The Women in Black by Susan Hill
Why wouldn’t you stay overnight in a dead person’s mansion, trapped in by swamp waters, candles for lighting, and piles of old papers to read through the night? Seems unsettling enough and then you layer in the rumours of a haunting; the woman in black, who curses children of the local township.
The debut novel from Stephen King’s son, the tension and thrills during the first ¾ of this story make it difficult to sleep. Every innocent household sound is frightening; particularly the crackle of a radio. Judas Coyne hears about someone selling a ghost on the internet, and when his purchase is delivered it arrives in a heart shaped box. The foreplay in this book is gripping, astounding and breathtaking. The climax leaves you feeling kind of ripped off. Worth it for the initial fun though!
Lexicon by Max Barry
This one is a bit of a Sci-Fi thriller, and extremely unsettling. Two years ago something terrible was unleashed in an Australian mining town called Broken Hill. Thousands died. Few people know what really happened. Part X-Men, part zombie apocalypse, you’ll tangle with linguistics and be rattled long after reading.
The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon by Aaron Blaby
A scary looking picture story book that has beautifully bleak illustrations capturing the ghost of a sad young lady. She haunts the town and the folk think something must be done about her unwanted presence.
No matter what hour, she lurked looking sour,
Be it midnight or mid-afternoon.
Her dresses were shabby, her mood always crabby.
Her name was Miss Annabel Spoon.
With deliciously clever rhymes and a warm ending, this is actually a great ghost story for primary aged children.
In a Dark, Dark Wood – A Traditional Tale
In a dark dark wood, there was a dark dark house
And in the dark dark house, there was a dark dark room…
You know what’s coming but right? As a child though, the tension is tantalizing.
Funny Bones by Janet and Allen Ahlberg
A big skeleton, little skeleton and their pet dog skeleton venture out of their cellar at night with the hope of finding someone to frighten. The trouble is, everyone is in bed so they have to satisfy themselves by scaring each other. It’s a bit scary, but in a fun and giggly way. More nostalgia for me here, with classic line art, block colouring and simple repetitive text. The Ahlbergs seriously knew how to write kid’s books.
Over 30 years on, and this one is still relevant.