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Best Horror Books

Dive into the spine-tingling world of horror with these critically acclaimed novels. Each book on this list comes highly recommended by the web’s most dedicated horror aficionados.

Recommendations from 96 articles, Stephen King, Joel McHale, Ben Shapiro and 52 others.
Best Horror Books
100 books on the list
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The Exorcist book cover
The Exorcist
40th Anniversary Edition
William Peter Blatty - 1994-02-01 (first published in 1971)
Goodreads Rating
A mother and two priests fight to save a little girl's soul from a supernatural evil entity in this iconic horror masterpiece. William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist is a timeless tale of desperation, faith, and pure terror.
The Haunting of Hill House book cover
The Haunting of Hill House
Shirley Jackson - 2006-11-28 (first published in 1959)
Goodreads Rating
Delve into the world of classic horror with this chilling tale selected by award-winning director Guillermo del Toro. Part of a six-volume series, this collection includes works by masters of the genre, including Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. First published in 1959, it tells the story of four seekers who arrive at the notoriously unfriendly Hill House. An occult scholar, his assistant, a young woman well acquainted with poltergeists, and the future heir of Hill House encounter inexplicable phenomena. But as the powers of Hill House grow stronger, one of them will become its own. Perfect for horror aficionados everywhere, this hardcover features original cover art and is a must-have addition to any library.
Recommended by
Ben Shapiro
House of Leaves book cover
House of Leaves
Mark Z. Danielewski - 2000-03-07
Goodreads Rating
Discover an astonishing novel that took the internet by storm: House of Leaves. Follow the story of a young family who moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane, only to discover their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson and his companion Karen Green face the consequences of this impossibility, including a growing abyss and an unholy growl that soon consumes their dreams. You won't be able to put down this terrifying tale, complete with original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added appendices.
Frankenstein book cover
Mary Shelley - 2018-03-08 (first published in 1818)
Goodreads Rating
This Gothic thriller is a cautionary tale about the dangers of science. It tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a science student obsessed with discovering the cause of life. Upon bringing his creation to life, Frankenstein recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by loneliness, the creature turns to evil and seeks revenge against his creator. This bestseller raises thought-provoking questions on the meaning of humanity, our responsibilities to each other, and how far we should tamper with nature.
Recommended by
Guillermo del Toro
The Shining book cover
The Shining
Stephen King - 1980-07-01 (first published in 1977)
Goodreads Rating
This chilling novel follows Jack Torrance as he begins his new job at the remote Overlook Hotel as the off-season caretaker. He hopes to reconnect with his family and focus on his writing, but as winter sets in, strange and sinister forces gather around the hotel. The only one to notice is his son, Danny, a gifted five-year-old. Get ready for a spine-tingling experience.
Recommended by
Devon SawaElla Dawson
Dracula book cover
Bram Stoker - 1986-05-12 (first published in 1897)
Goodreads Rating
This classic horror novel explores the dark and twisted world of Count Dracula and his Victorian adversaries. As a series of disturbing incidents unfold in England, the battle between the sinister vampire and the determined human group heats up. Bram Stoker's work delves into complex themes of human identity, sanity, and Victorian sexuality, leaving readers breathless until the final page.
It book cover
A Novel
Stephen King - 1987-10-01 (first published in 1986)
Goodreads Rating
This creepy novel takes place in a small town called Derry, where the haunting is all too real. A group of teenagers stumbled upon a horror that has drawn them back as adults, forcing them to face an evil without a name. Be prepared for a thrilling and chilling read.
Bird Box book cover
Bird Box
A Novel
Josh Malerman - 2014-05-13
Goodreads Rating
In a post-apocalyptic world, something terrifying lurks outside that must not be seen - one glimpse drives you to deadly violence. Malorie and her children must navigate a twenty-mile journey blindfolded down a river. But what's following them? Is it man, animal, or monster? This harrowing odyssey takes them into an unseen world, surrounded by darkness and frightening sounds, and back into the past where they must confront the ultimate question - in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted? Josh Malerman's Bird Box is a gripping and horrific debut that will have you racing to the final page.
A Head Full of Ghosts book cover
A Head Full of Ghosts
A Novel
Paul Tremblay - 2015-06-02
Goodreads Rating
This harrowing psychological thriller follows the Barrett family as they grapple with their daughter Marjorie's descent into schizophrenia. With doctors unable to help, the family turns to a priest who suggests an exorcism, leading to a hit reality TV show documenting the possession. Fifteen years later, Marjorie's younger sister Merry is interviewed, revealing buried secrets and a mind-bending tale of horror that questions reality and the nature of evil. This chilling masterpiece is reminiscent of horror classics such as Hill House and Let the Right One In.
Recommended by
Stephen King
Let Me In book cover
Let Me In
John Ajvide Lindqvist - 2007-01-01 (first published in 2004)
Goodreads Rating
Enter the chilling world of Let Me In - a story set in 1981, following the terrifying discovery of a drained teenage boy. Oskar, a twelve-year-old victim of school bullies, is eager for revenge. But, a new neighbor catches his attention - a girl who possesses an unusual talent yet appears only at night. As their friendship deepens, Oskar is forced to confront a terrifying reality about his new companion. Dive into this horror tale of friendship, obsession, and the supernatural.
Recommended by
Stephen King
The Hunger by Alma Katsu
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
Ring by Koji Suzuki
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Pet Sematary by Stephen King
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
Carrie by Stephen King
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Hell House by Richard Matheson
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
The Other by Thomas Tryon
Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons
Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
The Woman in Black and Other Ghost Stories by Susan Hill
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
The Troop by Nick Cutter
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
World War Z by Max Brooks
The Terror by Dan Simmons
The Ruins by Scott Smith
Lone Women by Victor LaValle
How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
The Outsider by Stephen King
The Elementals by Michael McDowell
The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavalle
Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix
The Grip of It by Jac Jemc
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
Uzumaki by Junji Ito
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Drácula by Michael Burgan
The Bad Seed by William March
Penpal by Dathan Auerbach
The Fisherman by John Langan
Tell Me I’m Worthless by Alison Rumfitt
Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand
Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix
Boy's Life by Robert McCammon
The Stand by Stephen King
Swan Song by Robert McCammon
Psycho by Robert Bloch
Black River Orchard by Chuck Wendig
Camp Damascus by Chuck Tingle
The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher
The Reformatory by Tananarive Due
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
Misery by Stephen King
The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
Come Closer by Sara Gran
The Changeling by Victor Lavalle
Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler
The Institute by Stephen King
Don't Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones
My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum
The Haunting of Alejandra by V. Castro
The Ritual by Adam Nevill
Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky
The Spite House by Johnny Compton
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Books of Blood, Vols. 1-3 by Clive Barker
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
Nuestra parte de noche by Mariana Enríquez
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
The Call of Cthulhu by H. P. Lovecraft
The Road by Cormac McCarthy