Editor’s Note – We’ve linked Amazon listings for ease of finding and image linking (and it does help self-published authors if you review their books on that platform), but we HIGHLY recommend you supporting your local indie bookstore. Here is a list of Massachusetts Independent Bookstores for easy access. Many of them have online ordering and curbside pickup.
There’s nothing better in the fall than to get cozy with a cup of your choice warm beverage and a spooky story. The best ghost stories often come with hauntings, ghouls, goblins, and all sorts of vicious beasties. But it’s also fun if there are gay vampires, circus-inspired intrigue, meddling gods, and humanity’s personal demons.
Here is our list of stories that will absolutely get you in the mood for Halloween.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson
Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate.
Stalker of Shadows – Jordan L. Hawk
***Local Author – www.jordanlhawk.com
John Starkweather feels restless. Though still technically an agent for SPECTR, his only job now seems to be hanging out with his boyfriends, Caleb and the vampire spirit Gray, and binge-watching TV in their New Orleans apartment.
Exquisite Aberrations Anthology – Fundead Publications
***Local Authors/Publisher – Click HERE to Buy Directly from the Publisher
A familiar chill runs down your spine. You’ve been here before: the abandoned house on the hill, the dark hallway with the creaking floorboards, the ancient cemetery veiled in mist, the rutted pathway to a lonely place. You know these stories, or do you?
The House of the Seven Gables – Nathaniel Hawthorne
***Local Author (Small Joke but True) – Email email@example.com to order a copy directly from The House of the Seven Gables Gift Shop
Hawthorne envisioned this family drama of evil, revenge, and resolution as a microcosm of Salem’s own history as in idealistic society corrupted by greed and pride. His enduring view of the darkness at the heart of the national soul has made The House of the Seven Gables a landmark of American literature.
Vessel of Starfire (Outlaws of Interra) – Allison Carr Waechter
***Self-published Author and Brand New Release! – www.allisoncarrwaechter.com
Between meddling gods returning to the ten realms, mercenaries around every corner, and a cryptic ancient prophecy getting in the way, the pressure on Echo to make all the right choices is mounting.
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories – Angela Carter
In Angela Carter’s masterpiece, The Bloody Chamber, she spins subversively dark and sensual versions of familiar fairy tales and legends like “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Bluebeard,” “Puss in Boots,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” giving them exhilarating new life in a style steeped in the romantic trappings of the gothic tradition.
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.
Murder in the Marsh – Kevin Carey
***Local Author: www.kevincareywriter.com
Eddie Devlin is about to be relieved of his duty as a detective on The Revere Police Department. He has problems, chief among them is a missing body— One year ago, Eddie shot a man who murdered a woman in the marsh. The man’s body disappeared at the scene of the crime. Eddie became a suspect, then a person of interest, then a casualty of the year-long investigation.
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers – Mary Roach
For two thousand years, cadavers―some willingly, some unwittingly―have been involved in science’s boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.
House of Leaves – Mark Danielewski
A young family moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.
The October Country by Ray Bradbury
The October Country is many places: a picturesque Mexican village where death is a tourist attraction; a city beneath the city where drowned lovers are silently reunited; a carnival midway where a tiny man’s most cherished fantasy can be fulfilled night after night. The October Country’s inhabitants live, dream, work, die–and sometimes live again–discovering, often too late, the high price of citizenship.
Contortionist (Harrow Faire) – Kathryn Kingsley
***Local Author: www.kathrynkingsley.com
Cora Glass’s humdrum existence as a bank teller flips upside down when a long-abandoned circus mysteriously returns to life. But the entry fee to this big top show is far more than Cora bargained for.
Mechanique: Tale of the Circus Tresaulti – Genevieve Valentine
Outside any city still standing, the Mechanical Circus Tresaulti sets up its tents. Crowds pack the benches to gawk at the brass-and-copper troupe and their impossible feats: Ayar the Strong Man, the acrobatic Grimaldi Brothers, fearless Elena and her aerialists who perform on living trapezes. War is everywhere, but while the Circus is performing, the world is magic.
The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead.
The Girl with All the Gifts – M.R. Carey
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointed at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.
Wyrd Sisters – Terry Pratchett
Generally, these loners don’t get involved in anything, mush less royal intrigue. but then there are those times they can’t help it. As Granny Weatherwax is about to discover, though, it’s a lot harder to stir up trouble in the castle than some theatrical types would have you think. Even when you’ve got a few unexpected spells up your sleeve.
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
The story of Victor Frankenstein and the monstrous creature he created has held readers spellbound ever since it was published two centuries ago. On the surface, it is a novel of tense and steadily mounting horror; but on a more profound level, it offers searching illumination of the human condition in its portrayal of a scientist who oversteps the bounds of conscience, and of a monster brought to life in an alien world, ever more desperately attempting to escape the torture of his solitude.
We decided not to include all of the books, because that would’ve been a very long list, but if you feel like one was unfairly not included, let us know in the comments!
Support Accessibility on the North Shore
Creative North Shore is having ongoing discussion of Accessibility and Disability Awareness leading up to the International Day of Disabled Persons on December 3 and the hopeful introduction of a Disability Parade in 2021. If this is a topic you are interested, have thoughtful story ideas, or know of an organization to add to the list below please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Organizations to Support