What’s the story? The book’s named after a stretch of Cumbrian coastline ripped right out of HP Lovecraft’s nightmares. Also the place of pilgrimage for a family desperate for the Lord to cure their mute son. But this particular year’s visit is cursed as well as futile.
As scary as: Getting to the front desk at the gym and hearing “you might want to rejoin sir, but says here you’ve been paying your membership for the past two years.”
What’s the story? This Booker longlisted one, about a Londoner moving to the Cornish coast to do up a new house for his family, can read like a Daphne du Maurier take on a Changing Rooms episode early on. But Menmuir’s luring you in, and when the fog clears you’ll get how this is gothic horror done right.
As scary as: Your partner discovering you once sunk 450 hours into a Championship Manager 3 save.
What’s the story? A giant flying snake terrorises Essex in 1890. This is a clever bestseller with bags of ideas, all based on that question in your head: wait, this can’t actually be a giant snake, right?
As scary as: Realising it’s your round just as the beer crawl hits the microbrewery in Canonbury.
What’s the story? Hill wrote the original book of The Woman in Black, and more importantly didn’t write the movie of The Woman in Black, so the CV checks out. The title story’s a doozy about a paranormal detective.
As scary as: Hearing a queue outside the door just as you were congratulating yourself for using the “always empty” ladies’ toilet.
What’s the story? GMB discovered the “confession” of Roderick Macrae, who copped to a murder in the Scottish croftlands well over a century ago. But is he the who in our whodunnit? A psycho-thriller take on gothic, every time you think you’ve got your head round this case, he pulls the rug.
As scary as: The skipper shouting “let’s go one touch!” at five-a-side just as a pass arrows, knee-high, at your weaker foot.
An international festival of light
Dinner in a decommissioned 1967 underground carriage
Half-price brunch and a HUGE fried chicken burger