Halloween Takeover: Phoebe Locke

Phoebe Locke chooses her top five books for Halloween

Posted on October 18, 2018 in Author Recommendations
Tags: halloween

In the lead up to Halloween, we asked some of our favourite authors to recommend the most frightening and unnerving books they’ve read. Take a look and tell us if you’ve dared to read any of these chilling stories.

 Phoebe Locke

Phoebe Locke is the pseudonym of full-time writer Nicci Cloke. She previously worked at the Faber Academy, and hosted London literary salon Speakeasy. She lives and writes in Cambridgeshire. The Tall Man is Phoebe Locke’s debut thriller and was published in summer 2018.





The Apartment by S. L. Grey

 The Three by Sarah Lotz is one of my favourite books of all time, a deeply spooky and very clever multi-voice thriller which I thought was basically genius. So I was excited to read The Apartment, one of the novels co-written by Lotz and Louis Greenberg – and it didn’t disappoint. It’s not as high-concept as The Three (or its follow-up, Day Four) but it is deeply disturbing and genuinely frightening. A couple traumatised by a home invasion agree to a house swap in Paris – but that’s just the beginning of their troubles…






Rattle (and The Collector) by Fiona Cummins


Rattle has easily one of the scariest serial killers I’ve come across in a long time – the obsessive owner of a private, horrifying museum, longing to add to his collection… It’s a brutal and brilliant book, with a completely original voice. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough and I can’t wait to read the sequel, The Collector.






The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor


I loved this brilliantly spooky and nostalgic novel, which has one of the most shocking opening sequences ever. A childhood game returns to haunt Eddie, and brings a decades-old murder back to the surface with it… As someone who grew up in a small English town, I was completely transported back to those long, lazy days of cycling around calling for friends, dreaming up codes and pranks – so it felt all the more creepy when those games take on a life of their own.





Bad Apple by Zoje Stage


One of my favourite reads this year, this is a deeply chilling and incredibly accomplished debut. Featuring perhaps the creepiest child in all of fiction, it’s also a beautifully written novel about parenthood, marriage and the nature of evil.







Cujo by Stephen King

 No list of scary reads would be complete for me without a mention of Stephen King. I’ve loved and been frightened by his books since I was 11 and when in a reading slump, often turn to his shorter fiction – Skeleton Crew and Full Dark, No Stars are my favourite collections, but they all have plenty to offer. I love all of his classics – The Stand, Misery and IT especially – but it’s probably Cujo that’s the scariest for me. With barely a whisper of the supernatural, it’s a simple premise: mother and son trapped in a car by a huge, rabid dog. But King manages to turn it into one of the tensest stand-offs I’ve ever read, upping the stakes with every chapter. I’m claustrophobic and also once narrowly escaped being mauled by wild dogs, so it speaks to my deepest personal fears on a fairly intense level!



See more Halloween recommendations from Sarah Hilary, Douglas Lindsay, Anna Mazzola, Elodie Harper, David Mark, Jo Spain, Allen Eskens, Charlotte Duckworth, and Jenny Blackhurst.


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