Love it or hate it, the horror genre has some absolutely outstanding reads!
Be it thriller, supernatural, classic, or slasher, there’s something for anyone who loves suspense and spine-tingling chills.
Horror stories can completely immerse you in their world and terrify you with words alone, giving you the adrenaline rush you’re looking for with the turn of a page. Now that’s impressive!
Whether you’re a longtime horror fan, or just dipping your toes into the genre, we have the best spooky books that are bound to give you goosebumps.
You’ll find all kinds of themes and sub-genres in this list so you can find your next perfect read. So, let’s dive right in!
What horror reader doesn’t crave a truly literary, first-rate thriller, one that not only thrills the body but also warms the heart with its storyline, perspective, and vivid language?
The answer is the extraordinary Woman in Black by Susan Hill!
The novel is set on a remote causeway on an English moor, and Arthur Kipps, a young solicitor who has traveled from London to attend Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House’s burial, serves as the protagonist.
The procedures he expects to be ordinary give way to a series of mysteries and happenings that are darker and more horrifying than any nightmare: the rocking chair in the nursery, a child’s cry in the fog, and, most terrifyingly, The Woman In Black.
The Woman In Black is a wonderful spine-tingler as well as a masterful study in atmosphere and controlled horror.
It is the ultimate ghost story that will leave you checking every dark corner of your home.
- Good at building a creepy atmosphere.
- The amazing description of sounds adds to the spooky feel.
- Increases tension by focusing on the unknown.
- Abrupt ending compared to the slower pacing of the book.
A masterpiece of suspense from the brilliantly imaginative Josh Malerman, Bird Box is a dynamic, edge-of-your-seat horror thriller set in an apocalyptic near-future world and written with narrative tension and exquisite fear.
A few dispersed survivors are still alive five years after it started, including Malorie and her two young children.
She had fantasized about escaping to a place where they might be safe while residing in an abandoned house next to the river.
It’s time to leave now that the boy and girl are four, but the trip will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat while blindfolded, with nothing but her wits and the kids’ trained hearing as a guide.
They will perish if they make the wrong decision.
Malorie sets out on a terrifying voyage that will take her into an unknown environment and back in time to the friends who once saved her.
She will be enveloped in darkness and surrounded by sounds that are both familiar and terrifying.
Bird Box, which weaves together the past and present, is a glimpse of a world in disarray that will have you eagerly turning each page.
- Combines supernatural and psychological elements
- Focuses on the fear of what can’t be seen and how human instinct plays a part.
- Flashbacks are used to reveal more about the world and how Malorie got to where she is.
- It can be frustrating to see characters navigate the world with overly complex solutions when some answers seem more obvious.
Among Stephen King’s most recognizable and terrifying books is a chaotic, dramatic, disturbing classic about evil that persists far beyond the grave.
Everything about the Creed family’s move into a gorgeous old house in rural Maine seems too good to be true: a physician father, a beautiful wife, a delightful young daughter, a cute baby son, and now a perfect home.
They are a perfect family. However, the adjacent woods conceal a horrifying truth that is both unimaginably more powerful and more dreadful than death itself.
The Creeds will discover that sometimes being dead is better.
Regardless of how many times you read Pet Sematary, you will always want Louis Creed to move a little faster and farther in the hopeless belief that things would turn out differently this time.
This emotion is what makes this book a true nightmare from start to finish.
- Fleshed-out characters.
- An amazing take on the theme of grief and how people deal with it.
- Has a rewarding ending that will stick with you.
- Slow-burner, the scares happen in the second half of the novel.
The Exorcist, one of the most contentious books ever written, was first published in 1971 and went on to become a literary sensation.
Regan, the eleven-year-old daughter of a movie actress who lives in Washington, D.C., is the main character in William Peter Blatty’s classic novel, which was inspired by a true story of a child’s demonic possession in the 1940s.
The drama that ensues is riveting and ultimately horrifying as a small group of overburdened yet resolute people must save Regan from her unspeakable fate.
The Exorcist, despite being intentionally coarse and profane, yet has the astonishing power to shock readers.
A new generation of fans continue to be shocked and terrified by it as it continues to be an unforgettable reading experience.
- Incredible pacing and intensity.
- The beginning of possession storylines in the horror genre.
- Some consider it to be among the scariest books ever written,
- Not as accessible as more modern horror books.
In this masterfully terrifying spin on the serial killer novel by award-winning author Lauren Beukes, the girl who wouldn’t die hunts the killer who shouldn’t exist.
Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future, whereas Harper Curtis is a killer who sprang from the past.
After Harper discovers a house in Chicago during the Great Depression that opens on to other eras, she is the last shining girl, one of the intelligent young ladies whose lives he is destined to end.
Harper enters these shining girls’ lives at the House’s request and waits for the right opportunity to act.
He is the ultimate hunter, disappearing into another time without a trace after every murder, at least until one of his victims makes it out alive.
A violent quantum leap featuring an unforgettable and captivating heroine in pursuit of a deadly criminal, this book is bound to keep you on the edge of your seat.
- Strong female characters.
- An exciting blend of horror, history, and fantasy.
- Historical references are thoroughly researched.
- References to violence against women might be triggering for some.
Fans of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will enjoy exploring award-nominated author Sweeney Boo’s enigmatic and magical world.
As readers explore the halls of Younwity’s Institute of Magic and the forbidden forest that lies beyond, readers will be enchanted by the wonderful full-color images.
The gap between the living and the dead is most perceptible during the days preceding Samhain.
One day, everything came together just as it should have. Then Noreen, who was the closest thing Abby had ever had to a sister, vanished.
The annual preparations for the Samhain holiday quickly divert Abby’s classmates’ attention, who quickly disregard Noreen’s disappearance. However, Abby won’t let it go.
The pursuit to find her sister quickly sends her into a rabbit hole leading to more secrets than Abby can comprehend.
She starts to notice that Noreen’s disappearance oddly shares a lot of similarities with another girl who vanished all those years ago as more and more evidence points her toward the answer.
With the addition of some beautiful illustrations by Boo, this book is perfect for those looking for a spine-tingling mystery in a world filled with magic.
- Fast-paced from start to finish.
- Exciting twists and subplots.
- Has a well-planned plot that is easy and entertaining to follow.
- The protagonist is an already established character – you may need to read previous books to get a deeper understanding.
Late in 2021, Anne Rice passed away, leaving behind a legacy that few contemporary horror writers can equal.
Over a dozen novels make up Her Vampire Chronicles, which has many spin-offs.
Everyone has a favorite, but the start of her alternative vampiric past lies in the baroque, rich tapestry of Interview.
The book, which Rice originally started as a short story, evolved as she wrote it, weaving the sad and triumphant adventures of a soul.
It depicts the political and societal upheavals occurring on two continents in addition to the hardships of its protagonists.
The subject of the interview is Louis, a plantation owner from the 1800s who was transformed into a creature of the night by the vampire Lestat.
Louis recounts the history of their eternal friendship throughout the course of the book, including the bizarre family they create with little Claudia the vampire.
While the later series take absurd turns, Interview anchored itself in the tragic romance of endless life.
Interview with the Vampire is proof positive of a literary imagination of the highest caliber, as evidenced by the book’s never-ending flow of mesmerizing tales, of peril and flight, of loyalty and betrayal.
- Contains an interesting representation of vampires, making them more relatable than the stereotypical vampire in literature.
- Very descriptive scenes.
- Written in an interview format; unconventional for the horror genre.
- Some characters tend to ramble, slowing the pace of the book.
There are fourteen doors and twenty-one windows in Coraline’s family’s new apartment.
Thirteen of the doors open and shut.
The fourteenth is locked and has nothing but a brick wall on the other side, until the day Coraline unlocks the door and discovers a passage to a different apartment in a different house that is identical to her own.
However, although it is better and different, not everything is as it seems.
The most terrifying concept in this novel is perhaps that of a sinister antagonist who masquerades as someone you know and love.
Young Coraline accidentally enters a parallel universe where she finds familiar objects to be dark and frightening and a figure in charge who resembles her mother but has disturbing buttons for eyes.
Critically acclaimed and award-winning author Neil Gaiman delighted readers with his first novel for all ages.
Coraline is geared toward younger audiences, but nevertheless, it’s an incredibly spooky novel that’s truly unsettling in parts.
- Sets an incredible scene with elaborate descriptions of two different worlds.
- Has a well-rounded protagonist that is both complex and relatable.
- Does a good job of making the familiar creepy.
- Might be better suited to a younger audience.
The Haunting of Hill House, written by Shirley Jackson, was first published in 1959 and is widely regarded as the best-haunted house story ever published.
Eleanor, a lonely, frail young woman well-versed in poltergeists, Dr. Montague, an occult scholar seeking solid evidence of a haunting, Theodora, his lighthearted assistant, and Luke, the future heir of Hill House, are the four seekers who arrive at the notoriously unwelcoming Hill House.
At first, it appears that their visit will only be a spooky run-in with strange events.
However, Hill House is gathering its strength and will soon pick one of them to call its own.
If you loved the Netflix series it was based on, then you’ll love Rice’s stunningly scary novel that is said to be even better than the show.
- The author creates a surprisingly believable ghost story.
- Great tension between the characters.
- Focuses on horror through the atmosphere.
- Writing might be slightly dated for some readers.
This gritty thriller about the grisly mysteries buried under a small-town amusement park will appeal to fans of horror fiction.
Jennifer Hillier, the author of Creep, Freak, and The Butcher, is well known for her talent at developing horrifying killers.
Wonderland is a magical place with a particular vintage appeal during the day. However, a spooky atmosphere sets in before dawn.
Vanessa Castro is off to a great start on her first day as Seaside, Washington’s deputy police chief.
Strange enough is the unidentified homeless man decaying within the small town’s primary tourist attraction, but now a teenage employee has vanished.
The critically acclaimed thriller by Hillier is a masterwork that moves quickly and furiously toward a startling, gory finale.
Wonderland is a labyrinth that will simultaneously astound you with its complexity and slowly drive you insane.
- Multiple plot points that weave together without being overly complicated.
- Unique amusement park setting.
- Amazing reveals and twists.
- Themes of violence, sexual assault, and abuse can make some readers uncomfortable.
Breathless is a vertigo-inducing page-turner written by an author who vividly captures the high-stakes world of experienced mountain climbing.
Cecily Wong, a journalist, is in over her head.
She has traveled to Manaslu, the eighth-highest mountain in the world, to speak with renowned mountaineer Charles McVeigh as he completes the final summit of a record-breaking string of climbs.
Her partner, her life savings, and the peace she had with her prior climbing failures were all sacrificed for this story, yet it would launch her into a successful career.
She worries that their expedition is in jeopardy, though, after one climber perishes in what everyone else believes to be a strange accident.
It’s also too late to turn around by the time a second climber dies.
She will face a terrifying battle for survival against a killer who is killing them out one by one while stranded on a mountain in one of the world’s most remote locations.
In this breathtaking high-altitude thriller, McCulloch delivers a tale of survival that blends thrilling excitement with an intriguing murder mystery.
- The author is a climber herself, adding to the realism of the setting and emotions within the book.
- Amazing scene setting.
- Well-thought-out details about mountaineering.
- Quite a predictable murder mystery.
In the genre-defying comedy Jon Dies at the End, two college dropouts are unwittingly tasked with defending the Earth from a variety of supernatural and paranormal invaders.
Two college dropouts named Dave and John reside in the center of an Illinois town.
Dave is an apathetic, bored, withdrawn young man with a tragic history who tends to get pulled along with whatever John seems to be doing.
John is a disturbed, reckless, carefree slacker.
The two acquire the ability to see ghosts, demons, and other realms after coming into contact with a living hallucinogenic drug at a party.
As a result of the hallucinogenic drug soy sauce, Wong’s novel is a rollercoaster of bizarre events.
It is written in a bracing, punchy style with swift sentences that are frequently seven words or less, stinging with spicy diction that details psychedelic imagery, and delivered with sustained breathlessness.
- Interesting perspective of an anti-hero that cannot be trusted.
- A combination of both comedy and horror.
- The fact that the characters are so unlikable makes them even more compelling.
- Humor can take away from the horror for some people.
The frightening tale of survival in this superbly disturbing book by Dan Simmons blends historical details with unimaginable terror.
The crew of the HMS Terror is stuck in a nightmare scenario of advancing ice and darkness as they enter their second summer in the Arctic Circle.
With poisoned meals, a decreasing coal supply, and ships capsized by crushing ice, they battle to survive in the unrelenting cold.
However, their true adversary is considerably more horrifying.
There is something lurking in the icy night, a horrible fear forcing its way into their ship like an invisible predator.
Captain Francis Crozier assumes control of the expedition after the death of the expedition leader and guides the remaining crew members in a last-ditch effort to traverse the ice to safety.
Crozier and his soldiers start to worry that there is no hope of escape as another winter approaches, as scurvy and famine worsen, and as the nightmare of the ice stalks them southward.
- Immerses the reader in the struggles of the expedition.
- Fleshed out characters that make you feel both love and hate for them.
- Vividly written plot with plenty of horrors.
- Historical horror is a niche sub-genre – it might not appeal to everyone.
The acclaimed best-selling author explores the unfathomable heights of madness and depicts the irrationality of violence in this modern classic.
It tells the tale of the stereotypical businessman from the 1980s—rich, vain, miserable, self-absorbed, and a sociopathic serial killer.
Patrick Bateman lives a luxurious lifestyle, works on Wall Street, and frequents upscale restaurants and nightclubs.
However, he is also a psychotic killer who regularly experiences hallucinations and kills victims in horrifying ways, either in response to the most insignificant provocation or for no apparent cause at all.
American Psycho is a grim, bitter, black comedy about a reality we all recognize but do not want to face, bringing us face-to-face with America’s greatest dream—and its worst nightmare.
It is a skillfully written piece of satire that is fierce, amusing, ambitious, and motivating. It is regarded as one of the most significant horror books written today.
- Has a dark, satirical sense of humor.
- Takes place in the mind of a narcissistic killer, showing a unique perspective.
- Focuses on the fine line between fantasy and reality.
- Graphic descriptions of violence, not for the easily disturbed or offended.
World War Z is classified as satire because it combines societal critique, drama, and horror.
It tells the tale of a zombie war that almost wiped out humanity through a series of interviews with survivors and significant personalities.
In this universe, a virus called Solanum that spreads through contact between fluids or bites is the cause of zombies.
Since the zombies aren’t actually living things, only a physical brain injury will stop them.
Max Brooks journeys across the United States and around the world, from shattered cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million people, to the most distant and hostile regions of the planet, motivated by the necessity of preserving the acid-etched first-hand recollections of the survivors.
He documents the testimonies of men, women, and occasionally children who experienced the awful conditions at the time firsthand.
Prepare to be enthralled by this engrossing oral history of the great conflict between humans and zombies as you read Mark Brooks’ masterpiece.
It’s a creepy story that will undoubtedly disturb you.
- Detailed and realistic portrayal of a post-apocalyptic world.
- A different approach than the stereotypical zombie horror.
- Compelling political elements that explore how a government might handle such an event.
- Reads more like an oral history – it’s not the most exciting horror novel.
A group of youthful, carefree tourists in the Mexican jungle run over the location of ancient ruins and old evil in Scott Smith’s tale.
Two young couples are enjoying a laid-back holiday in Mexico with sunny days, wild nights, and making new friends with travelers.
One of those friends’ brothers goes missing, so they start to search the jungle for him.
When they discover an ancient ruin site and the evil spirit that lives there, what had first started out as a nice day trip progressively turns into a nightmare.
Smith crafts a classic horror story with increasing intricacy, adding chills on top of chills.
This particular sort of survival horror will disprove your belief that a botanical kingdom cannot be a cause of fear.
It is a true creeping horror, unlike anything they could ever imagine.
- Amazing pacing and descriptions of chaos.
- Compelling group dynamic between characters.
- Heart-wrenching moments among the action.
- It takes a while to get into the action of the plot.
Rosemary’s Baby, which debuted in 1967, is frequently recognized as the primary catalyst for the horror boom that gave rise to the majority of the other works on this list.
The Bramford is an old New York City apartment building with a sinister reputation and a majority of elderly tenants.
Rosemary Woodhouse and her unsuccessful actor husband Guy settle in there.
The Woodhouses are soon welcomed by their neighbors Roman and Minnie Castavet, and despite Rosemary’s worries about their eccentricity and the strange noises she keeps hearing, her husband takes a liking to them.
Rosemary falls pregnant soon after Guy lands a prestigious Broadway role, and the Castavets begin showing particular concern for her welfare.
The ailing Rosemary feels more and more alone, and she starts to wonder if the Castavets’ circle is really what it seems.
Levin’s book is incredibly frightening because she makes the insane plotline appear entirely believable, allowing the reader to understand the fine line Rosemary walks between fantasy and reality.
- Clear and to-the-point writing style.
- Creates a feeling of threat and isolation in a setting that should be safe.
- Fascinating themes of witchcraft and satanism.
- Rosemary can sometimes come across as a dated female stereotype.
This twisted, sad love story, seen through the eyes of the classmate who is following the cutest couple at Holy Family High School, is a cross between You and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.
The ideal relationship is made up of Laney Villanueva and Nico Fiore, who are both gorgeous, well-liked, talented, and deeply in love.
They are respected by everyone at Holy Family High School. Rafi does not merely admire them, though. She looks at them and finds herself drawn to them.
Rafi worms her way into their lives with the goal of becoming their best friend.
Beginning slowly, she joins Laney’s club, takes pictures of the senior class for the yearbook, and watches Nico’s younger sister.
And it works—soon they start asking her for favors and inviting her to parties. Rafi’s actions quickly take an intrusive turn, going deeper and deeper until their most private secrets devour her.
This fresh spin on the traditional stalker will surely make you peek over your shoulder with its blend of humor and tragedy.
- An interesting take on the stalker character in horror.
- Features a complex protagonist who is also an antagonist.
- Atmospheric between the intense drama.
- Could delve deeper into the other characters in the book.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula is regarded as one of the greatest works of horror literature.
It beautifully conjures up the nightmare world of vampires and vampire hunters while simultaneously shedding light on the murky areas of Victorian sexuality and desire.
Young English lawyer Jonathan Harker, who is about to be promoted to partner, is dispatched to Castle Dracula in Transylvania to help a new client of his business who is relocating to London.
Jonathan anticipates returning home in a matter of weeks, but he is unaware that Count Dracula is an ancient vampire whose goals are nothing less than a scheme to renew himself with fresh blood from the densely populated areas of London.
As immortal as a vampire is the fame of Bram Stoker’s 1897 horror romance. Its mystical appeal has inspired numerous stage and film adaptations, and more than a century after it was first published, readers are still enthralled by it.
- A classic that began the vampire genre in horror.
- Explores many themes, including folklore, sexuality, and immigration.
- Beautiful description of gothic settings.
- It was published in 1897, so the writing might be a bit archaic for some readers.
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris is a brilliant, wonderfully written novel that is a timeless work of suspense and storytelling.
It served as the inspiration for the Oscar-winning horror movie starring Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling and Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
Buffalo Bill, a serial killer who only goes by the grotesquely fitting moniker, stalks specific women.
Since the bodies are found in various conditions, no one can figure out his motive.
Young F.B.I. Academy trainee Clarice Starling is shocked when Jack Crawford, Chief of the Bureau’s Behavioral Science section, summons her.
Her task was to speak with Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a great psychiatrist who is also a gruesome serial killer who is currently being closely watched in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.
Lecter’s understanding of how murderers think may aid in locating and apprehending Buffalo Bill.
Starling, who is intelligent and attractive, is surprised to find herself in an odd, intense relationship with the very perceptive Lecter.
He leaves Clarice with cryptic hints about Buffalo Bill and about herself, setting her off on a hunt that every reader will find shocking, terrifying, and completely engrossing.
- Lots of focus on more than one character.
- Has a great protagonist that experiences many difficulties associated with being a female detective.
- Features one of the most well-known antagonists of all time; Hannibal Lecter.
- You need to read the first book if you want a full picture of Lecter as a character.
This haunting tale of a mother’s perplexing search to comprehend her adolescent son’s fatal aggression, her own ambivalence toward parenting, and the explosive link between them was written by Lionel Shriver, and it is frighteningly realistic today.
Eva never had a strong desire to have children.
But, she never anticipated being the mother of a son who, two days before his sixteenth birthday, shot and killed a beloved teacher, a cafeteria worker, and seven of his fellow high school students.
In a series of strikingly candid conversations with her separated husband, Franklin, she attempts to deal with Kevin’s awful rampage two years after it occurred.
A remarkable analysis of how tragedy impacts a community, a marriage, and a family, this novel is an unputdownable, evocative, and incisive exploration of violence and responsibility.
- Offers a unique perspective of the mother of a murderer and the aftermath of his crimes.
- Takes the reader through the entire life of Kevin and how he became who he is.
- Interesting style – the story is told through letters to Eva’s ex-husband.
- Themes may hit too close to home for some readers.
The Shining, Stephen King’s third book to be published, was his first to go on to become a hardcover bestseller and established him as a leading figure in the horror genre.
The Overlook Hotel’s new position for Jack Torrance is the ideal opportunity for a new beginning.
He will have plenty of time to spend getting back in touch with his family and honing his literary skills as the eerie old hotel’s off-season caretaker.
The picturesque setting, however, seems increasingly isolated and ominous as the bitter winter weather sets in.
And Danny Torrance, a five-year-old boy with exceptional talent, is the only one to see the odd and terrifying forces assembling around the Overlook.
King is a writer whose unmatched imagination can always make the unlikely so terrifying that you’ll want to check the locks on the front door.
You will be haunted by this terrifying book, which will make your heart race with dread and make your blood run cold.
- Tightly plotted with extreme tension.
- Switches between four unique perspectives.
- Combines the supernatural with psychological elements.
- Don’t expect it to be similar to the movie.
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, a worldwide bestseller, is a masterful reinterpretation of the vampire legend and an extraordinarily terrifying tale.
Unimaginable horror strikes Blackeberg, a suburb of Sweden, in the fall of 1981.
A teenager’s blood-drained body is discovered, and it is presumed that the murder was part of a ritual killing.
Twelve-year-old Oskar is particularly hopeful that retribution has finally happened—revenge for the daily bullying he experiences at school.
However, he is not focused on the murder. A new girl who doesn’t get the cold and strangely isn’t seen throughout the day has moved in next door.
The more Oskar gets to know Eli, the more her true nature is revealed.
The most noteworthy aspect of Let The Right One In is how both uplifting and scary it is.
The relationship between the main protagonists evokes both adolescent love and a lure into the shadows, despite the fact that there aren’t many overt scares in the book.
It has the ability to deeply disturb and root for the young lovers.
- Has elements of horror within the mundane parts of life.
- Takes a modern tone with a classic theme.
- Lindqvist is amazing at setting a dark, bleak scene.
- Romance in the book can take away from the horror at times.
In 1981, Stephen King proclaimed Ghost Story to be the best work of its kind.
The classic story by Peter Straub is chock-full of horror, mysteries, and deadly ghosts from the past.
Four elderly men assemble in the small New York town of Milburn to share horrifying tales with one another, some of which are true and some of which are made up, a simple hobby to distract them from their dull existence.
But they and their small community are being haunted by one particular tale; a tale of a terrible mistake they made in the past.
They will soon discover that the past cannot be completely forgotten.
The most well-known work by Peter Straub is more complex than its title suggests.
All of us have heard ghost stories, but this multi-layered tale of supernatural retribution under-promises and exceeds expectations.
Although it took Straub some time to become interested in paranormal narratives, Ghost Story is considered to be both his most well-known and first book to get critical acclaim.
- Good at setting up an extremely unsettling paranormal horror story.
- Contains several unreliable narrators that keep you guessing what’s true and what’s not.
- The fear comes from many different areas within the story.
- The second half of the novel is harder to comprehend than the first half.
The iconic Japanese film and the Hollywood blockbuster with the same name were both inspired by Koji Suzuki’s magnificent Japanese thriller, with a terrifying supernatural twist.
Asakawa is a dedicated journalist who worked his way up from a local news beat reporter to a weekly magazine writer for his publication.
Because he has a history of workaholism, he didn’t pay much attention when his seventeen-year-old niece passed away suddenly.
However, a chance conversation reveals that another healthy teenager also passed away at the same time and under terrifyingly identical circumstances.
Asakawa gets the feeling that there is a story here, so he starts looking into it.
He quickly learns that two other teens were also hit by this bizarre simultaneous sudden-death syndrome.
The four teenagers spent the night in the same log cabin at a resort exactly one week before their strange deaths.
The mystery only gets more complicated when Asakawa visits the resort.
One of the adolescents makes a comment in the guest book that directs him to a particular videotape that ends with the ominous message “those who have seen these pictures are fated to die at this exact hour one week from now.”
Although the films have the advantage of displaying the cursed images, no cinematic adaptation could hope to match the weight of creeping mystery that Suzuki’s novel progressively builds.
- Builds tension from the very start of the book.
- Leads the reader into an intriguing mystery that is very compelling.
- Maintains a consistent pace, even as the story becomes more complicated.
- Ends on a cliffhanger, which may be frustrating for some readers.
The terrifying classic by Stephen King is a milestone in American fiction.
It is about seven adults who go back to their hometown to face an unnamed evil that they first encountered as kids.
When they first discovered the tragedy, they were seven teenagers.
Now that they are adults, they have ventured into the outside world in an effort to find success and happiness.
They must meet together at the same location where, as teens, they fought an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children because of a promise they made twenty-eight years prior.
As they get ready to fight the monster hiding in Derry’s sewers once more, children are being murdered once again, and their suppressed memories of that horrible summer come back to haunt them.
Being one of Stephen King’s most-read books and a horror classic, It is also one of his darkest and scariest due to its focus on a supernatural monster that preys on children.
If you weren’t scared of clowns before, you will be after reading this unsettling tale.
- The connection between the friendship group is compelling and features a range of different dynamics and personalities.
- Good at leaving some things to the imagination.
- Plays on both childhood fears and adult fears.
- Contains incredibly inappropriate scenes with the children that are likely to make you feel uncomfortable.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, published twenty years ago, evoked a wide range of feelings among readers globally.
After years of development, Chbosky has now released an epic work of literary horror whose vast scope and deep emotion redefine the genre.
Kate Reese, a single mother, is on the run.
She leaves an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with her son, Christopher, since she is determined to make things better for them both.
Together, they discover that they are lured to Mill Grove, Pennsylvania, and its close-knit neighborhood.
It initially appears to be the ideal location for a permanent home. Christopher then disappears. No one can find him after six long days.
Until Christopher, uninjured but changed, comes out of the woods at the edge of town.
Build a treehouse in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again, is the mission he is given by a voice in his head that only he can hear.
- Interesting dynamic of good vs. evil.
- Great mother and son characters that work well together.
- Builds personalities for even minor characters.
- Contains religious themes that might not appeal to all readers.
Hunger is a suspenseful and compelling retelling of the Donner Party, one of America’s most fascinating historical events, with a mysterious twist.
The only explanation for the string of misfortunes that have befallen the wagon train known as the Donner Party is that Tamsen Donner is a witch.
The pioneers have reached the verge of insanity as a result of depleted food, acrimonious disputes, and the strange death of a little boy.
They are plagued with the sense that someone or something is following them.
The 90 members of the Donner Party are about to embark on one of the deadliest and most disastrous western expeditions in American history, whether it be due to a curse from the gorgeous Tamsen, a decision to travel along a dangerous experimental route West, or just plain bad luck.
Alma Katsu crafts a novel that is supernatural suspense at its finest.
Truly disturbing and difficult to put down, it’s a book that we do not recommend reading after dark.
- A unique retelling with a supernatural twist that actually works.
- Descriptive and smooth writing style.
- Consumes the reader with the desperation and paranoia felt by the family.
- At times, you can feel the author trying to stay true to the real story rather than the supernatural additions.
Failed scholar Frank Nichols and his wife have landed in the tranquil Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank wants to write a history of his family’s former plantation, the Savoyard Plantation, and the horrors that took place there.
Their new existence initially seemed to be all they hoped for.
However, the residents of the town have long endured an unspoken fear beneath the surface of summer socials and small-town charm; a force that calls for sacrifice.
It originates in the foreboding forests across the river, where the Savoyard Plantation’s ruins are still visible. where a long-burning blood debt has never been paid back.
This supernatural-inflected Southern gothic novel by Christopher Buehlman illustrates the price we pay for the sins of the past, and is one of the best books if you’re looking for something spooky to read on a dark night.
- Incredibly fast-paced.
- Fun story that is great at capturing attention.
- An easy read that still keeps you entertained and thinking.
- Needs the reader to read between the lines to truly understand what’s happening in the plot.
The Amityville Horror is a fascinating and spooky tale about a house that was taken over by demonic spirits and tormented by psychic phenomena that are almost too horrible to explain.
The Lutz family moved into their brand-new suburban Long Island house in December 1975.
Although George and Kathleen Lutz were aware that Ronald DeFeo had murdered his parents, brothers, and sisters there one year prior, they still decided to purchase the property at an incredible price But, 28 days later, the entire Lutz family ran away in fear.
This is the riveting, disturbing real account of an American dream that descended into an unimaginable nightmare that enthralled the nation.
Their incredible tale, which has never been fully revealed, makes for a remarkable book with all the chills and suspenseful surprises of The Exorcist or Rosemary’s Baby, with one crucial distinction: the story is real.
- The story is told in an interesting, true-crime style.
- The fact that it tells the story of a real family who experienced the horrors told in the book is both fascinating and terrifying.
- Explores the family in detail, flaws and all.
- Supposed to be a true story, but might be embellished for the sake of the story.
What starts out as a cunning story about unfulfilled desire transforms into a genuinely terrifying book about possession and madness.
Sara Gran’s novel Come Closer contains some captivating storytelling.
Amanda, a talented architect with a fulfilling marriage, notices a gradual change in her life.
She picks up smoking once more, and one night without cause or even realizing she’s doing it, she burns her husband with a cigarette.
She has dreams at night about a stunning woman with sharp teeth standing by a blood-red sea.
Amanda tries to regain control of her life as a result of the weird and frightening new voice that keeps telling her to steal things and approach strange men at bars.
Is she insane or is she under the control of a demon?
Come Closer, which has been called a new kind of psychological thriller, has become a modern classic with a punch that will last with the reader for days.
- Straightforward and completely focused on Amanda’s story.
- Can be read in one sitting.
- Realistic representation of mental illness and how it can affect someone.
- Shorter than the average horror novel.
When Mary Shelley was just eighteen years old, she started writing Frankenstein.
Frankenstein depicts the account of dedicated science student Victor Frankenstein and serves as a gothic thriller, passionate love story, and warning about the perils of science.
Frankenstein constructs a human from stolen body parts because he is obsessed with finding the origin of generation and life and giving life to inanimate matter.
However, when the human is brought to life, he recoils in terror at how horrifying the monster is.
The once-good creature, tormented by loneliness and solitude, turns evil and launches a vicious mission of vengeance against his creator.
In addition to telling a horrifying tale, the instant bestseller and significant forerunner of the horror and science fiction genres, Frankenstein also poses difficult, unsettling issues about the basic essence of existence and the place of humanity within the cosmos.
That in itself is bound to send chills down your spine.
- Fascinating themes of science within the horror genre.
- Makes you feel sympathy for the supposed monster in the novel.
- One of the most celebrated horror novels of all time.
- Released in 1818, so the style might be too dated for some.
What To Look For When Finding The Perfect Spooky Book
Now that you have some of our recommendations, here are some things you should look out for when finding your next favorite horror read.
A Good Protagonist
Some fiction-writing experts contend that readers don’t always have to connect with the protagonist or main character in novels.
But nonetheless, they must at least be able to relate to them; they must understand the motivations of the protagonist.
It’s important to find a horror book with characters you can relate to if you want to read a good horror story.
But still, this does not imply that the protagonist must be faultless; in fact, having flaws makes the protagonist more convincing and makes you care about them more.
Some of the anxiety is removed if you don’t care about the book’s protagonist, which is important in a horror story.
Whether it’s a vampire, a ghost, or a serial killer, the novel’s primary horror aspect should make you squirm, but you should also worry about the characters’ safety.
Once you find a character you care about, you need a horror book with an antagonist that creates a real sense of fear and danger within the story.
This can be anything, from a physical monster to society itself.
Whatever it is, it has to evoke feelings of anxiety and discomfort as you read and become more immersed in the story.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Another element that, when effectively implemented, contributes to a strong horror story is shock.
Not in a gratuitous or graphic sense, but rather in the sense of a thought, image, or moment that you won’t anticipate or that you couldn’t have imagined yourself.
For instance, in his book It, Stephen King presented us with a spooky clown in a sewer.
The fact that it had never been imagined before was part of what made it so terrifying. We tend to think of sewers and storm drains as benign elements of local infrastructure, so this thought takes us far outside of our comfort zone.
They become something that is way outside the reader’s comfort zone when they are transformed into a subterranean passage for a malicious monster.
This is a vital element of a successful horror story. You have to be drawn into the shadows and shocked by the unexpected.
While horror films are amazing for getting your heart racing and blood pumping, there’s nothing quite like the way a good horror book can make you feel.
These incredible spooky tales will make you feel dread like no other, and at least one is bound to become one of your all-time favorites.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best-Selling Horror Book Of All Time?
The best-selling book in the horror genre of all time is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, with Bram Stoker’s Dracula coming a close second.
What Is The Oldest Horror Book?
Horace Walpole is credited with creating the horror genre; it could be argued that his novel Castle of Otranto (1765) established the horror story as a respectable literary genre.