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9 Scary Indie Books to Read for Halloween

We all have our own idea of what constitutes horror. As Nicole Audrey Spector noted in her recent article for Publisher’s Weekly, “Every literary genre has its subgenres, but there is perhaps no genre so packed with niches as horror fiction. You’ve got your supernatural horror, postapocalyptic horror, fantasy horror, sci-fi horror, comedy horror, and then all the vampire, werewolf, and zombie horror.”

In short, some of us get freaked out by a classic Stephen King novel, for others it’s the goings on currently being covered by FOX and CNN. Is it a coincidence that this year Halloween precedes the scariest election in…ever? We think not.

So rather than devouring those bags of candy while waiting for the neighborhood ghosts and ghouls to show up, we invite you to check out the great indie books below. Whether your greatest fear lurks in the dark or stands proud at a presidential debate, we’ve got a selection of indie titles to send shivers down your spine.


Insanity by Increments by Alaric Cabiling

Insanity by Increments is an apt title, as the thick tension will encourage you to pace yourself a bit, rather than gobble up all the stories in one sitting.  This book of short stories isn’t overwhelmingly horrific; it leans more towards classic Hitchcock than it does Nightmare on Elm Street.

Cabiling’s macabre stories carry a dark tone, perfect for fans of suspense, psychological horror and mystery. Start reading now, savor it through Halloween, and save a story or two in the dark, wintery months ahead.





Nightmares Unhinged by Joshua Viola

Another collection of creepy tales, Nightmares Unhinged is a diverse book of skin-crawling subject matter by 15 different authors.

Looking for something gory? It’s in there. Do you shy away from visceral detail and feed off of spooky suspense instead? You’ll find that here, too. But don’t worry, because it’s not all doom and gloom: there’s some lighter, funnier moments as well.

If you grew up on Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz, give Nightmares Unhinged a read for a whole new batch of stories that are sure to scare people at any age.


Monsterland by Michael Phillip Cash

Do you remember R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps’ classic Horrorland, where someone is offered a vacation at a popular “scream park”?

Welcome to Monsterland – the scariest place on Earth. All guests can interact with real vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by an actual werewolf on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.

Wyatt Baldwin, a high school student and life-long movie buff is staring bleakly at a future of flipping burgers. Due to a fortuitous circumstance, Wyatt and his friends are invited to the star-studded opening of Monsterland. In a theme park full of real vampires, werewolves and zombies, what could possibly go wrong?

Read the IR review here.


Hillary Clinton, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States by Bob Thiel

Turn off the news, put on your tin foil hat and get ready for the apocalypse!

According to this horrifying Halloween election read, Hillary Clinton is about to fulfill not one, not two, but a whole mess of prophecies foretelling the destruction of the United States! What’s a poor voter to do when faced with such divine revelations?

Interestingly enough, Thiel previously published a very similar book focused on Obama fulfilling the same role–but despite the apparent lack of confidence in the nation’s future on both sides of the aisle, I don’t quite think the Obama-Antichrist has caused too much destruction just yet. So I guess a “plan B” book revising the prophecies to fit Clinton should suffice for a new scare.


Twilight People: Switchblade Stories by Joe DelPriore

Joe Del Priore’s Twilight People is a collection of forty flash fiction stories that suggest what you would have gotten if Michael Palin and Rod Serling had worked together.

Del Priore operates in the same style that Serling or the Monty Python troupe did, which is to say he takes ordinary settings and throws in madcap humor and/or supernatural occurrences that turn inside out a vignette that begins with a seemingly normal premise. From “Puppet,” a story about a teacher whose evil hand puppet starts to control her thoughts and actions to “Ensemble,” a classic ghost tale story involving dance, each story vividly displays a unique mind at work, along with many genuine laughs.

Read the IR review for Plowed In: More Switchblade Stories here.


Kai by Derek Vasconi

The bastard child of Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 and Stephen King’s Carrie, Kai explores how one innocent girl becomes the target of enormous rage living inside another girl-who is seemingly from another world.

Satsuki Takamoto is an invisible otaku teenager in Hiroshima. The only thing she has going for her is the upcoming birth of her sister. No longer will she be alone. But after tragedy strikes her family, Satsuki loses her one chance at happiness. She spirals into a deep depression, shutting out everyone and everything by locking herself inside her bedroom-for good. Her sadness, however, pales in comparison to her uncontrollable anger. It spreads like a nuclear fire, ambivalent to what or who it destroys, and won’t stop until Satsuki accepts her sister’s death.

Kai is the Winner of the National Indie Excellence Award for Best Horror Book of 2016,  Winner of the Indie Reader Discovery Award for Best Horror Book of 2016, Finalist for the 2016 Eric Hoffer Award.

Read the IR review here.


Sever by Matt Ingwalson

What could be scarier than an axe murderer? A serial axe murderer!

Welcome to Epshire College, a school plagued by a series of gruesome murders in which victims are hacked to bits and hung from trees. After his ex-girlfriend goes missing against this backdrop of fear, our narrator Leo is shaken. Meanwhile, some recent victims are friends of Becky, his current girlfriend–suggesting the couple might be targets themselves. Can they survive the summer?

Sever is a gripping read, but it’s not without some sweet, wistful scenes of college life–a well-balanced horror read.

Read the IR review here.


President Domald Loch Ness Tromp Pounds America’s Butt by Chuck Tingle

They say fact is stranger than fiction, and who could argue against the adage in the denouement of the most nightmarish election season in the United States? Chuck Tingle, that’s who!

The notorious, absurdist erotic author presents his unique spin on the election, in which presidential candidate “Domald Tromp” is a lustful Loch Ness monster ready to get it on with a rookie journalist. You’ll find “sizzling” detailed action between the prehistoric politician and our hapless protagonist–hot for some, horrifying for many.

Because the campaign stress won’t be relieved until a whole week past Halloween, take some time to truly immerse yourself and savor the absurdity of the political process through Tingle’s eyes.


Max and the Mara by Jesse Arnold

Here’s a fun, but spooky story that younger readers can enjoy during the Halloween season. Don’t let the cuddly teddy bear protagonists fool you: Max and the Mara is a thing of nightmares!

Twelve-year-old Jeremy finds himself having nightmares when he goes to bed each evening, which is the work of a strange species of beasts called Mara that feed off the dreams. Jeremy’s teddy bear Max forms a group of other teddies to venture into the nightmare realm and save him from the Maras’ grasp.

Arnold balances between humor and darker moments throughout the book; it’s a fun spooky read that kids will love but parents shouldn’t be concerned by, much like the Goosebumps series.

Read  the IR review here.

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