The clocks have turned back, and the days are getting darker – spooky season is well and truly upon us, so what better time to pick up your favourite horror for that adrenaline inducing thrill this Halloween. Our team have got you covered with all the best book recommendations to get your teeth stuck into, from haunting fantasy and supernatural horror to vampire romcoms and witchy feminist tales.
Olivia Maidment, Head of Books: Out There Screaming: An Anthology of New Black Horror edited by Jordan Peel
I love how the format of short stories has historically leant itself so well to the exploration of the haunted, the otherworldly or the supernatural, and this collection dives into those themes head on whilst also confronting real world horror and injustice in in the light it sheds on violence, prejudice, and anti-Black racism. The talent of the writers and the range of the stories is excellent – I really recommend it for a chilling, thought provoking read.
Casey Dexter, Film & TV Rights Executive: The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
A great spooky story that has lived rent-free in my mind since the day I first read it. It’s from the viewpoint of a narrator who eventually confesses to a murder because his mind still hears the ‘beating’ heart of his victim under his floorboards! So dark and terrifying – it still gives me chills!
Maddy Belton, Associate Agent:
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Leigh Bardugo’s foray into adult fantasy is brilliantly haunting! A mixture of dark academia and suspense with just a touch of horror, this is a perfect read for Spooky Season. I love this series so much!
Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young
If you don’t like to be too afraid but you still want the vibes of Spooky Season I would suggest Adrienne Young’s Spells for Forgetting. A small-town mystery with just a hint of magic and visceral writing that feels like leaves are actually falling down around you as you read.
A Dowry of Blood by S. T. Gibson
A TikTok sensation featuring polyamorous vampires, writing that you will feel in your bones and characters that will stay with you long after the last page. This book is beautiful, tender and deliciously sexy.
Hannah Ladds, Film & TV Agent: Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
On a cold winters’ night at an inn on the bank of the Thames, a stranger enters holding the lifeless body of a child who appears to have drowned in the river. Hours later she takes a breath and comes alive. But who is she, where did she come from and how did she survive? Is her recovery due to magic, faith or science? As the villagers try to find answers, three families step forward to claim the child, but each family has mysteries and secrets of their own. This novel is a gloriously atmospheric tapestry that combines folklore and science, magic and myth in a gripping mystery that’s also a beautiful homage to the power of storytelling.
Hannah Todd, Literary Agent: My Roommate is a Vampire by Jenna Levine
Whilst on holiday I loved reading MY ROOMMATE IS A VAMPIRE, which is the perfect urban fantasy romcom. It was great fun and a perfect beach read, and I’m loving the resurgence of vampires/werewolves and other fun fantastical creatures.
Saskia Arthur, Agent Assistant to MM: In Defence of Witches: Why Women are Still on Trial by Mona Chollet.
Thought-provoking, refreshing and well-researched, Chollet boldly reclaims the derogatory term ”witch’, exploring popular culture, literature, healthcare and more to demonstrate how women are still in fact on trial in the 21st century, and to reclaim the image of the witch as a symbol of female autonomy, individuality and power. I’ll never think of broomsticks in the same way – the ultimate vehicle of female agency!
Tian Zheng, Contracts Manager:
Things We Lost In The Fire by Mariana Enriquez (translated by Megan McDowell) is one of my favourite short story collections. These terrifying, nightmarish stories include fantastical elements ranging from Argentinian folk tales to body horror, set against a backdrop of political and gendered violence that is all too real.
We Were Witches is a novel by Ariel Gore, about a young woman called Ariel Gore, who struggles to raise her daughter and study creative writing. This book is witty and wise, playing with narrative tropes to question the structures we live within. I found it hilarious and heartbreaking all at once.
Elinor Davies, Associate Agent: The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez.
This spooky season I’ve been reading The Gilda Stories. It was impossible to put down and has completely changed my view of what a vampire novel can be. I love any book that can do that!
Meghan Capper, Literary Assistant: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides
I’m always drawn to stories about girlhood, so I was instantly captivated by the mysterious deaths of the five Lisbon sisters in Jeffrey Eugenides’ modern classic. Told through the obsessive lens of the anonymous male adolescents who are neighbours to the girls, the novel is a dark coming of age plot depicting the oppressive horrors of being a teenage girl in 1970s America. The details of each girls plight is truly haunting and stays with you well beyond the pages.