To celebrate the beginning of 365 days of spooky season, here are a few novels that evoke that October-hygge feeling all year long!
The Remaking, Clay McLeod Chapman
This debut novel has all the hallmarks of a book by a great storyteller who is not afraid to self-reflect on the tragicomedy that is the horror film industry. The Remaking follows the death of a mother-daughter duo accused of witchcraft whose story haunts the town of Pilot’s Creek, and the two movie adaptations that follow. The best part is, it’s believable, not only because it’s based on true events, but also in how it encompasses that small-town mentality.
We Sold Our Souls, Grady Hendrix
Grady Hendrix continues to amaze me with his unvarnished view of rust belt America. Who else could write a comedic-but-gruesome novel about a hardcore band of aging metalheads who may or may not have made some bad choices one night twenty years ago? In Hendrix’s hands, what could be a campy lark is a well-penned and often laugh-out-loud commentary on gender, wealth, aging, and music.
Severance, Ling Ma
This one hit close to home. Severance shows the banality and comfort of routine, especially when it’s the end-of-days. Candace Chen works in a New York City publishing office, hangs out with her boyfriend, and generally is incredibly comfortable exactly where she is. That is, until Shen Fever hits, and everyone around her begins dropping. Still, Candace plugs away at her desk–until the entire city shuts down around her, and she’s essentially the only one left standing.
The Hellbound Heart, Clive Barker
This was the first Barker novel I’ve read, and whoa, what an introduction. I saw Hellraiser: Hellseeker at the tender age of 11 and have never been the same since. This was a truly visceral pool-side read for me this summer. Love is pain, and this book has got plenty of both! There’s a mysterious box, a lover’s tryst, and a whole lot of blood. Plus, it’s an afternoon read. What could be better?
A Cosmology of Monsters, Shaun Hamill
As a Constant Reader of Stephen King, I’m always on the lookout for any ripples of his work in new authors. Hamill’s A Cosmology of Monsters is so reminiscent of King’s early novels that I had to go back many times to remind myself that Hamill is not in fact Joe Hill’s brother. There’s some serious amazing worldbuilding going on here, a lot of creativity, and most importantly, it felt familiar in a way I love.