16 Best Books for Halloween - Dundurn
Oct 08, 2021

16 Best Books for Halloween

It’s the season of thrills and chills, and our spooky lineup is here! If you love the fall atmosphere and Halloween, these book recs full of devils, demons, and rebels are for you.

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For those who love the edge-of-your-seat reads:

The Devil to Pay by Barbara Fradkin is a classic police procedural for readers of Louise Penny, Peter Robinson, and Gail Bowen. When a man disappears, the police believe he is fleeing an unhappy home and a mountain of debt. Then a body is discovered. Inspector Green’s daughter, a rookie patrol officer, fears that her actions precipitated the murder and starts to dig for answers. Her search leads her straight into the path of danger. And another body…

The Devil’s Choir by Martin Michaud is perfect for readers of Jo Nesbø and Kathy Reichs. While investigating a domestic murder-suicide, Montreal detective Victor Lessard begins to suspect that shadowy outsiders were involved. As he races to solve the puzzle, Lessard is targeted by a secretive organization and haunted by a ghost from his past.

Midnight by Brenden Carlson is a genre-bending sci-fi thriller/tech-noir mystery for fans of Jonathan Lethem and the Blade Runner films. Dodging the mafia, the cops, and the FBI, Elias Roche and his robot partner Allen must find a killer with both a time limit and a looming war hanging over their heads.

Tell Me My Name by Erin Ruddy is a rustic cottage retreat thriller perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Shari Lapena. *cue dramatic music* When a woman is snatched by an obsessed stranger claiming to be her soulmate, the consequences could be deadly … unless she can remember his name.

Creep by R.M. Greenaway is another great read for fans of Peter Robinson or Louise Penny, or if you love books set during Halloween. A pair of dead bodies don’t seem linked, or even suspicious, at first, but RCMP officers Dion and Leith soon find themselves with a hairy murder case on their hands. As Dion gets tangled up with a witness and Leith loses himself in the case, a different kind of killer is on the prowl. But the rumours about him being more than human can’t possibly be true…

For those who love terrifyingly true stories:

Here’s a fun fact about The Man With the Black Valise by John Goddard: the detective who solved this case became the model for William Murdoch of the Murdoch Mysteries TV series. This book tracks the killer of thirteen-year-old Jessie Keith as he tramped along railway lines through rural Ontario in 1894.

Haunted Hospitals by Mark Leslie and Rhonda Parrish gives you a front row seat inside the eerie hospitals, asylums, and sanatoriums that ghostly residents refuse to leave, and the history of these macabre settings from Canada, the United States, and around the world.

Steven Truscott by Nate Hendley tells the shocking story of Steven when he was fourteen years old and arrested for murdering twelve-year-old Lynne Harper. Despite a lack of evidence connecting him to the crime, Steven was sentenced to hang. The sentence was commuted, and doubts grew about the case as new research strongly suggested that Steven had been wrongly convicted.

Drop Dead by Lorna Poplak looks at notable cases in Canada’s criminal justice history, featuring well-known and some less-well-known figures from the past, illustrating how trial, sentencing, and punishment operated in Canada’s first century. Prepare for disturbing facts about bungled executions and wrongful convictions.

Toronto Book of the Dead by Adam Bunch explores Toronto’s history through the stories of its most fascinating and shadowy deaths with morbid tales of war and plague, duels and executions, suicides and séances.

For those looking for a story that hits close to home:

The Shaytan Bride by Sumaiya Matin is a powerful, non-linear literary memoir that will appeal to readers of A Good Wife by Samra Zafar and Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot. Sumaiya was never sure if the story of the Shaytan Bride was truth or myth. At first the bride seemed to be the monster of fairy tales. However, in the weeks leading up to Sumaiya’s own unwanted wedding, she discovers the story — and the bride herself — are closer than they seem.

For those craving fantasy this Halloween:

Yume by Sifton Tracey Anipare is an epic urban fantasy adventure set in Japan featuring a demon-filled dreamworld, perfect for fans of N.K. Jemisin and S.A. Chakraborty. While Cybelle comes to terms with her life in Japan, Zaniel navigates a world of demons, namely by bringing women to have sexual encounters with a monster named Akki, until another demon, the Yokai, wreaks havoc in Akki’s domain.

The Book of Sam by Rob Shapiro - think of this book as the product of a marriage between Dante's Divine Comedy and the Percy Jackson series. This is the story of the unchosen one, a kid with no prophecy to fulfill who ventures to Hell, a fantastical world of falling cities and strange creatures, in search of his best friend.

Finding Jade by Mary Jennifer Payne is great for readers of Colin Meloy and Jonathan Auxier. In the year 2030, Jasmine is busy with her sick mother, her missing twin sister, and a series of events that have her questioning her sanity. Until she meets Raphael, who reveals that Jasmine is a talented Seer and that her sister isn’t missing at all … she’s in the Place-in-Between, where the demons dwell...

For fans of Goosebumps:

Alex and the Other by Philippa Dowding is the book you want to pick up for your young readers this fall! Alex is a lonely boy, not exactly bullied but not popular either. Then a girl — named Alex! — arrives, who looks just like him. She is popular, and better than him at everything. Soon, she’s even better than he is at being him. Will Alex get his life back, or will his evil twin take over for good?

For those who go all-out with their costumes:

I, Gloria Grahame by Sky Gilbert is for fans of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Shy, effeminate Professor Denton Moulton lives in his head, and in his head he is really a long-dead movie star — the glamorous Gloria Grahame. From high-strung film sets to dark bars, Denton runs up against the sternest warnings that he may not, in fact, imagine himself as someone else, even in art.

View the full collection here.