Chilling Reads for the Dog Days of Summer

Take a well-deserved break from the dog days of summer with one of these chilling reads!

“The Hound of the Baskervilles” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will send chills up your spine as Holmes and Watson investigate a supernatural hound stalking a young heir on the fog-shrouded moorland that makes up his estate.

In “The Alienist”, Caleb Carr tells the story of the hunt for a serial killer in 1800s New York by Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, using the new science of forensic psychology. As with so many new sciences this one is ridiculed by law enforcement and civic leaders alike.

Years ago Daphne du Maurier stole my heart with “Rebecca”, the tale of a young bride haunted by the memory of her husband’s first wife and her mysterious death.  During quarantine I read “My Cousin Rachel” and loved it even more. After her husband’s death, the beautiful Rachel goes to live at his cousin’s estate. But is Rachel hiding the truth about her husband’s death or is she a victim of suspicion?  Read it with a friend because I promise you’ll want to talk to someone about the ending.  If you want even more du Maurier (because who wouldn’t?) check out “Frenchman’s Creek.” Lady Dona trades in her pampered life at Court for a daring life with a pirate.

I don’t like to play favorites but I admit Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” may be the one book I’d want with me if I were stranded on a desert island.  It’s a terrifying horror story that also explores major themes humanity will always reckon with: creation, knowledge, and nature to name a few.​

“Dracula” by Bram Stoker:  As you can see, I’m a sucker (ha ha) for the classics.  Yes, you may already know the vampire story but read it again to savor the beauty and depth of Stoker’s writing.  For instance, “There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights” and “I am longing to be with you, and by the sea, where we can talk together freely and build our castles in the air.”  Oh, be still my literary heart!

John Le Carre’s “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” tells the story of a veteran spy wants to “come in from the cold” to retirement. He undertakes one last assignment in which he pretends defection and provides the enemy with sufficient evidence to label their leader a double agent.

Agatha Christie is always a good choice.  In “And Then There Were None” ten strangers, each harboring a dark secret, are gathered together on an isolated island by a mysterious host and then killed off one by one.

Finally, revisit “The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett.  Private detective Sam Spade gets involved in a dangerous search for a valuable statue.
Happy Reading!