21 Best Horror Books to Read
Horror is a genre that is a hit or miss among people. If you are into those bouts of supernatural and weird occurrences within a story that doesn’t make you want to put the book down, there are some of the best horror books that we are going to help you sort out. Horror stories and books are indeed abundant around, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t read through all of them. To be honest, not every horror book will have the same chilling story that leaves behind goosebumps on your skin.
For finding a book that does, and that makes you afraid to get out of the bed at night, we have sorted through some of the best supernatural and horror books that we think that you are going to enjoy reading.
List of the best horror books
Several horror books are available in the market and even in the libraries that you can avail of and read. But, we want our readers to start with the best, which is why we have sorted you out with some.
House of Leaves
Written by Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves is one of the terrifying horror stories that you will ever read. The unique thing about the setting of this story is the fact that nothing is out of the box. You have a fairly big deserted house, and the story continues like that.
The author has included the narration of several characters, including several of the typographic mysteries along the journey that is going to leave you on the edge of the bed throughout. The fact that makes this a one of a kind story is the fact that it leaves the readers questioning their perception of the story throughout. It is dark, not going to lie, but you will find the ride pleasant too.
We Have Always Lived In The Castle
Written by Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived In The Castle is yet another amazing horror story that is a must-read if you are into the supernatural elements and the dark backdrops.
The story takes you along the journey of two sisters and their uncle who have been ostracized by the villagers in their native village and find their way along the way. What made the villagers do that was because of that one tragedy that affected the entire family six years ago.
The Summer Is Ended, and We Are Not Yet Saved
Written by Joey Comeau, The Summer Is Ended, and We Are Not Yet Saved is a very creepy and dark horror story that you need to add to your reading list without many thoughts. The story highlights the character of eleven-year-old Martin, whose mother is a special effect artist and works for the cast in the horror movies.
Martin is used to entrails but likes to keep their inside of him and not let them get out in the open. The things start tumbling out once there is an entry of a maniac who is employed in the bible camp that Martin visits.
Written by Stephen King, you just can’t go wrong with IT. Stephen King has a knack of blending in supernatural elements with dark horror in a way that leaves the readers on the edge of their seat with sweat trickling down the side of their head.
The best thing about the book is not just how the heroes overcome their fear of the clown Pennywise, but the characterization of the town, Derry that makes it stand out in all its glory. If you are planning to watch the two movies that have been released already, we would suggest that you do read the book first.
Written by Ira Levin, Rosemary’s Baby is yet another horror installment that we wouldn’t suggest you read at night. The story takes you along the journey of a young woman who becomes pregnant after a nightmare. The story highlights the kind of isolated experiences that Rosemary had to face, and she starts getting suspicious of everything happening around her.
The story packs in a lot of twists and turns and something that will leave you with your mouth wide open. The storyline is pretty simple, but the way it has been written and portrayed is what makes it one of the best renditions of literary excellence.
The Yellow Wall-Paper
Written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wall-Paper is a story that you will often find included inside the short story collection under the same author’s name. But, the story of this one is so horrific and nerve-wracking that it did deserve a space of its own in here.
The story is unique and trains from real-life experiences, which further makes it such an amazing read. The story takes you on a journey of a woman who is advised bed rest following the birth of her child and the kind of mental strain it starts to put on her.
The Woman in Black
Written by Susan Hill, The Woman in Black is one of the most popular gothic style horror storybooks that was published back in 1983. The story takes you through a tumultuous ride and has been an inspiration for the longest-running plays in London’s West End and a movie that Daniel Radcliffe was a part of.
The story is based out of the backdrop of a classic 80s British aura and takes you through the ride the characters experience. The story entails the stalking figure who stalks a house located on the foggy moors and can even foretell the death of the children. It isn’t something very thrilling, but the words are sewed on so well that you wouldn’t want to put the book down at all.
I am Legend
Written by Richard Matheson, I am Legend is yet another one of the best horror storybooks that are laced with supernatural elements. The story is all about vampires and takes the readers along through a superficial journey.
The experience with this is quite one of a kind, but if you have watched the film and hated the ending (which is obvious), give the book a try instead because the ending on the book is possibly one of the best that you wouldn’t even expect to happen.
The Haunting of Hill House
Written by Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House is yet another amazing horror storybook that you most definitely do need to get your hands on. All the elements involved in the story are true, quite cliché with that of the haunted house and a family around it. But, it is how the author has even taken that to the next level is what matters the most in this story.
The elements and backdrop could very well be cliché, but the story itself. It has also been made into a 10 part documentary on Netflix. The story is narrated well, and you can only understand the significance of it once you do read it.
Written by Michael Talbot, Night Things is one of the masterpieces written by the first openly gay horror story author. He passed away quite early, following which his stories were printed and then read by the people across the world. The story does involve a lake house that is haunted, but the element of the story doesn’t just stop there.
The story talks about the character of Lauren Montgomery and her family and how the lake house and the hidden rooms take theirs along with a journey that they never thought was possible. The story is twisted and sometimes can leave you confused, but just stick on till the end because you wouldn’t expect things that happen.
Written by Dan Simmons, Carrion Comfort is another one of the popular vampire stories that highlight some instances of true terror that you wouldn’t have thought of. If you like reading about horror and vampires combined, this is a perfect read. While you are at it, make sure to focus on the narration and the way the author has focused on the character developments along the way because that is yet another factor that matters a lot.
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Written by Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin is another popular horror story that is centered around children. The story takes you on a ride of how not all children have a loving and nurturing relationship with their parents and the kind of horror it brings along. But, that isn’t the only horror that the characters in the story have to go through.
The story highlights the dread that a parent faces when their child is a blank monster. You just can’t enjoy the thrill of the book until you read it.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism
Written by Grady Hendrix, My Best Friend’s Exorcism highlights the story of the 80s gal pals who are struggling with the intrusion of a demon inside the body of one. The story is about Abby and Gretchen, who are best friends and have done everything together till they remember. During the story, Gretchen gets lost in the wood, but the moment she comes back, you know that something is different from her.
Abby, who is an outcast in the school they attend, faces further issues and downright torture in the heist to cleanse the soul of her best friend from that demon. The story does have a lot of twists inside that you wouldn’t expect, so get your hands on it.
Written by Kōji Suzuki, Ring is a very popular horror storybook which already has a Hollywood movie with the same title. The book is quite one of a kind and different, but reading it will make you realize that the movie doesn’t even come close to doing justice to the actual book.
The story highlights the use of videotape that whoever sees gets a disclaimer that they are going to die in seven days. When the protagonists, through the story who is trying to change their fate and avoid dying, reveal horrific things related to a rape case, cases of epidemics like chickenpox and a well where the “ghost” died.
A Head Full of Ghosts
Written by Paul Tremblay, A Head Full of Ghosts focuses on the character of Marjorie Barrett, who is a 14-year old girl that starts showcasing signs and symptoms of schizophrenia.
Out of curiosity and a possible cure, some people from the reality TV conduct an exorcism on the girl with her father’s permission, they find and explore things that they aren’t supposed to. From the exorcism, the book then cuts onto a segment 15 years later where Marjorie’s sister is talking about the events that went down that day and what happened to her sister.
Written by Dathan Auerbach, Penpal is yet another chilling horror storybook that will make you question everything along with the book. The idea of this book is to highlight the common human nature of not being deep enough to see things in a bigger picture. The story has a touch of an episodic feel, which is quite amazing when you come to read it along.
In the story, you will find a narrator who talks about a young boy that sends out a penpal invitation to a balloon with his classmates, including one called Josh. While he doesn’t receive a response for over a year, his life takes a complete turn when he does receive one later. He finds himself stuck experiencing a tragic string of events happening throughout with him and with the people around him. The climax of the story leaves everyone baffled.
The Damnation Game
Written by Clive Barker, The Damnation Game explains that the author is more than just his short stories. The book is very engrossing and will leave you wanting more with each page as you flip through. The book does contain genres and elements that can sound revolting to some readers, but it is part of the process that uncovers the bigger picture behind the story.
It takes you along a ride through the subjects of incest and cannibalism and does concur very deep thinking into the minds of the readers along the way.
The Girl Next Door
Written by Jack Ketchum, The Girl Next Door takes you on a disturbing ride along with the story of two sisters who suffer from unimaginable abuse when they stay with their mentally challenged aunt and her three horrific sons.
The story is horrifying, to say the least, and is based around true events, which further makes it a very troublesome experience while you are reading it. You wouldn’t normally believe things like these happening in the society until and unless you witness something like this in front of your eyes.
Written by Ryu Murakami, Audition has a very blunt and to the point approach to the story that several readers like, and some don’t. The story takes you along a ride through violence and manipulation and the kind of effects it has on people’s minds. It does include several sexual elements to it as well that are worth reading through.
The story is about a widower, Aoyama, and you get to know everything around that during the climax of the story. The climax is the part that has been every person’s moment of shock that they didn’t even think was possible in the first place.
Written by Jose Saramago, Blindness highlights the element of helplessness one is faced with when in a horror-filled situation. The story takes you along a ride through a village wherein an epidemic of blindness leaves everyone with no vision. You can read through the kind of seclusion they experience and how the same impacts their mental state, leading to bouts of animalistic madness that further ensues.
The story beautifully captures the essence behind the fear that every character feels upon being trapped in a city that no longer functions.
The Devil in Silver
Written by Victor LaValle, The Devil in Silver highlights the character of Pepper, who doesn’t remember the crime he has supposedly committed. He knows he was supposed to be in the New Hyde hospital for a few days, but that doesn’t happen, and the story showcases the kind of horror that takes place in places like these.
If you are into horror and supernatural elements in a story, we would suggest that you give these books a try. All of them have a different touch to the story, which makes them one of a kind and something worthy of the read. You can go in order of the list or even randomly pick up along the way.