Hello everyone, and welcome to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all doing well. Today I’m going to be posting the newest addition to my “an introduction to” series. In this series, I’ll be focusing on a specific genre (or sub-genre) and giving you a few recommendations of books to read in that genre – whether you’re completely new to the genre or wish to expand your horizons, hopefully these posts will be helpful in some way! If you wish to view my other posts in the series, click the “An Introduction to…” button at the top of my site. In this post I’ll be focusing on creepier books, some of which are Thrillers (but not exclusively) – many of which will be perfect reads for Halloween. Happy Halloween!
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks.
‘Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different reasons than I’d disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim. That’s my score to date. Three. I haven’t killed anybody for years, and don’t intend to ever again. It was just a stage I was going through.’
Enter – if you can bear it – the extraordinary private world of Frank, just sixteen, and unconventional, to say the least.
This book was set for my English Literature “Gothic” module last year at university. It was the best book on the module by far (in my opinion). It’s a very strange read, and I certainly didn’t expect to love it as much as I did!
Release Date: February 1984
Average Goodreads rating: 3.85
Critical quotes: “A gothic horror story of quite exceptional quality” (Financial Times), “A truly remarkable novel” (Daily Telegraph).
My verdict: If you like Gothic-style novels and you’re looking for a creepy read this Halloween, you HAVE to read this.
Author’s other works: 26 novels (mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks, sci-fi under the name Iain M. Banks).
Baby Doll by Hollie Overton.
You’ve been held captive in one room.
You’ve been mentally and physically abused every day since you were sixteen years old.
Then, one night, you realise your captor has left the door to your cell unlocked.
For the first time in eight years you’re free.
This is what happens next.
I read ‘Baby Doll’ this Summer, and became absolutely obsessed with this novel. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks! This book has been likened heavily to Emma Donoghue’s ‘Room’, due to the similarity in plot lines, but I (possibly) think this book is even better. Check out my full review here.
Release Date: December 2016
Average Goodreads rating: 3.77
Critical quotes: “A compelling psychological thriller” (Daily Express), “Moves at breakneck speed … a really good read” (Stylist).
My verdict: A really harrowing, disturbing read that will stay with you long after you’ve finished it!
Author’s other works: ‘The Walls’ (August 2017).
How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst.
My name is Emma Cartwright. Three years ago I was Susan Webster, and I murdered my twelve-week-old son Dylan.
I have no memory of what happened but you believe what your loved ones, your doctor and the police are telling you, don’t you?
But if you can’t remember what happened, how can you be sure that they are telling the truth?
And if there was the smallest chance your son was alive, wouldn’t you do anything to get him back?
If there was the smallest chance your son was alive, what would you do to get him back?
‘How I Lost You’ was another “hidden gem” read. I was really intrigued by the premise, and it ended up being unlike any Thriller I’ve ever read before! I was absolutely hooked, and I physically couldn’t put it down until I raced to the end. Check out my full review here.
Release Date: April 2015
Average Goodreads rating: 3.89
Critical quotes: “A thrill” (Shropshire Star).
My verdict: The extremely unnerving, spine-chilling plot makes this book the ideal read for Halloween time!
Author’s other works: ‘Before I Let You In’ (November 2016), ‘The Foster Child’ (September 2017).
The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis.
There’s trouble in paradise . . .
For as long as she can remember, Jemma has been planning the perfect honeymoon. A fortnight’s retreat to a five-star resort in the Maldives, complete with luxury villas, personal butlers and absolute privacy.
It should be paradise. But it’s turned into a nightmare.
Because the man Jemma married a week ago has just disappeared from the island without a trace. And now her perfect new life is vanishing just as quickly before her eyes.
After everything they’ve been through together, how can this be happening? Is there anyone on the island who Jemma can trust? And above all – where has her husband gone?
I was sent an ARC of this around the release date, and didn’t really have high expectations. But I was so wrong! This novel ended up in a very strange, odd place – very different from how it started. But I really enjoyed that! You can find my full review for this book here.
Release Date: April 2015
Average Goodreads rating: 3.76
Critical quotes: “Will keep you on the edge of your seat” (Prima), “Expect twists and turns on every page” (Take a Break).
My verdict: A very unexpectedly-disturbing read that you should definitely sink your teeth into over the Halloween period!
Author’s other works: ‘One Step Too Far’ (April 2014), ‘When We Were Friends’ (April 2015).
The Girl In The Red Coat by Kate Hamer.
Eight-year-old Carmel has always been different – sensitive, distracted, with an heartstopping tendency to go missing. Her mother Beth, newly single, worries about her daughter’s strangeness, especially as she is trying to rebuild a life for the two of them on her own.
When she takes Carmel for an outing to a local festival, her worst fear is realised: Carmel disappears into the crowd. Unable to accept the possibility that her daughter might be gone for good, Beth embarks on a mission to find her. Meanwhile, Carmel begins an extraordinary and terrifying journey of her own. But do the real clues to Carmel’s disappearance lie in the otherworldly qualities her mother had only begun to guess at?
Probably not an obvious choice for a Halloween reads-type blog post, but Hamer’s spooky prose definitely fits the category. I read this book a while back and adored it, and am a continued supporter of Hamer’s work. I even met her earlier this year at an author event! Check out my full review here.
Release Date: December 2015
Average Goodreads rating: 3.53
Critical quotes: “Pulse-racing” (Grazia), “More than a standard thriller” (Guardian), “An engrossing read, to be devoured in a single gulp” (Sunday Times).
My verdict: Hamer’s spooky, chilling prose makes this an atmospheric Halloween read – get your hands on a copy now!
Author’s other works: ‘The Doll Funeral’ (February 2017).
Happy reading 🙂