9 Spooky New Books For Your Campfire Reading

by Sadie Trombetta
Originally Published: 

Everyone seems to think that Halloween is the best time of year to read about ghosts, murder, and haunted houses, but the truth is, summer should be crowned the official season of scary stories ⁠— at least, for those of us who go camping. When you're deep in the woods, with nothing but the the sounds of mysterious animals and the light from a crackling fire to keep you company, it's the perfect time to enjoy one of the year's new horror novels to read around the campfire. And by perfect, I of course mean the scariest.

If you have ever gone camping, whether it was at a campground with your family, in someone's backyard with friends, or off the beaten trail all by yourself, you know the experience isn't complete without two very important things: s'mores and scary stories. There is just something about being outside and under the stars that makes eating massive amounts of sugar and swapping tales of terror that much more fun. But what do you do when you've run out of the creepy stories you know by heart?

Grab some bug spray, a flashlight, and your security blanket and head into the woods with one of these nine horror novels that are perfect for reading around the campfire.

'The Luminous Dead' by Caitlin Starling

Science fiction meets horror in this gripping novel about a caver on a foreign planet whose expedition takes her to deeper, darker places than she could have ever imagined. This is a sharp tale of psychological terror that will certainly keep you awake long after everyone is asleep.

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'The Invited' by Jennifer McMahon

If you are in need of a new kind of ghost story, look no further Jennifer McMahon's The Invited, a dark and twisty novel about a couple who builds a haunted house in the woods of Vermont. On purpose. But just because this husband and wife help create the home doesn't mean they're safe from its danger.

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'Wakenhyrst' by Michelle Paver

In 1913, historian Edmund Stearne commit a gruesome murder with an ice pick and a hammer, but what drove him to do it? That's what Maud, his daughter and the protagonist of Michelle Paver's Wakenhyrst, wants to understand. A gripping thriller and chilling ghost story wrapped into want, this is not your typical haunted house story.

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'Five Midnights' by Ann Dávila Cardinal

Set in modern day Puerto Rico over the course of just a few days, Five Midnights is terrifying tale of murder that takes readers into the heart of the myth of El Cuco. Fast-paced and fascinating, this YA horror novel will surely scare teens and adults alike.

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'The Devouring Gray' by Christine Lynn Herman

In this spellbinding young adult novel, a 17-year-old girl still grieving the loss of her sister is forced to build a new life in a strange town that her ancestors ⁠— and monsters ⁠— have called home for centuries. Will she and the other Founders be able to keep the residents safe from the Gray, a lifeless dimension with a growing body count, or will she become its next victim?

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'Flight or Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales' by Stephen King and Bev Vincent

If you, like Stephen King, have a fear of flying, you may or may not want to pick up this collection edited by Bev Vincent and the Master of Horror himself. Featuring 17 stories about scary situations 31,000 feet in the air, Flight or Fright includes new pieces by King and Joe Hill, as well as classics by Ray Bradbury, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and more.

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'Middlegame' by Seanan McGuire

When it comes to scary stories, is there anything creepier than a child with special powers? What about two of them. In Middlegame, award-winning author Seanan McGuire her own twist on the traditional gifted child horror novel in this dark fantasy novel about a pair of young twins and the man who created them to be gods.

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'The Poison Thread' by Laura Purcell

In this Gothic mystery, The Silent Companions author Laura Purcell spins a scary story about a young seamstress who claims to have the power to take a life with her needle and thread. Is she serious about her ability, or seriously delusional? Readers will have a lot of fun finding out.

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'Growing Things and Other Stories' by Paul Tremblay (July 2)

There are 19 chilling stories of psychological terror in this haunting new collection from the bestselling author of The Cabin at the End of the World, Paul Tremblay. Featuring mothers and monsters, ghosts and global catastrophe, demons and disappearances and several characters from his previous works, Growing Things is a great camping companion, for those who are brave enough.

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