Some people might mope the second summer ends. Others feel the first chilling breeze and immediately cozy up with a good book. We happen to fall into that latter category. For the ones who breathe Halloween, check out these creepy book covers from recent releases that are sure to get you into the autumn spirit.
Malice House by Megan Shepherd
Malice House tells of a woman named Haven who moves into her father’s home not long after he passes. The haunted house hides a mysterious book called Bedtime Stories For Monsters. Haven wishes to use her artistic skills to recreate the book, but the odd townsfolk and a lurking monster get in the way.
The cover depicting a lonely house on a cliff by the sea just emanates cold. Memories of fall beach trips, when the ocean seems more treacherous beneath roiling clouds, calls on you to give this chilling story a read.
The Midnight Club by Christopher Pike
The Midnight Club is a story wherein the titular group of kids gather every night at midnight to tell stories. What makes these kids unique is that they’re all living at a hospice for children. Despite the dismal nature of their short lives, the teens have formed a strong bond. They vow that when one dies, they’ll contact the others from beyond the grave.
The 1994 novel got a sleek revamped design in anticipation of the spinoff series coming to Netflix. All the doom and gloom of an Edgar Allen Poe poem is present. Raven wings and lightning cracks are juxtaposed against a casual group of teens. They seem as relaxed as any kid telling scary stories in the middle of the night, and this cover emits the same morbid glee.
The Witch Hunt by Sasha Peyton Smith
The Witch Hunt is the second book in The Witch Haven series. This sequel describes the protagonist’s journey seeking answers for her witchy power. Having not had a good grasp on her abilities, Frances discovers that her previous attempts to speak to her dead brother have torn a rift in reality. The spaces that the living and the dead inhabit are beginning to meld.
Another cover featuring the beautiful spooky raven, this design is far more mystical than scary. The array of stars resemble an icy winter night, moonless, cloudless and infinitely black.
Cackle by Rachel Harrison
Cackle details the life of a woman named Annie, who wishes to start fresh after breaking up from a long-term relationship. She moves from Manhattan to its antithesis, a cozy storybook town where she lives with an eccentric yet bright woman named Sophie. The two get along instantly, but the people in the town seem to fear Sophie and Annie notices things that are a bit off about her.
The novel’s cover tells you everything you need to know about this story’s twist, and the colorful illustration emits whimsy and beauty. It’s got all the earmarks of a stylish modern witch, and those delicate dangling spiders would look pretty cool as Halloween decorations.
Dreamland by Nicholas Sparks
Dreamland tells two parallel stories about reaching for improbable dreams and escaping from a stormy past. The former concerns Colby Mills, who’d somewhat given up on his music dreams when tragedy burdened him with huge responsibilities. He meets a woman who mirrors his passion and brings life back to his aspirations. On the flipside we have Beverley, the mother of a young son running from her abusive husband. She settles in a far away backwater town in hopes of starting fresh.
The gentle painting-like cover of this book inspires a warm autumnal nostalgia. The orangesicle skies and gauzy stalks of grain practically scream autumn, a time of harvest, corn mazes, and long evenings.
The Butcher and the Wren by Alaina Urquhart
Here is one of the special pieces on this list where both the cover and the content are perfect for Halloween. The Butcher and the Wren follows a dual-narrative involving a serial murder case. On one side is the killer’s perspective, whose cold curiosity for medical experimentation drives him to tinker and twist as many bodies as he can find. His methodical prowl through the Louisiana bayou is followed by forensic pathologist Wren Miller, who falls into an outright obsession with catching the killer.
The cold light and the panicked eyes smeared with makeup promise a truly thrilling read. The woman appears cold as she stares with ghostly eyes at her own personal monster. For those who delight in being chilled to the marrow, this horror story will surely not disappoint.
All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers
Flowers’ novel is another haunting story about strange, isolated towns and the secrets they hide. Margot was raised in a small town wherein her childhood friend was brutally murdered. Even after growing up and moving to the city, Margot never forgot her friend, nor the murder case that was never solved. Returning to care for a relative, Margot is dazed by how stuck in time her hometown is. When another murder occurs identical to the one she’s been haunted by, Margot will stop at nothing to find the secrets of this little town.
A sunset over a large red barn is another familiar fall scene for anyone who’s grown up in the country. The serene, cloud-dappled sky behind brash black lettering tells of the dangers of rural life. The drifting light foreshadows the oncoming night, and all the strangeness that comes with it.
The Night and its Moon by Piper CJ
The Night and Its Moon is a fairytale of two souls once parted destined to reunite. Nox and Amaris grew up together in an orphanage, and when someone comes to buy Amaris, Nox offers themself up instead. Amaris is drawn in the opposite direction to a land of assassins. The two make it their life mission to unite once again, despite the danger of a looming war.
This cover’s beautiful illustration is reminiscent of a tarot card, the binding of limbs and symbols. There’s a mystical feeling brought about by the mood of autumn. The violent chemistry of life often inspires art based on touch.
Bad Day Breaking by John Gilligan
The fourth entry in Gilligan’s Bad Axe County series, this book details the climax of a familiar small town story. The local government battles an ever-growing cult that’s gaining control over the county, a conflict that threatens to break into all-out war. Meanwhile, ghosts of the protagonist’s past have come knocking, and the sheriff must now juggle her cruel ex-lover and the cult clawing for power.
It doesn’t really hit home that winter is on its way until that first cold breeze of fall. The beauty of autumn comes from all the little deaths happening at once, in a flurry of beautiful colors. The once comforting shapes of nature change into something more depraved and gnarled, and the cover of this book really captures that feeling.
The Getaway by Lamar Giles
Jay’s living the good life, living in a famous resort called Karloff County. He works at the resort part-time before strange guests begin arriving. But the world outside is falling apart, and the wealthy elite are fleeing to Karloff where they’ll be safe and pampered. Meanwhile, the Karloff residents are expected to wait on these socialites like slaves, and Jay struggles to escape. However, what lies beyond the safety of his home could be far, far worse.
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of Halloween is the changing of identity, to literally wear a mask and become someone you aren’t on a night when no one is themselves. There’s nothing quite so unsettling as a face that isn’t quite natural. When all our instinctual alarms blare at the sight of an uncanny smile, you know it’s ghoulish enough for the spooky season.
Feeling the Fall Vibes?
Now that you’re in a spooky mood, the next step is simple: grab a cup of tea, settle under a tree and embark on one of these seasonal reads. Perhaps the comfort of autumn nostalgia will keep you warm… or else, the creatures of the night give you a chill.
Check out more new fiction must-reads in this Three-To-Read Bookstr article!