• Cara Cilento

My Top Horror Novel Recommendations

I love Fall. I think it is the best season. You don't have to wear heavy jackets because the weather isn't too hot or cold, sports can be your primary form of exercise outside, and you get to spend quality time with your family during special holidays. Occasionally, it rains during the fall, but this only adds to the overall atmosphere of the season.

The Magic Of Autumn

Even though, autumn brings with it a slew of beautiful days. The leaves on the trees are changing color. The leaves are beginning to fall from the trees, the birds have flown away, and there appears to be a sense of melancholy in the atmosphere. Some people may say it is not a cheerful season in the same way that spring is but how can you say that when it brings about one of my favorite holidays, Halloween.

The Spirit Of Halloween

In the spirit of Halloween, and in the event of cool fall nights where you may want to snuggle under a blanket or in comfy sweats, I thought I would recommend some scary stories for you to enjoy. Some are full novels, some may be some short stores, others may be true scary stores but regardless, they are guaranteed to keep you turning pages (and turning in your sleep).

Best Horror Novels

The first best horror novel I could recommend is Chasing the Boogeyman, by Richard Chizmar. Talk about scary! Chizmar blended true crime with a fictious tale where he casts himself as the main character. It’s absolutely brilliant.

The book begins with Chizmar returning home from college just as a curfew was enacted. The mutilated bodies of several missing girls had turned up in his Maryland hometown during the summer of 1988. The gruesome evidence leads police to the terrifying conclusion that a serial killer is on the loose in the sleepy suburban neighborhood. However, soon after, a rumor spreads that the evil stalking the local teenagers is not entirely human in origin. Several members of law enforcement and the FBI are convinced that the killer is a living, breathing psychopath who is attempting to trick them into believing otherwise. It feels like a nightmare that will never end for a once-peaceful community that has been trapped in the depths of paranoia and suspicion for years.

The Depth Of Horror Novels

This author's imagery in this horror novel is vividly descriptive. His character descriptions are so on point that the reader has no choice but to envision the details he created with ease. Mr. Chizmar creates suspense by providing the reader with just enough clues to lead the reader in the right direction, but the story progresses to a conclusion that is unexpected, but logical. When I think back, there are clues in this horror novel, but they aren't overtly apparent. I personally, wanted to slap myself for overlooking them. This horror novel definitely deserved its place on the New York Times Bestseller list. Oh, here is a tip. Read the author’s note at the end!

The Wicked Boy

My next favorite horror novel is a true horror story. It is The Wicked Boy: They Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer, by Kate Summerscale. A cricket match at Lord's was on the agenda for Robert Coombes, 13, and his younger brother Nattie, 12, in East London England. Their father had gone to sea the previous Friday, and their mother was in Liverpool visiting her family. Robert and Nattie spent the next 10 days extravagantly, pawning their parents' assets to fund theatre and beach outings. Strange odors began to emanate from the Coombes house as the sun beat down. It wasn't long before the police were brought in to investigate. The Wicked Boy is not only a careful analysis of a horrible Victorian case, but also a gripping tale of its consequences and man's potential to transcend the past.

About Wicked Boy

In this true scary story, Summerscale recounts the crime and trial procedures with the meticulousness of the Victorian era itself. Reading this true scary story was a learning experience as much as it was gripping read. For example, the prosecution wanted Nattie's charges dropped because they felt it would strengthen their case against Robert if his brother testified. At the time, defendants were not allowed to testify in court. Robert was expected to cross-examine witnesses early on without a lawyer or any representation. The boys' father was a steward on a transatlantic livestock ship and was unaware of the crime until after the first hearings.

My Take Away

But I think the most intriguing part of the story are the parts that are not scary at all. They are heartwarming and human. Summerscale gives us a glimpse into what happened to Robert as he became a man. After all, don’t we want to know what happened to the child who committed a brutal murder when he was 14?

Short Horror Stories

If you don’t have time to read a full horror novel, then I have to recommend the collection of short scary stories by Julia Armfield, slow salt. If you enjoy dark, strange, macabre, and wonderfully written short scary stories then you have (emphasis on HAVE) to check it out. A compilation of nine stories about femininity and rambunctious women, who are the greatest sort.

Elements Of The Short Scary Story

That these short scary stories are anchored in the commonplace is what I find most appealing about them; nevertheless, Armfield adds elements that lift the stories from everyday boring situations to the bizarre and unexpected. And it's all done in such a stunningly vibrant and hauntingly beautiful way. From the very first short scary story, I was completely sucked in.

Each of the nine short scary stories are distinct and unforgettable in their own way. A woman obsessed with creating the perfect man takes the form of an uncanny resemblance to a Frankenstein-like monster, a girl who has a wolf as a stepsister, a woman's girlfriend who claws out of her grave to visit her former lover, an all-female band whose fans turn violent... the scope and imagination that Armfield demonstrates is incredible!

I hope you pick up these and they satisfy your Halloween cravings. They are in a class of their own. If you have any to suggest, let me know!

5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All