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Staff Picks: 11 Truly Frightening Novels

If your ideal Halloween is lying under the covers with a page-turning thriller, hiding from the kids demanding lollies, look no further, here are some of the scariest novels we’ve EVER read. Which novels really terrify you?

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Strangely compelling, Sarah Waters’ novel about a crumbling, haunted house in post-war England stayed with us for weeks after reading. In fact, we’re having chills just thinking about that attic..

You by Caroline Kepnes  

You goes into the mind of deranged stalker Joe Goldberg, and what’ll really creep you out is how charming, smart and… normal he seems. For an obsessed killer, that is. 

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

The 1967 story of a private girls’ school excursion into the Australian bush is a classic that chills us to this day. It’s haunting and mysterious with a dream-like quality, while being as compelling as ever.

Misery by Stephen King

There are so many books we could include from the master of horror – IT, The Shining, Carrie, to name only a few – but Misery has it all. The story of a writer who is taken prisoner by his nurse (immortalised in the movie by Kathy Bates) is deeply disturbing and gruesome.

Hades by Candice Fox

Australian crime writer Candice Fox creates three wonderfully dark and complex characters at the centre of this bone-chilling story.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline was originally released in an adult edition as well as a children’s one and may scare you as much as it will scare the kids.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

When the classic American writer Henry James turned his hand to the supernatural he produced an eerie and menacing ghost story that is still as scary today.

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

Thomas Harris’ horrific story of a cannibalistic psychopath and an FBI agent is a masterpiece of suspense and horror.

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

Last year’s Booker Prize winner is a terrifying and riveting exploration into gangs and gangster life in Jamaica’s sinister underbelly. It’s not for the feint of heart.

The Dead Path by Stephen M Irwin

This underrated but fantastic Australian author takes us on a startlingly creepy and sinister journey in this unputdownable crime story.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

In the classic story, Bram Stoker created a masterpiece that probes into human identity, sanity, and the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.


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