Scary books for Halloween

These chilling tales are perfect for reading on a dark All Hallows Eve.

As we reach the spookiest time of the year, you can't beat a chilling tale to read on those cold dark nights. From new takes on classic gothic horror to creatures lurking in the woods and a psychopath who collects the bones of his victims, these scary books will leave you terrified this Halloween.

The Secret of Cold Hill

by Peter James

Book cover for The Secret of Cold Hill

When Cold Hill House went up in flames, so did the memories of its violent history. Now it's been replaced by a new development of ultra-modern houses, and although construction is still underway, the first two families can't wait to move into their new homes. But it's not long before they start to feel uncomfortable in their new homes. And one thing the estate agents never mentioned; no one ever lived beyond forty in Cold Hill House. This is a spine-chilling thriller book from the author of the Roy Grace series.

Lovecraft Country

by Matt Ruff

Book cover for Lovecraft Country

Chicago, 1954. When his father Montrose goes missing, 22-year-old Army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road trip to New England to find him, accompanied by his Uncle George – publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide – and his childhood friend Letitia. On their journey to the manor of Mr. Braithwhite – heir to the estate that owned one of Atticus’s ancestors – they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devours.

The Silent Companions

Book cover for The Silent Companions

Set in both the 19th and the 17th centuries, The Silent Companions has got all the classic ingredients of gothic: an isolated and crumbling mansion, a family with a dark secret, eerie locals, a secret diary and untrustworthy servants.

When the recently widowed and heavily pregnant Elsie Bainbridge makes her way to her deceased husband’s crumbling family pile she in an intruder in this sequestered community. As she starts to unravel the history of the place, strange things begin to happen and she feels strange eyes upon her – the companions, a collection of old wooden portraits hidden away in the attic.

The suspense really builds as you make connections between Elsie’s story, and that of another Mrs. Bainbridge, two hundred years before, and come to realize the true evil that possesses these horrifying, living portraits.

The Ritual

by Adam Nevill

Book cover for The Ritual

Now a major film starring Rafe Spal.

Four old university friends reunite for a hiking trip in the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle. Frustrated and tired they take a shortcut through the forest and stumble across an isolated old house. Inside, they find the macabre remains of old rites and pagan sacrifices. A place of dark ritual and home to a bestial presence . . .  and now they’re the prey.

The Haunting of Hill House

by Shirley Jackson

Book cover for The Haunting of Hill House

Four seekers of paranormal activity have arrived at the rambling old pile known as Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar; Theodora, his lovely assistant; Luke, the future inheritor of the estate; and Eleanor, a young woman with a dark past. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own. A ghost story that will keep you up all night, this was the inspiration for the Netflix series of the same name. 

The Rats

by James Herbert

Book cover for The Rats

For millions of years, man and rats had been natural enemies. But now, the balance of power has shifted and these swarming black creatures with their razor-sharp teeth have a taste for human blood . . . 

The Upstairs Room

Book cover for The Upstairs Room

Eleanor, Richard and their two children move into their dream home, but very quickly the cracks begin to show. There is an eerie atmosphere that seems to be coming from a room on the top floor. Eleanor is determined to unravel the mystery of the house’s previous owners – including Emily, whose name is written hundreds of times on the walls of the upstairs room.

A chilling ghost story that you won't be able to put down.


by Fiona Cummins

Book cover for Rattle

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter...

He leads two lives. In one he's just like anyone else, but in the other, he is the caretaker of his family's macabre museum. Now the time has come to add to his collection, and he's found his new victims.

Will the police find them before it's too late?

The Woman in Black

by Susan Hill

Book cover for The Woman in Black

Arthur Kipps, a solicitor from London is sent to Eel Marsh House to find the will and settle the affairs of the recently deceased Mrs Drablow. The house sits on a sinking swamp and surrounded by a blinding fog. What is supposed to be a routine business trip takes a horrifying turn when Arthur finds hims haunted by a ghostly woman dressed in all black.

In this Halloween episode of Book Break, Emma investigates the spooky side of the city with a ghost tour in Newcastle and recommends even more scary reads.