October may be the official month for ghost, goblins, and ghouls, but nothing says summer quite like a scary story. If you're looking to do some seasonal reading this weekend, try picking one of these short horror books that will terrify you well past Monday morning.
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved horror. I don't know if it was early exposure to the spectacularly cheesy Leprechaun franchise, my affinity for Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of the Dark?, or the fact I found — and obsessed over — the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books at the library when I was just a kid, but I have spent my whole life in love with tales about all those things that go bump in the night. The only problem: none of my friends, none of my family members, and not even my partner of seven years share my passion.
That is why, instead of sitting through scary movies in the theater by myself, I tend to get my horror fix through books. From the safety of my own home, surrounded by the comfort of familiarity and my boyfriend's voice in the other room, I can dive into the dark, dangerous, and deadly world of monsters, ghosts, zombies, and murderers for however long as I want, or for however short as I can handle.
If you're looking to scare yourself silly this weekend, try one of these short horror books that are so terrifying, they might make you want to give the Monday "Scaries" a new name.
'The Dead House' by Billy O'Callaghan
Hardcover Page Count: 224
In his best-selling debut, award-winning Irish author Billy O'Callaghan creates a contemporary ghost story that will chill you to your bones. In The Dead House, a group of friends gather in a historical cottage on the coast of Ireland to drink and celebrate its completed renovations. But when they decide to pull out an old Ouija board, they accidentally summon a dangerous and sinister thing that will change all of their lives — just like it did to many, many others before them.
'Cry Your Way Home' by Damien Angelica Walters
Paperback Page Count: 240
If you're a horror fan and you haven't read Damien Angelica Walters's chilling short stories yet, what have you been doing with your life? In Cry Your Way Home, a new and terrifying anthology from the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author, readers will find a world in which nothing is as it seems to be. An darkly fantastical and atmospheric collection filled with shocking twists and unpredictable turns, this is a can't miss anthology from a writer you need to know.
'Frankenstein in Baghdad' by Ahmed Saadawi
Paperback Page Count: 288
In this Man Booker International Prize finalist, a strange scavenger stitches together a corpse from various human body parts he collects from the streets of U.S.-occupied Baghdad. His intention: to show the government the extent of the devastation so they will give people proper burials. The result: a monster come alive, unable to be killed, wandering the city on a murderous rampage. Smart, gruesome, and darkly funny, Frankenstein in Baghdad is a unique horror story unlike any other.
'The Clarity' by Keith Thomas
Hardcover Page Count: 304
Thanks to a secret locked inside the memories of a WWI soldier she claims to have, eleven-year-old Ashanique and her mother have been on the run their whole lives. That is, until they meet Dr. Matilda Deacon, a psychologist who just might be able to protect them from the monstrous assassin who will stop at nothing to find them. Fast-paced and suspenseful, The Clarity is the kind of visceral horror story that will keep you awake long past bedtime — lest the Night Doctors get you.
'The Price Guide to the Occult' by Leslye Walton
Hardcover Page Count: 288
Murder and magic abound in The Price Guide to the Occult, an dark and atmospheric YA horror novel set on a cursed island in the moody Pacific Northwest. Nor Blackburn wants to live a normal life, something she thought she could do considering her supernatural powers are practically nonexistent, just like her love life. But when a mysterious spell book comes out, Nor finds herself at the center of a deadly magical conflict.