It’s October, and a chill hangs in the air. The leaves are changing, their edges tinged with a bright yellow, a warm orange, and a fiery red. Moonlight lingers longer. Fog creeps across fields. Porches glow in the friendly light of a jack-o’-lantern’s smile.
As the weather turns, so do the pages of our books as we settle into autumn. If you’re in the mood for some mysterious stories, tales of true crime, magic, ghosts, gothic mansions and more, check out this list of 10 Spooktober Reads.*
by Erin E. Adams – Published October 2022, Jackal is a multi-layered story about a young Black girl who goes missing in the woods outside a predominantly white town. While investigating this crime, a vigilante citizen uncovers a horrifying secret.
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Setting: small Appalachian town
by Isabel Cañas – Described in The Washington Post as a “gothic tale of doomed love and vengeful spirits,” this suspenseful work of historical fiction examines family dynamics and the supernatural in the aftermath of the Mexican war for independence.
Genre: Gothic, Horror, Historical, Suspense
Setting: a haunted estate
by T. Kingfisher – On a quest to save her family, third-born daughter Marra adventures alongside a fairy godmother, a dustwitch, a former knight, and a demon-possessed chicken.
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Paranormal
Setting: a reimagined fairy-tale realm
by Kathryn Miles – A true story of a decades-long investigation, this nonfiction title highlights a journalist seeking justice for two murdered women and is heralded by bestselling author John Grisham as “a beautifully written account of a great American tragedy.”
Genre: True Crime
Setting: Shenandoah National Park, 1996
by Simone St. James – Jumping in time between the 1970s and the recent past, this chilling novel details a true crime blogger who becomes obsessed with a series of seemingly random slayings known as the Lady Killer Murders.
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Setting: Claire Lake, Oregon
by Lauren Blackwood – In this magic-filled retelling of the Charlotte Brontë classic Jane Eyre, an exorcist is hired to rid a castle of evil. It’s business as usual until Andromeda starts to fall in love with the mysterious young heir, Magnus Rochester.
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling of a Classic
Setting: an alternate Ethiopia
by Stephen King – In this September 2022 publication, horror expert King leads readers into a battle between good and evil when a 17-year-old hero inherits keys to a hidden, otherworldly realm.
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Suspense
Setting: in semi-rural Illinois, a portal to another world
by Sara A. Mueller – In a unique blend of speculative magic and political intrigue, this unorthodox whodunit involves a necromancer, a brothel, and bone trees.
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Gothic
Setting: a world, at war, wherein humans possess strange abilities
by Ashley Flowers – Name sound familiar? This debut novel was penned by Crime Junkie podcast host Flowers and stars a journalist determined to solve an unsolved murder and reveal the dark secrets hidden in her hometown.
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Crime Fiction, Mystery
Setting: Wakarusa, Indiana
by Paul Tremblay – 1980s punk rock playlists, pseudo-vampires, and toxic friendships form a darkly romantic love triangle in this emotional, twist-filled horror story that is presented as a character’s memoir.
Genre: Horror, Psychological, Thriller
Setting: Massachusetts; Rhode Island
*Featured titles are available at HCTPL and have been published between October 2021 and October 2022. Click the book cover or title to access our catalog.