The Best Scary Books to Read This October

halloween books

The slight chill in the air signals the arrival of fall and the perfect time to get lost in a bewitching book. From magical tales to clever murder mysteries to psychological thrillers, 2021 did not disappoint with new releases. Check out a list of spooky books with enough twists and turns to keep you reading all night — with the lights on!

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

Berkley (July 13, 2021)

Drawing inspiration from classic slasher films, bestselling author Grady Hendrix, imagines what life would be like for the ones who survived the night in a clever take on horror. The “final girls” may have outsmarted a crazed killer, but escaping the trauma and going on with life will not be easy. For survivor, Lynnette Tarkington, she finds comfort in attending a support group with fellow survivors. When a member is missing, the others fear the worst and soon discover someone is determined to make the final girls relive the unthinkable, yet again. 

We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz

We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz

Ballantine Books (August 3, 2021)

Emily and Kristen are having a wonderful time on their yearly vacation, this time in Chile. Feeling relaxed and content with her friendship, Emily walks into the hotel room to find the floor covered in blood. Kristen tells her that the man she brought to the room attacked her and she killed him while protecting herself. For Emily, the most distressing part is not the dead body, but how similar it is to the man who was killed on their trip the year before. A psychological thriller, rooted in the power of shared secrets with twists that will keep readers guessing until the end. 

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Finlay Donovan is Killing It

Minotaur Books (February 2, 2021)

An overheard conversation turns Finlay Donovan’s life upside down in this humorous mystery. A single mom and author, Finlay is struggling to keep it all together. During a meeting with her agent, Finlay is describing the story for her latest mystery book when she is offered a job. Someone was listening to her conversation and assumed Finlay was in the business of murder, as a contract killer. When Finlay accidentally accepts the job, she puts into motion a series of events ripped right from her crime books.

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Del Rey (August 17, 2021)

Living in Mexico City in the 1970s, Maite imagines a different life, full of passion and adventure like the characters in her favorite romance stories. Maite’s neighbor, Leonora, is a beautiful artist who appears to live the type of glamorous life Maite can only dream of. When Leonora disappears, Maite begins to look for clues and is quickly thrown into Leonora’s dangerous world, so different from her own. A historical mystery set in a time of change and political turmoil, Silvia Moreno-Garcia reveals the story with unexpected twists and engaging characters. 

The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke

The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke

Berkley (October 5, 2021)

When Liv is offered the chance to design a mural in a 100-year-old lighthouse, she seizes the opportunity and moves with her children to an island in Scotland. Soon, Liv hears whispers from residents, warning her about the cave below the lighthouse, once a prison for women accused of practicing witchcraft. When two of her daughters disappear and the search goes cold, Liv is beyond devastated. More than twenty years later, Liv’s daughter Luna receives word that one of her missing sisters has been found but inexplicably, she is still the same age as when she went missing. As Luna prepares to return to the island, she remembers the local legend, whispered after the disappearance about wildings-magical forms appearing as children, seeking revenge on behalf of the witches. Superstition and truth are woven together in this atmospheric thriller.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova

Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova

Atria Books (September 7, 2021)

The Montoya family has come to expect the unexpected, learning not to question seemingly magical elements of their life with matriarch, Orquídea Divina. So, they are not too surprised to receive an invitation from Orquídea, inviting them to her own funeral. Orquídea has also left inheritance, gifts that will provide unexpected luck for her family. Years later, the Montoya family is threatened and must discover the truth behind the gifts and secrets kept by Orquídea, understanding the power of family along the way. With alternating perspectives, rich details and engaging characters drive this magical novel.

The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec 

The Witch's Heart by Genevieve Gornichec 

Ace (February 9, 2021)

After being punished by the god Odin for refusing to reveal the future, the witch Angrboda is banished and left powerless. In a remote forest, she encounters the god Loki and soon they fall in love. Together, they have three children who will grow to possess unique and powerful gifts. Angrboda does her best to raise her children in secret, keeping their powers unknown from jealous gods. When her children are discovered, Angrboda begins a powerful journey to protect her children and create a better future for her children. A powerful story about a mother’s strength, told in a reimagined take on the classic Norse legends, revealing new depth behind the mythical characters.

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian

Park Row (September 7, 2021)

Chloe Sevre is a typical college student, spending her time studying, going to parties… and planning to kill a childhood friend in revenge. Chloe is one of seven students in a psychology study who are psychopaths, exhibiting a lack of guilt, compassion, and understanding of fear. The students agree to wear smart devices that track their location and emotions. When one of the students is murdered, a thrilling race is set in motion to find the killer. Chloe is forced to align with her fellow psychopaths in order to discover the killer and survive. This fast-paced, clever thriller will grip readers until the very last page. 

Big Halloween fan? Here are some items we think you’ll love…

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Meghan Odegard is a librarian living in Wisconsin. She proudly supports Barn Sanctuary, a nonprofit dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, and caring for farm animals in need.

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