From vacations gone wrong to chatty spirits, we’ve selected the most horrifying reads that are sure to have you quivering in fear this Halloween.
The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley’s acclaimed and gripping account of one of the strangest occurrences in history In 1632 an entire convent in the small French village of Loudun was apparently possessed by the devil. After a sensational and celebrated trial, the convent’s charismatic priest Urban Grandier—accused of spiritually and sexually seducing the nuns in his charge—was convicted of being in league with Satan. Then he was burned at the stake for witchcraft. In this classic work by the legendary Aldous Huxley—a remarkable true story of religious and sexual obsession considered by many to be his nonfiction masterpiece—a compelling historical event is clarified and brought to vivid life.
It by Stephen King
It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real….
They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But none of them can withstand the force that has drawn them back to Derry to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name.
White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
As a child, Miranda Silver developed pica, a rare eating disorder that causes its victims to consume nonedible substances. The death of her mother when Miranda is sixteen exacerbates her condition; nothing, however, satisfies a strange hunger passed down through the women in her family.
And then there’s the family house in Dover, England, converted to a bed-and-breakfast by Miranda’s father. Dover has long been known for its hostility toward outsiders. But the Silver House manifests a more conscious malice toward strangers, dispatching those visitors it despises. Enraged by the constant stream of foreign staff and guests, the house finally unleashes its most destructive power. With distinct originality and grace, and an extraordinary gift for making the fantastic believable, Helen Oyeyemi spins the politics of family and nation into a riveting and unforgettable mystery.
The Last Temptation by Val McDermid
Coming to terms over her breakup with criminal profiler Dr. Tony Hill, Chief Inspector Carol Jordan plunges into a risky undercover sting: track down a European drug trafficker and gain his confidence. But she’s being tracked as well-by a serial killer whose psychosexual madness is born out of the darkest corners of history. In quiet isolation, Tony Hill is laying to rest the scars of his past-until he’s recruited back into business on a case he can’t ignore.
An evil is striking uncomfortably close to home, and casting a killer shadow over the life of his long-time colleague and sometimes lover. As the danger closes in, and as Tony and Carol cross paths to navigate the terrain of a shattered human mind, they have no one left to trust but themselves-and fear that there’s no place left to run as a killer promises to fulfill his most twisted dreams. Deftly merging the dark terrain of forensic psychology with the brooding, crime-streaked world of post-Cold War Europe, Val McDermid’s The Last Temptation is an unrivaled tour de force that takes Tony Hill further into the mind of a killer than he’s ever dared to go before.
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
In life, not every sin goes unpunished. For four aging men in the terror-stricken town of Milburn, New York, an act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past — and get away with murder. Peter Straub’s classic bestseller is a work of “superb horror” (The Washington Post Book World) that, like any good ghost story, stands the test of time — and conjures our darkest fears and nightmares.