Top 5 Halloween Reads

You can't go ten feet without bumping into a pumpkin-spiced latte here in London, which can mean only one thing: Halloween is just around the corner. But what's a horror holiday without a selection of frightfully good reads? After all, everyone's entitled to one good scare - and we've got 5 right here for you to choose from . . . 

Click the covers for extracts of each book!

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The House on Cold Hill - Peter James

Evil isn't born . . . it's built. With shades of The House on Haunted Hill and The Haunting, No. 1 bestseller Peter James, renowned for his crime novels starring Roy Grace, returns to his horror roots with a chiller set in the grand Sussex manor where the arrival of the young Harcourt family unleashes a malevolent presence. They must unearth Cold Hill House's grim past to work out who - or what - is targeting them. Bringing the traditional ghost story to the modern world, replete with FaceTime spectres, James loses none of the icy thrills of his forebears: perfect with a cup of tea and a blanket on a chilly night.

The Rats - James Herbert

One of the leading icons of British horror, the late James Herbert knew how to spin a terrifying tale and did so with great success over 23 books, a graphic novel, and numerous short stories. But its his first, The Rats, that has a special place in many a horror fan's black heart, brilliantly evoking a country devastated by a sudden outbreak of large and vicious rats. While the story itself is a great, fast-paced romp, it's the pithy commentary on everything from the plight of the homeless to unchecked scientific testing (themes he'd revisit in the two sequels to this book, as well as The Fog) that has seen Herbert's book remain a classic of horror literature. It celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2014, with a specially-commissioned new edition.

Apartment 16 - Adam Nevill

Adam Nevill has wracked up a very strong list of horror books dealing with a variety of themes from Black Metal witchcraft to deadly cults, but his first, Apartment 16, is the perfect introduction. Ostensibly a modern haunted house story about the concierge of a luxurious Kensington apartment block beset my nightmarish visions, it expands dramatically into a depiction of London as a Hellscape of ruin and fear. Much like Clive Barker before him, Nevill explores and distorts the fine line between dreams and reality and uses the metaphor of art to bridge the two, with increasingly nasty results.

Under Ground - S.L. Grey

Fans of slasher films, Stephen King, sci-fi thrillers and brilliant, breathless stories (which, let's be honest, if you're reading this you are): this is the book you'll want to pick up for Halloween. It's about a group of families who take shelter in a a luxury underground complex known as 'The Sanctum' after a super-flu devastates the USA. But their plush bolthole quickly becomes a chrome tomb when the door seals behind them, one of the group winds up dead and they realise the threat is no longer out there. It's inside . . . Enough said? If that remarkable set-up doesn't grab you, you don't have a pulse.

The Reviver - Seth Patrick

Jonah Miller is a Reviver - able to bring the recently-murdered back to life for just a few seconds to ask them what happened. He's a forensic investigator at heart, but what begins as an SF-tinged murder mystery becomes something much darker when during a routine Revival, Jonah senses a terrifying presence that seems to be watching and waiting. But for what? Mashing up the genres with aplomb, Seth Patrick crafts a gripping story about life, death, and what lies beyond - and what might come back. Optioned for adaptation by Legendary Pictures (The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar), its the beginning of a trilogy, which continues with Lost Souls, also fantastic, and which will conclude in 2016.