You probably know by now that Halloween is my favorite holiday and I celebrate it for weeks.  Even when it’s not October, I read ghost stories and gothic novels.

But now that the nights are coming on sooner, leaves are crackling underfoot and the air is just a bit cooler, here are some creepy reads for you to enjoy.  So, mull some cider or brew some tea, get a throw blanket and settle in.

HELL GATE BY ELIZABETH MASSIE

Set in turn of the century Coney Island, Massie pulls together sideshow freaks, carnies, performers and psychics — along with a police inspector — to the storied amusement park.  When a Ripper-like killing strikes, the ticket-seller and clairvoyant is asked to assist in catching the serial murderer.

Excerpt: An assembly of Coney visitors were gathered on Surf Avenue near the screamer, just off the trolley’s track so as not to be struck as it hummed its way east and west.  The curious waggled fingers and walking sticks at the woman as if poking at her would help them understand what had her in such a state.  She was not the only thing making a racket by any means; the air was littered with the loud rumblings of the nearby coasters on their steel tracks, the shrieks of the riders on Steeplechase’s wooden horses as they came around the bend across the street, festive men barking at passersby, offering etched ruby glass trinkets and postcards from pushcarts, brass bands bleating out one tune to the west and another to the east, and haughty new green model T Fords honking at stray pedestrians along the avenue.  Loc. 102

Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: DarkFuse (August 27, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1937771741
ISBN-13: 978-1937771744
Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches

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MRS. POE BY LYNN CULLEN

The protagonist of this historical fiction novel is one Mrs. Frances Osgood.  Based on real people, letters, and newspapers, Lynn Cullen imagines a woman who is desperate to become a successful writer and published poet.  And though she doesn’t care for Poe’s work, she cannot deny his popularity.  Publisher Mr. Morris arranges a meeting and the two have an unlikely connection.  Poe has already married his invalid cousin, Virginia Clemm, further complicating matters.

Excerpt: Three weeks later, Samuel and I, the Bartletts, the children and Mr. Poe were ambling toward Broadway.  To  the outsiders pouring in our direction, we must have looked like  a well-dressed, respectable, and congenial group: the reunited couple, the old marrieds, their children, and a family friend whose wife’s health prevented her from joining them.  I suppose most people only saw the friend.  mr. poe’s popularity had soared to new heights in the months since the publication of his book of tales.  We could hardly take four steps without another admirer accosting him, wanting to talk about his stories.  .. Two short blocks farther up, Mr. Samuel Morse stopped obstruction in the river of humanity.  I recognized him instantly from the articles I had read about his invention.  I smiled privately.  Loc. 2997.

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Gallery Books (October 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1476702918
ISBN-13: 978-1476702919
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 inches

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THE SEANCE SOCIETY BY MICHAEL NETHERCOTT

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Instead of a gothic or Victorian setting, this book is set in 1956.  It is mid-century modern meets paranormal investigation.  The protagonist is a reluctant private detective who is talked into working a murder among ghost-hunters.  It incorporates the formulaic aspects of a “haunted” house, a time worn Irish cop, and a cast of unusual suspects.

Excerpt: While Mr. O’Nelligan’s sudden urge to promenade might have struck the casual observer as a sign of distraction, I knew differently.  My friend’s long walks often yielded his most productive thinking.  Agreeing to meet me back at the office in an hour and a half, he patted my shoulder and headed out.  Loc .3330

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books (October 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1250017394
ISBN-13: 978-1250017390
Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6 x 1 inches

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THE CHEESEMAKER’S HOUSE BY JANE CABLE

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This book brings the past to the present.  The heroine, Alice, finds her husband cheating on her.  She takes the dog and escapes to rural Yorkshire.  While attempting to regain some perspective on her life, she meets the town’s quirky characters, including the unhappy cafe owner and the incredibly handsome carpenter.  But then the house, nearly 300 years old, seems to be the center of strange noises and possible hallucinations.

Excerpt: It is hard to see how the loft will ever become a luxurious holiday pad.  The panes of glass in the windows are cracked anf the beautiful oak beams are covered in cobwebs.  At the front end there’s a nasty gash in the floor where Richard has started to experiment with load bearing joists to take the weight of the Jacuzzi.  I wonder idly when he’ll be coming back.  … I must have dozed as I wake to the sound of Owen’s voice.  I open my eyes and see that he is in the scullery talking to a woman in a grey dress.  I watch through the open casement but she has her back to me , so I can’t tell who she is.  Owen’s face is tense and his words tumble out one after the other, but too faintly for me to hear what he is saying.  The woman bows her head and he turns away from her, his shoulders rigid with anger.  Loc. 1799

Expected publication: October 1st 2013 by Troubadour Publishing Ltd.
ISBN 139781783069149

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Via http://seattletimes.com/

 

I hope you find something to enjoy this Halloween season.

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