Saturday 26 September 2020

My favourite spooky reads for Autumn

Amanda Kennedy

As the nights draw in and we move closer to Halloween, my TBR pile fills up with spooky novels to suit the season. My preference for horror falls on the supernatural spectrum: demons, ghosts and vampires are common themes. While I'm always on the lookout for new fiction, there are several novels I turn to again and again for that satisfying spookiness. 

Here then are my favourite supernatural horror novels, in no particular order:

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

This 700-page tome remains one of my favourite books of all time, and one which I've re-read several times now. The basics of this story revolve around a girl/young woman with extraordinary powers in her attempt to stop a vampiric immortal named Charlie Manx who tempts children to Christmasland in order to kill them. 

Whether or not you've already watched the highly rated AMC series of the same name, I highly recommend you read NOS4A2 if you enjoy a great horror story!

Slade House by David Mitchell

This short book provides a very different take on the "Haunted House" story. Including several shorter stories which are linked by the titular house, this is unlike Mitchell's lengthier works but includes a character cameo who may be familiar to fans. 

The Historian By Elizabeth Kostova

Another classic which deserves periodic re-reading, The Historian is inspired by Stoker's legend of Dracula, following a young woman who tracks her father across Gothic landscapes while striving to solve the mystery of her mother's disappearance. Glorious descriptions and a creeping sense of unease ensure this is a must-read for fans of vampire fiction.

The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp

This book was recommended to me on a forum thread about truly terrifying reads. I can confirm without hesitation that The Last Days of Jack Sparks truly deserves this reputation! Containing found footage, demonic possession, extreme witticism and a protagonist you'll love to hate, this could well prove to be one of your all-time favourite horror novels!

My review of The Last Days of Jack Sparks can be read here.

Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker

This prequel to Dracula was inspired by the notes and documents Bram Stoker left behind, and is a wonderfully written vampire novel in it's own right. Read this if you enjoy your vampire literature with a Gothic twist!

Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver

Paver is most widely known for her masterpiece, Dark Matter; however I prefer her more recent novel, Wakenhyrst, which is set in the gothic landscape of Edwardian England. 

The setting of a haunted manor house, surrounded by atmospheric fens and doused in folklore make this a perfect read for gloomy evenings by candlelight.

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

If a book invokes the spooky atmosphere of October, it is Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes!

It is a beautifully written, coming of age tale featuring a true battle between good and evil when the circus comes to a sleepy American town. An absolute must-read for autumn, preferably out loud while sat around a camp fire at night. 

Rawblood by Catriona Ward

If there is one book in this list I recommend above all others, it is Rawblood by Catriona Ward. 

This masterful novel follows the life and decline of main protagonist, Iris, as she struggles against the disease (or curse) of her family line. Deeply gothic, at times disturbing, with an all-encompassing sense of dread, the story culminates in a perfectly executed and satisfying ending which horror rarely can. 

What are your favourite spooky reads?

I'm always looking out for recommendations to add to my ever-growing TBR list. Personal recommendations are far more meaningful than Google and Goodreads search lists, so please feel free to share your own favourites by leaving a comment below.

Amanda Kennedy / Book Blogger, Writer & Editor

Amanda is a lifelong learner and book lover who lives in the North of England with her family and several cats. She writes book reviews, literary news and bookish articles here on All My Pretty Books.

To learn more about Amanda's own work, visit her personal website.


  1. I've been meaning to read Slade House for a while - I didn't realise it was a horror! Great list.


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