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For Readers

5 Bone-Chilling Horror Novels to Read Before Halloween

By: Hidden Gems on October 20, 2020

Hidden Gems Books ARC service.

By: Hidden Gems on October 20, 2020


‘Tis the season of spooky, creepy, bone-chilling shows or movies available every night leading up to Halloween. But if you want your fill of terror, without being glued to the television, we’ve rounded up five crowd favorites in the horror novel arena that our Hidden Gems readers got to read for free. As a fair reminder, just like the trigger warnings you’ll see on television sometimes, horror novels can be just as graphic and may contain subject matter that is upsetting to some.

Whickering Place

Whickering Place (Legacy of Darkness Book 2) by London Clarke

Terror, paranormal activity, suspense, murder and even a touch of romance. Whickering Place has it all. Fans of vampires and ghosts will also be satisfied. A woman trapped by her own fears inherits a house haunted by a legacy of darkness and a history of ritual sacrifices. This chilling page-turner from London Clarke explores the risks of living and loving outside safe boundaries and the relationships that change, motivate, and sustain us.

“Wow!!!! What a mind trip,” writes Laura Hernandez in her 5-star review. “I was immediately enthralled with the storyline and characters and I now must get my hands on the first book before the third book releases. It isn’t often that I read books out of order but after reading the synopsis of Whickering Place, I did not care and I am truly pleased that I did. I wanted to read this in one sitting but adult responsibilities would not allow it!! I highly recommend this pulse-pounding read to one and all.”

“Gripping, haunting, page-turner, memorable,” says Sharon in her 5-star review. “The Whickering Place is a novel with the perfect writing style for a 5 star horror novel. The main character Avery has emotional challenges to overcome with moving leading her into family skeletons, romance, and an unknown entity trying to take her life. The novel goes between Avery’s story then to the unknown haunting presence within the Whickering Place. The writing style was fantastic to me, pulling me in quickly from the first page. Loved it, definitely recommend it for a Halloween read.”


Netted- The Beginning (A Dark Web Horror Trilogy Book 1) by K.T. Rose

Netted: The Beginning is the first book in a trilogy, as the title suggests. It’s not a cliffhanger, though we’re sure you’ll want to immediately read book 2 and 3. A serial killer, the dark web and abduction…it all feels real and plausible which adds to the apprehension of this horror novel. This creepy, terrifying read from K.T. Rose will keep you awake all night.

“If you are a fan of the dark and the grotesque then you will definitely enjoy Netted: The Beginning. It is a short story perfect for an evening when you are home all alone, but just know if you frighten easily, you may want to sleep with the lights on!” writes R.R. in their review. “This is the first time I have read anything by K.T. Rose and I have to say Netted: The Beginning really creeped me out! Rose has penned a darkly disturbing and oftentimes grotesque story perfect for horror/thriller fans. I would like to point out that Rose definitely gives new meaning to internet dating and all of the horrors that can be associated with it. Now I remember all of the reasons why I would never try internet dating! My luck I would be chopped up in little pieces and served as dog food. Gasp!”

In his 5-star review, Michael Foster says, “This book was excellent. The horror is both thrilling and terrifying in its plausibility. The themes of the dark web horror feel so well grounded that if I saw this type of story appear on the news I would have little trouble accepting it. The characters are well written and fully realized. A read I think horror and thriller fans will enjoy.”

The Malicious

The Malicious (Sinister Spirits Book 6) by Kirk Kilgrave

Stalked by a psychotic woman by day and haunted by a supernatural force by night, Mateo Cardenas is convinced the two have nothing to do with the new home he just moved into. Until he sees something sinister in his backyard, something that soon enters his home. Both suspenseful and nightmarish, Kirk Kilgrave’s horror novels continue to keep readers on the edge of their seat, and perhaps hidden under the covers, from start to finish.

In his review, Lawrence Trainor writes, “Astral Projection is the foundation here in this creepy, scary novel. I read a lot of horror books, maybe 200 a year. I do not remember most of them. This one I cannot forget!! Had a few realistic nightmares after reading this, so better to read this during the day maybe. Strong plot, good characters brought back from the first novel in this series. Not sure if Astral Projection exists or not, but a very enjoyable read!”

“Extremely spooky and very well written,” Akera says in her 5-star review. “The characters flowed together perfectly, yes even the evil spirit. It kept me on the edge of my seat and if it wasn’t for work – I would have finished it all in just a day! It gives me a mixture of different scary movies but in a good way. I am going to have to check out more of this author’s works if this story is anything to go by.”

Tree of Souls

Tree of Souls: A Collection of Dark Tales by Brett McKay

Eleven stories of horror, dark fiction and fantasy that will take the reader into terrifying worlds. Examples include a centuries old hanging tree that feeds on the living, a Lovecraft inspired tale of a mad genius opening a portal to another world filled with hideous creatures, or a pretentious travelling salesman haunted by ghosts who have come to make him pay for the sins of his past. Brett McKay provides frightening tales for every lover of horror novels.

“Each story left me will a chill and a demented smile,” writes Tricia Schiro in her 5-star review. “Sometimes in this hectic world of ours it is hard to find time to read a whole novel; this is why short story anthologies are so amazing. This particular one will scratch that horror itch you might have. Each tale is different and are all horror that spans the gauntlet from demons, ghosts, killers, hell, and many more. They are full of colorful characters and different places. I really enjoyed this book. Because they are short you can quickly read one while cooking, commuting, or hiding from your kids. So if you like demon trees, want to see a killer learn he is in hell, what creepy stuff is happening by a lake, how dangerous a lost stagecoach in the old west can be , and much more then get ready for some thrills and chills.”

In her 5-star review, Karen Sebeika says, “Sometimes a book comes along that after reading it you need to give it more stars for a review but the limit is only 5, this for me is one of those books. This was a rollercoaster of spooky and creepy stories. This author lulls you into the web he weaves so innocently. I highly recommend this if you are into creepy stories I can’t wait to see what the next book will be.”

Belle Vue

Belle Vue by C.S. Alleyne

Belle Vue is a suspenseful tale of dark fantasy written with two story lines – one set in the Victorian times when Belle Vue is a lunatic asylum, and the other in the current day when it has been turned into luxury apartments. That seems straightforward so far but that’s not the way this novel works. The action in both stories reveal shocking linkages between the two with unexpected and unsettling twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Jealousy. Betrayal. Murder. And a hunger for vengeance that spans the centuries…

“Wow, what a ride,” Cybershopper writes in their 5-star review. “A real page turner with more twists and turns than Mulholland Drive. The story left me a little disturbed psychologically at times but left me wanting more.”

In a 5-star review, Misspider writes, “Outright horror packed in an elaborate multilayered story line that held many unpredicted surprises. The author expertly toyed with my assumptions and every time I thought I had it figured out she came up with an unexpected twist that proved me wrong – again. What impressed me most was that while doing so everything fit together perfectly all the time and there were no sudden implausible but convenient turns of events. Still, I had no idea what I was up to right until the end, when all details fell into place to reveal the big nightmarish picture. The story is told in alternating chapters of past and present, but which follow a similar path and finally lead towards a shared fate. All in a most thrilling and chilling way, sparing its readers not one gruesome detail while making them witness the most vile and evil deeds not only once but twice: in past and present. As a new voice in horror, with this book C.S. Alleyne has already convinced me to add her to my list of favorite authors to watch out for.”

If these chilling tales pique your interest, definitely go and check them out – and remember that subscribers to Hidden Gems receive invitations to read and review books like these – plus titles from any of 15 other genres – for free. Sign up today!

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