Celebrate Halloween with the Prairie Trails Public Library staff!
Keep reading below to learn more about recommended Halloween reading from members of our library staff. We will continue to update this list with staff recommendations throughout the month of October. If you're interested in checking out one of these books or any other creepy classics, check out the SWAN library catalog to see what's available.
By Joe Hill
Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre — his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, etc. — so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it.
The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker’s sanity.
By Stephen King
The road in front of Dr. Louis Creed's rural Maine home frequently claims the lives of neighborhood pets. Louis has recently moved from Chicago to Ludlow with his wife Rachel, their children and pet cat. Near their house, local children have created a cemetery for the dogs and cats killed by the steady stream of transports on the busy highway. Deeper in the woods lies another graveyard, an ancient Indian burial ground whose sinister properties Louis discovers when the family cat is killed.
The Haunting of Hill House
By Shirley Jackson
First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a "haunting"; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.
By Mary Shelley
"With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet.... by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs." And so the creature comes to life. Victor Frankenstein, "the modern Prometheus," has animated matter. But instead of feeling a godlike euphoria, he is sickened at what he has done, and from the first shuns the monster ("Frankenstein" properly refers only to the scientist; the creature is unnamed). The monster, however, will not be ignored, and in its fury wreaks havoc on Frankenstein's life. Hundreds of faithless adaptations have obscured the story of Frankenstein. First-time readers are therefore urged to set aside all preconceptions (no flat-headed, neck-bolted monsters here) before starting.
By Joe Hill
Nestled high in the mountains of central Colorado is a house of death with a hidden door to another world, Christmasland. It is a fantasy realm accessible only through the psychotic mind of Charles Manx and his malevolent Wraith, a 1938 Rolls Royce with the vanity plate NOS4A2.
By Scott Smith
Trapped in the Mexican jungle, a group of friends stumble upon a creeping horror unlike anything they could ever imagine.Two young couples are on a lazy Mexican vacation–sun-drenched days, drunken nights, making friends with fellow tourists. When the brother of one of those friends disappears, they decide to venture into the jungle to look for him. What started out as a fun day-trip slowly spirals into a nightmare when they find an ancient ruins site . . . and the terrifying presence that lurks there.
Books of Blood Series
By Clive Barker
A psychic researcher, Mary Florescu, has employed a quack medium named Simon McNeal to investigate a haunted house. Alone in an upstairs room, McNeal at first fakes visions, but then the ghosts attack him for real and carve words in his flesh – comprising the rest of the stories as a literal, living "Book of Blood."
By Agatha Christie
At a Hallowe'en party, Joyce, a hostile thirteen-year-old, boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub.
That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the evil presence. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double murderer.
The Fall of the House of Usher
By Edgar Allen Poe
A visitor to a gloomy mansion finds a childhood friend dying under the spell of a family curse.