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Halloween Books

8 scary stories for the Halloween season

Forget Freddy Krueger: From haunted furniture stores to homicide on the high seas, these new books are sure to give you nightmares


It’s the time of year when every neighborhood block gets decked out with black cats and pumpkins, annual cemetery tours pop up everywhere and New Yorkers start assembling their costume ideas. That’s right, it’s almost Halloween! Which means it’s also the season ripe with grisly new tales of the strange, the mystifying and the downright spooky. To indulge your desire for terror, we’ve rounded up some new, chilling novels—like “Goosebumps” books all grown up. Read them under the covers or with the lights on: Either way, you won’t be able to escape the depths of dread they spawn.

McGlue by Ottessa Moshfegh

(Fence Books, $15.95)

Peppered with sea shanties and sailors, McGlue shakes your every certainty about what—and who—is real. The story follows the titular character as he overcomes a hangover and tries to remember whether or not he murdered his best friend. If there’s anything scarier than killing someone you love, it’s not knowing if you did.

Buy McGlue

Horrorstör: A Novel by Grady Hendrix

(Quirk Books, $14.95)

While Hendrix’s book at first seems like a spoof, when three Orsk (coughIKEAcough) store employees work a dusk-till-dawn shift to investigate some strange happenings, the novel digs up deeper psychological issues of trust and the desperation to survive.

Buy Horrorstör

The Boy Who Drew Monsters: A Novel by Keith Donohue

(Picador, $26)

No one in Jack Peters's small coastal town is safe when the monsters he draws come alive. Dissolving notions of reality and fiction, this hypnotic read leaves behind an eerie narrative about what haunting aberrations might lurk just outside our peripheral vision.

Buy The Boy Who Drew Monsters

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins

(Picador, $20)

A dark, unknowable place called There surrounds the island of Here. Filled with elegant black-and-white sketches and darkly philosophical commentary, Collins’s graphic novel details what happens when borders collapse and stories have no tidy endings.

Buy The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

(Mulholland Books, $26)

It begins as many excellent horror stories do: with a dead body. But that body is half-boy, half-deer and is the first of many strange (and deceased) hybrid forms found around Detroit, leading to a thrilling tale of a monstrous predator and a city seemingly crumbling into a dark fantasy.

Buy Broken Monsters

The Penguin Book of Witches edited by Katherine Howe

(Penguin Classics, $17)

It’s a compendium of witch stories! What could be better to read aloud to your roommates when they’re trying to sleep? But if you thought this was fiction, think again: The Penguin Book of Witches actually gathers real-life accounts of witchery, making it all the more ominous.

Buy The Penguin Book of Witches

Hold the Dark: A Novel by William Giraldi

(Liveright, $24.95)

Set in Alaska, one of the world’s last true wild turfs, Hold the Dark follows the fate of a small village plagued by child-snatching wolves. Filled with bloody vengeance and supernatural secrets, the book ultimately confronts the two potential evils humanity cannot escape: nature and ourselves.

Buy Hold the Dark

The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft edited by Leslie S. Klinger, introduction by Alan Moore

(Liveright, $39.95)

Lovecraft remains the master of terror, his name synonymous with all things grim and ghastly. This collection features 22 classic stories, like “The Call of Cthulhu” and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” alongside illustrations and details from the author’s own remarkable life.

Buy The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft

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