There’s no escaping Hallowe’en, even here at The Murder Room. Some of the Murder Room team put their (severed) heads together to bring you their top chilling reads to keep you cold by your fireplace tonight . . .
Julia Silk – Digital Projects Manager: For me it has to be The Demonologist. The mundane and the supernatural merge so perfectly that the latter becomes completely believable. Throw in a child in peril and a father determined to fulfil her final plea, and I barely breathed for the entire 300-plus pages. It’s so well written: fast-paced, terrifying, very moving and, ultimately, satisfying. Follow Julia @JuliaSilk72
Debbie Holmes – Art Director: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is something I’ve read a few times, to shred my nerves. It was adapted into a genuinely frightening film, The Haunting (1963). Chilling and powerful, it taps into our own personal fears and insecurities – and what could be more frightening that that?
Jemima Forrester – Editor: For me, it’s got to be Say Goodbye by Lisa Gardner. It’s the only book that has literally kept me up all night, not just because it’s an awesome read (which it is), but because I was far too scared to go to sleep!
Since I suffer from arachnophobia, perhaps reading a book about a gruesome serial killer with a perverted obsession with poisonous spiders wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve done, but I’d still recommend it to anyone. It’s dark, terrifying and compulsively page-turning.
Read it, but have the lights on full and an episode or two of The Simpsons on standby to help you recover when you’re done! Follow Jemima @jemimaforrester
Genevieve Pegg – Editorial Director: If I can’t go bang up to date with Kate Mosse’s brand new collection, The Mistletoe Bride, my top Hallowe’en read is seriously old school – The Monk by Matthew Lewis. It may be from the late eighteenth century, but it would give any modern horror film a run for its money.
Gore abounds, along with poisoning, cross-dressing monks and pregnant nuns, and while the violence and body count never let up, it has you constantly questioning yourself and the characters, and leads to a showstopper of a conclusion.
Juliet Ewers – Publishing Director: Dark Matter by Michelle Paver – DO NOT READ THIS AT NIGHT, AND DEFINITELY NOT IF YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN. Set in 1937, it doesn’t initially seem as if it’s going to be the scariest tale, but once our hero is out there in the Arctic, and his companions, one by one, have to leave, the tension becomes almost unbearable. I think the line that got me was: ‘my body knew before I did that I was not alone . . .’
Read this book – but with all the lights on!
Graeme Williams – Senior Marketing Executive: More horror than spook, but certainly crime, I’ve got to pick The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes. It follows serial-killer survivor Kirby as she tries to track down the man who attacked her, only to find that her adversary can travel through time with the aid of a mysterious house.
The way the book twists and turns on itself is utterly compelling as the killer, Harper, develops more and more elaborate rituals, contacting his victims years before he kills them or planting evidence from the 1980s on victims he kills the 1920s.
You’re egging Kirby on every step of the way to figure out this bizarre problem, and the flashback to her surviving Harper’s attempt on her life will have you trying to hold yourself together all day! Follow Graeme @grayorion
Hannah Atkinson – Marketing Assistant: After the furore over Gone Girl, it seemed like my duty as a diligent Orion employee to try out the Gillian Flynn backlist. I read both Sharp Objects and Dark Places in quick succession, and I’m so glad I did – both stories have all the Flynn hallmarks of dark and stormy characters, unusual twists, and pasts that are forever haunting people.
My favourite of the two was Sharp Objects; the twist in the knife at the end being incredibly dark and moving in some ways, and the main character being someone complicated but ultimately likable. I’d recommend both for Hallowe’en reading – creepy, eerie tales of crime and resolution, set in small town USA, where, as we all know, the darkest of crime-doers lie in wait . . .
All the books above are available now in paperback and ebook. What are your favourite spooky crime reads? Join in the conversation with @orion_crime and the hashtag #spookycrime over on Twitter.