In my teens I loved nothing more than picking up a Point Horror from the school library, devouring them in bed late on a school night. Earlier than that still, I loved the Goosebumps series, and I couldn’t tell you how many times my brother and I rewatched the taped episodes we had for VCR. Now I’m well into adulthood, I still like to read horror, though I’m much more a fan of the psychological genre rather than the Egyptian mummies or talking puppets of the Goosebumps era.
Here are my top five horror books from recent years that will give you chills:
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
Through the Woods will always deserve a place in my top horror list. Through her illustrations, Emily Carroll captures the horror of the uncanny – things that just aren’t quite right, but it’s hard to put your finger on just what it is. You can check out some of her older comics on her website for free: http://emcarroll.com/comics/outthedoor.html (this is a good ‘un!)
Things We Say In The Dark by Kirsty Logan
Cleverly written, this anthology of stories burrow deep into your mind, evoking your darkest fears. It explores human fear and insecurity, and some of the stories are downright unsettling. You’ll want to sleep with the light on after this (it’s one of those).
The Haunting Season by Bridget Collins (and others)
One of the more traditional books in the collection, The Haunting Season offers some good old fashioned spooky stories. Featuring some classic gothic horror by best-selling authors, including pieces by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Andrew Michael Hurley and Jess Kidd (what a line-up!).
My favourite of the stories was The Chillingham Chair by Laura Purcell, a story about a girl staying at the home of her sister’s husband-to-be, who takes a fall upon her arrival and must recover in an old wheelchair. However, the chair seems to have a mind of its own… could it be possessed by the spirit of its previous user? And what message is it trying to convey so desperately before her sister’s wedding day?
In the House in the Dark of the Woods by Laird Hunt
A slow burner, this seemingly whimsical story of a woman lost in the woods becomes gradually more disturbing as the plot progresses. The reader begins to question what is real and what is fiction… it leaves you guessing until the end!
Thornhill by Pam Smy
An interesting hybrid of graphic novel and diary entries, two strangers’ lives, years apart, come together with their shared experiences of the mysterious Thornhill Institute for Children, with sinister results.
Pam Smy is wonderful at writing young vulnerable characters, leaving the reader to fret about them as the story unfolds – what’s the word for that, nail-biting? Anxiety-inducing?! Another brilliant and slightly spooky book by this great author is The Hideaway (published in 2021).
What scary stories would you share with the world?