All Hallow’s Read: Criminal Element’s Picks

Last year author Neil Gaiman decided that people should give away books more often. Instead of  competing with the gift-giving craze of the winter holidays, he began the idea of All Hollow’s Read. On Halloween, he wants us all to find our favorite spooky or creepy stories and give them to our friends and family to celebrate reading. So, we here at Crime HQ decided to start our own All Hallow’s Read to-read list.

The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston A slacker turns crime scene cleaner in L.A.

On that subject, any of The Joe Pitt Casebooks, also by Charlie Huston Vampires and brutal noir! (Everyone loves vampires, even the president!)

The entire Charlie Parker series by John Connolly. In the first book, Parker’s wife and child are brutally murdered. As the series goes on, however, they become more present to him rather than less. Are they really ghosts, or is he losing his mind?

There is always the incomparable Thomas Harris and his multiple books about everyone’s favorite serial-killing gentleman, Hannibal Lecter. (Get over yourself, Dexter.)

If you prefer your frights to come from full-on psychopaths, there’s the 80s-themed American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. Who isn’t still haunted by Christian Bale as the self-obsessed Patrick Bateman?

For the less gruesomely-inclined or younger readers:

There are plenty of Golden Age classics.  What about the isolated setting and tense, murderous coutdown of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None? (People are still remaking this concept, just check out the recent movie Devil.)

Of course, anything in Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination is a guaranteed chill when read by candlelight in a dark room.

Obviously, this is just a beginning, so what are some of your favorite scarifying mysteries for All Hallow’s Read?


  1. Deborah Lacy

    This is a great idea.
    How about Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew Taylor…

  2. drhoctor2

    Peter Straub…Ghost Story. Shadowland…Mystery …Clive Barker Resurrection Creepy as all get out and really fine writing.

  3. X-treme Reader

    I do love Dexter just as much as I love Hannibal 🙂 I would also recommend Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli & Isles novels starting with The Surgeon. Way creepier than the TV show. If you are looking for a good ghost story Mary Downing Hahn’s Wait Til Helen Comes will make you want to sleep with the lights on. Don’t be fooled by it’s middle grades label. And to pay homage to the creator of All Hallow’s Read I recommend Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.

  4. Chris F. Holm

    For me, no book speaks better to the season than Bradbury’s SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES.

  5. patebooks

    When I heard of this, I immediately thought of Gaiman’s Coraline and The Graveyard Book. Creepy good.
    I like suggestive, eerie stuff as opposed to gore. Ruth Rendell is a literary Hitchcock.

  6. Laura K. Curtis

    @Chris F Holm – I am right there with you. When I had to make up a curriculum for a sixth grade “reluctant students” class, that’s the book I chose. Creepy, cool, still relevant after years…most of the kids were really into it.

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