The Bookstop: Bloody Mary, murder and killer mermaids

Gabrielle Troutman and Jade Ogle

From 1871 to now, spooky books signal the holiday season. Meet the inspiration for ‘slasher’ movies, iconic vampire books, classic horror authors and more in this year’s spooky selection. 


“My Heart is a Chainsaw” by Stephen Graham Jones

Jade Daniels eats, sleeps and breathes slasher films. She knows the genre like the back of her hand. When she sees the beginning of a slasher cycle in her hometown of Proofrock, Jade takes it upon herself to mold the new girl in town into a final girl to take down the slasher.

“The Shuddering” by Ania Ahlborn

A group of friends spend their holiday in a cabin for a final getaway together, but a blizzard brings along terrible monsters. What was supposed to be a relaxing weekend turns into a fight for survival that tests the groups’ strengths and relationships. 

“Mary: The Summoning” by Hillary Monahan

Many have tried chanting Bloody Mary in a mirror three times hoping, or dreading, to see a ghostly woman appear on the other side of the glass, but to no avail. The first installment in the “Bloody Mary” duology follows four teenage girls as they successfully summon Bloody Mary, but a hitch in the ritual leads to the malicious spirit being unleashed. The girls try to piece together clues about Mary Worth in hopes of ridding themselves of the ghost before it’s too late. 

“Carmilla” by Sheridan Le Fanu

Published in 1871, this novella is often seen as the less popular predecessor to “Dracula.” When Laura’s friend dies under mysterious circumstances, her longing for a friend is met with Carmilla. Upon Carmilla’s emergence, a friendship — or more — brews between the two, though it is overshadowed by the strangeness of Carmilla’s habits and murders in the village. 

“The Hunger” by Alma Katsu

The Donner Party meets a supernatural, horror twist — as if it could get worse. Katsu’s novel takes the 1840’s west and the disastrous journey of the settlers to the eerie breaking point of humanity. 

“Final Girl Support Group” by Grady Hendrix

Filled with struggling women who’ve survived massacres, they’ve dubbed their group the “Final Girl Support Group.” When one of the six ends up murdered, they have to fight to make sure they all end up the final girls this time. 

“Into the Drowning Deep” by Mira Grant 

A group of scientists and filmmakers journey to the Mariana Trench to fix the reputation of Imagine Entertainment — a film business specializing in discovery of fantastical creatures after the first expedition disappeared seven years prior. They find mermaids, and much more, but the question is if they’ll return.