Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: TOP TEN BOOKS To Read During the Halloween Season

Top Ten Tuesday is the weekly meme hosted by the gals at THE BROKE AND THE BOOKISH. Don't forget to check their blog for a complete list of all of today's participating bloggers.

I don't read much 'horror' so if you were expecting that sort of list, mine will be a disappointment. But just to be contrary, I have recently read Bram Stoker's DRACULA and loved it. So there's always the exception to the rule.

My list is kind of varied and I've included a couple of funny books in the mix just to keep things lively.



A bizarre Halloween Girls' Night Out in NYC where anything and everything can happen to TV newshound Robin Hudson and her pals. When Robin's intern Kathy, who was supposed to join them on their Halloween jaunt, goes missing, it's up to 'the girls' to find her. A night of mischief and mayhem follows.

This book has to be read to be believed. It is truly hilarious.

DRACULA by Bram Stoker

Okay, now we get serious. A vampire on the move, planning a to turn England into a country of the walking dead, is serious business. I read and reviewed DRACULA a couple of weeks ago and I must admit I loved it. It was creepy, yeah, it was dark and weird and ghoulish and frightening - all of the above - but I couldn't stop reading.

I've said before and I'll say it again, I am SO NOT a fan of vampire books and yet, I seem to have two on my list (the only two strictly vampire books I've ever read - the one with Bela Lugosi doesn't count because he wasn't a REAL vampire.)

ODD THOMAS by Dean Koontz

Yes, you've heard me talk about this book before. Can't help it. It is, to my mind, Dean Koontz's masterpiece. Just brilliant story telling featuring one of the most unforgettable characters you will ever meet. Odd Thomas is a self-effacing short order cook who can see the dead. Because of this, he is a bit reclusive.Wouldn't you be?

This is a book where everything depends on the main character's quiet and oddly charming personality.

THE TAKING by Dean Koontz

The end of our world as only Dean Koontz can envision it. A world-wide alien invasion focuses on a small California town. This has, as in a lot of Koontz's work, a strong female character whom we root for every inch of the way. A macabre tale which turns out to be not exactly what you thought it was.

FOOTSTEPS IN THE DARK by Georgette Heyer

I'm a recent Georgette Heyer convert turned groupie. I love her Regencies - the few I've read anyway. But I'm also smitten with her mysteries. They are of the Agatha Christie school - set in that world - and very well written. They came as somewhat of a surprise to me since I hadn't known Heyer had written mysteries. FOOTSTEPS IN THE DARK is set in an old, run-down but atmospheric, English country house recently inherited by siblings, Peter, Margaret and Elizabeth.

The house comes equipped with tales of ghostly night sightings, not to mention a mysterious cowled figure known as The Monk.

Thanks to Elizabeth Grace Foley for the recommendation. It was a good one!


I think what is often forgotten in descriptions of this Sherlock Holmes story is just how spooky it is. It's all dark and mysterious and full of inhospitable doings on the grim, gray moor. Perfect for Halloween.

THE YELLOW ROOM by Mary Roberts Rinehart

A Rinehart speciality, mysterious doings in a big old house in the country - this time it's a summer house. Carol Spencer finds a dead body when she arrives to open the house for the summer. With servants refusing to stay (always a problem in Rinehart's world) and dreaded doings at night making her more and more uneasy, Carol begins to fear for her life as she becomes a suspect in the first murder.

If you're not familiar with Mary Roberts Rinehart's books, I say: what are you waiting for?

THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Third in the Pendergast series and the first one I read a few years ago. Based on this spooky, spine-tingling novel set in a very dark and gloomy NYC, I began reading the rest of the books in the series.

Agent Pendergast is not your typical FBI agent, he is unique in style and operation and seems to be in charge of the FBI's most macabre cases. Scary but manageable.

SUNSHINE by Robin McKinley

The only vampire story I would EVER recommend, besides DRACULA.  This brilliant fantasy take on vampires and ghoulies and many strange things that go bump in the night is set in a sort of alternate universe similar to ours except for the odd assortment of beasties and demons. It is also, despite its dark core, occasionally very funny.

The heroine is Rae 'Sunshine' Seddon, a baker at her step-father's coffee house. The 'hero' is named Constantine. He's a vampire. Forget TWILIGHT, read this instead.

Robin McKinley has a wonderful sense of the absurd and this book shows it. Just wonderful.

NEVER CROSS A VAMPIRE - A Toby Peters Mystery by Stuart Kaminsky

When Hungarian actor, Bela Lugosi, suspects he's being stalked, he turns to L.A. private eye, Toby Peters, for help. It's the mid 1940's, war is raging in Europe and back home in California, movie stars and celebrities keep getting into trouble.

I love this series. It's funny while at the same time there's an actual mystery (with a bit of private-eye noir) to be solved.


  1. I don't read much of this either but I would recommend Straub's GHOST STORY, James' TURN OF THE SCREW and Bradbury's SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES if asked.

  2. I haven't read those yet, Patti. I know - what's wrong with me?

    Though I did see the movie version of SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES and liked it very much.

  3. I have to check some of these books out! I like what you said about Sunshine... will have to give that one a try soon. Thanks for drawing my attention to these books!

  4. Kate: You're welcome. I think you'll love SUNSHINE. I don't know anyone who's read this and hasn't liked it. It's a special book.

    Thanks for dropping by today. :)

  5. Hound of the Baskervilles is a book I've started but never actually finished reading and you're making me realize not only do I need to fix that but this is a perfect month to do it!

  6. I love Heyer's Regency stuff, but I just can't get as into her mysteries (even though I love mystery novels). Thank goodness I'm not in danger of running out of Regency novels!

  7. I'm glad you liked Footsteps In the Dark! I'm not really into supernatural/spooky type books, but a good old-fashioned mystery that starts out with supposed 'hauntings' is always fun. The Hound of the Baskervilles is an old favorite - my younger sister read it recently and now she loves Sherlock Holmes.

    I wonder if The Yellow Room was at all inspired by Gaston Leroux's Mystery of the Yellow Room? I guess I'll have to read both and find out. :)

  8. Footsteps in the Dark! A very fun book. And I love The Hound (though I didn't mention it on my list). And I do believe that The Cabinet of Curiosities (which made my list too) is the creepiest book I've ever read. Either that or Devil in the White City. Nope-gotta go with Cabinet.

    Here's my List:http://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2011/10/hosted-by-broke-and-bookish-top-ten.html

  9. Oh and Something Wicked is one you definitely need to read. Love Bradbury and this one's particularly good.

  10. Interesting books for Halloween. I've been meaning to read Georgette Heyer for a while now. I didn't know she wrote mysteries either. I always thought she was into humour. Yes, she has a following akin to Agatha Christie. I read THE HOUND OF... in school. I still haven't got round to Koontz yet but I've your recommendations and hope to read them soon. HAPPY DIWALI, Yvette! It's the Festival of Lights here in India.

  11. Red: Then you'll just have to finish it one of these days. :)

    Listening to the audio is fun too.

  12. couchpotato: I love her Regencies best too. But I do enjoy her mysteries. I think they're a lot of fun. And pretty good mysteries.

  13. Elizabeth: I don't know about The Yellow Room being inspired by the book you named. Maybe. Who knows?

    It's a terrific mystery. I loved it.

    I'm not into really spooky horror stuff either. I do like mysteries set in old houses.

  14. Bev: Agent Pendergast is SO strange. I've been meaning to read the latest couple of books in the series. I have to get cracking, my reading has slowed down and I haven't even hit 100 books this year. Don't think I will.

    I was going to add THE DEVIL IN WHITE CITY but decided to only do fiction. That was one creepy book.

  15. Happy DIWALI to you too, Prashant. I like the idea of a Festival of Lights. :)

    We'll have plenty of lights around here soon what with Christmas decorating and all. We must have our lights!

    Dean Koontz is a writer who can write really dreadful stuff and then turn around and write really great stuff. He's one of those. :)

  16. Interesting list, Yvette. Koontz gets two votes and nothing from Stephen King? Hmm... I heartily second the nomination for Peter Straub's GHOST STORY. There's a book that's stayed with me for decades. Thoroughly original and truly frightening. I'd cheat and add a ghost story collection if I were to make a Best Books for Halloween list. One of the best samplers is The Anthology of Ghost Stories edited/selected by Richard Dalby. And I know you're not a vampire fan, but if anyone wants a really creepy story about Romanian vampires they should track down AN ANCIENT EVIL by Paul Doherty. It gave me nightmares. High praise for a horror novel.

  17. Well John, I don't read Stephen King. Once upon a time I read IT, by King, my daughter had given me the book. Didn't think much of it. :)

    But I am planning to read his new book, the one about JFK's assassination and time travel. Now THAT sounds interesting.

    Jeez,I don't, necessarily want to read a book that gives me nightmares, John. I'm just too old for that. :)

  18. I love The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco, The Sentienl by Jeffrey Konvitz, Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin.

    I agreew ith Dracula and the Mary Roberts Rinhart book, even though I haven't read that one yet.

  19. Ryan: As you can tell, I'm not really into real ghostly doings or horror. But I might take a look at the books you mention. :)

    Oh you have to read THE YELLOW ROOM, it's another Rinehart winner!


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