The Bewitching of Aveline Jones – Phil Hickes

If you have read ‘The Haunting of Aveline Jones’ then you’ll know what a fantastic book this is going to be to read! Full of eerie settings and storylines, this is a book that will haunt your thoughts long after you’ve finished reading it!

I will definitely have mentioned already (several times!) that Halloween is my favourite time of year 👻🎃 so I am thrilled to have today a guest post from Phil Hickes himself all about some sensational spooky reads he would recommend for both adults and children as a follow up to his own bewitching books!

Recommended spooky reads (Adult & Children’s)

Long Lankin by Lyndsey Barraclough 

I’m always touting this book. It made a huge impact on me. It has everything I love. Dark rural folklore, memorable characters, an all-pervading sense that something horrible is creeping ever closer, a super-sweet sibling relationship. One of those children’s books that big children can enjoy, too, and it’s genuinely scary. 

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle (Adult)

This was a recent read that I really enjoyed. It’s Lovecraftian fiction done very, very well, which is tricky to do. But what makes the book more than just a horror story is the equally terrifying insight into life as black man in 1920s America, where just stepping outside your front door was fraught with danger.

Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley

Like an Edward Gorey illustration come to life, this features a series of ghostly, Gothic tales, all tied together by the overarching narrative of a young boy that goes to stay with his enigmatic uncle. M R James for kids. 

The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley (Adult)

Although only published in 2017, this is already considered a classic in the popular Folk Horror genre. The author’s prose is wonderful and there’s a real sense of lingering menace in the environment. There’s also the real-life horror of religious fundamentalism to deal with. 

Crater Lake by Jennifer Killick

A much lauded (and deservedly so) sci-fi horror story about a school trip that takes a very dark and unexpected turn. Shades of Invasion of the Body Snatchers with touches of humour to balance the frights. 

Water Shall Refuse Them by Lucie McKnight Hardy (Adult)

Another recent read and another great addition to the Folk Horror canon, although the story is more layered and complex than just witchcraft and odd rural customs. This one is pretty dark, set in the 1976 heatwave, with undercurrents of simmering violence that prove very unsettling as the story develops. 

Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn

I’ve only discovered this author fairly recently and I loved this spooky kids’ tale, which has some excellent chill-down-the-spine moments. There’s often discussion about the importance of balancing scary and not-too-scary in kids’ books. This, to me, is a masterclass in how to get the balance right. 

The Terror by Dan Simmons (Adult)

This was the subject of a recent TV adaption and they did a really good job I thought. But the book, as always, is better. Immaculately researched, it’s hard to believe that these fellas would sail off in a stout pair of walking shoes, armed with little more than a tin of dried beef, to explore the most inhospitable regions on earth. This battle with Nature is ultimately where a lot of the real terror derives from. 

A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan

Of course the eponymous “Place” is far from perfect, which is what helps creates a great, tense story that’s infused with a Roald Dahl-like twisted creepiness. For me, it also tackled deeper themes of the dangers of conformity and group-think. 

With some fantastic books I’ve already read and some brand new ones I am excited to read, this is a fantastic selection!

If you like the sound of The Bewitching of Aveline Jones, buy it here.

Emily x

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