Books can provide good scares this Halloween

Published 10:48 am Saturday, October 28, 2023

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Treasures on the Shelves

Holly Howze

Halloween is just around the corner, with decorations on houses and in yards as people get ready to celebrate the scariest day of the year. It is also the best time of the year for new horror and suspense books.

Several of the new books published this season rely on the motif of the haunted house. This trope is a classic setting for many a supernatural tale, whether it involves a ghostly presence within the house or horror that invades from the outside.

One of the most well-known haunted house stories is “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson. This month a retelling of this story was published in “The Haunting on the Hill” by Elizabeth Hand. The author was given permission by Shirley Jackson’s estate to update the book with a modern setting and the result is just as creepy and unsettling as the original.

Carissa Orlando also uses a haunted house as the site for her debut novel “The September House” but adds a plot twist. Instead of abandoning the house, the owner is determined to stay and deal with the supernatural events that occur each September. Readers who enjoy their horror stories with a smart protagonist and surprising twists and turns will want to add this novel to their Halloween reading list.

“The Night House” is the new novel from Scandinavian writer Jo Nesbo. Best known for writing crime thrillers, Nesbo tackles the haunted house genre with his usual mastery of suspense and tension. Set in a creepy English village, with both a haunted house and a haunted forest, Nesbo offers the reader plenty of surprises in this fast-paced book.

Chuck Wendig is one of the best horror novelists writing today and his new book, “Black River Orchard”, is the only book in this article not to use a haunted house as part of its storyline. Instead, you guessed it, a cursed orchard and the apples it produces provide the chills in this novel. Blending folklore and body horror, Wendig has crafted a unique and effective tale about the power of a community to overcome the terror of its past.

After the trick or treaters have gone, keep the scares coming with a good book this Halloween!

Holly Howze is the branch manager for the Ripberger Public Library located in Kenbridge. She can be reached at