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Your Halloween Reading List

Staying in on Halloween is the perfect excuse to curl up with a book by candlelight – and what better time to pick a title that unsettles you? From racing thrillers and murder mysteries to forgotten folk tales, here are the must-reads to choose from this weekend.

One Perfect Morning by Pamela Crane

Mackenzie, Robin and Lily have been best friends since college. Twenty years on, they all live in the same neighbourhood with their perfect families, perfect houses, perfect lives. It would seem that nothing could come between these three women…Except for a betrayal and a terrible mistake. Packed with secrets, scandal and suspense, One Perfect Morning is about to become your new obsession. The perfect read for anyone who loved Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks.

The Kingdom by Jo Nesbo

In the mountains of Norway a man lives a peaceful existence. However one day his younger brother, always the more successful and charming of the two, turns up to visit, accompanied by his new wife. It soon turns out that the little brother is not quite as angelic as he seems.

Senseless by Ed James

Six weeks after vanishing, Sarah Langton is suddenly found – delirious, starved close to death. The police struggle to find any answers but when another missing person reappears, half-crazed and hysterical, a terrifying pattern emerges: a twisted predator is pushing his victims to insanity. DS Corcoran, haunted by a previous case, and Dr Marie Palmer, a leading criminal psychiatrist, must try to establish a link between the survivors.

As it becomes clear others are in grave danger, every second will be critical. But can Corcoran and Palmer unravel the deadliest of puzzles in time? This twisting and page-turning thriller is perfect for Halloween and beyond.

The July Girls by Phoebe Lock

Every year, on the same night in July, a woman is taken from the streets of London; snatched by a killer who moves through the city like a ghost.

Addie has a secret. On the morning of her tenth birthday, four bombs were detonated across the capital. That night her dad came home covered in blood. She thought he was hurt in the attacks – but then her sister Jessie found a missing woman’s purse hidden in his room. Jessie says they mustn’t tell. She says there’s nothing to worry about but when she takes a job looking after the woman’s baby daughter, Addie starts to realise that her big sister doesn’t always tell her the whole story. And that the secrets they’re keeping may start costing lives.

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

It starts as a game at a book group one night. Never Have I Ever… done something I shouldn’t. But Amy Whey has done something she shouldn’t. And Roux, the newcomer to Amy’s suburban neighbourhood, knows exactly what that is. Roux promises she will go away – if Amy plays by her rules. Amy isn’t prepared to lose everything though. She’s going to fight back, and in this escalating game of cat and mouse, there can be only one winner.

Hag by several authors

A collection of forgotten folk tales retold by authors including Eimear McBride, Daisy Johnson, Kirsty Logan, Liv Little and Imogen Hermes Gower. Dark, potent and uncanny, Hag bursts with the untold stories of our isles, captured in voices as varied as they are vivid.

From the islands of Scotland to the coast of Cornwall, the mountains of Galway to the depths of the Fens, these forgotten folktales howl, cackle and sing their way into the 21st century, wildly reimagined by some of the most exciting women writing in Britain and Ireland today.

The New Abject by various authors

An anthology of modern horror stories that respond to the psychoanalytic theory of the abject, written by both acclaimed and exciting debut authors such as Mark Haddon, Lucie McKnight-Hardy, Ramsey Campbell, Lara Williams and many more. This is the sequel to Comma’s sell-out horror anthology The New Uncanny, winner of the Shirley Jackson Award (2008) and will be published this week – just in time for Halloween.

Good Girl Bad Girl by Michael Robotham

Six years ago, Evie Cormac was discovered, filthy and half-starved, hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a shocking crime. Now approaching adulthood, Evie is struggling, self-destructive and has never revealed her true identity.

Forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven, a man haunted by his own past, is investigating the death of champion figure-skater Jodie Sheehan. When Cyrus is called upon to assess Evie, she threatens to disrupt the case and destroy his ordered life. Because Evie has a unique and dangerous gift – she knows when someone is lying. And nobody is telling the truth.

The Haunting of Alma Fielding by Kate Summerscale 

London, 1938. In the suburbs of the city, an ordinary young housewife has become the eye in a storm of chaos.In Alma Fielding’s modest home, china flies off the shelves, eggs fly through the air; stolen jewellery appears on her fingers, white mice crawl out of her handbag, beetles appear from under her gloves; in the middle of a car journey, a terrapin materialises on her lap.

Nandor Fodor reads of the case, and hastens to the scene of the haunting. However when Fodor starts his scrupulous investigation, he discovers that the case is even stranger than it seems. By unravelling Alma’s peculiar history, he finds a different and darker type of haunting: trauma, alienation, loss – and the foreshadowing of a nation’s worst fears. As the spectre of Fascism lengthens over Europe, and as Fodor’s obsession with the case deepens, Alma becomes ever more disturbed.

With rigour, daring and insight, the award-winning Kate Summerscale shadows Fodor’s enquiry, delving into long-hidden archives to find the human story behind a very modern haunting.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge. With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks.

For inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself…

 

Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola Maye Goldberg

The Virgin Suicides meets Little Fires Everywhere: inspired by a true story, this haunting novel pieces together a chorus of voices to explore the aftermath of a college student’s death.

On a cold day in 1997, student Sara Morgan was killed in the woods surrounding her liberal arts college in upstate New York. Her boyfriend, Blake Campbell, confessed, only to be acquitted following a plea of temporary insanity. In the wake of this senseless act of violence, the case comes to haunt a strange and surprising network of community members, from the young woman who discovers Sara’s body to the junior reporter who senses its connection to convicted local serial killer John Logan.

Innovative and sumptuously thrilling, Nothing Can Hurt You maps the psychological effects of an art student’s murder on a range of people connected to the victim. By creating a transfixing narrative of multiple voices, Goldberg creates a deeply evocative and addictive story that will haunt the reader long after the closing page.

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