The time has come again, beloved patrons, for All Hallows Read, a monthly indulgence in all things spectacularly spooky, deliciously dark, and gloriously ghoulish!
All Hallows Read was started by the Great and Good Neil Gaiman in 2010 with this blog post, which called for a new Halloween tradition, and stated, in part:
I propose that, on Hallowe’en or during the week of Hallowe’en, we give each other scary books. Give children scary books they’ll like and can handle. Give adults scary books they’ll enjoy.
I propose that stories by authors like John Bellairs and Stephen King and Arthur Machen and Ramsey Campbell and M R James and Lisa Tuttle and Peter Straub and Daphne Du Maurier and Clive Barker and a hundred hundred others change hands — new books or old or second-hand, beloved books or unknown. Give someone a scary book for Hallowe’en. Make their flesh creep…
Now we at the Free For All never do things by half, and so waiting until the week of Halloween really doesn’t give us enough time to highlight all the creepy tales that live here in the Library. So instead, we are taking the whole month to showcase some scary (and scary-ish, and maybe not-so-scary) books. We hope this will help you to find a new beloved book among them, or perhaps revisit an old favorite from days gone by. Check out our display at the Main Library, and revel in some of the ghoulish suggestions below. And feel free to check out the Twitter handle: #AllHallowsRead to see what scary reads people around the world are enjoying, too!
For those looking for a place to start, here are some Free For All Favorites for All Hallows Read:
Haven: This year’s winner of the Bram Stoker Award for First Novel, local author Tom Deady weaves a story of a town haunted by violence, and threatened by the evil that lurks within it. In 1961, after the small town of Haven was rocked by a series of child killings, Paul Greymore was caught carrying a wounded girl. His face, disfigured from a childhood accident, seemed somehow to confirm he was the monster the community hoped to banish. With Paul in prison, the killings stopped. For seventeen years, Haven has been peaceful. But Paul has now returned to Haven, still insisting he didn’t commit the crimes for which he was punished. Though he manages to convince a few of his fellow townspeople, it isn’t long before the bizarre killings begin again–and the patterns match the deaths from Haven’s past. If Paul isn’t the killer, who…or what…is? Combining an eye for small-town society and detail that is reminiscent of Stephen King, and a plot as twisting, turning, and shocking as those of Preston & Child, Deady’s first book deserves to be part of your Halloween celebrations…and we can only hope he gives us more soon!
The Devil Crept In: Here’s another small town full of secrets, this time from the pen of veteran author Ania Ahlborn. Young Jude Brighton has been missing for three days, and while the search for him is in full swing in the small town of Deer Valley, Oregon, the locals are starting to lose hope. They’re well aware that the first forty-eight hours are critical; and despite his youth, Stevie Clark knows that, too; he’s seen the cop shows. He knows what each ticking moment may mean for Jude, his cousin and best friend. That, and there was that boy, Max Larsen…the one from years ago, found dead after also disappearing under mysterious circumstances… And then there were the animals: pets gone missing out of yards… For years, the residents of Deer Valley have murmured about these unsolved crimes…and that a killer may still be lurking around their quiet town. Now, fear is reborn–and for Stevie, who is determined to find out what really happened to Jude, the awful truth may be too horrifying to imagine. This is a tale that oozes emotions: fear, loss, anger, and frustration. Stevie is a wonderfully realized character, and seeing the world from his point of view actually enhances the fear in this pulse-pounding search.
Abigale Hall: Looking for a good gothic tale to chill your autumn evenings? Then have a stop over at Lauren A. Forry’s dark and mysterious Abigale Hall. Set during the darkness of Second World War, seventeen-year-old Eliza and her troubled little sister Rebecca have 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. A super psychological thriller with a setting that would surely win Poe’s approval, this is a wonderful new story set in a stunning, and thoroughly unsettled, haunted house.
Happy All Hallows’ Read, beloved patrons!
"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." ~Frederick Douglass