excellent spooky tale of murder and haunting.
4. The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
With such a title – The screaming Staircase, how can it not look like a spooky novel? The book is in fact the first in a new supernatural mystery series by Jonathan Stroud, called Lockwood & Co. Published in August this year, it is already a favorite of many mystery novel readers who enjoy a spooky tale within the content of the book. Now Lockwood & Co are supernatural investigators – ghost busters – who have to deal with an epidemic of ghosts, called “visitors” in London.
The primary audience for this book is kids age 8 and older, however trust me, if you loved Harry Potter, you will enjoy reading it as well (maybe with your kids next to you) no matter your age. It is a fun story, spooky, creepy (just a bit) and full of ghosts. Perfect for Halloween.
5. Doll Bones by Holly Black
Since we’re at children’s spooky books, here is one more worth checking out. Doll Bones is a new novel by Holly Black, aimed at middle grade kids. The story is about the Zach, Poppy, and Alice, 3 kids who have been friends it seems forever. At around age of 12, they are pre-teens who still like to play with dolls and weave various stories around them.
Zach’s dad decides one day that his son should start dealing with more adult stuff, and literally throws his toys into the trash. And this is where the real adventure starts. Now who would have thought that china dolls can become creepy and scary (while remaining fun at the same time?)
6. Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield
Bellman & Black is the story of William Bellman who as a kid killed a bird with his slingshot, making him popular among his peers. Now he is all grown up and despite his career blooming, he is secretly still haunted by his early act of cruelty. Throughout his life he suffers many personal losses, but he still carries on, focusing on his work all day long. Every time someone in his family dies, he sees at the funeral a guy whom he calls Mr. Black. Every time he tries to reach him and talk to him, Mr. Black disappears, which frustrates Bellman to no end. Until one day when the two finally meet and strike a strange business deal.
It is a rather heavy book (although very good) and it’s not as spooky as many others. I found the book a great character study. Btw you might know another novel by this British author, The Thirteenth Tale, which was very popular for several years even in the US.
7. The Archived
Written early 2013 The Archived is an interesting young adult paranormal fantasy/dystopia novel. I’ve included it here because it has to do with ghosts – with lots of them.
The premise is kind of weird. Dead people are put on shelves in a library of sorts so that their memories and histories are preserved for posterity. Akashic Records, you’re no longer needed here. Librarians have the jobs of shelving and cataloging the dead – which are there in flesh and bones, mind you, not in CD drives or DVDs or memory sticks. And there are lines and lines of shelves on various hallways full of dead people. Creepy much? It’s such a weird and unique premise for the book, that I put it on my TBR shelf and will hope to get through it before Halloween.
What spooky novels have you read this autumn?