Our Top Spooky Reads for Halloween

Spooky Season is upon us and Dublin Book Festival is here to recommend some reads! Whether you are looking for a horror or a thriller, something lightly spooky or a hard-core scare, we have you covered. We have recommendations for all ages as well as some Irish writers you may recognise from our programme…

The Less Dead by Denise Mina 

Denise Mina’s latest novel is an eerie and unsettling thriller, following Margo who when searching for her birth mother, finds that she was murdered years ago. In fact, Nikki, her aunt, has been receiving haunting letters from the murderer for years. The murder has remained unsolved and Margot and Nikki must attempt to find the killer.

Denise Mina will be speaking to Irish crime writer Liz Nugent about her new novel at our event in partnership with The Murder One Festival. Check it out here!


The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

A horror classic, The Haunting of Hill House is a great place to start for anyone wanting to dip their toe into the world of horror fiction. Hill House is a gothic mansion said to be haunted and the story follows Dr. John Montague, a professor keen on getting to the bottom of the mystery. He enlists a gang of volunteers who agree to live in the house, to help with his studies. However, while the group are staying there, they discover that unnatural forces are at play.

The book has had a resurgence in popularity due to the Netflix series inspired by it, but the novel has long been considered one of the greatest haunted house stories of all time.

Lullaby Leila Slimani

The opening lines to Slimani’s novel Lullaby prove that this story is not for the faint of heart – The baby is dead. It only took a few seconds.

When a Parisian couple hire a seemingly perfect nanny to help them care for their children, they think they have struck lucky. As time passes, the nanny begins to show subtle quirks and odd behaviour but nothing can prepare them for what she does in the end.

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

Catherine Ryan Howard’s latest novel, The Nothing Man, is a haunting crime novel told from the perspective of both victim and killer. Eve Black survived The Nothing Man and is now writing a book in order to help stop him. Meanwhile, supermarket security guard Jim Doyle is reading this book, except he is the nothing man.

Forcing you to think about the evil among us, The Nothing Man will be adequately creepy for the halloween season.

Catch Catherine Ryan Howard at our “Killing For a Living” event in partnership with The Murder One Festival. Tickets available here! https://dublinbookfestival.com/staging/programme/the-murder-one-festival-dbfkilling-for-a-living-3/

The Shining by Stephen King

We couldn’t really do this list without including Stephen King could we? You can’t really go wrong this time of year with the king of the horror novel and any book of his could have made it onto the list. We are suggesting The Shining, a novel which follows Jack Torrence as he embarks on his new job as caretaker of The Overlook Hotel during it’s off season. However, as the long winter months kick in, the hotel and it’s remote surroundings begin to seem even more sinister. 

A perfect book for curling up during lockdown coming into the winter months…. maybe… 

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

A dark fantasy novella intended for younger readers, Coraline has given readers of all ages the heebie-jeebies since it was published in 2006. 

When Coraline goes exploring in her family’s new flat, she finds a new world behind a locked door, similar to her own. At first this new world seems wonderful, but soon, Coraline realises that her “other mother” and “other father” don’t want Coraline to ever leave.

Have You Seen The Dublin Vampire? by Úna Woods

A not-so-spooky recommendation for our younger readers! Have You Seen The Dublin Vampire? is a charming picture book featuring all the sites of Dublin and a friendly vampire.
Join Úna Woods for storytelling and a draw-along at our free event this November. Tickets available here: https://dublinbookfestival.com/staging/programme/storytelling-and-draw-along-with-una-woods/

Feeling inspired to read something spooky? This year, we have teamed up with our long-time partners, The Gutter Bookshop for all your book-buying needs. Why not check out their website https://gutterbookshop.com/