Our Spooky Halloween Reads

This Halloween, why not settle down in a comfy chair, ignore the wind and rain outside and read something spooky. Here are some of our booksellers’ favourite spooky reads to get you in that Halloween mood: 

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

This is a classic of suspense and closely observed psychological breakdown… is Eleanor merely extremely sensitive to the atmosphere, or does the fear she carries with her unleash its power and extract the ultimate price? A groundbreaking book, this examination of the mental landscape of a group of people, trapped in a remote house with a chilling atmosphere, is a suspense-laden, insightful exploration of the way surroundings can inform events. A masterful work of psychological suspense. (Karina, Dubray Liffey Valley)

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

The Woman in Black is a must-read Gothic-inspired novel:  unsettling, perfectly paced and incredibly atmospheric. Young solicitor Alfred Kipps is sent to a secluded and eerie house to settle the affairs of a deceased client, and at her funeral sees a pale woman dressed in black – but he is the only one who notices her. Locals are tight-lipped as unnerving events start to unfold and a sense of menace builds… (Maria, Dubray Head Office)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

“There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.” With these chilling words, the story begins. Bod (short for Nobody) is the only survivor of this knife, and that hand; as his family is murdered by the man Jack, he toddles out of his house, up the hill, and into the graveyard… It is his good fortune that the denizens of that graveyard decide to protect him from Jack, determined to take him in and care for him over the next while. Eventually though, Bod will want to step outside the confines of the graveyard, and the killer is still waiting… A horror story for children of every age, this is a spooky spin on the themes of Jungle Book; perfect Halloween reading! (Karina, Dubray Liffey Valley)

The Owl Service by Alan Garner

“The house was quiet. Mostyn Lewis-Jones was calling after the sheep on the mountain: and something was scratching in the ceiling above the bed.” In a claustrophobic Welsh valley, three teenagers inadvertently re-enact a Welsh myth, one which has played out over and over through generations, forever seeking a peaceful resolution. The minimal prose lends the whole a tension and energy that seems constantly about to erupt from the pages. This is a modern classic; a masterpiece in restrained, suspenseful horror. (Aoife, Dubray Liffey Valley)

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Mexican Gothic has the trimmings of a classic haunted house story – creaky floorboards, half-heard sounds, and an old fog-filled graveyard. However, it’s the postcolonial themes that create something truly unsettling. Noemí Taboada goes to save her sister from an old mansion on a high hill in rural Mexico, finding the place occupied by a rich white family headed by a patriarch obsessed with eugenics and the colour of Noemí’s skin. What unfurls is a twisting mystery of horror and gore, one that will keep you glued to your seat. (David, Dubray Galway)

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

In a small Swedish town, a series of grisly killings makes everyone on edge… and a young boy, Oskar, sits alone in a snowy playground.  He is vulnerable and awkward, and a target for bullies; then one evening, he is joined in the playground by Eli, and an odd friendship is formed. Still the brutal murders continue… the townspeople are terrified and the police are baffled. Tense, gritty and gripping, this is a modern vampire story that horrifies and unsettles – it’s also a touching tale of love and bloody innocence. (Karina, Dubray Liffey Valley)

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier 

Beginning with that iconic first line, this is a wonderful psychological thriller where nothing is as it seems. The young heroine marries the bereaved, much older Maxim de Winter after a whirlwind romance in the South of France and they begin their married life in Manderley, his Cornwall estate. But the spectre of the first Mrs de Winter looms large… (Imogen, Dubray Rathmines)

Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

Electrifyingly haunting and gripping, Harrow Lake is a great under-the-covers-with-a-torch read. Both haunting and powerful, this novel is brilliant for both teen and adult readers alike. I was hooked from start to finish, looking over my shoulder every chapter to make sure Mr. Jitters wasn’t watching me! (Rhea, Dubray Dun Laoghaire)

And for a spooky story at bedtime for little ones:

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson 

On a rainy and windy day like this Ms Witch better hold on tight. But oh no, her hat, her wand and her bow have blown away. Thanks to Dog, Cat, Bird and Frog, Ms Witch got all her belongings back. Oh no, trouble strikes again when a thunderstorm hits and Ms Witch’s broom snaps. And what’s this, a dragon, capturing Ms Witch is his razor-sharp claws. But wait, Dog, Cat, Bird and Frog have a plan. Read more to find out if they save Ms Witch. (Rachel, Dubray Rathmines)

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