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A Halloween Prep Course of Eerie Reads

What pairs well with pumpkin spice lattes? Spooky reads to get you in the mood for Halloween, of course! From slightly scary to totally terrifying, these recent titles should prove just as hair-raising as any old Stephen King or Lovecraft story, and earn their place amongst those hallowed masters of the macabre.

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber
Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation. After her father's murder 13 years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay. The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past. Then, when investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a mega-hit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie’s father’s murder, Josie’s world begins to unravel. Soon, she is forced to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past—and the lies on which she has staked her future. Fans of Ruth Ware and the podcast Serial will enjoy this twisty psychological thriller that deals not so much in shock as it does in genuine, palpable, inescapable dread.
 
The Grip of It by Jac Jemc
Julie and James settle into a house in a small town outside the city where they met. The move is quick and seamless; both Julie and James are happy to leave behind their usual haunts and start afresh. But this house, which sits between ocean and forest, has plans for the unsuspecting couple. As Julie and James try to settle into their home and their relationship, the house and its surrounding terrain become the locus of increasingly strange happenings. The architecture—claustrophobic, riddled with hidden rooms within rooms—becomes unrecognizable, decaying before their eyes. Stains are animated on the wall and mirror themselves on Julie’s body in the form of bruises; mold spores taint the water that James pours from the sink. Together the couple embarks on a panicked search for the source of their mutual torment, a journey that mires them in the history of their peculiar neighbors and the mysterious residents who lived in the house before them. Written in creepy, potent prose, The Grip of It is a chilling, literary horror novel that deals in questions of home: how we make it and how it in turn makes us.
 
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
Lizzie Borden took an axe/And gave her mother forty whacks/When she saw what she had done/She gave her father forty-one. Or did she? The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Mass. leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell—of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence. As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie, whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Slowly, the events of that fateful day are revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling. This enthralling debut novel by Sarah Schmidt examines one of the most spellbinding and garish murder cases in history through the lens of a compelling relationship between two sisters trapped in a volatile household and trying to find some semblance of freedom.
 
Strange Weather by Joe Hill
A Silicon Valley adolescent who finds himself threatened by a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid Instant Camera that erases memories, snap by snap. A young man who takes to the skies to experience his first parachute jump and winds up a castaway on an impossibly solid cloud. A seemingly ordinary day in Boulder, Colo. until the clouds open up in a downpour of nails—splinters of bright crystal that shred the skin of anyone not safely under cover. A mall security guard in a coastal Florida town who courageously stops a mass shooting and becomes a hero to the modern gun rights movement, until his story begins to unravel, taking his sanity with it. These are the premises of the four chilling novellas that make up Strange Weather, a collection of the supernatural, strange, and imaginative by one of horror’s greatest new voices of the last decade.
 
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Something is out there. Something that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from. Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it's time to go. But the journey ahead will be terrifying. Twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded. Nothing to rely on but her wits. And the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while. But is it a man, or an animal? Or a monster? Bird Box is the most frightening book I’ve read in years, and it will have you both racing to and dreading the final page.