Following the release of our 36th issue Haunted/Revenge, the Underground team has put together a list of similarly themed books you may enjoy. From mysteries and thrillers to ghost stories and anthologies, there’s sure to be something for everyone!
The Dry by Jane Harper
The Dry by Jane Harper is sitting on my bedside table—nestled between copies of The Night Village by Zoe Deluil and The River Mouth by Karen Herbert (which also looks like it’ll hit the theme of haunting)—and I’m eager to read it and then watch the movie adaption! The blurb of The Dry reads: “In the grip of the worst drought in a century, the farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily when three members of a local family are found brutally slain. Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk reluctantly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his childhood friend, loath to face the townsfolk who turned their backs on him twenty years earlier. But as questions mount, Falk is forced to probe deeper into the deaths of the Hadler family. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret. A secret Falk thought was long buried. A secret Luke’s death now threatens to bring to the surface in this small Australian town, as old wounds bleed into new ones.” Based on the reviews I’ve read and heard, it’s a story that will keep me up half the night reading and the other half thinking.
The Airways by Jennifer Mills
Okay, this one is a TBR so no spoilers please! The Airways by Jennifer Mills is about a ghost seeking revenge. Can you say, on theme! After their death, Yun’s consciousness dips in and out of people’s bodies. Airborne, Yun’s spirit is like a virus, moving through hosts with “coughs, sneezes, laughter [and] sighs” aware of every emotion, energy and sensation they feel. Driven by rage, Yun is looking for the man who killed them – though to what end even they aren’t sure. Exploring the “queer potential of the ghost story”, The Airways hits themes like gender, consent, self and autonomy in a poetic writing style. A perfect way to set the tone for our upcoming issue, this one is on the top of my list for sure!
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
One of my favourite books I have read has been The Raven Boys by American author Maggie Stiefvater. While not a completely haunting read it has spooky elements littered throughout, sometimes making you double check there is nothing under your bed. Blue Sargent lives in a house full of psychics who are often stepping out of the real world and into the spirit one. The psychics of the house often remark on an aura or are peeking through mirrors into other realms allowing a shiver to run up and down your spine every so often as you read along. The book follows Blue and four private school boys – nicknamed The Raven boys – on their journey of following a ley line to an old, buried king who will grant them a wish. There are ghosts from the past – the literal kind – who add to the haunted theme of this crazy and epic journey they have embarked on. Geared at a younger audience, it is still a book I love dearly even after all this time. It is the first book of four and all of them will have you holding your breath as you peek around to the next page, hoping dearly you won’t be struck by anything too freakishly terrifying.
The River Mouth by Karen Herbert
The River Mouth by Karen Herbert is sitting at the top of my TBR list at the moment, and I cannot wait to delve into this recently published novel. The blurb reads: “Fifteen-year-old Darren Davies is found face down in the Weymouth River with a gunshot wound to his chest. The killer is never found. Ten years later, his mother receives a visit from the local police. Sandra’s best friend has been found dead on a remote Pilbara road, and Barbara’s DNA matches the DNA found under Darren’s fingernails. When the investigation into her son’s murder is reopened, Sandra begins to question what she knew about her best friend. As she digs, she discovers that there are many secrets in her small town, and that her murdered son had secrets too.” I adore a good mystery book, so a novel set in my state (Western Australia) has already wormed its way into my heart. My review of The River Mouth will be out soon!
She is Haunted by Paige Clark
I’m currently reading She is Haunted which is an amazing short story collection from debut author Paige Clark. There are 18 stories in the whole collection and each one of them is brilliant and slightly surreal. The blurb reads “In She Is Haunted, these renditions of the author search for recognition and connection, and, more than anything else, small moments of empathy. But in what world will she move beyond her haunted past and find compassion for herself?” While She is Haunted may not be your expected ghost story collection readers will be delighted to explore the theme of haunted in a different capacity. My review for this awesome book will be out very soon!
The Lost Man by Jane Harper
I don’t know what’s more chilling, The Lost Man by Jane Harper or my ever-growing TBR pile. This book caught my attention shortly after The Dry grew in popularity, and while it’s not my typical choice of reading, I’m keen to crack open this mystery. The blurb is as follows: “Three brothers, one dead, a fence line stretching to the horizon. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish. Something had been troubling Cam. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects.” While I’m not one for the outback, I am one for family drama.
The Bluffs by Kyle Perry
I am not one for constant jump scares and get spooked easily so I don’t tend to steer into the horror/haunted genre often, but I don’t mind a crime or thriller from time to time. The Bluffs by Kyle Perry has been on my wanting to read list for a while. The idea of young girls lost in a mountainous area always gives me Picnic at Hanging Rock vibes which has always stuck with me as a creepy haunting read. The fact that the girls going missing links with a similar disappearance occurring previously adds to that eerie feeling these stories often leave us in. I am looking forward to picking this one up soon and finding out which state the suspense might leave me in.
The Yellow House by Emily O’Grady
There’s nothing more haunting than a child recounting terrible acts, and The Yellow House by Emily O’Grady hones in on this juxtaposition expertly. I’ve only read a few short passages of this book and the tone and atmosphere is wonderfully unsettling. The story follows 10-year-old Cub and her family who live on a lonely property bordering an abandoned cattle farm and knackery. “Their lives are shadowed by the infamous actions of her Grandad Les in his yellow weatherboard house, just over the fence. Although Les died twelve years ago, his notoriety has grown in Cub’s lifetime and the local community have ostracised the whole family.” From the few short passages I’ve read, this story has left me in fearful anticipation.
Permafrost by SJ Norman
Permafrost by SJ Norman is also on my TBR pile and I can’t wait to get stuck into it! I have actually read one of the stories from Permafrost before and that was in Flock: First Nations Stories Then and Now and if you read my review of that anthology you would know how much I loved it. The blurb of Permafrost reads“inverting and queering the gothic and romantic traditions, each story represents a different take on the concept of a haunting or the haunted. Though it ranges across themes and locations – from small-town Australia to Hokkaido to rural England – Permafrost is united by the power of the narratorial voice, with its auto-fictional resonances, dark wit and swagger.” Look out for my review of Permafrost coming soon!
Our Revenge/Haunted issue is out now!