6 Spooky Reads for Halloween

Happy Halloween! We’ve got a spooktacular booklist to make this season decidedly more eerie. 


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Be Scared of Everything by Peter Counter
(Invisible Publishing)

Best paired with a Ouija Board
What to expect: pop culture criticism, true crime, PTSD, Ouija boards
About the book: Slinging ectoplasm, tombstones, and chainsaws with aplomb, Be Scared of Everything is a frighteningly smart celebration of horror culture that will appeal to both horror aficionados and casual fans. Combining pop culture criticism and narrative memoir, Counter’s essays consider and deconstruct film, TV, video games, true crime, and his own horrific encounters to find importance in the occult, pathos in Ouija boards, poetry in madness, and beauty in annihilation.Comprehensive in scope, these essays examine popular horror media including Silent HillHannibalHereditary, the Alien films, JawsThe X-FilesThe TerrorThe Southern Reach TrilogyInterview with the VampireMiseryGerald’s GameThe Sixth SenseScreamHalloweenThe Blair Witch ProjectThe Babadook, the works of H. P. Lovecraft, Slenderman stories, alongside topics like nuclear physics, cannibalism, blood, Metallica, ritual magic, nightmares, and animatronic haunted houses.This is a book that shows us everything is terrifying—from Pokemon to PTSD—and that horror can be just as honest, vulnerable, and funny as it is scary.

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The Hush Sisters by Gerard Collins
(Breakwater Books)

Best paired with Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House
What to expect: Gothic haunts, an old manor in St. John’s, grim family dynamics
About the book: Sissy and Ava Hush are estranged, middle-aged sisters with little in common beyond their upbringing in a peculiar manor in downtown St. John’s. With both parents now dead, the siblings must decide what to do with the old house they’ve inherited. Despite their individual loneliness, neither is willing to change or cede to the other’s intentions. As the sisters discover the house’s dark secrets, the spirits of the past awaken, and strange events envelop them. The Hush sisters must either face these sinister forces together or be forever ripped apart.In The Hush Sisters, Gerard Collins weaves psychological suspense with elements of the fantastic to craft a contemporary urban gothic that will keep readers spellbound until the novel whispers its startling secrets.

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Suture by Nic Brewer
(Book*hug Press)

Best paired with Andrew Wilmot’s The Death Scene Artist 
What to expect: body horror, mental illness, art-making
About the book: To make her films, Eva must take out her eyes and use them as batteries. To make her art, Finn must cut open her chest and remove her lungs and heart. To write her novels, Grace must use her blood to power the word processor.Suture shares three interweaving stories of artists tearing themselves open to make art. Each artist baffles their family, or harms their loved ones, with their necessary sacrifices. Eva’s wife worries about her mental health; Finn’s teenager follows in her footsteps, using forearms bones for drumsticks; Grace’s network constantly worries about the prolific writer’s penchant for self-harm, and the over-use of her vitals for art.The result is a hyper-real exploration of the cruelties we commit and forgive in ourselves and others. Brewer brings a unique perspective to mental illness while exploring how support systems in relationships—spousal, parental, familial—can be both helpful and damaging.This exciting debut novel is a highly original meditation on the fractures within us, and the importance of empathy as medicine and glue.

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Ghost Lake by Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler
(Kegedonce Press)

Best paired with Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler’s companion volume Wrist, a fusion of fantasy and Indigenous storytelling
What to expect: spec fiction, urban fantasy, mysterious encounters
About the book: In Ojibwe cosmology there are thirteen moons, and in these pages are thirteen offerings from Ghost Lake, an interrelated cast of characters and their brushes with the mysterious. Issa lives in fear of having her secret discovered, Aanzheyaawin haunts the roads seeking vengeance, Zaude searches for clues to her brother’s death, Fanon struggles against an unexpected winter storm, Eadie and Mushkeg share a magical night, Tyner faces brutal violence, and Tyler, Clay, and Dare must make amends to the spirits before it’s too late. Here the precolonial past is not so distant, and nothing is ever truly lost or destroyed because the land remembers.

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The Seventh Devil by Suzanne Craig-Whytock
(BookLand Press)

Best paired with Halloween candy ghosts
What to expect: ghosts and demons, unsolved mysteries, mediums
About the book: When nineteen-year-old runaway Verity Darkwood, flat broke and devastated by guilt, takes refuge in a bar to escape the unwanted attention of a stranger, she doesn’t expect to meet Gareth Winter, let alone become business partners with him. They discover that they each possess the ability to interact with the world “beyond the veil” and, with the help of Horace Greeley III, editor of the fantastical online journal The Echo, Verity and Gareth spend the next two years on the road, helping the earthbound spirits who haunt their clients to cross over, or exorcising the demons that plague them. But when they stumble upon a series of unsolved child abductions spanning decades which are eerily similar to the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Verity’s younger sister, they embark on a pursuit that will take them across Canada in their quest to find The Seventh Devil, the dangerous and mysterious figure who may be behind it all.

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Vampire Cousins by Cathon, text by Alexandre Fontaine Rousseau
(Pow Pow Press)

Best paired with garlic bread
What to expect: vampires, comedy, and lots of garlic (or lack thereof)
About the book: Camillia is invited by her cousin Frédérique to return to the old manor house where she spent the best summer of her childhood. But when she gets there, nothing in the sinister landscape she enters corresponds to the fond memories she has always cherished…and the wary people she meets at the village tavern seem to fear the place they call “the Devil’s house.” As for the mysterious Frédérique, she refuses to touch garlic soup, garlic quiche, and garlic scape salad. Vampire Cousins is a funny, reverent tribute to old school horror films. Nominated for a Joe Shuster Award, as well as a Bédélys Award.

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