Halloween is the second scariest day of the year (behind April 15th, when taxes are due, of course) and the perfect time to read a scary book. It just so happens that there are a bunch of top-notch new books on store shelves to help you get your scare on. Here are a dozen of the best.
A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny
This is a brand new print of Zelazny's classic story which is specifically aimed at Halloween. It's also one of the best metafictional stories of all time. Made up of 31 chapters—one for each day in October—it's the story of a dog named Snuff and his owner, Jack, who travel the London countryside looking for items for a mystic ritual at Halloween, when the veil between our world and others is weakened. But Jack and Snuff are not alone—also playing at this sinister game are characters we only thought were fictional, like Dracula, Doctor Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes, the Wolf Man and more. The question is: Who wants to protect the barrier and who wants to destroy it? Zelazny perfectly blends horror, mystery and humor in this much-loved tale.
An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman
Here's an unsettling story about a dysfunctional English family who, looking to make their lives better, move out of the city and into an old home in the countryside. At first, this is just the thing they need, and the family is brought closer together. But then things begin to occur that are increasingly stranger...and they are tied to otherworldly forces connected to the house's long and storied history. Things take a deadly turn when those outside forces manipulate the family members, turning them against each other by leveraging their personal problems.
Nyctophobia by Christopher Fowler
If you're looking for a haunted-house read of a different color, take a look at Nyctophobia, which takes place in a unique house in southern Spain that's built into the side of a cliff. Its symmetrical construction ensures that half the house is flooded with light while the other half is covered in darkness. This piques the interest of Callie, an architect who moves into the eerie house with her wealthy newlywed husband, Mateo. But Callie's investigation into the history of this geometrical wonder reignites her childhood fear of the darkness and she becomes convinced that someone or something is lurking in the permanent shadows.
The Cutting Room edited by Ellen Datlow
This themed anthology revolves around the idea that the separation between what is real and what we see on film is not as clear as we'd like to think it is. What if, for example, the Wicked Witch of the West didn't stay in Oz? What if James Dean got a second chance at life? These are just some of the weird-but-cool ideas explored in this tempting volume of stories from renowned editor Ellen Datlow, who collects 23 scary tales by the likes of Peter Straub, Genevieve Valentine, Robert Shearman, Laird Barron and more.
The Graveyard Book Graphic Novels (Volume 1 & Volume 2) by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell
In this two-volume graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Newbery Medal– and Hugo Award–winning novel The Graveyard Book, artists bring to life the story of Bod, the boy who lives in a graveyard. Bod was raised by ghosts, werewolves and the other supernatural residents of the cemetery after his parents were murdered. For his own safety, Bod is initially not allowed to leave the graveyard and so his otherworldly guardians have thus taught Bod (short for "Nobody") how to Fade so that mortals visiting the graveyard cannot see him. But can a boy raised by ghosts lead a normal life?
The Madness of Cthulhu Anthology (Volume 1) edited by S.T. Joshi
Is there any horrific creation more scary than Cthulhu, the evil deity created by H.P. Lovecraft? S.T. Joshi , the leading Lovecraft authority, collects sixteen stories in this collection which will help you decide. Besides two classic stories from Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Silverberg, esteemed writers such as Caitlin R. Kiernan, John Shirley, Harry Turtledove and more get to play in Lovecraft's sandbox and tell all-new stories rooted in the cosmic horror that is Cthulhu.
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: Volume 25 edited by Stephen Jones
In this 25 annual volume, editor Stephen Jones hand-picks the best horror stories that have appeared in the previous year. Its diverse roster of contributors includes Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee, Clive Barker, Angela Slatter, Lavie Tidhar, Michael Marshall Smith and more. Also included in a comprehensive summary of the year in horror.
The Wolves of London: The Obsidian Heart by Mark Morris
The Obsidian Heart kicks of a brand new supernatural The Wolves of London trilogy, which combines crime, horror, steampunk and dark urban fantasy. It's about an ex-convict named Alex Locke who is trying to get his life back together. However, he is forced back into the criminal underworld when his daughter is threatened. When Alex agrees to steal the mysterious object known as The Obsidian Heart, he is pursued by a deadly faction of assassins know as The Wolves of London. It's a wild chase indeed when Alex leans that the Obsidian Heart allows him to travel through time.
The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, 2014 Edition edited by Paula Guran
Editor Paula Guran gives her take on the year's best dark fantasy and horror in this collection, which boasts 32 stories by such talent as Elizabeth Bear, Joe R. Lansdale, Yoon Ha Lee, Ken Liu, Helen Msrshall, Sarah Monette, Kit Reed, Brandon Sanderson, Karin Tidbeck and more. The beauty of an anthology like this—besides being the best picks by an editor who knows her stuff—is the diversity of the genre that it reflects. You'll find stories here spanning all corners of the horror spectrum, guaranteeing that there's something you're looking for as well as new discoveries waiting to be found.
They Thirst by Robert McCammon
What's Halloween without vampires? In this deluxe version of the McCammon's classic vampire story, readers unfamiliar with this 30-year-old story can discover that it still remains chilling. In the small Hungarian hamlet of Krajeck, a boy named Andre awaits the return of his father from a dangerous mission. However, the being that returns is no longer his father, and Andre and his mother barely escape with their lives. Decades later, Andre—now living in Los Angeles and going by the name Andy—is working as a homicide detective who deals with death on a day-to-day basis. But even that can't prepare him when the horrors he encountered as a young boy return, arriving in LA to terrorize him yet again. These demonic forces are led by an ancient vampire known as The Master, and The Master's plan is nothing less than global domination.
We Are Not Good People by Jeff Somers
Here's a supernatural thriller based on the idea that magic is real, but its effectiveness depends on how much blood is used to invoke it. While most mages scrounge for volunteers (willing or otherwise) and even go as far to orchestrate deadly catastrophes to cast their blood magic, Lem Vonnegan vows to only use his own blood. This mage-with-a-heart-of-gold can thus only perform small spells, effectively making ends meet by being little more than a con man. But it's hard to stay on the good side of ethics when you encounter a bound girl covered in magical runes and locked in a car trunk...and further discover that she is the key sacrifice for a spell by the most powerful Archmage of all, in a plan that requires an ocean of blood to turn her deadly dreams into a horrifying reality.