Halloween Special – Top Ten spooky books- COMP CLOSED

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Halloween Special – Top Ten spooky books- COMP CLOSED

We have been getting into the Halloween spirit and delving into the world of ghost and horror stories for a bit of a change from crime fiction. So here are our top ten spooky books!

Plus keep reading for a chance to win Jeanette Winterson’s new book.

1. MR James- Collected Ghost Stories

A collection of absolute classic ghost stories from the master of the genre. Guaranteed to terrify you, these stories feature ghostly goings on, mysterious creatures and haunted houses. Written by an eminent scholar in the early 20th Century they are every bit as scary today as they were when first published. Including ‘Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad’ and ‘Casting the Runes’ this is really the definitive collection of James’ work, the short stories are perfect for long winter nights and you never forget the first time you encounter James’ work.

2. Susan Hill- The Woman in Black

We are big fans of Susan Hill here at You’re Booked, her Simon Serrailler crime novels make up one of our favourite series at the moment, but if you are after something altogether more frightening The Woman in Black cannot be beaten. This tale of lawyer Arthur Kipps’ visit to the crumbling Eel Marsh House where the appearance of the mysterious Woman in Black sets in motion a terrifying chain of events is clearly influenced by the likes of MR James and Hill is masterful in her creation of sinister settings. The stage version of The Woman in Black is also something not to be missed. Susan Hill will be appearing as a Special Guest at the 2013 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in July. More details can be found here.

3.Henry James- The Turn of the Screw

This has all the ingredients of a classic ghost story- a young governess, two small children, a grand but empty country house, and the disturbing figure Peter Quint. Blending the everyday with the sinister or mysterious James leaves the reader questioning the nature of evil and whether the Governess has really seen a ghost or if she is losing her mind.

4. Michelle Paver- Dark Matter

Set in the vast empty backdrop of the arctic, Dark Matter tells the tale of Jack who has joined an expedition to escape the looming threat of war in 1930’s London.  This is a novel that uses place and landscape to create something truly scary. As the arctic winter draws in so does the sense of unease and fear. Paver uses this unusual setting to maximum effect and creates an unforgettable story.

5. Bram Stoker- Dracula

Forget about Twilight and dark romance, we want our vampires to be scary! And there is no better place to find a scary vampire than in the pages of Dracula. The original and still the best example of the vampire genre.

6. Stephen King- Misery

King is of course the modern master of horror and we could have any one of his books for this list, but we’ve gone with Misery, the tale of an author held captive by an obsessive fan. Annie Wilkes is seriously creepy and Paul Sheldon’s slow realisation of just how creepy and obsessed she is is perfectly written. Misery is surely the stuff of nightmares for all writers!

7. Jeanette Winterson- The Daylight Gate

Tackling the most famous witch trail in British history, Winterson brings alive this centuries old story of spells, curses and magic complete with talking severed heads and a man turned into a hare. Meticulously researched, this is a tale with its roots in historical fact but brought alive with Winterson’s vivid and creepy imaginings. We have 13 copies of the Daylight Gate to give away. See below for details on how to enter. Jeanette Winterson will be appearing at the 2013 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in July where she will interview Special Guest Ruth Rendell. More details can be found here.

8. Daphne DuMaurier- Don’t Look Now

Once you’ve read Don’t Look Now you’ll never look at a child in a red coat without a moment of fear! Grieving couple John and Laura visit Venice to escape the pain of their daughter’s death but encounter a blind woman with psychic abilities with terrifying consequences.

9. John Ajvide Lindqvist- Let The Right One In

What could be better than a properly scary vampire story? A Scandinavian vampire story of course! When 12 year old Oskar, a shy boy who is bullied at school meets new neighbour Eli the pair develop a close friendship. But Eli is no ordinary 12 year old, Eli is a 200 year old vampire. Together the pair fight back against Oskar’s tormentors. This chilling tale examines some of the dark aspects of human nature and the characters of Oskar and Eli will haunt you.

10. Edgar Allen Poe- Complete Edgar Allen Poe

Including the Raven and the Murders in the Rue Morgue this is the ultimate book for anyone wanting to explore the world of Poe. Packed with macabre tales this volume is also essential for anyone with an interest in the birth of detective fiction. These are probably the very definition of gothic stories, that promise to surprise, scare and entertain the reader.

Competition Time:

To be in with a chance of winning a copy of Jeanette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate simple answer the following question:

When did the Pendle Witch trails, that feature in the The Daylight Gate, take place?

Send your answer to crime@harrogate-festival.org.uk by no later than midnight on Wednesday 31 October 2012.


  • Closing date for entries is Wednesday 31 October 2012.
  • No purchase is necessary to enter the Prize Draw.
  • Entry to the Prize Draw is by email only. You’re Booked accepts no responsibility for incomplete or invalid entries.
  • The winning entries will be drawn at random. Winners will be alerted within 1 week of the closing date and will be notified by email.
  • A list of the winners will be available under the competition post after this date.
  • The prize is not transferable and cannot be exchanged for cash or alternative books.
  • The Prize Draw is open to all UK residents aged 18 or over.
  • Data submitted by entrants will only be used for the purpose of this Prize Draw.
  • By entering this Prize Draw each entrant agrees to be bound by these terms and conditions

One Comment

  1. JANET WILLIAMSON 30/10/2012 at 4:17 pm

    Thank you. The top ten list of spooky books matches my own list, apart from Stephen King’s “Misery.” “The Shining” and “The Stand” satisfied my reading tastes, as did Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Child.”

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