Is that a chill in the air? Or have you just been reading spooky books to get you in the Halloween spirit? We’ve picked out eight of the spookiest new releases that will send shivers down your spine this season. Good luck sleeping through the night after reading these!
But first…before we dive into the books, what does it mean for a book to be “spooky?” These are the kind of eerie horror books that make your spine tingle. Think creepy imagery. Think atmospheric haunted houses. Think dark shadows that make you question everything you read…and everything you see in your real life for the rest of the day. These are the kinds of books that play tricks with your mind and stick with you long after you’ve turned the last page. “Spooky” isn’t a genre, but it is a feeling, and these books have it in spades.
If you’re looking for that kind of horror that makes you feel the scares underneath your skin and in your bones, these are the books you should be reading. They’re the perfect horror reads for spooky season. And they’re all newer releases that you can pick up at your local bookstore right now, just as the leaves begin to change and that crisp fall feeling is in the air.
Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey
If you think you’ve read every kind of haunted house story there is to read, think again. Just Like Home is a slow burn haunted house story with an absolutely terrifying payoff. Vera hasn’t been on speaking terms with her mother for some time, but when she finds out her mother is dying, Vera returns home to say goodbye and get the house in order. But the house is filled with dark secrets. Returning home means facing the memories of Vera’s serial killer father and all the terrible things he did within those walls.
I Feed Her to the Beast and the Beast is Me by Jamison Shea
This debut YA horror novel is all about building that spine-chilling dread that makes for a truly spooky reading experience. Desperate to make it in the cutthroat world of the Parisian ballet, Laure Mesny makes a deal with a pulsating river of blood deep in the Catacombs. Although the deal gives Laure everything she’d ever wanted, it comes at a steep cost. And Laure quickly feels herself succumbing to the darkness.
Looking Glass Sound by Catriona Ward
Catriona Ward’s novels are always mind-bendy and spooky, and her latest is one of her best yet. Years ago, a killer stalked Wilder Young’s small town in Maine, and trauma bonded a young Wilder to his childhood friends Nat and Harper. Now, decades later, Wilder has returned to the town to write his memoir and unpack the horrifying events that happened that summer. But the longer he spends in the town and the more he writes, the more Wilder feels like he’s losing his grip on reality. And it feels as if the book is somehow writing itself.
The Spite House by Johnny Compton
There’s really nothing spookier than a haunted house story, and Johnny Compton’s debut wastes no time getting into the scares. Eric Ross is on the run with his two daughters. Running out of money and unsure of where to turn, he feels like his prayers are answered when he sees a position advertised for a caretaker of the Masson House. The Masson House is notoriously haunted, but this only draws Eric to the house more. His family has their own ties with the supernatural, and Eric is looking for answers.
Gallows Hill by Darcy Coates
How about a cursed winery to give you the creeps this Halloween season? The Hull family has owned the Gallows Hill Winery for generations. But behind their successful winery are horrible secrets and a curse that has its clutches on every member of the family. Margot Hull has spent her life away from her family’s winery, but when her parents both die unexpectedly, she returns to the childhood home she barely remembers. Little does she know what horrors await her there.
Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas
Vampires of El Norte is a spooky, supernatural western set on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1840s. Nina has seen her fair share of threats living close to the border, and she knows there are dangers far greater than the Anglo settlers in the north. There’s something that lurks near the ranch at night, attacking people and draining them of their blood. Nena knows because she was attacked nine years ago. Nena’s childhood love, Néstor, thinks Nena died in that attack. Since then, Néster has moved from ranch to ranch, working as a vaquero, unable to shake his grief. When the United States invades Mexico in 1846, the two are brought back together in a surprising reunion, just in time for the monsters to return.
The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi
Roshani Chokshi’s adult debut is a haunting and atmospheric gothic horror story. When a scholar who believes in fairy tales marries Indigo Maxwell-Casteñada, a wealthy heiress, he is promised a happily ever after under one condition: he never looks into his bride’s mysterious past. But when the couple returns to Indigo’s childhood home, the House of Dreams, the groom finds himself unable to resist prying — even though the truth threatens to destroy their marriage.
The Handyman Method by Nick Cutter and Andrew F. Sullivan
The Handyman Method is a satirical look at home improvement culture and toxic masculinity while also being a truly horrifying haunted house read. When the Saban family moves into a brand new development, cracks begin to show in their new home right away. Quite literally. So, like any good father would do, Trevor decides to take on DIY project after DIY project to fix the house himself. Thankfully, he finds a YouTube channel called The Handyman Method that promises to guide him through all of his home improvement issues. But who is this man in the videos? And why does it feel like he’s speaking directly to Trevor?
And because spooky books make great reads all year round, you’ll probably need more recommendations for horror books to read next! If scares are your thing, here are some of the scariest books of all time. Or pick up some of the best horror books of 2023 and the best horror books of 2022. If you like to stick with a horror story for a long time, try out these horror novel series. Like shorter scares? We’ve got recs for the best short horror novels. Happy spooky season, horror friends!