Five Ghost and Horror Stories to make your Spine Tingle

by Daniel Pembrey

With Halloween just round the corner, we wanted to give you a curated list of ghost and horror stories to really make your spine tingle. These picks come from five BritCrime members who will be appearing on a Halloween Crime and Horror panel at Waterstones King’s Road in London on Tuesday 1st November

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
SJI Holliday’s pick: The Woman In Black (1983) by Susan Hill

“Arthur Kipps, still traumatised after the horrific and tragic events that he witnessed many years before, reluctantly recounts the tale of his time spent at Eel Marsh House and the mysterious "Woman in Black" who haunted him then and still haunts him now. A dark gothic mansion on marshland cut off at high tide, banging doors, creaky rocking chairs and things that go bump in the night - this for me is the ultimate, classic ghost story. I read this book with a feeling of utter dread in my chest throughout, so tense it often made me forget to breathe. As Kipps says at the end ... They have asked for my story. I have told it. Enough.”

The Shining by Stephen King
Amanda Jennings' pick: The Shining (1977) by Stephen King

“Jack Torrance becomes caretaker of the remote, unoccupied Overlook Hotel with his wife and son, Danny. Soon Danny, who possesses 'the shining', begins to witness the hotel's gruesome past in horrifying visions. When the snow comes, the hotel is cut off from the rest of the world and supernatural forces push Jack's sanity to the edge and threaten his family. Claustrophobic, atmospheric and downright terrifying, The Shining bewitched me as a teen. Unable to read fast enough it scared me so much I had to leave it outside my bedroom so the words couldn't get me in my sleep.”
Therese Raquin by Emile Zola

Thomas Mogford’s pick: Thérèse Raquin (1867) by Emile Zola

“This classic French novel tells of how Thérèse and her lover, Laurent, bump off Thérèse’s husband, Camille, in a fake boating accident, and are fatally haunted by the consequences. It’s meant to be an example of ‘naturalism’ – cold scientific observation transposed to literature – but the supernatural and macabre bubble irresistibly to the surface. I’d love to write an updated version, but Michael Dibdin’s already done that in the brilliant Dirty Tricks (1991)."

The Vanishing by Tim Krabbe
Daniel Pembrey’s pick: The Vanishing (1984) by Tim Krabbe

"The Vanishing is about a young Dutch woman who disappears at a busy petrol station while going on holiday with her boyfriend. It has been adapted to the big screen twice (the Dutch version being the film to watch), and explores chance, the dark margins of consciousness and the agony of not knowing a beloved one’s fate. Just 115 pages long, it contains perhaps the most unsettling ending I’ve ever read in fiction."

Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins
Sarah Ward's pick: The Haunted Hotel (1879) by Wilkie Collins

“A glamorous Countess asks a doctor for his professional opinion as to whether she is evil or insane. About to be married to Lord Montbarry who has broken off his engagement to another woman, the Countess is convinced the jilted bride will be her downfall. In a Venetian hotel, a haunted room begins to bring the prophecy to pass. A classic ghost story in the Victorian Gothic tradition.”

Over to you: which stories you scared you most?

Waterstones Crime and Horror Event, 1st November, King's Road, London

Chelsea has served as home to many stars of the horror genre, including Christopher Lee, Boris Karloff, writer Dennis Wheatley and of course Dracula-creator Bram Stoker. Join contemporary crime and horror writers SJI Holliday, Amanda Jennings, Thomas Mogford, Daniel Pembrey and Sarah Ward for this ghoulish celebration of dark delights.

The authors, who have set their novels across Europe, will also discuss the impact of location on their writing. SJI Holliday is the author of the Banktoun trilogy, set in East Lothian; Amanda Jennings based her novel In Her Wake in Cornwall; Thomas Mogford uses Gibraltar as the setting for his Spike Sanguinetti series; Daniel Pembrey's new Henk van der Pol detective series is set in Amsterdam; and Sarah Ward has the Peak District as the location for her Bampton series.

Kindle Deals

Exposure by Ava Marsh
Exposure by Ava Marsh is £1.99
Kitty Sweet isn’t like anyone you’ve ever met before. 
She’s an infamous porn star, imprisoned for double murder. As damaged as she is charismatic, as dangerous as she is charming. But once no different from you or I. 
Kitty’s past is full of heartbreak and desperation, of adulation and glamour. Of ruin. She’s descended to an underworld most people can only imagine, and lived to tell the tale . . . This is her story

Estate Series by Mel Sherratt
The Estate Series by Mel Sherratt is 99p
The Estate Series – fiction with an emotional punch from the number one bestselling author. Over half a million copies of her books sold worldwide. With over 1000 5* and 4* reviews across the series, you can now get a box-set of the first 3 full-length novels.

You can keep up to date with lightning deals by following us on Twitter if you use it:

New Release: Strangers by Paul Finch

Strangers by Paul Finch
A stranger is just a killer you haven’t met yet… 

The SUNDAY TIMES bestseller returns with the next big thing to hit the shelves. If you haven’t discovered Paul Finch yet, this book will have you hooked.
Unknown, alone, and fearing for your life: as PC Lucy Clayburn is about to find out, going undercover is the most dangerous work there is.
But, on the trail of a prolific female serial killer, there's no other option – and these murders are as brutal as they come. Lucy must step into the line of fire – a stranger in a criminal underworld that butchers anyone who crosses the line.
And, unknown to Lucy, she's already treading it…

Giveaway: A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone

A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone
We have another print book giveaway exclusively for newsletter subscribers this month. One winner will be drawn at random to receive Michael J Malone's new thriller, A Suitable Lie.
Some secrets should never be kept… Andy Boyd thinks he is the luckiest man alive. Widowed with a young child, after his wife dies in childbirth, he is certain that he will never again experience true love. Then he meets Anna. Feisty, fun and beautiful, she’s his perfect match … and she loves his son like he is her own. When Andy ends up in the hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems. Desperate for that happy-ever-after, he ignores it. A dangerous mistake that could cost him everything. A brave, deeply moving psychological thriller which marks a stunning departure for one of Scotland's top crime writers.
Make sure you're signed up to our BritCrime newsletter for a chance to win.