It’s spooky month, and you know what that means: thrillers, horrors, and all things designed to creep you out!
For this month’s guest post, Alexander Shay gives us his top five Halloween reads.
1. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
I Hunt Killers is a trilogy following the son of the world’s most notorious serial killer. For a YA novel, it’s rather adult. Jazz, the main character, struggles with murderous urges of his own thanks to his upbringing. He knows criminals more intimately than any cop every could, and therefore, tends to stick his nose where it doesn’t belong.
Naturally, when murders start occurring in Jazz’s town, all fingers are pointed at him, and he has to figure out who the real culprit is. I personally love the dark and disturbing character arc of Jazz that occurs through all three books. Every time something messed up happens, you think “okay, that’s it, it couldn’t possibly get any darker”—but then it does.
2. Find You in the Dark by Nathan Ripley
This one is an extra favourite of mine because it’s Canadian! The narrator, Martin, attempts to solve the unsolved by digging up the bodies of serial killers. But, his interest in murder is rather suspicious. While the plot involves the typical cat-and-mouse chase when Martin comes across the work of a killer who is still active, what I most enjoyed about this book was Martin. He’s not your typical narrator. He has a family, he’s got a good life, and yet something about him is off. His observations and experienced emotions seem so muted and distant; he’s very logical, almost too much so. I really enjoyed being inside his head.
3. The Woods by James Tynion IV
The Woods is a 9 volume (finished) graphic novel series. It’s more sci-fi than horror, but it definitely has a dark atmosphere and isn’t scared to get gritty when it’s called for. The art style is very unique and the alien creatures are mostly what kept my interest. The main cast of characters does change up a little throughout the series, but there is a fair amount of LGBT+ representation, which was a bonus for me.
It’s not your typical high school drama; these characters grow up fast or were already on the mature side, but the psychological effects of having to survive in this environment don’t go untreated. The truth of their transportation to this alien world is revealed in bits through each volume, spaced out alongside personal journeys for each of the main characters.
4. Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
This book blew my mind. Before reading this book I would be hard pressed to name a book that legitimately disturbed me. This is a teen book too, so I was very surprised. The setup and reasoning behind the existence of Furnace left a little to be desired for me, but the events that occur inside of Furnace and how it operates more than made up for it. This book is literally the stuff of nightmares.
5. Blueyedboy by Joanne Harris
I don’t typically read books with experimental formats. But I admit, in this book, it works. Harris uses an online blog style of prose, where a loner 40 year old still living with his mother posts murderous fiction stories. We go between two narrators who clearly have a shared past, and the more you read, the more you figure out what’s the truth and what’s a lie—because on the internet, you can’t trust anything. Plot twists galore, in a good way.