Halloween Recommendations: Atmosphere #2

Only a couple weeks away til Halloween and I thought I would talks about some books I read recently that would be perfect to read on the day and on the run up to Halloween itself! My focus for this post is all about books with some incredible creepy atmospheres! From haunted houses to creepy protagonists. Let’s jump right in!

  • Title: Delusion
  • Author: Hongjacga
  • Genre: Historical Fiction & Fantasy

Plot: It’s 1935 in Gyeongseong, and struggling artist Iho Yun has been commissioned by the reclusive, elderly Madam Jeonghwa Song to paint a portrait. Madam Jeonghwa Song allows Iho to set eyes upon her — an unprecedented event — and standing before him is a young woman. But why does she ask him to paint an elderly version of her? “Don’t finish the portrait.” Tucked between the previous artist’s paint tubes is an ominous letter. Iho learns that no artist has left Madam Song’s abode alive or of sound mind. Just what is she hiding and what will happen if Iho finishes the portrait?

This was a comic I read on the WebToon app and boy was I hooked. I loved slowly uncovering the mystery of this mysterious woman. The setting of the intricate and beautiful hotel really helped in setting the scene of this creepy historical fiction set in 1930’s Korea. The art work is stunning and really helps capture the more creepier elements of the story.

  • Title: PigPen
  • Author: Carnby Kim
  • Genre: Thriller

Plot: A relaxing getaway in paradise, or a death trap? A young man wakes up on a breathtaking beach, but he has no idea who he is or how he got there. Try as he might to piece it all together, untangling this mind-bending mystery won’t be easy when every clue leads to more maddening questions… and the family that welcomes him into their home is not what they seem.

The atmosphere in this novel is very different to the ethereal yet unsettling atmosphere of Delusion. This WebToon has an atmosphere that leaves you on the edge of your seat begging for more but scared about what’s around the corner. The plot is so complex and intense and I was so nervous as I was reading each panel.

  • Title: The Strange Tales of Oscar Zahn
  • Author: Tri Vuong
  • Genre: Historical Fiction and Paranormal

Plot: The Strange Tales of Oscar Zahn follows the journey of the world’s greatest paranormal investigator. Friend to lost souls, enemy of evil, he may lack a body but that doesn’t mean he’s missing a heart!

This is more of a cosy paranormal atmosphere but while it tugs at your heart strings it isn’t any less creepy. I love the art style and I felt the art style really helps with the atmosphere from the more gory elements to the more whimsical and creepy side.

  • Title: The Devil and the Dark Water
  • Author: Stuart Turton
  • Genre: Historical Fiction, Murder Mystery and Paranormal

Plot: It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Traveling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent. But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered. And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel. Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes? With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent can solve a mystery that connects every passenger onboard. A mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.

This novel had me on the edge of my seat and I read it in 2-3 days. Turton never fails to deliver from the beginning of the novel to the very end. Every chapter had me wanting read more. I loved the setting of the ship and I think the setting itself was one of the pinnacle aspects of what made this book so intense and the atmosphere so electric. As the storm raged and the tensions rised within the ship itself the atmosphere became chilling and had me reading from beneath the covers.

  • Title: Mexican Gothic
  • Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Genre: Historical Fiction and Horror

Plot: After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region. Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring and not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí. Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. 

The epitome of what a great horror novel is and I will promote this book until I take my last breath. What I really enjoyed about this novel was the 1930’s murder mystery vibe it gave me. At that point I hadn’t really read many haunted house novels but what drew me in was the mystery element of the novel but what I got was a novel that haunted me to my very soul. I felt I was reading this book really really quickly and absorbing it into my very being as I needed to know what happened next. This book is a great example of the haunted house trope. It is chilling and INCREDIBLY CREEPY. If you are a horror fan read this right now!

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