Horror is already a classic genre, but there is just something about a good old haunted house story that never gets old!
The houses themselves are usually ancient, and there’s always a sinister plot going on, and when the suspense is building, you can’t help but shiver in terror!
Whether it’s a ghost haunting a mansion or a condo, or something more sinister, haunted house books are classic and loved because of how well they keep you on the edge of your seat.
If you are looking for a new haunted house book to read, then you have come to the right place!
24 Best Haunted House Books That Will Absolutely Creep You Out
We have put together a list of 24 of the very best haunted house books that will absolutely creep you out.
So let’s take a look at them!
The Book Of Cold Cases By Simone St. James
In 1977, Claire Lake, Oregon was thrown into chaos after an incident. Two men perished in the exact same way and all that was left behind were some strange notes.
Seen fleeing from one of the crimes, eccentric 23-year-old Beth Greer was the perfect suspect.
However, she was acquitted and retreated to her mansion to live in isolation.
Fast-forward to 2007- receptionist Shea Collins runs a true-crime website at night, known as The Book of Cold Cases.
This passion is fueled by a tragic event that happened to her as a child.
One day, she meets an older Beth by chance and asks for an interview. Shea is shocked when Beth says yes.
The two women meet regularly at Beth’s mansion to conduct the interview, but Shea never quite feels comfortable there.
Things disappear when she’s not looking and she could have sworn that she’s seen a girl outside the window.
Regardless of how uncomfortable she feels in the mansion, Beth’s story is too much to resist… but Shea can sense that something isn’t right. About the house, or about Beth.
- The portrayal of the mansion is really good.
- The story will keep your attention so you can find out how it ends.
- While it is a haunted house story, it is more of a thriller for the first half of the book.
The Ex Hex By Erin Sterling
Vivienne Jones was heartbroken 9 years ago and she fixed her broken heart how any other young witch would – with bubble baths, sad music, and putting a curse on her ex-boyfriend.
Vivienne knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” candle at her disposal, she isn’t too worried about the consequences.
All that changes when Rhys Penhallow, the breaker of hearts and descendant of the town’s ancestors, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia.
He should just be back in town to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual festival, but everything goes disastrously wrong.
Vivienne soon realizes that her “silly curse” may not have been so harmless after all.
Now, the whole town is being attacked by wind-up toys, a very angry ghost, and a talking cat who has plenty to say.
Even though Vivienne and Rhys have lots of chemistry brewing between them, they have to ignore it to save the town and find a way to break the curse.
- The story keeps you on your toes and the suspense is done well.
- Great for casual haunted house/horror readers.
- The characters aren’t very well-developed.
The Broken Girls Simone St. James
In Vermont in 1950, there is a place for girls that no one wants.
For any girl that is too smart for her own good or a troublemaker, or is illegitimate, this place is the perfect place to send them. This place is Idlewild Hall.
In the small town where Idlewild Hall is found, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted.
Four girls who are roommates bond over their fears and find solace in each other… until one of them mysteriously disappears.
In Vermont in 2014, Fiona Sheridan is a journalist who cannot get away from the events of her sister’s passing.
20 years before, her sister was found outside of Idlewild Hall.
After her sister’s boyfriend was convicted of the crime, Fiona can never quite shake her suspicions that something just wasn’t right about the case.
After finding out that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, Fiona decides that she is going to write a story about it.
But when she discovers something shocking during the renovations that link back to her sister, Fiona realizes she is about to learn more than she ever could have imagined.
- There are lots of great twists and turns throughout the story.
- The setting is bleak and really immersive.
- The pacing is a bit slow at the start of the book.
The Widow Of Pale Harbor By Hester Fox
In 1846, Gabriel Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that haunt him after his wife’s passing in Massachusetts.
He decides to move to Pale Harbor, Maine, taking up a new job as a minister to try and move on with his life.
They had always dreamed of building their own church, and Pale Harbor is the perfect opportunity.
But the sleepy town of Pale Harbor is not what it seems. It’s strange, and unsettling things have been happening there.
The townsfolk know that only one person can be responsible for all these events and her name is Sophronia Carver.
She is a widow who lives on the edge of town in the decaying Castle Carver. Sophronia is a recluse, and many believe that she is a witch who disposed of her husband.
When Gabriel meets Sophronia, he knows that she isn’t guilty of anything.
The two work together and discover that all the strange and unsettling things that have been happening have one thing in common: they all contain an element from the stories of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe.
When things escalate, Gabriel and Sophronia must find out who is really responsible for the crimes, before it is too late.
- The whole story has a wonderful gothic atmosphere to it.
- The story is very gripping and will keep you interested until the very last page.
- The villain is a bit predictable.
Rock Paper Scissors By Alice Feeney
Things between Mr. and Mrs. Wright have been very wrong for a long time.
When Adam and Amelia win a trip to Scotland, it could be just what their marriage needs.
Adam Wright is a self-confessed workaholic and he has been ‘face blind’ his entire life, which means he can’t recognize anyone… including his wife.
For every anniversary, the couple exchanges traditional gifts, and every year, Amelia writes Adam a letter that she never lets him read. Until now.
Both of them know that this trip is either going to make or break their marriage, and they both know that they didn’t simply “win” a trip to Scotland.
One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to make it to their happily ever after.
- The writing is dynamic and engaging.
- Every aspect is intensely detailed and immersive.
- The ending is a bit lackluster.
Home Before Dark By Riley Sager
Maggie Holt is used to people asking her what it was like to live in her old house.
25 years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall- a Victorian estate located deep in the Vermont woods.
They only spent three weeks there before they were chased out of their house.
Her father Ewan later recounted this ordeal in his non-fiction book House of Horrors.
In the present day, Maggie is a restorer for old homes and she doesn’t really remember the paranormal and ghostly happenings that are documented in her father’s book.
But more to the point, she doesn’t believe a word of it.
When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father passes, she returns to renovate it so she can sell it off.
But her homecoming is anything but warm and nostalgic.
People and things from the past lurk in the shadows, and the locals are anything but thrilled that the town has become infamous thanks to her father.
As Maggie starts to experience very strange and unsettling experiences at Baneberry Hall, she realizes that her dad’s book is anything but fiction.
- The horror elements in this story are written really well.
- The descriptions and encounters are very creepy.
- Overall, the writing is really good.
- The characters are quite unlikable and hard to relate to.
Mexican Gothic By Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Noemí Taboada heads to High Place after she receives a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin asking her to save her from a mysterious doom.
High Place is a distant house in the Mexican countryside, and Noemí doesn’t know what to expect when she arrives there.
Noemí may have her cousin’s best interest at heart, but she is a very unlikely rescuer.
She is a debutant, her chic gowns and glamorous makeup are more suited to parties than solving mysteries.
Noemí is also tough and smart, and she isn’t afraid of anything.
Her cousin’s new husband is a handsome Englishman who is both mysterious and alluring, and Noemí is heading to a region she knows little about.
When she arrives at High Place, her only ally is the family’s youngest son.
He wants to help Noemí, but he is also hiding dark knowledge about his family’s past.
There are many secrets lurking in the halls and walls of High Place, and Noemí is determined to dig deeper to uncover the mysteries within.
- The pacing is overall fantastic.
- The atmosphere of the whole story is chilling and haunting.
- Though it is set in Mexico, there are no obvious ties to the location or time period.
Her Fearful Symmetry By Audrey Niffenegger
When Elspeth Noblin passes away, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina.
The American girls had never met their English aunt, all they knew was that their mother was also a twin, and Elspeth was her sister.
Julia and Valentina are relatively normal American teenagers, with no interest in college, jobs, or anything outside their comfortable suburban life in Chicago.
They also have an intense attachment to each other.
When the girls move into Elspeth’s flat, they learn that the building borders Highgate Cemetery in London and they get to know the other residents in the building.
Martin is a fantastic crossword puzzle setter who is dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, his wife Marjike is devoted to him but feels trapped, and Robert – who was Elspeth’s lover – is a scholar of the cemetery.
As they adapt to their new surroundings, Julia and Valentina discover that Highgate Cemetery is very much alive, and they discover their aunt, who can not leave her old apartment and life behind.
- Hard to put down and is a real page-turner.
- The bond between the twins is fascinating and intriguing.
- The ending isn’t the best.
Plain Bad Heroines By Emily M Danforth
At the Brookhants School For Girls in 1902, Flo and Clara are inseparable students who are obsessed with a young writer by the name of Mary MacLane.
She is the author of a very scandalous memoir and the girls decide that they want to show their devotion to her by establishing their own private club called the Plain Bad Heroine Society.
They meet in secret at a nearby apple orchard, but this innocent idea soon becomes dangerous and macabre, especially when both of the girl’s bodies are found with a copy of Mary’s book next to them.
Following this, Brookhants School For Girls is closed forever, but not before three more people mysteriously perish.
Over a century after these horrific events, Brookhants is now an abandoned and derelict building, and it is back in the news following Merritt Emmons’ breakout book that documents the hauntings and curses on the building.
Her book gets so popular that a movie is being made based on it, and celebrity actor Harper Harper is playing the ill-fated main character.
When the gates of Brookhants are opened again, the heroines of this story get entangled in the boarding school and the past that comes with it, and they will learn lots of harrowing truths while they are there.
- The characters have lots of depth and development throughout the story.
- The story is extremely suspenseful.
- There is arguably too much commentary throughout the story.
Coraline By Neil Gaiman
After moving into a new home, Coraline quickly started exploring the large building.
In her family flat, there are fourteen doors and twenty-one windows. Of those fourteen doors, thirteen of them open and close.
But the fourteen is different.
It is locked, and all that is on the other side is a brick wall.
Until, one day, Coraline unlocks the door and finds a passage that leads to a flat that is very similar to her own.
But when Coraline stays in this similar flat for a bit longer, she discovers that it’s different.
Everything in this flat is better – the food tastes better, the toy box is better, and the books have pictures that crawl and shimmer.
But there is another mother, and another father there, and they want Coraline to stay with them forever.
On top of this, there are other children trapped on this side of the door, all behind the mirrors.
They need to be rescued, and Coraline is their only hope.
She will have to fight with all the tools she can find and save the lost children, and herself.
- Chilling, dark, and will have you on the edge of your seat.
- Filled with lots of interesting characters that have lots of depth.
- Too dark for younger audiences, so not advised for smaller children.
The Grownup By Gillian Flynn
An unnamed female protagonist is reading auras on a rainy April morning at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in.
The protagonist is a keen observer of other humans and their behavior, and she pegs Susan as a rich, beautiful woman who is unhappy with her life and looking for some adventure.
But when the “psychic” protagonist visits the eerie Victorian manor that is causing Susan so much terror, she realizes that she doesn’t have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore.
On top of this, Susan’s stepson, Miles, only adds to the eeriness of the manor thanks to his grim imagination and disturbing behavior.
As the story progresses, the three of them find themselves in a chilling and terrifying battle to discover where the evil really lies, and they try to find any way they can to stop it.
- Chilling and filled with suspense.
- The story is well-written and engaging.
- The book can feel a bit rushed in terms of writing.
Beloved By Toni Morrison
Sethe was born into slavery and escaped to Ohio, but 18 years later, she is still not free.
She has experienced the worst things imaginable, but somehow, she has not gone mad.
Regardless of what monstrosities she has faced, she still finds herself captivated by the memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm on which these memories took place.
While all this is going on, Sethe is dealing with a haunting in her own house – one that is caused by the angry and destructive spirit of her baby, whose tombstone is inscribed with one word: Beloved.
Sethe is desperately trying to fight against the past and get free from it, but it won’t go down easily and it demands to be heard.
Her past not only lives in her, but it also lives all around her in the people she knows and loves.
Then, when a teenager named Beloved arrives in town, Sethe finds that her past is quickly pouring out into her present.
- The story is very immersive and emotional.
- The descriptions of places, people, and events are very intricate.
- It’s not always obvious in the dialogue who is being talked about and can be a bit confusing.
The Sanatorium By Sarah Pearse
Le Sommet has always been a sinister place. It is half-shrouded by a forest and monstrous peaks, so it isn’t easy to spot from a distance.
But the presence of the building can be felt regardless of where you are.
It is plagued by many troubling rumors, and the abandoned sanatorium has recently been refurbished into a five-star minimalist hotel.
Elin Warner wants to be anywhere else except for a remote getaway in the Swiss Alps.
She has taken time off from her job as a detective and is trying to unwind, but her estranged brother Isaac, and fiancée, Laure, invite her there to celebrate their engagement.
As much as she doesn’t want to be there, Elin has no real reason not to accept.
When she arrives in the middle of a horrific storm, Elin can’t help but feel on edge.
Something about this hotel makes her feel nervous, and she can’t quite put her finger on it.
Things take a turn for the worse the next morning when she discovers that her fiancée, Laure is missing.
Elin must trust her instincts and use her detective skills to find her fiancée, but with the storm closing off any and all access to the hotel, the guests that are left there begin to panic.
- The story is filled with lots and twists and turns that keep you guessing.
- The pacing is drawn out to keep the story suspenseful and it is done tastefully.
- Haunting and terrifying, you may need to keep the light on when you read it.
- The description of scenes and objects is a bit mediocre and hard to imagine when reading.
The Turn Of The Key By Ruth Ware
When Rowan Caine stumbles across a job ad, she is actually looking for a completely different job.
However, this opportunity seems too good to miss.
Not only is it a live-in nanny position, but the salary is also absolutely fantastic.
Arriving at Heatherbrae House, Rowan immediately falls in love with the home.
It is filled with modern conveniences and is located in the beautiful Scottish Highlands.
The family themselves are picture-perfect too, at least, that’s what they appear to be.
What Rowan doesn’t know is that she is about to get tangled up in a crime, one that ends up with her in prison.
Writing to her lawyer from her cell, she struggles to articulate the events that happened during her time at Heatherbrae House.
Not only was she under constant surveillance from the 24-hour cameras installed there, but she was also plagued by the malfunctioning technology that would constantly catch her off guard.
The children were also a lot more nightmarish and strange than they appeared to be at her interview.
Rowan knows that she has made mistakes, she knows she lied to get the job and she wasn’t always well-behaved when it came to the children, but regardless of her transgressions, she knows she isn’t guilty of the crime she has been convicted of… which means someone else is.
- The story is told in a unique letter format the whole way through, which makes it more interesting.
- Incredibly engaging and will have you desperate to get to the next page.
- Suspenseful and emotional the entire way through.
- There are some plotholes and descriptions that don’t add up throughout the story.
Bone China By Laura Purcell
Louise Pinecroft’s family has been torn apart, and all that’s left of it is her and her father.
Both of them are heartbroken and don’t know what to do.
But her father comes up with an idea, and as a doctor, he has the means to do it.
His idea is an experiment: he arranges for a group of prisoners, who have the same disease as his wife and children, on the cliffs that are beneath his new Cornish home.
While her father performs his experiments, Louise becomes confused and disturbed by her father’s research, and discomforted by the stories her maid tells her about fairies that hunt the land they live on.
40 years later, Hester Why comes to Morvoren House as a nurse who is tasked with caring for the partially paralyzed and fully mute Miss Pinecroft.
Attempting to flee from and escape her past, Hester flees to Cornwall and tries to bury herself in her new post.
But the staff around her are engaging in bizarre rituals, and Hester soon discovers that her new home in Cornwall may be just as dangerous as her last.
- The concept is original and interesting.
- The story will make you feel claustrophobic in an entertaining way.
- Perfect for anyone who wants to read a gothic-style horror novel.
- The momentum of the book is quite drawn out and slow overall.
Horrorstör By Grady Hendrix
In the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio, something strange is happening.
Every morning when the employees arrive, they are finding countless broken Kjerring bookshelves, multiple shattered Glans water goblets, and much more.
Because of this, sales are down and when they look at the security cameras, they can’t find anyone to blame.
In order to solve what is going on, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift.
They plan to patrol the entire building, investigate every strange sight and sound, and encounter horrors they never could have possibly imagined.
- The atmosphere of the whole story is creepy and will keep you on the edge of your seat.
- Imaginative concept and works really well.
- Includes a bit of humor that works well with the horror aspects.
- The characters are quite stereotypical and just follow cliché troupes.
Rebecca By Daphne Du Maurier
Manderley is ancient and beautiful, and it is right between the rose garden and the sea.
It is the most popular and beautiful showpiece in the whole county.
Rebecca made it into a stunning beauty, and even a year after she has passed, her influence still rules there.
Her presence is strong and she won’t be easily forgotten.
When Maxim de Winter’s shy new bride arrives and visits Manderley, she wonders how she is ever going to fill Rebecca’s place, or escape her shadow.
That shadow is only growing, and as the summer starts to fade, some shocking revelations are made, and it threatens Manderley and all the inhabitants within.
- The stories are full of suspense and are very creepy.
- The book is made up of short stories, so you don’t have to commit to one long one.
- The writing is very descriptive.
- The stories feel a bit ‘bare bones’, which can ruin the immersion.
White Is For Witching By Helen Oyeyemi
In a mysterious house near the White Cliffs of Dover, the Silver family is recovering from an immense heartbreak.
Lily is gone and her twins, Miranda and Eliot, and her husband Luc mourn her with every fiber of their being.
There is something wrong with the house too.
It creaks and confuses visitors with its many rooms and grows apples in the winter when the trees in the garden should be bare.
There are generations of women that inhabit the walls of the house, and Miranda, with an uncanny sense for spirits, is more connected to them than she is to her father and brother.
- The way the story is told is very descriptive and poetic.
- There are multiple narrators which adds to the overall story.
- The whole story is incredibly creepy.
- The writing style is quite disjointed.
The Amityville Horror By Jay Anson
In December 1975, the Lutz finally move into their dream home, but the house comes with a very gruesome history.
It is the site where Ronald DeFeo committed unspeakable horrors to his family, and the weight of those horrors echoes through the walls.
As time goes on, the Lutz family is tormented by the psychic phenomena that infest the house, which forces them to flee within 28 days of moving in, and this novel documents their harrowing tale.
- Considered to be a horror classic.
- Engaging and very creepy.
- A real page-turner.
- It tries too hard to push the “true story” angle, which can be distracting.
The Turn Of The Screw By Henry James
When a first-time governess lands a job tending to two strange and wonderful children, Miles and Flora, she relocates to an estate.
However, this estate is filled with unspeakable horrors.
There are figures who glare from the dark towers, and phantoms that come closer and closer each and every night.
As time goes on, the helpless governess realizes that these spirits want the children, and she strives to protect them as best as she can.
But she soon learns that the children are drawn to the spirits, and they want to be with them just as badly.
- The story isn’t too long, so great for a light read.
- Gripping and full of suspense.
- The writing style is a bit outdated.
The Shining By Stephen King
Jack Torrance gets a new job at the Overlook Hotel, and it is the perfect fresh start for him and his family.
He has to caretake the hotel during its off-season and the whole building is incredibly atmospheric.
The Overlook Hotel will provide him with the perfect opportunity to reconnect with his family and work on his writing.
But as the harshness of the winter sets in, the hotel turns from idyllic to something more sinister… and things start to go wrong.
To make matters worse, the only one who seems to notice anything is off is 5-year-old Danny Torrance, who is a very uniquely gifted child.
- Considered to be a horror classic.
- The writing is incredibly descriptive and captivating.
- Some of the language is a bit outdated.
The Haunting Of Hill House By Shirley Jackson
This story follows four seekers who arrive at the notorious and infamous Hill House.
There is Dr. Montague who is an occult scholar looking for evidence of a real haunting, Theodora, a lighthearted assistant to Dr. Montague, Eleanor, a loner and friendless young woman who knows a thing or two about poltergeists, and Luke, the future heir to Hill House.
At first, the four expect their stay to be nothing more than a bit spooky, but as time goes on, the house gathers its strange powers and soon, they will be thrust into a series of events they may not recover from.
- The writing is incredibly descriptive.
- The characters are well-developed.
- The suspense can take a bit too long to build in some parts.
You will love these haunted house books, and you won’t find any better anywhere else! Try these novels out for a spine-tingling read!
How To Choose The Best Haunted House Book
Choose Something That Builds On Suspense
It is important to go for haunted house novels that really focus on suspense.
If you want to feel spooked and thrilled when you are reading a haunted house book, those that are filled with descriptive writings and passages that make you feel a bit uneasy will add to the immersion of the story.
Quality Over Quantity
You might be inclined to go for a longer book when choosing the right haunted house novel, but it is always important to go for quality over quantity.
If you find a novel that is shorter but is written better than say a longer one with more rudimentary writing, then you are more likely to enjoy the shorter novel.
Quality of writing and building suspense and terror always make for better horror stories.
If you are new to the haunted house genre or you want to stay engaged, try looking for novels that blend genres.
While you will want the overarching genre to be horror, haunted house novels usually borrow from the thriller genre, mystery genre, and even comedy genre!
Genre blending really helps to keep the plot interesting, and you are more likely to stay engaged if the horror intertwines with another genre you like.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are All Haunted House Novels Set In Old Mansions?
No, not all haunted house novels are set in old mansions. Lots are set in small apartments, on farms, or even just normal houses.
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