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13 Fall-Flavored Reads


What is a fall-flavored read, you ask? Well, imagine a pumpkin spice latte—only, instead of a latte, it's a creepy, crawly horror book with lots of mayhem and crunchy leaves. We're talking about those horror books that feel like fall. A lot of them are set around Halloween, but not all of them. This list is all about the vibes, but to keep things manageable, we're sticking to works with contemporary-ish publication dates.


So, with fall around the corner, let's do a taste test! And yes, we will continue with this whole flavor bit until it makes everyone completely uncomfortable...



The September House by Carissa Orlando (Berkley, 2023)


From the publisher:


"A woman is determined to stay in her dream home even after it becomes a haunted nightmare in this compulsively readable, twisty, and layered debut novel. When Margaret and her husband Hal bought the large Victorian house on Hawthorn Street—for sale at a surprisingly reasonable price—they couldn’t believe they finally had a home of their own. Then they discovered the hauntings. Every September, the walls drip blood. The ghosts of former inhabitants appear, and all of them are terrified of something that lurks in the basement. Most people would flee. Margaret is not most people. Margaret is staying. It’s her house. But after four years Hal can’t take it anymore, and he leaves abruptly. Now, he’s not returning calls, and their daughter Katherine—who knows nothing about the hauntings—arrives, intent on looking for her missing father. To make things worse, September has just begun, and with every attempt Margaret and Katherine make at finding Hal, the hauntings grow more harrowing, because there are some secrets the house needs to keep."


You've Lost a Lot of Blood by Eric LaRocca (independently published, 2022)


From the publisher:


"Each precious thing I show you in this book is a holy relic from the night we both perished-the night when I combed you from my hair and watered the moon with your blood.


You've lost a lot of blood . . ."









Clown in a Cornfield (Clown in a Cornfield #1) by Adam Cesare (HarperTeen, 2020)


From the publisher:


"Quinn Maybrook and her father have moved to tiny, boring Kettle Springs, to find a fresh start. But what they don’t know is that ever since the Baypen Corn Syrup Factory shut down, Kettle Springs has cracked in half.


On one side are the adults, who are desperate to make Kettle Springs great again, and on the other are the kids, who want to have fun, make prank videos, and get out of Kettle Springs as quick as they can.


Kettle Springs is caught in a battle between old and new, tradition and progress. It’s a fight that looks like it will destroy the town. Until Frendo, the Baypen mascot, a creepy clown in a pork-pie hat, goes homicidal and decides that the only way for Kettle Springs to grow back is to cull the rotten crop of kids who live there now."


Benny Rose, the Cannibal King by Hailey Piper (Unnerving, 2020)


From the publisher:


"Blackwood, Vermont has one legend to its name—Benny Rose, the Cannibal King. Every local kid knows him and tells his stories, especially on Halloween. When a new girl moves to town in the autumn of 1987, the legend inspires high school junior Desiree St. Fleur and her friends to pull a Benny Rose-themed prank. A few laughs and screams, and they’ll have a Happy Halloween.But a vicious storm crashes into Blackwood and interrupts the festivities. Soon the girls find themselves trapped and hunted in a strange neighborhood where no one will help them. There’s nothing made-up about Benny Rose this Halloween night. The truth is coming, and it's hungry."


Kill Creek by Scott Thomas (Inkshares, 2017)


From the publisher:


"At the end of a dark prairie road, nearly forgotten in the Kansas countryside, is the Finch House. For years it has remained empty, overgrown, abandoned. Soon the door will be opened for the first time in decades. But something is waiting, lurking in the shadows, anxious to meet its new guests…


When best-selling horror author Sam McGarver is invited to spend Halloween night in one of the country’s most infamous haunted houses, he reluctantly agrees. At least he won’t be alone; joining him are three other masters of the macabre, writers who have helped shape modern horror. But what begins as a simple publicity stunt will become a fight for survival. The entity they have awakened will follow them, torment them, threatening to make them a part of the bloody legacy of Kill Creek."



From the publisher:


"Take a tour through the horror paperback novels of two iconic decades . . . if you dare. Page through dozens and dozens of amazing book covers featuring well-dressed skeletons, evil dolls, and knife-wielding killer crabs! Read shocking plot summaries that invoke devil worship, satanic children, and haunted real estate! Horror author and vintage paperback book collector Grady Hendrix offers killer commentary and witty insight on these trashy thrillers that tried so hard to be the next Exorcist or Rosemary’s Baby. Complete with story summaries and artist and author profiles, this unforgettable volume dishes on familiar authors like V. C. Andrews and R. L. Stine, plus many more who’ve faded into obscurity. Also included are recommendations for which of these forgotten treasures are well worth your reading time and which should stay buried."


Final Girls by Riley Sager (Dutton, 2017)


From the publisher:


"Ten years ago, six friends went on vacation. One made it out alive….


In that instant, college student Quincy Carpenter became a member of a very exclusive club—a group of survivors the press dubbed “The Final Girls”: Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who endured the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape the massacre at Pine Cottage. Despite the media’s attempts, the three girls have never met.


Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life. Her mind won’t let her recall the events of that night; the past is in the past…until the first Final Girl is found dead in her bathtub and the second Final Girl appears on Quincy’s doorstep.


Blowing through Quincy’s life like a hurricane, Sam seems intent on making her relive the trauma of her ordeal. When disturbing details about Lisa’s death emerge, Quincy desperately tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies while evading both the police and bloodthirsty reporters. Quincy knows that in order to survive she has to remember what really happened at Pine Cottage."


It by Stephen King (Viking, 1986)


From the publisher:


"Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real.


They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers."


Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz (Scholastic, 1981)


From the publisher:


"Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark contains some of the most alarming tales of horror, dark revenge, and supernatural events of all time. Walking corpses, dancing bones, knife-wielding madmen, and narrow escapes from death—they're all here in this chilling collection of ghost stories. Make sure you read these books with the light ON!"






Hallowe'en Party (Hercule Poirot #41) by Agatha Christie (Collins Crime Club, 1969)


From the publisher:


"At a Halloween party, Joyce—a hostile thirteen-year-old—boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub.


That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the `evil presence'. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double-murderer..."





Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin (Random House, 1967)


From the publisher:


"Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and mostly elderly residents. Neighbors Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome the Woodhouses to the building, and despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing, her husband takes a shine to them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant—and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare. As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavets' circle is not what it seems..."


Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (Simon & Schuster, 1962)


From the publisher:


"For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside. The show is about to begin. Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. Two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes…and the stuff of nightmares."


The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (Viking, 1959)


From the publisher:


"First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a ”haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers–and soon it will choose one of them to make its own."



What's your favorite book to read during the fall season?



[Image Credit: photo by Saliha Sevim via Pexels]

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