Evocative Halloween Reading | Wyatt’s World

The power of the best spooky tales is that they prompt the reader to imagine—imagine what it would be like if you had a ghost who followed you, or if a loved one, long dead, returned to life, or to be raised by ghosts. While not jump-at-you scary, all of these books prompt the spooky side of the imagination and offer a range of thrills and shivers. thereturned102513 Evocative Halloween Reading | Wyatts World

  • The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier (Vintage). In Brockmeier’s lyrical novel, the dead occupy the city until they fade from the memory of those still living. When a virus sweeps across the globe, the city is quickly depopulated, save those who are connected to Laura Byrd.
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins). After the murder of his family, 18-month-old Nobody Owens toddles into a graveyard. There he is raised by ghosts (charmingly from different time periods) and largely looked over by Silas, a mysterious guardian figure, which is a good thing since the murderer’s deeds are not yet done.


  • The Broken Ones by Stephen M. Irwin (Doubleday). Blending ghosts with hard-boiled crime, Irwin conjures a riveting postapocalyptic landscape in which each person living is accompanied by their own personal ghost, a world in which that ghost can be a person’s excuse for murder.
  • The Returned by Jason Mott (MIRA: Harlequin). In this finely crafted novel, the dead return to their loved ones in a global wave; Mott explores the void death leaves in our lives and the surprising and chaotic repercussions of those gaps made whole.
  • Help for the Haunted by John Searles (Morrow). Infused with a gothic tones and spooky details, Searles’s novel unfolds in loops of time as Sylvie, the 14-year-old daughter of ghost hunters, seeks to discover who murdered her parents in a church basement.
Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at Readers_Shelf@comcast.net

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