Adult Summer Reads: Chilling Campfire Stories

Get your marshmallows ready and gather ‘round for these spooky tales.

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No summer is complete without a good scary story or two, and just because the sun is out doesn’t mean you can’t immerse yourself in the darker side of literature! With that in mind, I’ve assembled a list of 15 horror gems from the last few years.

You should check out the whole list, but here’s my particular take on two of the titles!




Cover art from Grady Hendrix's Horrostor. Title is in black at the top of the square image, and there is a photo of a living room set stylized to look like the cover of a furnitrue catalog, with furniture names, prices, and page numbers listed.Horrorstör, by Grady Hendrix

Horrorstör takes place almost entirely inside a branch of the fictional “Swedish-style” big box furniture store ‘Orsk’, where strange things have been happening ever since the store opened – employees receive mysterious text messages that read only ‘help’, and things keep happening at night when no one could possibly be in the store.

Finally, the store manager has had enough, and convinces a couple of employees to stay in the store overnight with him and get to the bottom of whatever is going on.  I don’t want to give too much away here, but I was surprised by the intensity of this book!

The night starts out at a reality TV level of creepy (in fact, the night that the manager decides to stay and guard the store, a couple of other employees sneak in to film their own ghost-hunters style video!), and I was lulled into a false sense of security by the tongue-in-cheek descriptions of life as an Orsk employee. But it all takes a very sudden, dark and violent turn; be prepared for some pretty gruesome deaths in this one!

I would recommend approaching Horrostör like a Final Destination movie – you’re going to need to simply accept some of the more flimsy plot devices (two employees just happen to sneak into the building the same night the manager gets a few others to take an overnight shift? And oh yeah, of course the building is located at the site of an old prison) because they are necessary conduits to get you to the action, which is satisfyingly horrific and entertaining enough to make it all worth it.

Cover image from the book Broken Monsters. Image shows a head-and-shoulders portrait of a girl with long straight mousy hair. Her face is covered by a splash of red.Broken Monsters, by Lauren Beukes

Lauren Beukes is one of my favourite authors out there today, and Broken Monsters might be my favourite of all her books. I’m not usually much for thrillers, but this one really got to me!

The main plot-line follows Detective Gabriella Versado as she tries to track down  tries to track down a serial killer whose victims are being turned into taxidermic nightmares, their bodies stitched together with animal parts. Is the killer some sort of twisted, gruesome artist, or are there darker powers at play?

Meanwhile, Versado’s teenage daughter is getting up to same very creative mischief of her own, working with her best friend to entrap would-be sexual predators and publicly humiliate them.

Of course, these plot-lines inevitably converge, but to find out exactly how, you’ll have to read the book!

Broken Monsters is a very well-paced paranormal thriller with a strangely beautiful ending. I really do recommend it!

And of course, you should check out the other books on the list as well!

Have you read any of the books on our chilling campfire stories list?

Are there any other great new horror reads you’d like to recommend?

Let us know what you think in the comments!

Oh, and check out the rest of our recommended Adult Summer Reads Too!

Kasey K

About Kasey K

Kasey is a Youth Services Information Assistant at the Bathurst Clark Resource Library. Kasey can be a bit all-over-the-place, but is especially interested in horror, science fiction, psychology, and social justice. They are also a cross-stitcher, an occasional gamer, and a vegetarian who is kind of bad at being a vegetarian.

4 thoughts on “Adult Summer Reads: Chilling Campfire Stories

  1. The creepiest book I’ve read in the last few months was I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

  2. I’ve read Night Film by Pessl! That one keeps you on the edge of your seat basically throughout the entire novel, and nothing is ever quite what it seems. There was a lot to keep in mind as you make your way through, and it was pretty creepy, I’ve got to say. I would definitely recommend it to horror and thriller devotees!
    Broken Monsters sounds right up my alley – I’ve added it to my (ever-expanding) holds list (which is sort of a chilling campfire horror in its own right).

  3. I’ve had Broken Monsters on my to-read list since it came out; maybe I should finally get around to it. Also I laughed at approaching Horrorstor as a Final Destination movie — I love those dumb movies.

    The last creepy books I read were books one and two of the Diviners series, which maybe sounds weird if you’ve only seen the pretty covers, but they’re surprisingly creepy! Book one deals with a haunted house and a demon of some sort, and book two has a recurring ghost in Victorian garb. My favourite type of horror story is the “classic” ghost story: big, spooky houses and people in period clothing. I don’t think anything will beat The Turn of the Screw for me! I’ve also just picked up a copy of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

    1. Du Maurier’s short stories are my favourite! Sooo creepy! You must check out The Birds and Other Stories in the catalogue (Rebecca is fantastic too of course).

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