From weird murders to thrillers, these novels are a staple this Halloween season.
HOUSTON – Whether it’s a blood-curdling noise in the middle of the night or someone’s unsettling feeling – or something – look at you, there is something alluring about a good spooky book this Halloween season.
Houston has its fair share of haunts, but some of the spookiest places can be found in the brilliant minds of its local writers. From crime thrillers to weird realms, these six adult books from Houston writers will have you looking over your shoulder.
Need more fears? In the video above, KHOU 11 digital reporter Brandi Smith visits some of the Houston area’s most spooky haunted house attractions. Check them out in person … if you’re feeling brave enough.
RELATED: LIST: Haunted Houses In The Houston Area
“Cup Season”, by Attica Locke
Caren Gray is the CEO of Belle Vie, a historic plantation where the past and the present meet strangely. Its patrons have turned the estate into a colorful tourist attraction with full-dress reenactments and carefully restored slave quarters. Outside its doors, a company has been busy taking land from struggling families who have cultivated their own cane for generations, replacing employees with undocumented workers.
Gray finds himself in danger when the body of one of these workers is found at the edge of the plantation. What’s more suspicious, the crime could be linked to the mysterious disappearance of a slave decades ago. Our heroine begins to uncover secrets that an increasingly desperate killer will do everything possible to keep hidden.
A Los Angeles Times reviewer described “The Cutting Season” by Penthouse Locke as a “thoughtful” mediation on how America views its past with its future and a high octane page turner unfolding with tremendous skill and vision. “
Locke is a native of Houston who has been praised by the literary community with nearly every one of his publications, winning the Edgar Award for “Bluebird, Bluebird,” the story of a Black Texas Ranger, and the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction for his mysterious murder “Pleasantville,Which takes place north of Houston.
“What Lies Below”, by Barbara Taylor Sissel
Gilly O’Connell has spent her entire life avoiding her nightmares, which eventually come true.
She moved to a small town in Texas after a rejected dream led to the murder of her husband. Three years later, her nightmare predictions return, this time focusing on the kidnapping of a little girl.
O’Connell finds the courage to speak to the police about her visions, but they now view her as a suspect.
“Safe from Danger”, by Stephanie Jaye Evans
Walker “Bear” Wells is a man of God, but the Minister of Sugar Land must now act like a sleuth after he comes home and finds his teenage daughter cradling the body of his troubled high school classmate.
It sounds like an open and closed case: a drug overdose. But could there be more?
“Safe from Harm” is the second installment in the Sugar Land Mystery series from award-winning author Stephanie Jaye Evans.
The daughter of a Church of Christ pastor and the great-granddaughter of a traveling preacher, Evans is able to provide an authentic sense of depth by detailing her life in the popular suburb of the Houston area.
She is also the spirit behind Houston Black, a series of 14 news all located in the region. She illustrates the unique aspects of the city with each tale, including the darker realities of some of its inhabitants.
“Le Passage”, by Justin Cronin
Six-year-old Amy was abandoned by her mother at a Memphis orphanage during an apocalyptic crisis. She then becomes a test subject for an experimental virus, which gives her a strengthened immune system and a prolonged lifespan.
A variant of the same virus has been injected into 12 death row inmates who turn into bloodthirsty psychic monsters. They break free from their confinement, unleashing carnage and destruction across North America.
Special Agent Brad Wolgast has been ordered to take Amy to the experiment. After his massive failure, the two take refuge as the company crumbles. Almost a century later, Amy walks alone with the terrifying knowledge that she is the only one powerful enough to save a shattered world.
“The Fallen Girls” by Kathryn Casey
Detective Clara Jefferies spent years fleeing her childhood in Alber, Utah. But when she learns that her little sister Delilah is missing, she knows that the peaceful community will be shattered, her family vulnerable, and that she must face her past and return home.
“The Fallen Girls” is the first book in the author’s fictional and mysterious trilogy Catherine casey, who is known for several bestselling Texan detective novels.
Good readings, who gave the book 4.2 out of 5 stars, commented, “Captivating and spooky, readers will love Detective Clara Jefferies, reading The Fallen Girls in the depths of the night.”
Casey has traveled across the state in search of specific murders, including convicted Houston killer Ana Trujillo who stabbed her boyfriend with a 5-inch stylus.
All of his books are available from most online retailers. Read the first two chapters of “The Fallen Girls” for free on the author’s site.
“Murder on the Dike”, by Larry Watts
Calvin Thibodaux, a retired Delta Force soldier, and Milo Tanner, a retired cop, are hired to solve the murder of a wealthy businessman in Galveston.
The duo are brought in by the victim’s tough mother who knows very well who she wants see arrested for the crime. However, the men quickly learn the history of the family, which began in brothels and waterfront gambling dens.
Larry Watts’ “Murder on the Seawall” is the third and final book in a mystery series after Thibodaux and Tanner.
Watts draws on his many years in law enforcement to write his books, which often tell the stories of peace officers across Texas.
Buy “Murder on the Dike” and other books from the Thibodaux and Tanner series on the writer website.