Halloween is next week and the search for scary books is upon us.

I am not a fan of being scared. My imagination can go into overdrive with the gentlest of noise in the middle of the night – Once I spent a night wide-eyed, convinced there was a ghost dragging chains behind him in the hallway and it turned out to be a mouse trying to get out of a plastic-lined bin. When it comes to inciting fear, I need little help from a book.

However, at Hookline we do have a few scary novels.

What lies in the Dark by CM Thompson opens with a child running through the woods where a killer has left some of his victims. We learn of the murdered women through those they left behind and the police who are always a few steps behind. Confession time: I could not edit What Lies in the Dark when I was alone in the office. Was that a footstep I heard behind me? What was that noise on the stairs? I needed to know I had a friendly human nearby before I could enter the world of CM Thompson. A lovely girl who keeps rabbits, who would suspect her mind could conceive such murderous deeds?

Another disturbing novel from Hookline is The Takers and Keepers by Ivan Pope. This tale feels more realistic than What Lies in the Dark as it tells of the men who occasionally creep into the newspaper pages – the men who steal women and keep them locked away for their own use, far from help and salvation. How many times do we read of women and girls escaping from dungeons, especially, it seems, in Austria – shouldn’t the police do a search of all cellars in Austria? Thankfully, I could be alone when editing The Takers and Keepers. Ivan suggests much in his novel, but he doesn’t take us too far into the gritty depths of illegal imprisonment. I had my own imagination to take me there.

But what makes a scary novel? The answer has to be a story that features our worst fears, a story that triggers the heart to race and the senses to grow hyper alert. I imagine that for many of us, our fears are varied. I actually do not want to share my fears – I have an irrational anxiety about this, as though by telling you my fear it might give you some power over me. Hmm, a fear of sharing my fears, I’m not sure there’s even a name for that.

You can read the early pages:

What Lies in the Dark by CM Thompson

The Takers and Keepers by Ivan Pope