10 Books You Must Read This Fall

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Crisp air, colorful leaves and #PSL..you know what that means.

In honor of this year’s fall season, we would like to recommend some spooky stories for you!

1. Wendigo by Vaughn C. Hardacker

Algonquin legend tells of the Wendigo, an evil spirit sent to punish mankind. It can possess a person and turn them into a monstrous creature consumed by a need to eat human flesh. For John Bear the Wendigo was merely a scary story his grandfather used to tell him. That is, until a man is found dead in the deep northern woods of Maine, butchered like an animal and with his heart cut out. And the only tracks they can find are massive footprints that couldn’t possibly be human. Now, John is sure that what is stalking the inhabitants of their remote outpost is a Wendigo, even if no one else believes it. He must stop a monster he once thought was nothing more than a tale to warn children.

From Vaughn C. Hardacker, acclaimed author of Sniper and The Fisherman and twice finalist for the Maine Literary Awards, comes a supernatural thriller from the winter depths of the Maine wilderness, where the line between myth and reality blurs and ancient horrors are never fully buried. All are in danger of the Wendigo’s endless hunger, but how do you find a creature that can look like anyone until it’s too late?

2. American Ghost by Paul Guernsey

An inventive metafictional novel, in which a drug-dealing biker must solve his own murder from beyond the grave.

Thumb Rivera is in a bind. A college dropout, aspiring writer, smalltime marijuana grower, and biker club hang-around, Thumb finds himself confined to his rural ranch house in the desolate Maine countryside, helpless to do anything but watch as his former friends and housemates scheme behind his back, conspire to steal his girlfriend, and make inroads with the Blood Eagles, a dangerous biker gang.

Thumb is also dead.

A ghost forced to haunt his survivors and reflect back on the circumstances that led to his unsolved murder, Thumb discovers he has one channel through which he can communicate with the living world: Ben, an unemployed ghost hunter. Ben soon convinces local curmudgeon Fred Muttkowski, failed novelist turned pig farmer, to turn Ben’s Ouija-board conversations with Thumb into an actual book.

Thumb has two things on his mind: To solve, and then avenge, the mystery of his own violent death, and also to tell his story. That story is American Ghost—as told to Ben, then fictionalized by Fred. It’s at once a clever tale of the afterlife, a poignant examination of the ephemeral nature of life, and a celebration of writing and the written word.

3. The Devil’s Rosary: The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin, Volume Two By Seabury Quinn

Today the names of H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, August Derleth, and Clark Ashton Smith, all regular contributors to the pulp magazine Weird Tales during the first half of the twentieth century, are recognizable even to casual readers of the bizarre and fantastic. And yet despite being more popular than them all during the golden era of genre pulp fiction, there is another author whose name and work have fallen into obscurity: Seabury Quinn.

Quinn’s short stories were featured in well more than half of Weird Tales?s original publication run. His most famous character, the supernatural French detective Dr. Jules de Grandin, investigated cases involving monsters, devil worshippers, serial killers, and spirits from beyond the grave, often set in the small town of Harrisonville, New Jersey. In de Grandin there are familiar shades of both Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, and alongside his assistant, Dr. Samuel Trowbridge, de Grandin’s knack for solving mysteries and his outbursts of peculiar French-isms (grand Dieu!) captivated readers for nearly three decades.

Collected for the first time in trade editions, The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin, edited by George Vanderburgh, presents all ninety-three published works featuring the supernatural detective. Presented in chronological order over five volumes, this is the definitive collection of an iconic pulp hero.

The second volume, The Devil’s Rosary, includes all of the Jules de Grandin stories from The Black Master (1929) to The Wolf of St. Bonnot (1930), as well as an introduction by Stefan Dziemianowicz.

4. His Bloody Project by Graeme MaCrae Burnet

A brutal triple murder in a remote Scottish farming community in 1869 leads to the arrest of seventeen-year-old Roderick Macrae. There is no question that Macrae committed this terrible act. What would lead such a shy and intelligent boy down this bloody path? And will he hang for his crime?

Presented as a collection of documents discovered by the author, His Bloody Project opens with a series of police statements taken from the villagers of Culdie, Ross-shire. They offer conflicting impressions of the accused; one interviewee recalls Macrae as a gentle and quiet child, while another details him as evil and wicked. Chief among the papers is Roderick Macrae’s own memoirs where he outlines the series of events leading up to the murder in eloquent and affectless prose. There follow medical reports, psychological evaluations, a courtroom transcript from the trial, and other documents that throw both Macrae’s motive and his sanity into question.

Graeme Macrae Burnet’s multilayered narrative—centered around an unreliable narrator—will keep the reader guessing to the very end. His Bloody Project is a deeply imagined crime novel that is both thrilling and luridly entertaining from an exceptional new voice.

5. Entropy in Bloom by Jeremy Robert Johnson

For more than a decade, Jeremy Robert Johnson has been bubbling under the surface of both literary and genre fiction. His short stories present a brilliantly dark and audaciously weird realm where cosmic nightmares collide with all-too-human characters and apocalypses of all shapes and sizes loom ominously. In “Persistence Hunting,” a lonely distance runner is seduced into a brutal life of crime with an ever-narrowing path for escape. In “When Susurrus Stirs,” an unlucky pacifist must stop a horrifying parasite from turning his body into a sentient hive. Running through all of Johnson’s work is a hallucinatory vision and deeply-felt empathy, earning the author a reputation as one of today’s most daring and thrilling writers.

Featuring the best of his independently-published short fiction, as well as an exclusive, never-before-published novella “The Sleep of Judges”—where a father’s fight against the denizens of a drug den becomes a mind-bending suburban nightmare—Entropy in Bloom is a perfect compendium for avid fans and an ideal entry point for adventurous readers seeking the humor, heartbreak, and terror of JRJ’s strange new worlds.

6. Hex-Rated by Jason Ridler

A salacious throwback to the detective pulps of the 70s, Hex-Rated kicks off the new urban fantasy series the Brimstone Files.

Fall, 1970. Los Angeles has always been a den of danger and bliss, but even darker tidings brew in the City of Angels. Cults, magic, and the supernatural are leaking into the worlds of glamour and dives of the gutter. To the spectators walking down Hollywood Blvd, it’s just more proof that La La Land is over the cuckoo’s nest. But to former child magician and Korean veteran turned newly-licensed private investigator James Brimstone, it means business is picking up.

After attending his mentor’s funeral, Brimstone signs his first client: Nico, a beautiful actress with a face full of scars and an unbelievable story of sex, demons, and violence on the set of a pornographic film in the San Fernando Valley. The cops chalk it up to a bad trip from a lost soul, but Brimstone knows better.

He takes the case, but the investigation goes haywire as he encounters Hell’s Angels, a lost book of Japanese erotica, and a new enemy whose powers may fill the streets of L.A. with blood. He’ll have to us his Carney wits, magic tricks, and a whole lotta charm to make it out of a world that is becoming . . . Hex-Rated.

7. The Last to See Me by M Dressler

For fans of Lauren Oliver and Kazuo Ishiguro, The Last to See Me is a spellbinding American ghost story deftly weaving past and present into an unforgettable narrative about a young woman’s fight for a life of her own—long after her life is over.

Over one hundred years ago, Emma Rose Finnis was born and died in the remote northern California town she now haunts. When she was alive, she was a lowly chambermaid and worse, a Finnis. Now, no one remembers her hardworking life and her grand dreams—because there are none left to remember. In a world where phantoms are considered “unclean,” the spirits of her town have already been removed. All except Emma Rose.

But when a determined hunter arrives with instructions to extinguish her once and for all, Emma Rose refuses to be hounded from her haunt, the stately Lambry Mansion. She’s earned her place and she’ll keep it—even if it means waging a war on the living. After all, she’s got nothing left to lose. The same might not be said for those who still enjoy the luxury of a breath . . .

8. Death and Douglas by J. W. Ocker

Douglas has grown up around the business of death. Generations of his family have run the Mortimer Family Funeral Home. The mortician and gravediggers are all his buddies. And the display room of caskets is an awesome place for hide and seek. It’s business as usual in Douglas’s small New England town. Until one day an incredibly out of the ordinary murder victim is brought to the funeral home. And more startling: others follow. On the cusp of Halloween, a serial killer has arrived. And unsatisfied with the small-town investigation, Douglas enlists his friends to help him solve the mystery. With sumptuous descriptions of a bucolic town and it’s quirky people, fascinating yet middle grade–appropriate insider information about the funeral process, and a crackling mystery with a heart-pounding conclusion―Death and Douglas has something for readers young and old.

9. Abigale Hall by Lauren Forry

Amid the terror of the Second World War, seventeen-year-old Eliza and her troubled little sister Rebecca have had their share of tragedy, having lost their mother to the Blitz and their father to suicide. Forced to leave London to work for the mysterious Mr. Brownwell at Abigale Hall, they soon learn that the worst is yet to come. The vicious housekeeper, Mrs. Pollard, seems hell-bent on keeping the ghostly secrets of the house away from the sisters and forbids them from entering the surrounding town—and from the rumors that circulate about Abigale Hall. When Eliza uncovers some blood-splattered books, ominous photographs, and portraits of a mysterious woman, she begins to unravel the mysteries of the house, but with Rebecca falling under Mrs. Pollard’s spell, she must act quickly to save her sister, and herself, from certain doom.

Perfect for readers who hunger for the strange, Abigale Hall is an atmospheric debut novel where the threat of death looms just beyond the edge of every page. Lauren A. Forry has created a historical ghost story where the setting is as alive as the characters who inhabit it and a resonant family drama of trust, loyalty, and salvation.

10. The Haunted House Project by Tricia Clasen

Since her mom died, Andie’s family has crumbled. Instead of working, her dad gambles away insurance money, while her sister, Paige, has put her future on hold in order to pick up extra waitressing shifts. Andie’s afraid of what will happen if people find out just how bad things are. She’s not sure how long she can hide the fact that there’s no food or money in the house…or adults, for that matter.

When her science partner suggests they study paranormal activity, Andie gets an idea. She wants a sign from her mom—anything to tell her it’s going to be okay. Maybe the rest of her family does too. So she starts a project of her own. Pretending to be her mother’s ghost, Andie sprays perfume, changes TV channels, and moves pictures. Haunting her house is Andie’s last hope to bring her family back into the land of the living.

For anyone who loved Counting by 7s, The Haunted House Project is a journey through loss and grief, but ultimately a story of hope and self-reliance. As much as Andie has been changed by her mother’s death, the changes she makes herself are the ones that are most important.

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