The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

My favourite creepy books!

on October 27, 2017

Hello everybody and happy Almost-Halloween! I hope you’re all lounging around in your pyjamas soaking up the spooky vibes through your day-light-saving-time-darkened windows. (I know the clocks haven’t actually FALLen back yet, but it’s getting darker day by day, and I’m loving the otherworldly walks home in the dark when I go out after 6pm.)

Today I am bringing you some of my favourite creepy reads, because I am feeling Halloweeny, and I want to pass those pumpkin-feels on, y’know?


Without further ado, here are some books that will give you the shivers, even though you probably already turned the heating up last week because there’s a CHILL in there airrrrr…

Night Film by Marisha Pessl


Night Film is one of my favourite novels of all time, and I can’t think of a more perfect book to read in October. The story follows Scott McGrath, a journalist who is investigating the suspicious suicide of a woman named Ashley Cordova, daughter of the renowned, but reclusive, cult horror movie director, Stanislas Cordova.

Cordova is a fascinating character, elusive and strange; his films have been banned because of their horrifically disturbing nature, and there are rumours that some of the things that happened in those films were not quite as fictional as they appeared on screen…

This book is a total mindf**k, you’re constantly questioning what is and isn’t real, and it’s so gorgeously written it hurts. Please read this and become as obsessed as I am with it.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid


This is one of the scariest books I’ve ever read, and it’s really hard to explain why. It follows a woman who is travelling with her boyfriend to visit his parents for the weekend, which doesn’t sound creepy at all, but there’s something really, really off about the situation. You feel in your bones that something horrifying is going to happen, but you have no idea why you feel that way.

The feeling does not let up, and the book proceeds to get creepier and creepier until it is so unbearably creepy you can’t sit still. The final sequence of this book still haunts me to this day.

Slade House by David Mitchell


Slade House is a story told from several different perspectives, about a strange house where, every 9 years around Halloween-time, a different guest is summoned to the house, and something utterly terrifying happens to them there.

This book is so freaking perfect; it’s tricksy, and strange, twisty, and beautifully constructed. It made my heart beat faster, and gave me proper heebie-jeebies. There’s a quote in the book where one of the characters describes the evening she spends at the house as being like “a board game co-designed by M. C. Escher on a bender and Stephen King in a fever”, and to be honest that’s a pretty good description of the entire book. It messed with my mind, and blew me away. As I said, PERFECTION.

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris


Psychological thrillers don’t often stick in my mind after I finish them, because they’re usually quite samey and forgettable, but I’m still thinking about this book a few months after reading it because it was genuinely frightening.

The story follows a woman named Grace who is being held prisoner by her husband Jack, who keeps her in line using extreme psychological abuse. It’s not a mysterious book – we know who the villain is and understand their motives straight away – but that doesn’t stop this book from being hideously tense and scary; in fact, I think it makes it more so.

The tension is relentless, and claustrophobic, and you really find yourself trapped inside Grace’s head, trapped inside Jack’s house, with no way out. A powerful and memorable read.

Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough


This book is set in Victorian London and follows an opium-addicted doctor who is investigating a string of brutal, copycat, Jack-the-Ripper-style murders which may or may not have something paranormal behind them.

This is one of the darkest, goriest, scariest books I have ever read. Victorian London is shadowy and murky and creepily atmospheric, the narrative is dreamlike and strange, and this book contains scenes which literally made my heart pound with fear. It’s SO freaking brilliant and evil, and I’m desperate to re-read it at some point.

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer


Annihilation is the first book in the Southern Reach trilogy, but I would actually recommend reading this as a standalone and not bothering with the other two. If you like all your questions answered, and you’re not a fan of ambiguity, this won’t be for you, but if you like spooky strangeness and mysteries we’ll never fully know the answers to you will adore this.

The story follows four scientists who are sent to investigate an ecological anomaly referred to as ‘Area X’. Several other parties have been sent into Area X previously, and many of those parties have not made it back. The ones who have been fortunate enough to return have been changed… irrevocably.

This book was creepy as all hell, weird as all hell, and I never knew what was going to be around the next corner. It thrilled the conspiracy-nut side of my personality, and reignited my desire for there to be something ‘other’ to the ordinary world we live in.

What are some of your favourite creepy books? I’m always on the lookout for recommendations!

10 responses to “My favourite creepy books!

  1. Hey old friend. Hope things are going well. Those books sound really good! I’m going to keep my out for Night Film, because I want to become obsessed 🙂

  2. hehe love the fall pun bout the clocks going back 😉 it was rather timely 😉 I’m really feeling the Halloween vibe now too- and I love your suggestions for books to read- night film sounds incredible. And Slade House and Mayhem sound mind blowing too. Oh forget it- I’m just gonna put all five on my tbr and be done with it!! Awesome post!!

  3. Finally, somebody else who lives Night Film! I read it around Halloween last year (and am rereading it at the moment) and adored it! The rest of the book look great, and I’ll have to check them out! Loved the post!

    • mudandstars says:

      Aww thank you! OMG, yesss, I struggle so hard to find people on WordPress who have read this book. I am so glad you love it too! I am desperate to re-read it soon. How was it the second time around? Ahh please let me know if you end up picking any of the others up 😀

      • Loved it just as much! Although, I’m not a fan of that last chapter so I just skipped it this time around 😊

      • mudandstars says:

        Haha, fair enough. I’m not sure how I feel about the last chapter. I was kind of frustrated by it, but in other ways I think it fitted really well with the rest of the book. I like the fact that it was kind of ambiguous to the very end, although I will always want more answers. I would love for the author to write another book, from the perspective of Cordova.

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