If you’re like us, one of the great treasures of the Halloween season is the excuse to curl up with a big, terrifying tome of a novel and not be stared at on the subway like a freak of nature. We have a special place in our hearts for the classics — Frankenstein, of course, and The Turn of the Screw, and on certain dark nights even Wuthering Heights can send a chill that keeps us awake until morning. That said, how many times are we expected to read The Lottery? Sometimes you just want new frights, and that’s totally reasonable. As such, here: scare yourself silly (but hopefully not to death) with this bodyful…erm, bountiful crop of new, scary books.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Gillian Flynn’s prior novels, Sharp Objects and Dark Places , established her as a forceful new talent in the intersection of thriller and horror. Gone Girl cements her as a master. Nick and Amy Dunne are just about to celebrate their fifth anniversary as a married couple, when suddenly Amy goes missing in a violent manner. All signs logically point to Nick, and he’s doing himself no favors in terms of endearing himself, either to the police or to us as readers, thinking often about the malleability of his wife’s skull, for example. What Gone Girl does perfectly (and what makes it a contender for novel of the year) is subvert the standard “husband-kills-wife-or-did-he” plot for something that’s completely and painfully human. There’s a line in Ellis’ Rules of Attraction stating that one person can never truly know another — Gone Girl is the terrifying proof of that.