Fearsome Fiction

The nights are drawing in; it’s cold and dark – time to relish a scary book.

Here are some of our favourites, from the Hammer list. There are thrills, there are chills, and of course, there’s a sinister cat…

The Cellar is the terrifying new Hammer novella by Minette Walters

‘This dark novella reads like a particularly grim Grimm’s Fairy Tale, with an all-too-credible contemporary setting’ Daily Mail

Halloween The Cellar

‘Muna’s fortunes changed for the better on the day that Mr and Mrs Songoli’s younger son failed to come home from school.’

Before then her bedroom was a dark windowless cellar, her activities confined to cooking and cleaning.  She’d grown used to being maltreated by the Songoli family; to being a slave.

She’s never been outside, doesn’t know how to read or write, and cannot speak English.

At least that’s what the Songolis believe.

But Muna is far cleverer – and her plans more terrifying – than the Songolis, or anyone else, can ever imagine …

Touched by Joanna Briscoe, author of the acclaimed, bestselling novel, Sleep With Me.

‘Touched is a waking nightmare in the home counties that is both erotic and claustrophobic. There’s a woozy atmosphere of menace, a satirical stab at Britain’s post-war commuter-belt aspirations, and an elegant, postmodern, cine-literate twist… Touched has something of The Turn of the Screw, certainly, but with it, the brasher influence of Ira Levin, or Anthony Shaffer, screenwriter of The Wicker Man… This is a haunting and disquieting parable’ Guardian

Halloween Touched

Rowena Crale and her family have moved from London.

They now live in a small English village in a cottage which seems to be resisting all attempts at renovation.

Walls ooze damp, stains come through layers of wallpaper, celings sag.

And strange noises – voices – emanate from empty rooms.

As Rowena struggles with the upheaval of builders while trying to be a dutiful wife and a good mother to her young children, her life starts to disintegrate.

And then, one by one, her daughters go missing …

Based on the Pendle witch trials of 1612, The Daylight Gate is an extraordinary story of magic, superstition, and ruthless murder by Jeanette Winterson, author of Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

‘A book worth reading – utterly compulsive, thick with atmosphere and dread, but sharp intelligence too…Ultimately she combines compelling history and poetic dialogue with suspense…This rather more sophisticated story would make a particularly vivid film’ Telegraph 

Halloween The Daylight Gate

 Good Friday 1612. Pendle Hill.

A mysterious gathering of thirteen people is interrupted by a local magistrate. Is it a witches’ Sabbat?

In Lancaster Castle two notorious witches await trial and certain death, while the beautiful and wealthy Alice Nutter rides to their defence.

Elsewhere a starved child lurks. And a Jesuit priest and former Gunpowder plotter makes his way from France to a place he believes will offer him sanctuary.

But will it? And how safe can anyone be in Witch Country?

Cat out of Hell is the mesmerising tale of a cat with nine lives, and a relationship as ancient as time itself and just as powerful, by acclaimed storyteller Lynne Truss, author of the bestselling Eats, Shoots and Leaves

‘One of those rare books that actually makes you laugh out loud… impossible not to read in one sitting’ Sunday Times

Halloween Cat out of Hell


The scene: a cottage on the coast on a windy evening. Inside, a room with curtains drawn. Tea has just been made. A kettle still steams.

Under a pool of yellow light, two figures face each other across a kitchen table. A man and a cat.

The story about to be related is so unusual yet so terrifyingly plausible that it demands to be told in a single sitting.

The man clears his throat, and leans forward, expectant.

‘Shall we begin?’ says the cat …


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