Best spooky books that will give you chills and thrills

Why am I passionate about this?

While attending college, I lived in a haunted house. This was before all the ghost-hunting shows and YouTube, so I didn’t know what I was seeing at night. During the year and a half of these experiences, I saw two distinct shadow figures and had other people living in the front of the house, as well as my roommate, confirm they, too, had seen and heard things that were unexplainable. This began my interest in the paranormal. After graduation, I became a law enforcement officer and have been a Police Detective for the last 21 years. I have explored haunted locations and seen spirits and other unexplainable things.  


I wrote...

The Haunting of Crimshaw Manor

By Mark Drotos,

Book cover of The Haunting of Crimshaw Manor

What is my book about?

The Crimshaw family were once the caretakers of the prestigious Strathmore Estate. After the great blizzard of 1868, the townspeople found Elizabeth Crimshaw’s body hanging from the banister. Her young son and husband were declared missing and never found. The locals say they have seen Elizabeth’s ghost and that the manor is haunted. Others claim to have heard a woman’s scream and have witnessed strange lights and shadow people. Intent on investigating these claims, Stephen Davenport, an adjunct professor of Paranormal Studies at Strathmore University, and students from the school’s paranormal investigations club began a weekend investigation.

What they find confirms their beliefs in the paranormal—and challenges them to simply stay alive.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Dark River Inn

Mark Drotos Why did I love this book?

When a police detective goes on leave due to the stress of the job to a remote cabin and witnesses an abduction through a telescope across the river, the reader is drawn in. When that detective discovers that the abduction and missing person happened 10 years prior, this is when you are hooked. I loved this book. As a Police Detective and author of paranormal suspense, it was natural to see how the two skill sets intertwined.

The mystery in this book is based on a true story, which makes it compelling. I loved it because it is a good detective story with a hint of the paranormal.

By J R Erickson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dark River Inn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you’re searching for a paranormal thriller you’ll be reading all night, grab Dark River Inn-the first in a series of stand-alone haunted mysteries inspired by true crimes.

It’s the day of his ex-wife’s wedding and Dan, a detective on leave, navigates winding mountain roads to put some distance between himself and his past. His destination: a desolate cabin. A refuge, or perhaps a prison of his own making, as he seeks solace from the life that another man has seamlessly stepped into.

But Dan’s solitude is quickly shattered when he peers through a weathered telescope. There, amidst the swaying…


Book cover of Haunting Charlie: Witches of Palmetto Point

Mark Drotos Why did I love this book?

Charlie Payne is a single mom trying to live a normal life. Being a witch who sees and communicates with the dead makes that hard to do. Set in Charlestown, SC, I was attracted to the Old South and Charlie, who has the gift and desire to help both the living and the dead. 

I enjoyed the mystery of why a place was haunted and what needed to be done to help the restless spirit cross over. The witch aspect is interesting without being over the top. I truly enjoyed this mystery story with a paranormal twist.

By Wendy Wang,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Haunting Charlie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ignoring the dead can get you killed...

All Charlie Payne wants is to lead a normal life and to be a good mom. But Charlie’s not exactly normal. She's from a long line of witches and she can see the dead. Which sometimes makes even going to the bathroom awkward as ghosts have no boundaries.

Susan Tate has inherited a beautiful old southern mansion on the coast. Unfortunately, the property came with a million necessary repairs. And ghosts.

When Charlie meets Susan, the woman is desperate for help. Taking on a spirit who doesn’t want to see the light can…


Book cover of The Secret of Crickley Hall

Mark Drotos Why did I love this book?

A family tragedy leads a young family to seek an old home in a peaceful seaside village in the UK. There is a reason the house is vacant… it’s haunted. I was chilled reading this book. James Herbert is a master of suspense and does a great job of tying past events to the present. 

I enjoyed how the spirits of the past interacted with the current homeowners. It was scary and believable!

By James Herbert,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Secret of Crickley Hall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Caleighs have had a terrible year... They need time and space, while they await the news they dread. Gabe has brought his wife, Eve, and daughters, Loren and Cally, down to Devon, to the peaceful seaside village of Hollow Bay. He can work and Eve and the kids can have some peace and quiet and perhaps they can try, as a family, to come to terms with what's happened to them...

Crickley Hall is an unusually large house on the outskirts of the village at the bottom of Devil's Cleave, a massive tree-lined gorge - the stuff of local…


Book cover of Bag of Bones

Mark Drotos Why did I love this book?

I chose my Stephen King books wisely. Reading his novels is an investment of time. Bag of Bones was worth it! It is a strange story about how the past and the present will always be interrelated and interactive.

I loved the way King used the hauntings of the past to explain the present. Excellent book!

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Bag of Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Mike Noonan's wife dies unexpectedly, the bestselling author suffers from writer's block. Until he is drawn to his summer home, the beautiful lakeside retreat called Sara Laughs.

Here Mike finds the once familiar town in the tyrannical grip of millionaire Max Devore. Devore is hell-bent on getting custody of his deceased son's daughter and is twisting the fabric of the community to this purpose.

Three year old Kyra and her young mother turn to Mike for help. And Mike finds them increasingly irresistible.

But there are other more sinister forces at Sara Laughs - and Kyra can feel them…


Book cover of Cades Cove: The Curse of Allie Mae

Mark Drotos Why did I love this book?

The Great Smokey Mountains are a scary and mysterious place, and this story reinforces that! David Hobbs and his wife are hiking when they find a small pouch containing a broken tooth. Hobbs keeps it and thus begins a frightful tale. I am still triggered thinking of the sound of that wine glass “tinging” on the counter.

This story scared me. It reinforced the belief that there are things in the forest that need to remain in the forest.  

By Aiden James,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Cades Cove as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Ghost stories don't get any better than this." --J.R. Rain

Deep in a ravine in the picturesque Smoky Mountains is a very dark secret.

David Hobbs, vacationing with his wife Miriam, inadvertently stumbles upon a small cloth ‘keepsake’ bag and a broken tooth. A human tooth. Miriam begs David to hand the bag and tooth over to park officials, but he ignores his wife’s pleas and secretly keeps the ‘harmless’ items. The action opens a doorway that had been closed for nearly a hundred years and unleashes hell on earth, or at least hell in the lives of David and…


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Empire in the Sand

By Shane Joseph,

Book cover of Empire in the Sand

Shane Joseph Author Of Empire in the Sand

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a writer for more than twenty years and have favored pursuing “truth in fiction” rather than “money in formula.” I also spent over thirty years in the corporate world and was exposed to many situations reminiscent of those described in my fiction and in these recommended books. While I support enterprise, “enlightened capitalism” is preferable to the bare-knuckle type we have today, and which seems to resurface whenever regulation weakens. I also find writing novels closer to my lived experience connects me intimately with readers who are looking for socio-political, realist literature.

Shane's book list on exposing corporate, political, and personal corruption

What is my book about?

Avery Mann, a retired pharmaceuticals executive, is in crisis.

His wife dies of cancer, his son’s marriage is on the rocks, his grandson is having a meltdown, and his good friend is a victim of the robocalls scandal that invades the Canadian federal election. Throw in a reckless fling with a former colleague, a fire that destroys his retirement property, and a rumour emerging that the drug he helped bring to market years ago may have been responsible for the death of his wife, and Avery’s life goes into freefall.

Does an octogenarian beekeeper living on Vancouver Island hold the key to Avery’s recovery, a man holding secrets that put lives in jeopardy? Avery races across the country to find out, with crooked bosses, politicians, and assassins on his tail. Joseph spins a cautionary tale of corporate and political greed that is endemic to our times.

Empire in the Sand

By Shane Joseph,

What is this book about?

Avery Mann, a retired pharmaceuticals executive, is in crisis. His wife dies of cancer, his son’s marriage is on the rocks, his grandson is having a meltdown, and his good friend is a victim of the robocalls scandal that invades the Canadian federal election.

Throw in a reckless fling with a former colleague, a fire that destroys his retirement property, and a rumour emerging that the drug he helped bring to market years ago may have been responsible for the death of his wife, and Avery’s life goes into freefall.

Does an octogenarian bee keeper living on Vancouver Island hold…


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