Women writing wickedness: salute our sinister sisters by horrifying yourself this Halloween with some monstrous madams.
Horror can appear in different forms, and means many different things to many different people. It's in whispers from an empty attic, it's in jerky movements beyond the edge of the campfire, it's in vast and unstoppable forces of evil or, scariest of all, in the things people do to each other. Like any emotion, it's hard to perfectly pin down and describe, but these are books that may send a frisson of fiction down your spine...
If you want to dig deep into the roots of the genre, one of the first horror writers of all was the fantastic Mary Shelley with her Frankenstein (also, basically the first science fiction writer ever, go Mary!)
Or prove to yourself that the classics still have the power to freak you out with Shirley Jackson.
She's inspired greats like Stephen King with her short stories, and her novels have a splendid atmosphere of terror. Her legacy is so great that the Shirley Jackson awards, given for outstanding physiological suspense, horror and dark fantastic fiction, commemorate her annually.
Want to know the best fictional name I have come across this year? In Tiffany McDaniel's 'The Summer that Melted Everything' one of our heroes - if you can call a man who publishes an invitation for the devil to come visit his sleepy backwater town a 'hero' - carries the incredible name of Autopsy Bliss. Strange accidents, deadly fevers, personal demons, and scariest of all, it's set in the 80s...
For thirteen creepy, bloody, chilling tales, look beyond the more publicised male authors into the sinister hearts of these ghoulish gals:
Happy haunting... and keep the lights on.