As a child I was terrified of all things supernatural. Even as a teenager I recall having to have an adult accompany me up the stairs and see me safely to bed after I stayed up to watch some ghostly movie or other. But as is so often the case with things that one fears I seem to have developed a morbid fascination with the supernatural and a book with a few bumps in the night will keep me enthralled.
With Halloween fast approaching now seems like a good time to share some of those spooky books with you.
Last year I recommended this book as good Halloween reading.
Will Storr vs The Supernatural The recommendation stands, it's fascinating stuff. Our intrepid investigator Will Storr, who has written for both the Observer and The Times Magazines, sets off on a journey to discover the "truth" about ghosts after having all his beliefs turned upside down during a journalistic assignment with a Demonologist. Yes a real life Deomonologist from Philadelphia. Amongst others he meets paranormal investigators, mediums and the Vatican's chief exorcist. He visits haunted houses, goes on the set of Most Haunted, speaks to psychologists and has some very strange experiences. A throughly entertaining book.
If fiction is more your thing I suppose you can't really go wrong with a James Herbert, after all he isn't one of Britains foremost "horror" writers for nothing. I hadn't read James Herbert since his The Magic Cottage but was tempted by The Secret of Crickley Hall (also recommended by PG), it doesn't disappoint, I was dragged through with a sort of fatal fasincation from the very first page.
But I have to say that horror isn't my preferred genre, thrillers with an element of the supernatural are much more my thing and I don't think you can get much better than a Phil Rickman. I am a huge fan of his Merrily Watkins Mysteries (start with Wine of Angels-" a village mystery with murder, missing girls, incest, cider and a ghost") but for Halloween I would probably choose one of his earlier books such as Candlenight, The Man in The Moss, or Crybbe. Phil Rickman is a master of rich characterisation and you'll soon get to know (and love) many of the characters who crop up now and again in "cameo roles" in his books.
One last recommendation for readers who like a sprinkling of romance to sweeten their "chillers", this one comes from my 70 year old Aunt, she loves to read Barbara Erskine. Hiding From the Light complete with ghosts and witches would make the perfect Halloween book.