1. The Invention of Murder by Judith Flanders
In this fascinating exploration of murder in the nineteenth century, Judith Flanders examines some of the most gripping cases that captivated the Victorians and gave rise to the first detective fiction.
2. The Bell Witch by Brent Monahan
Known throughout Tennessee as “Old Kate,” the Bell Witch took up residence with John Bell’s family in 1818. This extraordinary book recounts the only documented case in U.S. history when a spirit actually caused a man’s death.
3. The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga
In Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead universe, there is no greater villain than The Governor. The despot who runs the walled-off town of Woodbury, he has his own sick sense of justice: whether it’s forcing prisoners to battle zombies in an arena for the townspeople’s amusement, or chopping off the appendages of those who cross him.
4. Red Dragon or The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
We all know Dr. Hannibal Lecter — a former psychiatrist with unusual tastes and an intense curiosity about the darker corners of the mind. His intimate understanding of serial killers, and the tales of these serial killers themselves, have made these books classics of suspense fiction.
5. The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston
“My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. If you will listen, I will tell you a tale of witches. A tale of magic and love and loss. A story of how simple ignorance breeds fear, and how deadly that fear can be. Let me tell you what it means to be a witch.”
6. From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell
The graphic novel of Jack the Ripper, perhaps the most infamous man in the annals of murder. Detailing the events leading up to the Whitechapel killings and the cover-up that followed, what lies within is a meditation on the mind of a madman whose savagery and violence gave birth to the 20th century.
7. The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe is credited with having pioneered the short story, having perfected the tale of psychological horror, and having revolutionized modern poetics. It simply would not be Halloween without him.
8. The Shining or Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Visit the Overlook Hotel for the first time this Halloween, or come back for seconds with Stephen King’s return to the character and territory of one of his most popular novels ever.
9. Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute by Jonathan L. Howard
“Cabal, a necromancer of some little infamy, is employed by the mysterious Fear Institute to lead an expedition into the Dreamlands, an expedition to hunt and destroy the dread Phobic Animus, the font of terrors, the very source of all the world’s fear. They will enter exotic lands where magic is common and monsters abound.”
10. Blood and Other Cravings edited by Ellen Datlow
The “vampires” in these disturbing, eerie tales by some of the finest horror writers in the field today, may not sink fangs into necks, but in a variety of different ways can just as effectively drain one’s essence, suck out one’s life, steal one’s soul.
11. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist; Translated by Ebba Segerberg
John Ajvide Lindqvist has been crowned the heir apparent to Stephen King by numerous sources, and he is heralded around the globe as one of the most spectacularly talented horror writers working today. Pick up this cult classic that has been made into iconic films in both Sweden and in the United States.
12. Werewolves and Shapeshifters edited by John Skipp
From John Skipp, the master of horror, comes this definitive collection of thirty-two classic and new stories, written by favorites of the genre including George R.R. Martin, Charlaine Harris, Chuck Palahniuk, Neil Gaiman, H.P. Lovecraft, Joe R. Lansdale, Angela Carter, David J. Schow, Kathe Koja, Bentley Little, and more.
13. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
By the author of The Time Traveler’s Wife, a beautiful and haunting tale about two generations of twins, the Highgate Cemetery, and — perhaps — ghosts.