‘Tis the season to be spooky

Published 11:56 am Tuesday, October 3, 2023

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My favorite season is here! October is a great month to read a thriller, mystery or horror book. Here are some of my recommendations for adults. All of these are available at Polk County Public Libraries! Don’t forget to check the Hoopla and Libby apps if you prefer ebooks or audiobooks. 


101 Horror Books to Read Before You’re Murdered by Sadie Hartmann

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Well, this sounds like a good place to start! For curious readers and fans of monsters and the macabre, this book offers a list of the best modern horror books. Indulge your heart’s darkest desires to be terrified, unsettled, disgusted, and heartbroken with stories that span everything from paranormal hauntings and creepy death cults to small-town terrors and apocalyptic disasters. Each recommendation includes a full synopsis as well as a quick overview of the book’s themes, style, and tone so you can narrow down your next read at a glance. 


Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare

I recommended this one a few years ago, but it’s back again, because it’s my favorite horror novel! In this teen slasher, Quinn and her father move to tiny, boring Kettle Springs to find a fresh start. But ever since the Baypen Corn Syrup Factory shut down, Kettle Springs has cracked in half. 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. There’s also a sequel!


The Trap by Catherine Ryan Howard

One of my favorite books released this year, The Trap is an unsettling mystery inspired by a series of still-unsolved disappearances in Ireland in the 90s, wherein one young woman risks everything to catch a faceless killer. I love a lot of Howard’s books – definitely check out The Nothing Man and 56 Days as well.


Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Looking for a haunted house theme? In this thriller, a woman returns to the house made famous by her father’s bestselling horror memoir. Is the place really haunted by evil forces, as her father claimed? Or are there more earthbound—and dangerous—secrets hidden within its walls? I also highly recommend Final Girls by the same author.


Looking Glass Sound by Catriona Ward

I am currently reading this one, and loving it! In a lonely cottage overlooking the windswept Maine coast, Wilder Harlow begins the last book he will ever write. It is the story of his childhood summer companions and the killer that stalked the small New England town. Of the body they found, and the horror of that discovery echoing down the decades. And of Sky, Wilder’s one-time best friend, who stole his unfinished memoir and turned it into a lurid bestselling novel, Looking Glass Sound. But as Wilder writes, the lines between memory and fiction blur. He fears he’s losing his grip on reality when he finds notes hidden around the cottage written in Sky’s signature green ink.


Jen Pace Dickenson is the Youth Services Librarian for Polk County Public Libraries. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit polklibrary.org or call (828) 894-8721.