Vampires, werewolves, zombies, mummies, ghouls, ghosts, and more—all these creatures are the fun cast of characters we have come to know and love on Halloween. They can be creepy or funny, heartwarming or horrifying, and they reflect back on our own biggest fears and insecurities. They also make up some of the best and most entertaining material on our bookshelves. So, if you’re looking for a howling good time with werewolves, a bloody feast with vampires, or just want a ghastly bash with ghosts, here are some books to add to your October reading list.
You know what Charles Dickens really needed? Werewolves. Okay, sure, a little strange, but hear me out. If Pride and Prejudice could benefit from zombies, and the life of Lincoln could be spiced up with vampires, who’s to say some fur and fangs couldn’t add some charm to Great Expectations? This reimagining of the classic story has the main character, Pip, as a werewolf, and his beloved and cruel Estella as a monster hunter, trained under the watchful eye of the vampiric Miss Havisham. Full of jokes, heartbreak, and self-discovery, GRAVE EXPECTATIONS is a fun romp through a classic story that may have you howling for more.
Heaven knows, we need never be ashamed of our wolfish cravings. . . .
Bristly, sensitive, and meat-hungry Pip is a robust young whelp, an orphan born under a full moon. Between hunting escaped convicts alongside zombified soldiers, trying not to become one of the hunted himself, and hiding his hairy hands from the supernaturally beautiful and haughty Estella, whose devilish moods keep him chomping at the bit, Pip is sure he will die penniless or a convict like the rest of his commonly uncommon kind.
But then a mysterious benefactor sends him to London for the finest werewolf education money can buy. In the company of other furry young gentlemen, Pip tempers his violent transformations and devours the secrets of his dark world. When he discovers that his beloved Estella is a slayer of supernatural creatures, trained by the corpse-like vampire Miss Havisham, Pip’s desire for her grows stronger than his midnight hunger for rare fresh beef. But can he risk his hide for a truth that will make Estella his forever—or will she drive one last silver stake through his heart?
If what you’re looking for is something to sate a craving for a body-snatching narrative, then NAMELESS is for you. This book follows the Nameless, creatures caught between Heaven and Hell that watch humans going about their lives, waiting for the day they are saved or damned. One day, one of these entities chooses to possess a drunk named Aurick Pantera, who has just died. Finding human life to be to its liking, it decides to continue living as Aurick and pursue its own set of dreams. But soon other Nameless see this as their chance to start a war and finally bring the waiting to an end. A powerful story of love, hope, and choices, NAMELESS builds a beautiful and cruel world for its characters to live (and suffer) in.
No admission into Heaven, but not banished to Hell, the Nameless await their ultimate fate in between—but one Nameless has decided to control his own fate.
In the in-between are the Nameless; names are for masters and they have none. They live in the Nameless realm, between being saved and being destroyed—they are Fallen.
One Nameless spends his time watching humans in New York City and, in his endless eternity of boredom, becomes intrigued by a drunk named Aurick Pantera. One day Aurick, a reckless gambler, is about to be killed by a gang over his debts. Nameless feels sorry for him and possesses his body to save his life. He then decides that he rather likes being in a human body, given the chance to taste, smells, and touch. He uses Aurick’s body to fulfill all of his wildest dreams—become a rock star, have a successful psychiatric practice, and pursue star journalist Helena Way.
Until, three years after possessing Aurick, the other Fallen take notice of these random achievements and begin appearing to Aurick. They are tired of waiting in Nameless and are ready to start a war—their only chance to cease this painful eternity of waiting and either be saved or be released. Aurick, struggling to regain control of his body, stuck in the middle. Join the ranks and finally be released to Null for atrocities against mankind, or can his love for Helena, his budding friendships, and his growing concern for all humans grant him salvation?
No spooky literary list is complete without an entry from Stephen King. And of the many creatures in King’s bibliography, few are scarier than the monster from THE OUTSIDER. Why? Because it ruins the lives of its victims in more ways than one. The unnamed monster is insidious in its hunting technique—it takes on the appearance of someone in the community before viciously attacking and murdering someone in order to feed off their fear and pain. They leave chaos and heartache in their wake, before moving on to the next town. But as technology expands, the creature finds its usual hunting methods falling apart, and a team of crack investigators is hot on its trail. Buckle up for a wild ride with this book—the ending just might surprise you.
Now an HBO limited series starring Ben Mendelsohn!
Evil has many faces…maybe even yours in this #1 New York Times bestseller from master storyteller Stephen King.
An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is discovered in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens—Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon have DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.
As the investigation expands and horrifying details begin to emerge, King’s story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.
If someone told you they were the devil, ruler of Hell and King of Darkness, would you believe them? Probably not. So, what’s the harm in making one little deal with a mad man? That’s what Fiona thinks when she meets “the devil” at a bar, and asks for something on a whim, just to see what would happen. But now Fiona is actually indebted to the devil, and she has to wait for the devil to call on her to do a special favor for him. Thankfully, she’s not alone—the titular Dead Souls are a group of people waiting for their ill-fated favors to come along as well. Scratch, the name the devil goes by, is a fun character, and while he's definitely the antagonist of the story, you’ll find yourself looking forward to the chaos he brings.
From the award-winning author of the acclaimed novel Poe comes an edgy and bone-chilling new novel.
When Fiona Dunn is approached in a bar by a man who claims he’s the devil, she figures it’s just some kind of postmodern-slash-ironic pickup line. But a few drinks in, he offers her a wish in exchange for her immortal soul, and in addition, Fiona must perform a special favor for him whenever the time comes. Fiona finds the entire matter so absurd that she agrees. Bad idea. Not only does Fiona soon discover that she really was talking to the devil incarnate, but she’s now been initiated into a bizarre support group of similar “dead souls”—those who have done the same thing as Fiona on a whim, and who must spend their waking hours in absolute terror of that favor eventually being called in...and what exactly is required from each of them in order to give the devil his due.
Zombies definitely had a moment a few years back, and from that we got a wide array of zombie types. From slow and mindless, to creepy and crafty, every member of the recently deceased came with its own unique flavor. THE LOOP falls more on the fast and furious side of the zombie spectrum, as it really ramps up the action. The peace and quiet of small-town Turner Falls, Oregon, is overturned when several kids, all of whom have parents that work for the local biotech firm, become mindlessly aggressive and violent. It’s up to local teen Lucy and her friends Brewer and Bucket to find a way to make it through the night. A roller-coaster ride from start to finish, this book is a gory, raucous reminder of why we love zombie media so much.
The year’s most brutal, cinematic thrill ride is also one of its most critically acclaimed novels. Dazed and Confused meets 28 Days Later in this “wickedly entertaining,” (Kirkus Reviews) “volcano of a book” (Nathan Ballingrud, author of Wounds) as a lonely young woman teams up with a group of fellow outcasts to survive the night in a town overcome by a science experiment gone wrong.
A Best Book of the Month for Den of Geek, Omnivoracious, Mystery & Suspense, and Tor.
A Goodreads’ 2020 Readers Choice Nominee for Best Horror, and one of the Best Books of 2020 for The Lineup, Booked, and Unsettling Reads.
Turner Falls is a small tourist town nestled in the hills of central Oregon. When a terrifying outbreak rapidly develops, this idyllic town becomes the epicenter of an epidemic of violence.
The Loop is a “wild and wonderfully scary novel” (Richard Chizmar, author of Gwendy’s Magic Feather) that offers a “hilarious and horrifying” (Brian Keene, author of The Rising) look at what one team of misfits can accomplish as they fight to live through the night.
“[A] harrowing thrill ride of the first order and an uncompromising page-turner, easily securing its spot as one of the best novels of 2020.” —Rue Morgue (featured “Dante’s Pick” Review)
“Like the best of Crichton or Bentley, it is a great beach read, but it is infused with the neon blood of a brave new writer... [A] kind of literary roller coaster. It will take you to thrilling highs and terrifying lows…” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“The Loop is the gore-soaked, anxiety-inducing, diabolically funny Richard Linklater/David Cronenberg mashup you never knew you wanted but can’t—or at least shouldn’t—live without.” —The Big Thrill
“Unputdownable...Fans of The Twilight Zone, The X-Files, and Stranger Things will be especially thrilled.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A satisfyingly dark satire of, well, everything...[a] heart-pounding and deeply unsettling tale.” —Booklist
“The Loop is a remarkably propulsive novel, cinematic in the best way, with perfectly tuned tension and excellent character choices…a headlong, straightforward pleasure.” —Locus
“The Loop is the Cronenberg film we never got.” —Nathan Ballingrud, author of North American Lake Monsters and Wounds
Bloodsuckers can be terrifying, but Martin Cruz Smith’s take on the subgenre is ingenious. Rather than having your standard human vampires, NIGHTWING opts for a version that cannot be reasoned with. When an old Native American shaman invokes the Hopi god of death in a bid to end the world, no one is ready for the plague that starts taking out every living thing it touches. Deputy Sheriff Duran and a pair of scientists eventually figure out that the threat facing the small town is a plague of vampire bats. Will they be able to contain this winged threat or is the world really doomed to be leached dry?
From Martin Cruz Smith, the internationally bestselling author of Gorky Park, comes a reissue of Nightwing, the million-copy bestseller that Stephen King called “one of the best horror novels in the last twenty years.”
As darkness gathers, the sky is filled with frantic motion and maddening murmurs. In an effort to end the world, an unhappy, aging Native American shaman invokes the Hopi god of death. Those around him remain skeptical, dismissing him as crazy old man. Then they discover his mutilated, bloody body and soon other similarly disfigured bodies begin to appear. Horses, sheep, cattle—no living thing is safe. But what is causing the horrible deaths? Deputy Sheriff Duran is called back to the reservation to investigate. Immediately, Duran recognizes the significance of the shaman’s spell and, with the help of two scientists, he works to combat the supernatural scourge—before there’s nothing left to save.
Written “in the tradition of Stephen King” (Kirkus Reviews), Nightwing is part love triangle, part Native American case study, part supernatural thriller…and “genuinely horrifying” (The Washington Post Book World).
Being an adult is scary enough without having ghouls and goblins jumping out at you every chance they get. But that’s the life Toni Windsor lives, where trying to keep her job as an estate agent is the least of her worries. From zombies rising from the dead to her beau being a blood-sucking fiend (albeit a charming one), Toni has her work cut out for her . . . and that’s before she has to solve a murder! GRAVE SECRETS veers more toward comedy than horror, so those who shun gore and darkness will be able to get their creature cravings sated without the nightmares.
Agatha Raisin meets Sookie Stackhouse, with croquet and crumpets.
An adventure with zombies. And vampires. And romance. And croquet.
Toni Windsor is trying to live a quiet life in the green and pleasant county of Staffordshire. She’d love to finally master the rules of croquet, acquire a decent boyfriend and make some commission as an estate agent...
...but first she’s got to deal with zombies rising from their graves, vampires sneaking out of their coffins and a murder to solve.
It’s all made rather more complicated by the fact that she’s the one raising all the zombies—oh, and she’s dating one of the vampires. Really, what’s a girl meant to do?
Sometimes you have to think outside of the box in order to succeed in life. Take Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang, an antiques dealer known for having some of the rarest items in the world. His secret? He kills vampires in order to steal their priceless hoards and resell them. Predictably, these riches come with a lot of dark and unpleasant consequences, many of which Sax has been able to avoid . . . until one vampire in particular sets his sights on killing Sax and destroying all he loves. A globe-trotting cat-and-mouse game ensues in the pages of THE FIFTH HOUSE OF THE HEART, perfect for history buffs and lovers of eccentric anti-heroes.
Filled with characters as menacing as they are memorable, this chilling twist on vampire fiction packs a punch in the bestselling tradition of ’Salem’s Lot by Stephen King.
Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang, a vainglorious and well-established antiques dealer, has made a fortune over many years by globetrotting for the finest lost objects in the world. Only Sax knows the true secret to his success: at certain points of his life, he’s killed vampires for their priceless hoards of treasure.
But now Sax’s past actions are quite literally coming back to haunt him, and the lives of those he holds most dear are in mortal danger. To counter this unnatural threat, and with the blessing of the Holy Roman Church, a cowardly but cunning Sax must travel across Europe in pursuit of incalculable evil—and immeasurable wealth—with a ragtag team of mercenaries and vampire killers to hunt a terrifying, ageless monster…one who is hunting Sax in turn.
From author Ben Tripp, whose first horror novel Rise Again “raises the stakes so high that the book becomes nearly impossible to put down” (Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother), The Fifth House of the Heart is a powerful story that will haunt you long after its final pages.
In some stories, the monsters aren’t your biggest problem; it’s the humans that cause the real suffering and heartache. When an infectious disease begins killing the population and creating a horde of monsters, Terry and Kendra know that they have to get to safety somehow. Boarding a barely functioning school bus, they head out to cross the country. While fleeing, they come to find that the biggest threat is the raiders who try to overtake them at every turn, putting them even more at risk. DEVIL’S WAKE is a must for fans of zombie adventures looking for a wild ride into the heart of darkness.
The first book of an exciting new paranormal series from two award-winning authors about what happens when an alien race brings Earth to the brink of the Apocalypse.
What happens when an unprecedented infection sweeps the world, leaving the earth on the brink of the Apocalypse?
But this infection goes far beyond disease. Beyond even the nightmare images of walking dead or flesh-eating ghouls. The infected are turning into creatures unlike anything ever dreamed of . . . more complex, more mysterious, and more deadly.
Trapped in the northwestern United States as winter begins to fall, Terry and Kendra have only one choice: they and their friends must cross a thousand miles of no-man’s-land in a rickety school bus, battling ravenous hordes, human raiders, and their own fears.
In the midst of apocalypse, they find something no one could have anticipated . . . love.
Typically in horror novels, the monster is the antagonist, the evil lurking in the dark that is constantly waiting to strike and kill the protagonist and their loved ones. But there are plenty too that highlight how hard it would be to live as a creature of the night, and make the argument that the monstrous may not always be malicious. Take SILVER UNDER NIGHTFALL, where trained vampire hunter Remy Pendergast goes to investigate a new breed of vampire threatening his city, only to end up working alongside two vampires. As he comes to learn more about them, and their society, he finds himself torn between staying in the world he knew or joining up with his former enemies. This queer romance mystery is surprisingly heartwarming for something about cold-blooded creatures, and is sure to pique the interest of those looking for a more sympathetic portrayal of spooky creatures.
Full of court intrigue, queer romance, and terrifying monsters—this gothic epic fantasy will appeal to fans of Samantha Shannon’s The Priory of the Orange Tree and the adult animated series Castlevania.
Remy Pendergast is many things: the only son of the Duke of Valenbonne (though his father might wish otherwise), an elite bounty hunter of rogue vampires, and an outcast among his fellow Reapers. His mother was the subject of gossip even before she eloped with a vampire, giving rise to the rumors that Remy is half-vampire himself. Though the kingdom of Aluria barely tolerates him, Remy’s father has been shaping him into a weapon to fight for the kingdom at any cost.
When a terrifying new breed of vampire is sighted outside of the city, Remy prepares to investigate alone. But then he encounters the shockingly warmhearted vampire heiress Xiaodan Song and her infuriatingly arrogant fiancé, vampire lord Zidan Malekh, who may hold the key to defeating the creatures—though he knows associating with them won’t do his reputation any favors. When he’s offered a spot alongside them to find the truth about the mutating virus Rot that’s plaguing the kingdom, Remy faces a choice.
It’s one he’s certain he’ll regret.
But as the three face dangerous hardships during their journey, Remy develops fond and complicated feelings for the couple. He begins to question what he holds true about vampires, as well as the story behind his own family legacy. As the Rot continues to spread across the kingdom, Remy must decide where his loyalties lie: with his father and the kingdom he’s been trained all his life to defend or the vampires who might just be the death of him.
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