Ready for five truly frightening Halloween horror novels?
With Halloween just a few short weeks away, now is a great time to stock up on new scares.
I could recommend a frightening novel by Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, or Dean Koontz, but my guess is that you would have already read all of my recommendations. Instead, let’s take the road less traveled: the dark, creepy path past the abandoned house with the broken out windows.
Here are five of my favorite under the radar horror novels. Give them a read. You just might find your new favorite author from this list.
Solom: The Scarecrow by Scott Nicholson
Fresh off a messy divorce, Katy Logan and troubled daughter, Jett, move to the Appalachian town of Solom to live with Katy’s new boyfriend, Gordon. But all is not what it seems.
Part ghost story, part supernatural thriller, with slasher and classic horror overtones, Solom: The Scarecrow is one of Scott Nicholson’s finest and creepiest works. If you love Stephen King, this novel should be high on your purchase list.
Diving into the heart of Solom, Nicholson paints a vivid and atmospheric picture of the small-town setting, with its haunting landscapes and hidden shadows. The town itself becomes a character, pulsing with life and secrets waiting to be unraveled. As Katy and Jett attempt to adjust to their new life, the palpable tension and eerie occurrences hint at something far more sinister than the challenges of a fresh start. Nicholson masterfully weaves the threads of suspense, drawing readers into a tapestry of fear, intrigue, and dark histories.
Character development is one of Nicholson’s standout skills in “Solom: The Scarecrow”. Katy, as a protective mother grappling with her past, is portrayed with depth and sensitivity, while Jett’s struggles feel raw and genuine. Their evolving relationship, set against the backdrop of Solom’s mysteries, adds layers to the story, ensuring it’s not just about external horrors but also internal battles and healing. Throughout the narrative, the pacing remains tight, delivering shocks and twists in just the right doses. Nicholson’s talent for blending various elements of the horror genre culminates in a climax that is both chilling and satisfying.
The Turtle Boy by Kealan Patrick Burke
If you haven’t heard of Bram Stoker Award winner Kealan Patrick Burke, it’s time you met him. The Turtle Boy is scary, mesmerizing, and full of wonder, evoking emotions similar to those raised in Stephen King’s The Body and Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer. High praise, and well deserved.
Burke has a remarkable ability to delve deep into the psyche of his characters, making them intricately human and relatable. In “The Turtle Boy,” he deftly combines the innocence and curiosity of youth with an undercurrent of looming darkness. The narrative unfolds with a sense of nostalgia, reminiscent of those long summer days of childhood when the world seemed full of possibilities, both enchanting and terrifying. This layered approach to storytelling allows the reader to experience a gamut of emotions, from the excitement of adventure to the chilling brush of the supernatural.
What truly sets Burke apart is his knack for atmospheric storytelling. Every scene in “The Turtle Boy” is meticulously crafted, with settings so vivid they almost leap off the page. The descriptions transport the reader to a time and place where the lines between reality and imagination blur. Moreover, Burke’s prose is poetic, flowing effortlessly and drawing readers deeper into the narrative. His voice, while unique, echoes the nuances of literary greats, ensuring that “The Turtle Boy” is not just a horror novel but also a poignant exploration of childhood, friendship, and the mysteries that lie just beyond our understanding.
The Turtle Boy ranks as one of the most thoughtful, creative horror novels I’ve ever read. And right now, you can read it for free on Kindle.
The Witness by Zach Bohannon
How many of you are fans of classic slasher movies like Friday the 13th and proto-slashers such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre?
Zach Bohannon’s homage to the slasher horror sub-genre, The Witness, is a brutal, gory, and often frightening entry into his already impressive catalog of titles.
When Rebecca and a group of students traveling to a rock concert get stranded, they receive assistance from a dangerous individual. Tied to a wheelchair in the darkness, Rebecca fights to survive against a terrifying killer.
Bohannon’s talent for creating palpable tension shines brilliantly in “The Witness.” The setting itself, isolated and foreboding, serves as a perfect backdrop for the nightmarish scenario Rebecca and the students find themselves in. Every creak in the floorboard, every rustle of leaves outside, and the ever-present sense of being watched amplifies the reader’s anticipation. This masterful buildup ensures that when the horror unfolds, it strikes with unyielding force. Bohannon knows just when to tighten the narrative noose and when to give the reader a brief respite, making for an edge-of-your-seat experience throughout.
The character development in “The Witness” is both intricate and engaging. Rebecca, as the central figure, is portrayed with a combination of vulnerability and tenacity that makes her journey both heartbreaking and inspiring. Her transformation, from an excited concert-goer to a survivor fighting against insurmountable odds, is both compelling and authentic. As for the killer, Bohannon manages to infuse an air of enigma and menace, making him a formidable force that haunts the narrative. This interplay of character dynamics set against a relentless pace ensures “The Witness” stands out as a testament to modern slasher fiction’s potential.
From Darkness Comes: The Horror Box Set
I admit that I feel like I am cheating with this recommendation. This isn’t one book, it’s eight Halloween horror novels. From Darkness Comes is one of the best deals you’ll ever come across, with enough reading material to get you through the next several months. And as of this article, From Darkness Comes is on-sale for the slightly ridiculous price of 99 cents.
You get eight full novels from Kealan Patrick Burke, J Thorn, Scott Nicholson, Michaelbrent Collings, T.W. Brown, Mainak Dhar, Brian James Patterson, and Glynn James. Those are some heavy hitters! Kin by Kealan Patrick Burke is worth the price of admission on its own.
Each author brings their unique voice and narrative style to the table, ensuring that readers are constantly kept on their toes. The range of settings, from eerie small towns to haunting urban landscapes, guarantees that every reader will find a story that resonates deeply with their own fears and fascinations.
The true allure of “From Darkness Comes” lies in its sheer value proposition. The inclusion of full-length novels ensures that readers are immersed in well-developed plots and intricate character arcs. While “Kin” by Kealan Patrick Burke stands out as a crowd favorite, each novel offers a journey into the heart of darkness, exploring the myriad ways in which horror can manifest. Whether you’re new to the genre or a seasoned aficionado, this collection is an opportunity to delve deep into the minds of some of the best contemporary horror writers. At just 99 cents, it’s an offer that’s too tantalizing to pass up.
Preta’s Realm by J Thorn
In Preta’s Realm by J Thorn, Drew is visited by the ghost of his grandfather as two of his co-workers are murdered. What follows for Drew is a downward spiral into psychosis, reminiscent of Stephen King’s The Shining, but with a twist.
J Thorn navigates the thin line between the supernatural and the psychological in “Preta’s Realm.” The haunting presence of Drew’s grandfather acts as both a harrowing specter from the past and a manifestation of Drew’s escalating internal turmoil. The eerie parallels between Drew’s deteriorating mental state and the unsettling occurrences in his environment make for a narrative that’s both tense and deeply introspective. Thorn’s approach to horror is nuanced, ensuring that readers are constantly questioning what’s real and what’s a figment of Drew’s increasingly unhinged imagination.
One of the standout features of “Preta’s Realm” is its atmospheric storytelling. Every setting, from the dimly lit corners of Drew’s workplace to the confinements of his mind, is depicted with chilling detail. J Thorn’s evocative prose intensifies the sense of foreboding, making the reader feel as trapped in the unfolding nightmare as Drew himself. The comparisons to King’s “The Shining” are certainly warranted, but Thorn introduces elements that are distinctly his own, crafting a tale that’s both an ode to classic horror and a fresh take on the genre. It’s a mind-bending journey that lingers long after the last page is turned.
What I like most about J Thorn is his ability to cross genres, merging dark fantasy and horror elements into a seamless story. Preta’s Realm is the first entry in The Hidden Evil series. Once you read it, I’m confident you’ll devour the entire series, down to the final gory morsels.
How’s that for a starting point for Halloween horror novels?
If you want even more scares, The Face of Midnight is a slick dark horror story set on Halloween night.