I’m often caught in a quandary. I love scary books, but I read mostly at night and that can lead to some colorful nightmares. So, I tend to wistfully hold off on the scary books I want to devour. However, I make an exception around Halloween time because when the leaves rustle on the sidewalk in the wind, and the air is crisp and a little more foreboding, I love to get my scare on. Whether you like suspense, supernatural or true crime, we have some creepy books to curl up with by the glow of some candles and a bag of fun size Butterfingers.
This Sheridan La Fanu novella is about a lady vampire who seduces a young woman in the 1800s. At first, Carmilla seems like a wonderful companion for the lonely and isolated Laura, but soon enough, women and girls start mysteriously dying all around the village. Tender flesh is bitten, blood is consumed and stakes are sharpened. This is the godmother of all vampire books, even inspiring the much more famous Dracula by Bram Stroker.
The great Sarah Waters‘ third lesbian-centric novel deals with ghosts, spiritualism and con artists. After a suicide attempt and mourning the death of her father, Margaret Prior begins volunteering in a women’s prison. This being the 1870s, it wasn’t exactly a hospitable place to be. She becomes entranced by a beautiful young woman named Selina, who is a medium (or claims to be). Margaret is drawn into Selina’s world, and the novel slowly unravels the true tale behind her mystery.
Prolific short story writer Shirley Jackson was a literary force to be reckoned with. Her short story, The Lottery, has been traumatizing high school freshmen for decades, but The Haunting on Hill House was probably her biggest triumph. A truly scary work, THHH focuses on a haunted abode and the people who decide to investigate its paranormal activity. One of these people, an artist named Theodora, is assumed to be a lesbian. Possession, ghostly happenings and terror abound.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Amber Benson may have played one of television’s most beloved lesbians, but she’s made a second career for herself as a sci-fi and supernatural novelist. Her newest series, The Witches of Echo Park, is some of her best work. A coven of witches loses one of its own and dark forces threaten to not only take them over, but the world as well. One of the main characters is Danielle, a spunky and very queer empath, who can read people by touch. She also has to wear gloves because too much of these sensations can send her into deadly seizures. She’s a complicated character who is one of the most interesting in a novel chock full of cool female characters. The sequel, The Last Dream Keeper, is due out in January and is sure to have more Danielle.