Halloween is very nearly here. To celebrate, we asked Team Gollancz to share their favourite Halloween Reads. Did your favourite read make our list?
Gillian: My perfect Halloween read is Sarah Pinborough’s award-winning novella Beauty. A little dark, a little sexy and a lot of fun, it’s a superb retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story – and about revealing the monster hiding inside us all!
Simon: It’s always Something Wicked This Ways Comes by Ray Bradbury for me. The book where Halloween came one week early one year. It’s Bradbury’s most consciously poetic work but that doesn’t get in the way of him delivering a constant stream of utterly thrilling and chilling moments as he tells the story of what happens to two boys when Coogar and Dark’s carnival comes calling at their small American home town. It’s about the pain of growing up and the horror of being trapped in childhood. And it’s entrancing; a wonderful slice of richly imagined American gothic.
Darren: For me, the perfect Hallowe’en read is any issue of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman featuring Dream’s janitor, Mervyn. Partly because the sequences set in Dream of the Endless’ realm have a wonderful, cosy, Octoberish feel to them. But mostly because Mervyn has a pumpkin for a head.
Jen: My Halloween read this year is The Witches by Stacy Schiff. I’m a history nerd. The Salem Witch Trials have always fascinated me. The Witches is a compelling and brilliantly researched account of the events that lead to one of American history’s biggest mysteries.
Charlie: Affinity by Sarah Waters. A real shame that this has been overshadowed by the author’s other books, as it is up there with her best, and wonderfully eerie at times. As the back cover says, you’ll find yourself desperately wanting to believe.
Emily: You can’t go wrong with witches at Halloween, and what’s more witchy than Terry Pratchetts’s Wyrd Sisters? Featuring kings, daggers, crowns, storms, dwarfs, cats (of the most evil variety), ghosts, spectres, apes, bandits, demons, forests, heirs, jesters, tortures, trolls, turntables, general rejoicing, divers alarums and, of course, Three Witches, Wyrd Sisters is a truly Shakespearean tale. It’s humorous and thoughtful and magical in a way that only Terry Pratchett can be.
Craig: NOS4R2 may feature a hellish theme park called Christmasland, but this is a book for the spookiest night of the year. Filled with hook-toothed jack-o-lantern children whose idea of a treat is you and who enjoy playing terrifying tricks like scissors-for-the-drifter (I don’t ever want to find out exactly how that is played), an old Rolls-Royce that is a haunted house on wheels, and a host of strong but broken characters, NOS4R2 proves the scariest places are always inside your own imagination.
Lily: I am very easily scared so honestly the last scary book I read was probably from the Goosebumps series. I can’t even remember a specific one, it’s just a general memory of terror. That or American Psycho which still terrifies me, it made me physically ill and I still don’t like being in parks at night and it might explain my general distrust of men in suits..
Sophie P: For a more traditional chillier go for Kate Mosse’s The Taxidermist’s Daughter, it’s got everything you need this Halloween – taxidermy, murder & a decaying museum of curiosities…. . . And Haruki Murakami’s mind-bending masterpiece Kafka On The Shore, it’s got everything you could want from a Halloween read – murder, parallel universes, ghosts, talking cats, not to mention one of the most terrifying villains you’ve ever encountered in Johnnie Walker, a cat killer who is harvesting his victim’s souls to make a magic flute. Hypnotic, magical and bewildering, there’s nothing quite like it!
Graeme: The Killing Lessons for me. This book proved a great patch for post True Detective Season One. A genuinely chilling serial killer with scene that actually made my skin crawl reading them. Amazingly well-written, a great lead character and an opening chapter that will ensure I always check that I’ve locked my front door. Twice.