Updated: Dec 2
As the leaves change and the nights grow longer, there's no better time to indulge in spine-tingling tales that send shivers down your spine. Whether you're a fan of witches, horror, or gripping thrillers, I've compiled a list of my favorite captivating fall reads to get you into the spirit of the season. My hope is that I can introduce you to some new authors and stories you haven’t heard of before.
These atmospheric reads are perfect for adults and older young adult readers who crave stories that evoke a sense of mystery and macabre. Stay tuned to the end where I link to this currated list on Bookshop.org. So, grab your cozy blanket and a warm drink, and let's dive into these hauntingly good books.
Thrillers for Days
The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard
In this gripping thriller, a survivor of a serial killer becomes obsessed with uncovering the murderer's identity. As she delves deeper into the investigation, she unravels chilling secrets and faces a relentless adversary. I adored the twists and turns in this one, and of course, the literary leaning. This features one of my favorite writing tools, the POV of the killer themselves as well as a book within a book!
His & Hers by Alice Feeney
This dark and suspenseful thriller explores the intertwining lives of a BBC newsreader and his ex-girlfriend, a detective, who are both drawn into a murder investigation in their hometown. The story is a rollercoaster of secrets, lies, and shocking twists that kept me reading well into the night. I love that Alice Feeney lets you guess some of the twists but always surprises you with others.
The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill
In a mesmerizing thriller, an artist's peaceful visit to an old library takes a sinister turn when she stumbles upon a dead body. As she becomes entangled in the mystery, she uncovers hidden secrets and faces danger that threatens to consume her. This book, another that features a writer and bookish things, let me questioning what was real and what was fiction in the best way.
Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
Prepare for a chilling thriller that delves into the consequences of a dark secret shared among friends, only to resurface years later. As the past comes back to haunt them, the characters grapple with guilt, betrayal, and the unrelenting pursuit of justice, making this a gripping and suspenseful read. This one gets dark, friends, so be prepared.
Her Buried Lives by Katlyn L. Duncan
Follow the unsettling journey of a woman who uncovers her disturbing past lives in this spine-tingling thriller. As she delves deeper into her mysterious history, the boundaries between reality and the supernatural blur, creating an eerie and captivating narrative that will keep you hooked until the very end. This generational, small town story, is sure to stick with you.
What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall
In this gripping suspense story, a group of friends ventures into the woods, only to confront something unimaginable. If small town vibes, coming back home after decades away, and serial killers are your thing...well, this one might be for you. This is her adult debut (her previously published YA horror are some of my favorites) and it doesn't disappoint. t's creepy in the best ways.
When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole
This eerie thriller explores the unsettling mysteries of a gentrifying neighborhood in Brooklyn. As residents begin to disappear and strange occurrences escalate, the story delves into themes of race, identity, and paranoia, creating a thought-provoking and chilling narrative that will haunt readers long after they finish the book.
Horror for Everyone
Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
A chilling and atmospheric horror novel that follows a research crew's ill-fated voyage to the Mariana Trench in search of mermaids. As they uncover horrifying truths about the creatures lurking below, the tension and terror mount. This beautifully blends science fiction and the eeries of vibes in a way that had me reading while screaming at the pages.
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
This uniquely structured horror novel explores a house that defies the laws of physics, geometry, and sanity. It's a mind-bending experience as you navigate footnotes, appendices, and eerie narratives within narratives. It's unique, and not for everyone, but it's one of my all time favorite books, and one I've reread several times.
The Patient by Jasper Dewitt
In this psychological horror, a psychiatrist is drawn into a disturbing and inexplicable case when a patient claims to be possessed by a malevolent entity. The novel's eerie atmosphere and gradual descent into madness will keep you on edge. This novel is only 244 pages but it will have you questioning if what you see and hear are real.
Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
Kate Alice Marshall weaves a haunting tale of a girl's disappearance in a mysterious forest known for its sinister legends. As a group of friends embarks on a chilling journey to find her, they encounter supernatural horrors, eerie mysteries, and a malevolent entity that lurks in the shadows, making this a gripping and spine-tingling read. While this is a young adult novel, it is probably one of the most uniquely creepy books I've read.
Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich
In Dawn Kurtagich's dark and atmospheric young adult horror novel, the stories of three young women from different centuries intertwine in an eerie, haunted manor. As they grapple with supernatural forces, demonic possessions, and ancient curses, readers are drawn into a chilling story filled with suspense, terror, and unexpected twists.
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Libba Bray's historical horror novel immerses readers in the roaring 1920s, where a group of young people with unique supernatural abilities is drawn together to uncover a series of occult murders plaguing New York City. With a blend of mystery, supernatural powers, and a vibrant Jazz Age setting, this novel delivers a thrilling and atmospheric reading experience that's perfect for fans of spooky mysteries. If you're an audiobook reader, these are fantastically done and how I read the series. 10/10 do recommend.
Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler
Octavia E. Butler weaves a unique and thought-provoking vampire tale where Shori, a genetically modified young vampire, must navigate a world filled with prejudice and danger. Butler's masterful storytelling combines elements of science fiction and horror, creating a compelling and thought-provoking narrative that challenges traditional vampire tropes while delving into themes of identity, race, and belonging. It's a slower read, but a modern classic for a reason.
Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
Enter an urban fantasy world where witches, vampires, and supernatural creatures coexist. Follow Rachel Morgan, a witch and bounty hunter, as she navigates a world filled with magic, danger, and complex relationships. I'll warn you, this is a series (a huge one) and I am hooked on them. So prepare to lose yourself in the world for quite a while.
Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley Doyle
This enchanting tale explores the magic of lost and found objects. When a group of teenagers discovers a mysterious spellbook, their lives become intertwined in a captivating and spellbinding journey. It's a story of found family, feminism, and friendship. With multiple timelines, LGBTQIA+ friendly characters, and hauntingly lyrical writing, it's sure to get you in the mood for Halloween.
The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin
In a world where witches control the weather, this captivating young adult novel follows a young witch who must confront climate change and unravel the secrets of her powers. It's a spellbinding blend of magic and environmental themes. All her books are witchy, each with a different magic system, and I recommend them all. Also by her is Wild is the Witch and Bring Me Your Midnight.
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
Sangu Mandanna crafts a whimsical and enchanting tale of a hidden society of young witches with unique abilities. As they embark on magical adventures filled with mystery, friendship, and unexpected challenges, readers are transported to a captivating world where secrets and spells abound, making this book a delightful and imaginative read. I'll admit I haven't read this one yet, but it's on my To Be Read shelf.
Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
Alix E. Harrow weaves a spellbinding story set in an alternate history where suffragists harness the power of magic to fight for women's rights. Through lush prose and vivid world-building, Harrow creates a captivating narrative that explores the bonds of sisterhood, the resilience of women, and the enduring magic of hope in a world filled with wonder and enchantment.
House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
Delve into the mysteries surrounding the Hollow sisters, who disappeared for years and returned with uncanny abilities and a thirst for the supernatural. With a haunting blend of horror, family secrets, and a sense of impending doom, this book takes readers on a chilling journey into the eerie and enigmatic world of the Hollow sisters, where nothing is as it seems. This one does have some body horror, and some family falling outs, but wow does it deliver.
Steamy & Spooky
A Curse in Ash by Julie Zantopoulos
In a steamy blend of witches, Fae, court politics, and love readers can lose themselves in this fast paced world for a while. If you like supernatural magic mixed with real life settings, this series could be for you. Lucky for readers, the final book releases on October 31st so you can binge read the series while snuggled up on the couch.
Not the Witch You Wed & Not Your Ex’s Hexes by April Asher
Meet three sisters, triplets in a magical family, and their cast of friends. Each book follows a different sister and their love interest while immersing you in a magical world. It's fun, fast paced, and spicy. These books are fun, quick reads, with great world building. The follow-up novels Not Your Ex's Hexes and the upcoming Not Your Crushes Cauldron (which I read early) are just as fantastic.
The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre
Mixing elements of thriller and erotica, this dark novel follows a young woman with a secret life as a webcam model locked away in her apartment, of her own volition. Why? Because she knows if she gets out, she's going to kill someone. As the story unfolds, you'll be drawn into a web of suspense and sensuality. This trilogy will have you questioning if it's okay to do the (very) wrong thing for the right reasons.
Dark House by Karina Halle
A spine-tingling story of a woman who inherits a haunted mansion and must confront the eerie secrets lurking within its walls. As she delves deeper into the house's dark history, readers are taken on a chilling journey filled with ghostly encounters, supernatural mysteries, and a sense of foreboding that keeps them on the edge of their seats.
Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson
This reimagining of Dracula's brides, offers a beautifully written and haunting narrative from their perspective. Through lush prose and poetic storytelling, Gibson explores themes of love, sacrifice, and the thirst for immortality, creating a mesmerizing reading experience.
The Seven Sinners series by S.L. Jennings
This is a seductive and darkly captivating series that delves into the lives of seven sinners who have made deals with the devil. As readers follow each character's journey through temptation, desire, and consequences, they are drawn into a world of forbidden pleasures, intricate plots, and moral dilemmas that make for a compelling and steamy supernatural romance. Plus, it's just fun!
Embrace the Spooky Reads this Fall
This fall, immerse yourself in the eerie and the mysterious with these books that span witchy tales, horror classics, and gripping thrillers. Whether you're curled up by the fire or enjoying a brisk autumn day outdoors, these atmospheric reads will add an extra layer of chill to the season. So, grab your favorite fall snack and prepare for a spine-tingling journey into the world of captivating and spooky literature.
And don't be shy! Have a favorite fall read? Leave it in the comments.