Off/Kilter: A Hallo-Reads Roundup

Happy Halloween! This roundup of six spooky reads that are sure to keep you turning pages well past the witching hour is our cavity-free gift to you to celebrate the season. Better yet: scroll through to find your favourite scary film and find its perfect follow-up read.

An All Lit Up Off/Kilter Hallo-Reads Roundup. Who says literary books can't be spooky?


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Off Kilter

Which six scary books made our Off/Kilter cut? Read on to find out.

If you loved The Craft

Read: Sacrifice of the Sisters Lot by Chris Kuriata (Palimpsest Press)

Why?: While 12-year-old Emery and her sisters are younger than the goth-y coven at the heart of cult classic The Craft, Sacrifice of the Sisters Lot will scratch a similar itch for fans of the 1996 film. When Emery discovers an entity living within the walls of her family home, she and her sisters use its strange vibrations to their benefit: for makeup, boyfriends, and revenge. When their parents disappear, their protection is gone; and when they’re forced to turn the entity’s powers towards creating real miracles, it could have consequences for their entire town.

If you loved Hereditary

Read: Inescapable: A Ghost Story by D.K. Stone (Stonehouse Publishing)

Why?: Ari Aster said of his wildly influential first feature film Hereditary that it was “primarily a family drama,” and so too is D.K. Stone’s Inescapable: a thriller where grieving widow Aimee Westerberg is forced to contend with the tangled legacy of her late husband, famous artist George Westerberg. Her personal haunting by memories of George – or are they George’s ghost? – mirror Toni Collette’s Annie and her own fraught relationship with her mother coming to terrifying life.

If you loved The Voices

Read: The Island Gospel According to Samson Grief by Steven Mayoff (Radiant Press)

Why?: For those folks who want their spooky stuff tempered with a lot of humour, Steven Mayoff’s The Island Gospel According to Samson Grief fits the bill. The titular Samson is a struggling painter on Prince Edward Island who is tasked by three red-haired apparitions – Judas Iscariot, Fagin, and Shylock, claiming to be messengers of “The Supreme One” – to build the Island’s first synagogue. He obliges, even as he starts to doubt his own sanity. While building a place of worship is nothing like the gory murders that take place in 2014’s The Voices, fans of the film will see similarities in Samson’s darkly hilarious visitations, as well as his quest to fulfill The Supreme One’s wishes as the obstacles in his way grow still more difficult and bizarre.

If you loved Coraline

Read: Statue by Marianne Micros (Guernica Editions)

Why?: Statue is a short story collection teeming with the supernatural – selkies, ghosts, hobgoblins, devils, and more – and the perfect literary follow-up to Coraline. Like Coraline, Statue examines the permeability of the “real”, and how our lives run much more closely to the supernatural than we might realize (or like). Fans of the film will also note a similar tenderness in these stories, ones that use fairy tale and horror to expose our fears and innermost desires.

If you loved Ghostbusters

Read: The Great Outer Dark by David Neil Lee (Wolsak & Wynn)

Why?: Our first of two YA entries in this list, The Great Outer Dark marks the next instalment of David Neil Lee’s Lovecraftian The Midnight Games series. The gritty 1980s New York of the classic Ghostbusters film matches the otherworldly Hamilton of this smart series, as does the plethora of supernatural baddies swarming the town. The strong friendship between protagonist Nate Silva and friends Megan and Mehri also echo the bonds between the quartet of ghostbusters in the original movie.

If you loved Casper

Read: The Haunting of Adrian Yates by Markus Harwood-Jones (Metonymy Press)

Why?: This YA paranormal romance novel gives us all of the warm and fuzzies that 1995’s Casper did when we were kids. Just as unforgettable as a young Devon Sawa was descending the spiral staircase, so too is this sweet, paranormal queer romcom, where Adrian Yates meets and falls for a ghost, Sorel, in a nearby cemetery. As Adrian falls harder for Sorel and they spend more and more time together, his relationship with his best friend Zoomer is threatened – as is Adrian’s own life.

Happy Halloween, all!