It’s that time of the year again, ghouls and gals. If you’re looking for something creepy to read during the month of October, check out my recommendations below. This should be just about everything from the horror genre that I’ve been able to chew through since I published the last list in October of 2017. I might have forgotten some, and there are a few I’m not listing because I thought they were pretty farty. Everything else you’re seeing is because I think it’s rad as fuck.

Enjoy. Or not. Whatever. Be that way.


Some Will Not Sleep
By: Adam Nevill…/…/B01LBBQV7W

Adam Nevill is the guy who is probably most famous for writing The Ritual, which is now a movie on Netflix (although the book is WAY different and far better than the movie). Some Will Not Sleep is a compilation of scary short stories that, as you’ll discover very quickly, all possess the ability to make you feel really, really uncomfortable. Lots of people with doll hands. Yikes.

Flight or Fright
By: Stephen King, Bev Vincent…/…/1587676796

This is another collection short horror stories, these ones flight themed, from authors like Stephen King, Joe Hill, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl (seriously), and Dan Simmons was a super fun read. I worked through a chunk of this one a flight from Boston to San Francisco, which made it all the creepier.

The Handyman
By: Bentley Little…/ref=sr_1_1…

I picked up Dominion by Bentley Little last year, and when I was finished, I realized I’d just discovered an author who had no fear about delving into some truly bizarre themes. I wanted more, so luckily I gave The Handyman a shot. Reader’s Digest version: A handyman makes his way across the country constructing dangerously built homes, and swindling the owners in the process. It gets very weird very fast. I really liked this one. I had zero fucking clue where it was going at any given moment.

Bad Man
By: Dathan Auerbach…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

Ban Man. Jesus, this was a doozy. A boy’s younger brother goes missing in their sleepy northern Florida town’s grocery store. Years later, the boy gets a third shift stocking job at the very same grocery store, where he quickly realizes shit isn’t, well…normal. If making you feel attached to characters was a musical instrument, Dathan Auerbach would be a fucking virtuoso on it. I still think about this ending months after I put it down.

The Eerie Adventures of the Lycanthrope Robinson Crusoe
By: Peter Clines…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

Written in the same antiquated style, the famous tale of Robinson Crusoe as re-imagined by one of my very favorite contemporary fiction authors (if you haven’t read The Fold, 14, or my very favorite, Paradox Bound, do so immediately). This time he’s a werewolf. No shit. Lots of interesting Lovecraftian tidbits strewn around this one too, if that’s your thing. It’s definitely my thing.

The Great God Pan and Other Weird Tales
By: Arthur Machen…/…/ref=sr_1_2…

Speaking of Lovecraft, this Welch dude inspired the old racist galoot to start writing in the first place. The Great God Pan is widely regarded by the masters of the genre as one the first emergence of what we know as “modern horror” for good reason. It’s really fucking good, as are the rest of the stories in this compendium. This guy invented existential dread. Required reading for any serious horror buffs.

The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All
By: Laird Barron…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

You’re going to see a lot of Laird Barron in this list, and probably every list going forward. Dude pumps out a ton of material, and this collection of horror stories is one of his very best. “The Carrion Gods in Their Heaven” in particular blew my mind.

The Cabin at the End of the World
By: Paul Tremblay…/…/0062679104/ref=sr_1_1…

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. This fucking story, Jesus. I haven’t wanted to yell at the characters in a book like Sebastian in The Neverending Story more than I did with The Cabin at the End of the World. Two men and their adopted daughter are spending their summer at a cabin in rural New Hampshire when four people come trotting out of the woods with some very strange looking homemade weapons, and everything starts getting WEIRD.

The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies
By: John Langan…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

In last year’s super spoopy book list, I could not stop polishing the knob of John Langan, more specifically The Fisherman, which remains one of my favorite horror novels of all time. The dude can write, and this collection of short stories carries with it the same level of “holy shit, how did this guy come up with this idea?” as his previous effort. The one about The Masque of the Red Death” is so good it makes me jealous as a writer. The struggle is real. This shares the top spot with a Nick Cutter novel I’ve mentioned toward the end.

The Outsider
By: Stephen King…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

Stephen King’s latest novel is good. Really good, and if you liked The Bill Hodges Trilogy (Mr. Mercedes, etc.) at all, then you’re in for a fun little cameo surprise here. Kids are getting murdered in truly gristly, an unlikely suspect is taken into custody, and before long, you start to suspect somebody else is responsible for all of this gruesome shit.

The Imago Sequence
By: Laird Barron…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

I told you you’d see more Laird Barron before this was over. I’m pretty sure this is his first attempt at a collection of short stories, this one focusing more on occult themes. “Bulldozer”, my favorite story from this book, is about a hard-boiled Pinkerton investigator who unwittingly follows the facts somewhere nobody wants to end up. The mashup of horror and detective/spy themes was something I really enjoyed, and was only used to from Charles Stross’s “Laundry Files” series.

Blackwater: The Complete Saga
By: Michael McDowell…

This is a long book that takes you deep into the heart of the south of yesteryear. Perdido, Alabama, to be exact, where a young woman is discovered taking shelter from a flood in the top floors of a hotel in 1919. Once rescued, this woman becomes an invaluable fixture to the town and the people in it, but something about her is, well…off. McDowell paints a very vivid picture of a time and place I wasn’t super familiar with before this novel, and the amount of detail he injects into it helps to paint a picture so crisp you might as well be there watching it all play out firsthand. Well worth the 800 page investment.

Occultation and Other Stories
By: Laird Barron…/…/ref=sr_1_2…

OH HEY WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT MORE LAIRD BARRON. This guy is my spirit animal. Another collection of short horror stories. If I had to give you a theme, I’d say “regular people vs. monsters and gods and shit” sums this up. The story “The Lagerstatte” was a Theodore Sturgeon and Shirley Jackson nominee, which is a big deal.

Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy
By: Jeff VanderMeer…/…/ref=sr_1_5…

This trilogy is the source material for that movie Annihilation that everybody hated. The Southern Reach Trilogy, however, was really great to read, so don’t let Alex Garland wack-as-fuck adaptation stop you from digging in here. There’s ALL SORTS of creepy, crazy shit in the books that never gets used in the movie. Once you finish this, you’re going to yell at your TV for putting you through that Natalie Portman-fueled rainbow nightmare beforehand.

The Stone Man
By: Luke Smitherd…/…/ref=sr_1_2…

A giant stone statue shows up in the middle of a city center. Nobody knows where it came from. Then it starts walking, towards what, we have no clue. Nothing can stop its nightmare path through Europe; not buildings, not lakes, not mountains, not missiles. This is a crazy original idea from an author I’ve never heard of before, but I’m definitely stoked to read more from.

The End of the Story
By: Clark Ashton Smith…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

If this guy’s name sounds familiar to you, it’s because he’s a fucking legend. Clark Ashton Smith was basically a celebrity in the horror/fantasy genre back in the day, and was good buddies with Robert E. Howard (the dude who created Conan), Lovecraft (yes, that Lovecraft), and Jack London (yes, that Jack London). His fiction is taught in schools all over the globe, and this collection is a great primer on all things Smith.

The Croning
By: Laird Barron…/…/159780231X/ref=sr_1_1…

HOLY FUCKADOODLEDOO, MORE LAIRD BARRON. I know, I know. What do you want from me? I’m a creature of habit, and when I find an author I like, I want to consume everything they’ve ever put out. The Croning is definitely my favorite compilation from Laird Barron. These intertwined tales all center on a mysterious, ancient entity known as “Old Leech”, who, you’ll never believe it, is not very nice. This one is my third favorite on this list.

The Ritual
By: Adam Nevill…/…/0312641842/ref=sr_1_1…

Look, I know plenty of people who loved this movie, and I know a lot of people who disliked it. I even know a handful who were like “meh” about the whole thing. The book includes LOADS more stuff about the lore behind everything, the creepy weirdos who live in the woods, the main characters themselves, and about the monster, which makes way more sense in the book than in the movie. This is probably in my top three horror books of the year. Definitely #2 on this list.

Her Body and Other Parties
By: Carmen Maria Machado…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

Horror writing has long been a dude’s sport, and nobody makes that more clear than Carmen Maria Machado and her absolutely brilliant compilation of short stories that focus around women and women’s issues. It’s horrifying. It’s unsettling. It’s sexy. In some stories, you get the feeling it’s not entirely fiction. “Genre demolishing” comes to mind. So does “when does her next effort come out?” If the Law & Order: SVU themed story “Especially Heinous” doesn’t turn you on to Machado’s genius, you brain has been removed, and your skull has been refilled with some kind of idiot gruel.

After the End of the World
By: Jonathan L. Howard…/…/ref=sr_1_3…

This is the sequel to Carter & Lovecraft, a novel I put in last year’s spoopy list. I won’t go into too much detail about this one if you haven’t read the first book, but know that the juice of the sequel is well worth the squeeze when you’re ready. Lovecraftian alternate timeline stuff full of Communists and tentacles. The good stuff.

The Last Days of Jack Sparks
By: Jason Arnopp…/…/0316433039/ref=sr_1_1…

Shock journo Jack Sparks has built a career and a personal life out of being a total piece of shit. Once he starts investigating a bizarre YouTube video, all of that starts to crumble apart, leaving a frantic, self-deceptive man on the hunt for the truth behind it all. The inclusion of alternative viewpoints to Sparks’s belligerent, snarky point of view is a great touch you find yourself looking forward to throughout the novel.

The Changeling
By: Victor LaValle…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

This slow-burning novel was something I almost gave up on about a third of the way through, and I’m really, REALLY glad I didn’t. Part social commentary, part modern fairy tale, part surrealistic horror narrative, The Changeling drags you the streets of New York City, to dark, forgotten places you really weren’t expecting to go. How this hasn’t been optioned into a movie is beyond me. I am the god Apollo. I am the god Apollo.

Paradox Bound
By: Peter Clines…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

Remember when I talked about Peter Clines a while back? You know, when we took at look at that crazy werewolf Robinson Crusoe book? That’s Peter Clines, and I think Paradox Bound is his best work yet. More science fiction than horror, Paradox Bound centers on a kid named Eli Teague, and the Revolutionary War costumed stranger in the Model A he keeps running into during certain parts of his boring, unfulfilling life in his go-nowhere town. Peter Clines does time / interdimensional travel concepts better than anyone these days. If that’s your thing, this is your thing. I’m chomping at the bit for a sequel to this one.

Strange Weather
By: Joe Hill…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

Stephen King’s son Joe is a top-notch novelist all on his own (NOS4A2, Heart Shaped Box, Horns, etc.). Strange Weather, not to be confused with the 2016 movie starring Holly Hunter is his second short story compilation. Well, a collection of four novellas, really; each one pitting its protagonists against forces of nature that are pretty unnatural it you ask me. “Aloft” blew my fucking mind. “Loaded” hit way too close to home, and made me weep for the contemporary human condition.

What the Hell Did I Just Read
By: David Wong…/ref=sr_1_1…

Jason “David Wong” Pargin is the guy who once brought you, as well as John Dies at the End. What the Hell Did I Just Read is the third book in the John Dies at the End Series {the second one being This Book is Full of Spiders). Like After the End of the World, I’m not going to spoil the series by reviewing this one in any great depth. I think this is a spectacular way to end a much-loved trilogy, very much in line with the first two books, and I can’t wait to see what David dreams up next. The sauce is boss.

The Deep
By: Nick Cutter…/…/1501144839/ref=sr_1_2…

On last year’s list, I added The Troop and Little Heaven (my #1 pick) because Nick Cutter is a fucking horror dynamo. The Deep continues Cutter’s tend to create dark, seemingly hopeless worlds for his characters to suffer through. Synopsis: Everyone on Earth is dying from a disease that makes you forget everything; how to drive, eat, eventually how to breathe. There might be a cure, though; at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, where humans were never meant to go. Long story short, if it says Nick Cutter on the cover, it’s worth the price of admission. Out of this entire list, this is my shared #1 pick, along with The Wide Carnivorous Sky by John Langan.

Written by Mike