Halloween 2016: Great Reads

Halloween 2016: Halloween Reads

Halloween always offers up a multitude of events and days out for families and thrill seekers of all ages, however for those who prefer to stay in and curl up on the sofa with a good book, we have selected a few recently published reads that perfectly complement the spooky and mysterious Halloween mood.


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DARK TALES

By Shirley Jackson

Penguin Classics | 208 pages

The perfect read for Hallowe’en, this new hardback volume of Jackson’s finest stories reveals the queen of American gothic at her unsettling, mesmerising best.

There’s something nasty in suburbia. In these deliciously dark tales, the daily commute turns into a nightmarish game of hide and seek, the loving wife hides homicidal thoughts and the concerned citizen might just be an infamous serial killer.

In the haunting world of Shirley Jackson, nothing is as it seems and nowhere is safe, from the city streets to the country manor, and from the small-town apartment to the dark, dark woods…


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THE MISTLETOE MURDER (And Other Stories)

By P. D. James

Faber & Faber | 144 pages

Bringing together four of the very best of James’ specially commissioned short Christmas stories (originally published in newspapers and magazines), this collection makes for perfect reading now the night’s have begun to draw in.

Delighting in uncovering dark family secrets lurking just beneath the surface, the stories presented are the perfect introduction to James’s wonderfully atmospheric storytelling, immersing the reader in the mysteries and providing tantalizing puzzles to keep the reader guessing throughout.


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THE TRAVELLING BAG (And Other Ghostly Stories)

By Susan Hill

Profile Books | 192 pages

From the foggy streets of Victorian London to the eerie perfection of 1950s suburbia, the everyday is invaded by the evil otherworldly in this unforgettable collection of new ghost stories from the author of The Woman in Black.

In the title story, on a murky evening in a warmly lit club off St James, a bishop listens closely as a paranormal detective recounts his most memorable case, one whose horrifying denouement took place in that very building.

In ‘The Front Room’, a devoutly Christian mother tries to protect her children from the evil influence of their grandmother, both when she is alive and when she is dead.

A lonely boy finds a friend in ‘Boy Number 21’, but years later he is forced to question the nature of that friendship, and to ask whether ghosts can perish in fires.

This is Susan Hill at her best, telling characteristically flesh-creeping and startling tales of thwarted ambition, terrifying revenge and supernatural stirrings that will leave readers wide-awake long into the night.


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HAUNTED CASTLES (The Complete Gothic Stories)

By Ray Russell

Foreword by Guillermo Del Toro

Penguin Classics | 272 pages

Haunted Castles is the definitive, complete collection of Ray Russell’s masterful Gothic horror stories, including the famously terrifying novella trio of “Sardonicus,” “Sanguinarius,” and “Sagittarius.”

The characters that sprawl through Haunted Castles are frightful to the core: the heartless monster holding two lovers in limbo; the beautiful dame journeying down a damned road toward depravity (with the help of an evil gypsy); the man who must wear his fatal crimes on his face in the form of an awful smile.

Engrossing, grotesque, and completely entrancing, Russell’s Gothic tales are the best kind of dreadful.


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THE OCCULT, WITCHCRAFT AND MAGIC (An Illustrated History)

By Christopher Dell

Thames and Hudson | 400 pages

From the days of the earliest Paleolithic cave rituals, magic has gripped the imagination. Magic and magicians appear in early Babylonian texts, the Bible, Judaism, and Islam. Secret words, spells, and incantations lie at the heart of nearly every mythological tradition. But for every genuine magus there is an impostor.

During the Middle Ages, religion, science, and magic were difficult to set apart. The Middle Ages also saw the pursuit of alchemy—the magical transformation of base materials—which led to a fascination with the occult, Freemasonry, and Rosicrucianism.

The turn of the twentieth century witnessed a return to earlier magical traditions, and today, magic means many things: contemporary Wicca is practiced widely as a modern pagan religion in Europe and the US; “magic” also stretches to include the nonspiritual, rapid-fire sleight of hand performed by slick stage magicians who fill vast arenas.

The Occult, Witchcraft and Magic is packed with authoritative text and a huge and inspired selection of images, some chosen from unusual sources, including some of the best-known representations of magic and the occult from around the world spanning ancient to modern times.


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THE FISHERMAN

By John Langan

Word Horde |  282 pages

In upstate New York, in the woods around Woodstock, Dutchman’s Creek flows out of the Ashokan Reservoir. Steep-banked, fast-moving, it offers the promise of fine fishing, and of something more, a possibility too fantastic to be true.

When Abe and Dan, two widowers who have found solace in each other’s company and a shared passion for fishing, hear rumors of the Creek, and what might be found there, the remedy to both their losses, they dismiss it as just another fish story.

Soon, though, the men find themselves drawn into a tale as deep and old as the Reservoir. It’s a tale of dark pacts, of long-buried secrets, and of a mysterious figure known as Der Fisher: the Fisherman.

It will bring Abe and Dan face to face with all that they have lost, and with the price they must pay to regain it.


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Stay tuned! More Halloween reads to follow …

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