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The Uncorked Librarian logo 2023 with gray cat, green suitcase, and pile of books with glass on wine on top and tv remote

35 Seriously Creepy & Spooky Books For Adults

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Are you looking for seriously spooky books for adults? Uncover favorite creepy books guaranteed to keep you awake at night.

Stinky farting unicorns, zombie teenagers, true crime podcasts, murderous obsessions, ghosts, and folktales gone grim.

From graphic novels and translated literature to fantasy and nonfiction, these are just a few of the themes that await the brave reader on this seriously spooky novels reading list.

We dare you to pick up one of these horror books for adults late at night alone in the house.

Dim the lights, light a few candles, and try not to be terrified out of your mind. Heck, we need a glass of wine just thinking about it.

This eclectic spooky books reading list is also perfect for Halloween, October, or the fall. Find something for every type of reader.

Uncover the newest suspense novels, vampire books, and even a few psychological thrillers. We love our creepy classics and riveting and popular ghost and haunted house books.

Plus, our favorite bloggers, bookstagrammers, and authors brainstormed to share their top creepy books for adults.

Lastly, find horrifyingly scary books for adults and teens that still sit on the milder side.

So, what are the best spooky books according to the TUL community? What are your personal favorite spooky reads?

Be sure to tell us in the comments, and let’s get started!

Love scary books and paranormal stories? You might cackle for these wickedly witchy books .

Seriously Creepy Spooky Books For Adults blog post cover with old books, white smoke, and blue background

P.S. A few ways to read these creepy novels:

  • Audible Plus : From Amazon, listen to Amazon Originals, podcasts, and audiobooks. They add new titles every week.
  • Book of the Month : Get the month’s hottest new and upcoming titles from Book of the Month. You might snag an early release or debut author. Along with selecting a book a month, find terrific add-ons, both trendy and lesser-known titles.
  • Amazon Prime Video – Stream thousands of ad-free movies and TV series on demand with Prime Video.
  • Express VPN – Using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) allows you to view movies worldwide – and they help keep your information safe. Our writers couldn’t have such diverse film reviews without using a VPN.

Table of Contents

Seriously Spooky Books For Adults: Thrilling & Chilling Mysteries

2021 spooky murder mysteries, The Maidens by Alex Michaelides book cover

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

Literary Cult Fiction Featuring Greek Mythology & Set In The UK (Cambridge)

Don’t miss one of the most anticipated 2021 murder mysteries and spooky books, The Maidens . You may recognize Michaelides from his popular debut, The Silent Patient .

If you seek out horror books on cults, crave Greek mythology , and love dark academia , this one is for you. Michaelides is best known for his signature surprise and twisted endings.

A novel set mostly at Cambridge, watch as a group of impressionable young women hang on a handsome professor’s every word.

When these young undergrads end up brutally murdered, one by one – just like the Greek tragedies that they are studying – the murderer seems quite obvious. Yet, something is off.

As Mariana fights to overcome the death of her husband in Naxos – a man she idolized – she can’t help but think that she is cursed. Others question her sanity.

Can Mariana solve the mystery before the murderer comes for her?

This is a nail-biting and fast-paced mystery. Some were disappointed by the ending, but not us. Amazon | Goodreads

2021 creepy books, We Were Never Here by  Andrea Bartz book cover with rainbow title and palm trees in dark background

We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz

Michigan, Chile, & Cambodia Suspense Novel

In one of the newer creepy books (2021), head to Cambodia and Chile for one deadly good time.

Best friends Emily and Kristen are adventurous travelers, but men always end up dead in their path.

Are these truly random accidents of self-defense, and will these women get caught?

Back home in Wisconsin, Emily starts to question why Kristen’s life is filled with so much tragedy and death, including her parent’s demise in a home fire. Kristen’s grandparents seem pretty on edge, too.

Full of chilling suspense, watch as Kristen manipulates Emily and her new beau while slowly putting together all of the pieces.

What’s going on here? And is someone else about to die? Spoiler: the answer is YES.

Although you might find some parts of We Were Never Here a bit slow and not quite tidied up, the last lines of this suspenseful novel will get you.

Plus, who doesn’t love a good book on toxic and deadly friendships in the fall? Witness the long-term effects of childhood trauma at their worst, too. Amazon | Goodreads

Best horror books The Ring by Koji Suzuki red book cover with lines yielding into a circle

Ring by Koji Suzuki

Translated to English by Robert B. Rohmer and Glynne Walley | Creepy Book Set In Japan

If you are looking for scary books for adults that are also movies, don’t skip Ring , a deadly murder mystery.

A cursed videotape lands at an unsuspecting viewer’s home.  If a certain, unknown act is not performed, the viewers die from heart attacks. And die they do.

After his own niece falls victim to the tapes, journalist Asakawa decides to investigate. 

Finding hidden messages in the tape, Asakawa heads out across Japan for answers that appear related to a disappearing woman. 

Unless Asakawa figures out how to stop the curse, more will die.  Is he immune to the consequences of the tape ?

Ring is a contemporary classic and Japanese horror book for adults . Amazon | Goodreads

Also, don’t miss Ringu, the Japanese movie version.

Creepy book and 2020 murder mystery, Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane book cover with blurred white woman's face

Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane

Murder Mystery & Thriller Set In Ithaca, New York

We don’t recommend reading Pretty Little Wife right before bed… This is a fast-paced, creepy thriller that didn’t leave us with the most soothing dreams at night.

If you enjoy true crime podcasts, eerie feminist revenge, and dysfunctional families, we think you’ll speed-read through Pretty Little Wife , one of the best creepy books of 2020.

Head to Ithaca, New York where it’s pretty clear that ice queen Lila Ridgefield offed her scumbag husband, Aaron. However, the police cannot prove it.

Both Lila and Aaron grew up drowning in trauma and tragedy. Unfortunately for Lila, her scheme doesn’t go quite as planned.

Her supposedly dead husband is MIA. Is he alive? And more importantly, is he coming for her?

While you are waiting for Aaron to pop up in the shadows of their house, the story grows darker. Something more sinister is in the backdrop as police have also been searching for missing college students.

We are still shivering. Lila is the perfect but troubled vigilante hero.

With the goal to emphasize survivors versus predatory men, you’ll find more depth in this thriller than you expected. Amazon | Goodreads

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse book cover with gray hued hotel with mountains behind it

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

Murder Mystery Set In Switzerland

Travel to the Swiss Alps in Pearse’s The Sanatorium . For spooky books, this one will leave you with nightmares of people wearing reconfigured gas masks.

Imagine getting trapped by an avalanche at a historic sanatorium – now converted hotel – with a serial killer on the loose.

The former sanatorium has an iffy and secretive past; yet, its architects created a new design laden with the fetishization of the space.

Maybe that’s why the lead architect mysteriously disappeared and is presumed dead…

As Elin and her boyfriend head to the hotel for her somewhat estranged brother’s engagement party, more people end up missing, injured, and dead.

Is her brother connected to the murders? Did he kill their younger brother?

While Elin must battle the demons from her traumatizing past, she’s also faced with finding the killer(s) before they find her.

Uncover even more winter novels to read . Amazon | Goodreads

Breathless by Amy McCulloch book cover with shadow of person in blue and white snow

Breathless by Amy McCulloch

Mountaineering Suspense Thriller Set In Nepal

If you are looking for the best spooky books for hikers , Breathless will take you to the top of the 8th highest peak in the world, Manaslu in Nepal.

A 2022 book release , join journalist Cecily Wong as she attempts to summit this deadly mountain just to score a once-in-a-lifetime interview with mountaineering god, Charles McVeigh.

Why was she invited on this trip when she has little experience as well as a series of mountaineering mishaps behind her?

And, who is lurking outside her tent with that creepy whistle?

With multiple mysterious deaths, the mountains are indeed the perfect place for a killer to hide. Read Breathless : Amazon | Goodreads

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney book cover with house on dark cliff hill with fog and stormy ocean

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

Locked-Room Mystery Set Along The Cornish Coast

If you covet locked-room mysteries, Daisy Darker is a creepy fun retelling of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None .

A foreshadowing that Nana will die on her 80 th Birthday, she invites her dislikeable Darker family members to her home on a private island for a final celebration.

When Nana is found dead and family members start dying off one by one, the remaining siblings and their family friend realize that one of them is the killer. But who?

Along with rhyming poems and a famous children’s book, the killer could be anyone.  All of these people are pretty wretched, selfish, and – well – total liars.

Although the big reveal isn’t our all-time favorite ending, Daisy Darker is an engrossing and fast-paced mystery. You cannot help but deeply enjoy these flawed characters – and their untimely demise.

Sly horror books for adults with grotesque characters don’t get any better than this. Plus, we can never resist books set on islands – remote and tropical.

We also loved Feeney’s Rock Paper Scissors – and she is a must-read author for any creepy books reading list. Amazon | Goodreads

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The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

Murder Mystery Set In Pikeville Submission from Hayley of  Backpacking Bookworm

Don’t be fooled by the title.

For seriously spooky books, The Good Daughter is full of blood, gore, and murder – as in internal body parts from a mother’s gruesome death splattering her children square in the face.

The author does not hold back on psychologically disturbing descriptions. The dark nature pushes the boundaries of typical psychological thrillers, drawing out the horror to create graphic imagery.

Karen Slaughter’s The Good Daughter is a turbulent family drama following the Quinn family.

The first part of the book reveals the harrowing murder of Gamma witnessed by her two daughters, Samantha and Charlotte.

They are helpless in trying to save her, as their father is a successful defense lawyer with plenty of local enemies.

The second part of the book is set 28 years later when Charlotte, now a successful defense lawyer, is first on the scene of a school shooting.

The culprit is a teenage girl who is quite clearly holding the gun that killed two people.

Charlotte knows there is always more. With the help of her father and begrudging sister, they must work against the clock to help the vulnerable teen.

They also must still face the unspoken demons lingering from the events 28 years previous. Amazon | Goodreads

2020 scary books for adults, The Girl From Widow Hills Megan Miranda book cover with golden hair floating in blue water

The Girl From Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

Psychological Thriller & Suspense Set In North Carolina & Kentucky

Olivia is trying to move on from her infamous past by starting over in North Carolina.

It’s the 20-year anniversary of her well-known sewer drain rescue, an occasion that has transformed her life for both good and bad.

When Olivia trips over a body in her yard during a sleepwalking episode, she realizes NC won’t be the escape she hoped for. Now a suspect, is someone trying to send Olivia a message?

The clues are everything in this mystery and thriller, and as for creepy books, this one will have your heart racing.  Amazon  |  Goodreads

Save The Best Creepy Books For Adults For Later:

Scary Books For Adults Pinterest Pin with book covers for The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware, The Exorcist by William Beatty, Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, The Night Swim by Megan Goldin, Come Closer by Sara Gran, The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter, and Perfume by Patrick Suskind

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Mystery Book Set In Vermont | Ghost Thrillers

If you love creepy books with haunted houses and Ouija boards, don’t miss Home Before Dark  by Riley Sager.

With Maggie’s father’s recent death, she must reconcile her childhood haunted house, Baneberry Hall. Her father’s bestselling book about the home changed all of their lives, mostly for the worst.

Did Maggie’s father lie about the paranormal occurrences at Baneberry just to make money?  Or was he hiding something more sinister?  

Against her mother’s wishes, Maggie returns to the haunted house, even though it foreshadowed her imminent death on the property. Will Maggie come out alive?

This spooky book will have you looking in your dresser before bed…

Home Before Dark is also one of our favorite ghost books for adults on this list. Amazon  |  Goodreads

2020 Spooky Books, The Guest List Lucy Foley book cover with mansion on an island in the rain

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Whodunit Mystery Set In Ireland

One of the best fun and light spooky books of 2020 , we loved The Guest List  by Lucy Foley.

Set on a haunted island off the shores of Connemara, Ireland , watch spoiled frat boys fall apart.

If you love Agatha Christie novels, you’ll enjoy  The Guest List , which has a little comedic relief too.

The story begins with the discovery of a dead body during yuppie AF wedding festivities. All of the guests are extremely vile, rich snobs.

The ushers grew up together in a weird cult-like prep school filled with secrets and lingering immaturity.

The women have destructive relationships with the men in their lives. Everyone has secrets and a motive…

For books set at hotels , this one will make you rethink your accommodations.

Plus, who doesn’t love a good wedding suspense novel ? Amazon  |  Goodreads

Seriously Creepy Books: Psychological Thrillers & Suspense Novels

2020 Creepy books and thrillers, Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel pink book cover with gray and black butterfly

Darling Rose Gold By Stephanie Wrobel

Women’s Psychological Thriller & 2020 Debut

Darling Rose Gold is one of our favorite creepy books of 2020 . Talk about dysfunctional families. This novel is also perfect if you are looking to read books with colors in the title .

Poisonous Patty is serving a 5-year prison sentence: she would shave her daughter Rose Gold’s hair, pull her out of school, and convince Rose Gold that she needed a wheelchair.

In reality, though, Patty was poisoning her daughter’s food.

On Patty’s release day, Rose Gold picks her up with a new son in tote. Patty moves in, against everyone’s wishes, and you wonder what the heck Rose Gold is thinking.

From here on out, though, watch a vindictive game unfold. The toxicity and manipulation make Darling Rose Gold one of the best fast-paced thrillers and spooky books of 2020.

You’ll also hate everyone. Amazon  |  Goodreads

People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd book cover with picture of mom and child on broken phone

People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd

Social Media Thriller Set In London

People Like Her is an especially creepy book if you are a blogger and Instagrammer. Hello, The Uncorked Librarian .

Thrilling and terrifying, this is one of the most #relevant 2021 books about social media so far.

InstaMom Emmy Jackson is a famous mom influencer. Her popularity isn’t always good, though; she seems to have a revenge-seeking stalker.

Is it because she gives out vomit-worthy, fake advice? Doesn’t practice what she preaches? Is caught making her house look messy to be more ‘relatable?’

Let’s be real, Emmy is a crappy influencer lacking ethics and a soul… We don’t really care for her; she makes the rest of us look really bad.

Emmy doesn’t care, though . She is bringing in 6 to 7-figures and transforming moms’ lives. Until she isn’t… Toxic and unprofessional advice can be deadly.

Told from three perspectives – Emmy’s ‘author’ husband, a spooky stalker, and her own – you’ll wonder how much sympathy you have for Emmy. Everyone in this story is quite detestable.

We are pretty sure you will hate-love People Like Her and will crack up at the hysterical Instagram references.

Unlike Emmy, let’s be real here: We are 200% all-in for #blessed social media-related spooky books. Amazon | Goodreads

Spooky Books Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes book cover with telephone jack

Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

Horror Novel Set In The UK | Contribution by Eliza Stopps of Eliza Stopps .

Elizabeth Haynes is a police intelligence analyst, which gives her terrifying insight into abusive relationships and criminal behavior.

Because of this, In the Darkest Corner is one of the best spooky books and thrillers about a woman whose dream man turns into a nightmare.

Their relationship slowly transforms into something violent and controlling. By the time Catherine finally figures out her ex-boyfriend’s motives, it’s almost too late.

Catherine manages to leave her ex, Lee, and starts to see another man. Just as she starts to feel better, Catherine is forced to question her own sanity.

Strange things start happening around her apartment.

Her spoons are in the wrong spot in the drawer, a curtain pulled to the side when it shouldn’t have been, and the feeling that someone is always watching her… Amazon | Goodreads

Scary books for adults, The Safe Place by Anna Downes book cover with blue pool and lounge chairs facing the ocean

The Safe Place by Anna Downes

Psychological Thriller Set In England and France

If you are looking for spooky books that start out “normal,” don’t miss  The Safe Place  by Anna Downes. Wine by the pool never looked so manipulating.

Emily’s life is a wreck, making her an easy target to CEO Scott Denny. Scott preys on Emily’s weaknesses, offering her a dreamy nanny/housekeeper position in France.

Heading to a secluded mansion where Scott’s wife and sick daughter live, Emily begins to see all of the red flags. Of course, she ignores them until it’s too late.

Eerie and mysterious, you will frantically turn the pages of this dark debut.

Will Emily get out alive? Why the isolation, misery, and secrets? Amazon  |  Goodreads

Best spooky books like Come Closer by Sara Gran book cover with white brunette woman's face covered in splattered blood

Come Closer by Sara Gran

Scary Novel Set In New York | Submission by Jessica of We Who Walk Here, Walk Alone

Come Closer by Sara Gran is an incisive look at the dangers of ignoring your true nature and trying to mold yourself into the kind of person you think you should be.

It’s also one of the best scary books for adults about demonic possession.

Amanda has a steady job and a sensible marriage.  She even owns the stylish loft that she dreamed of.

To achieve this, though, Amanda has incrementally erased who she is at her core.

When strange things start happening and Amanda notices changes in her personality, she chalks them up as signs that she is becoming herself again.

The demon who has claimed her has far more insidious goals. Amanda’s behavior shifts from unusual to alarming and then downright terrifying.

The fact that the early parts of the book are so relatable makes you wonder if the same thing could happen to you.

If, like Amanda, you hear mysterious scratching in your walls and start having nightmares about oceans of blood, find yourself an expert in demonology. Fast. Amazon | Goodreads

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin book cover with waves breaking on a beach with half woman's face

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

Psychological Thriller Set In North Carolina

One of the most talked-about spooky books of 2020 includes Megan Goldin’s  The Night Swim . Who knew so many creepy books took place in North Carolina ?

Rachel Krall, a true crime podcaster, has a reputation for inadvertently solving murders and affecting trial outcomes. Some judges and lawyers despise her.

With a successful podcast and die-hard fans, listeners seek out Rachel’s help and coverage of their stories.

Rachel heads to smalltown North Carolina for a sexual assault trial when she learns about an unsolved death that is seemingly not an accident.

Caught up in the drama of both cases, Rachel risks her life for her passion and to help the victims.

This spooky book will keep you guessing and places readers in the jury box…

We loved the relevancy of podcasting and blogging as well as the appeal of our trending true crime fascination. Are you a Murderino?   Amazon  |  Goodreads

Creepy book set in Long Island, Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam book cover with diving board and pool

Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam

Thriller & Suspense Novel Set In Long Island

Are you ready for one of our favorite suspense novels with a slow-burn plot and limited action? Leave The World Behind is a seriously creepy book and thriller.

Alam’s vocabulary and mastery of repetition fascinated us. Be sure to read this spooky book to prep for the SATs.

Alam draws readers into his characters through their honest revelations and flaws. Everything and everyone is a (dreadful) mystery.

By the end, readers understand that this is a story about life, living, and inevitable death. The blackout in NYC is an intense metaphor.

The ‘plot:’ Amanda and Clay rent an Airbnb on Long Island for their vacation. When the older owners randomly return, they warn them that there is a devastating blackout in the city.

Ruth and H.G. want their second home back early and end up staying with their temporary tenants who, quite frankly, disgust them. They disgust us, too…

With no cell phone reception or cable, Amanda and Clay along with their two children are at a loss of what to believe. Can we survive without technology?

In the course of just a few days, a haunting tale unfolds questioning how we live, what we rely upon, privilege, and human nature.

We personally think Alam despises us all – with some hope in our children – and we were all here for it. Amazon  |  Goodreads

The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware book cover with boat port hole and rainy sea

The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Thriller Set On A Boat

If you are looking for scary books for adults and like Agatha Christie you’ll enjoy any of Ruth Ware’s spooky titles.

Lo Blacklock writes for a travel magazine and has been invited out on a luxury cruise. One evening, Lo insists that she hears a woman being thrown overboard.

None of the guests appear to be missing or perturbed, though, and as Lo investigates, she begins to find that her gorgeous cruise is a fancy nightmare.

The Woman In Cabin 10 makes for a fantastic murder mystery if you covet books set on boats . Amazon | Goodreads

Infamously Scary Books For Adults

Seriously spooky books for adults The Shining By Stephen King gray book cover with eyes

The Shining by Stephen King

Spooky Book Set In Colorado

If you are looking for popular and seriously spooky books for adults and love haunted houses, you definitely want to check out anything written by Stephen King. 

Find creepy clowns (especially on our 1980s reading list ), pet cemeteries, and high school blood baths.

In The Shining, welcome to the Colorado Rockies, home to the Overlook Hotel resort.  Sounds pretty safe, right?!

An infamous horror novel, meet recovering alcoholic and writer, Jack Torrance. 

With the acceptance of an off-season position as a caretaker for the hotel, Jack and his family move onto the resort grounds.

Jack’s son, Danny, possesses ‘special’ abilities unbeknownst to his parents along with the chef. 

Weird and deadly occurrences start happening at the hotel. 

Grab a copy of this scary AF book to see who survives, and uncover even more popular ’70s books . Amazon | Goodreads

P.S. Be sure to watch the hotel-set movie too; it’s one of the most iconic hotel horror movies of all time.

Best Horror Books Ever The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty book cover with red glowing face of a woman

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Terrifying Book Set In Washington, D.C. | Submission by Becca

Talking about one of the best scary books for adults, The Exorcist   by William Peter Blatty tells the horrifying story of young Regan MacNeil as she   literally   battles her demons.

While Regan’s famous actress mother, Chris MacNeil, works on her next big film, strange and poltergeist-esque activities begin wreaking havoc in the MacNeil household.

Regan starts displaying   psychological and physical symptoms, landing her in multiple psychiatric and medical treatments.

With no success, Chris MacNeil turns to a local Jesuit priest, Father Damien Karras, for assistance.

The Exorcist has been remade over and over again for the big screen, including a new 2023 movie release . Amazon | Goodreads

Gothic Horror & Historical Fiction Spooky Books

Gothic horror 2020 books, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia book cover with Mexican woman wearing a maroon dress holding flowers

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Gothic Horror Set In Mexico

One of the hottest creepy books of 2020, head to the 1950s and the Mexican countryside in Mexican Gothic . Noemí Taboada receives an upsetting letter from her cousin at High Place.

Catalina believes that the walls are filled with ghosts and deadly secrets.

Is it just the drab atmosphere that is making Catalina and now Noemí feel ill, or is something more sinister at play?  This home is alive with death.

The details in Mexican Gothic are dazzling with gore and brilliant golden darkness, making this one of the best new scary books for adults.

Feminists will cheer for the cousins along with lovers of historical gothic fiction and horror.

If you covet haunted houses, this is one of the best contemporary ghost books for adults as well as a fabulous novel set in Mexico .   Amazon  |  Goodreads

Spooky books for adults Perfume by Patrick Suskind yellow, orange, and red book cover with naked person swaying

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind

Translated by John E. Woods | Horror Book Set In Paris | Submission by Jella of Asiana Circus

Perfume is not your everyday thriller, and unlike the other creepy books on this fall reading list, it doesn’t have a lot of blood or a cruel and crazy serial killer.

However,  Perfume has a perfectly characterized, curious antihero, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille.

Born into the slums of 18th-century Paris, Jean-Baptiste’s mother leaves him to die in the middle of the fish market. Despite the low chances of survival, his loud crying saves his life.

Jean-Baptiste lives a tormented and emotionless life until he finds his passion: scents and perfume-making.

Since he cannot connect with people, Jean-Baptiste decides to create a fragrance so perfect that it makes him instantly lovable.

His newfound passion quickly turns into an obsession that will lead him to commit multiple murders. Read more Paris books . Amazon | Goodreads

Spooky books for adults and teens Cauldron's Bubble book cover with cauldron on a fire

Cauldron’s Bubble by Amber Elby

Spooky Book Set In Shakespearean Time | Submission by the author, Amber, of Amber Elby

Witches? Check. Ghosts? Check. Magic? Check. Candy? Well, it’s BYO, so check your cupboards. What more could you want for spooky books for YA-loving adults?  How about a dash of Shakespeare, too?

Cauldron’s Bubble is a fast-paced adventure novel that integrates stories from Bard’s plays with original characters in a new, fantastical world.

Join Alda, a teenage orphan who just learned that she may or may not be a witch as she is whisked into a magical realm of sorcery, spirits, and nymphs. 

On the other side of the world, a cabin boy called Dreng helps a mysterious Danish prince escape from pirates before being shipwrecked on an enchanted island. 

The two come together to combat an evil sorcerer and save their realities, and themselves.

Although Cauldron’s Bubble can be read and enjoyed by young adults, it is edgy and nuanced enough to satisfy more mature tastes looking for creepy books to read that are much lighter.

Along the way, readers will meet characters from Macbeth ,  Hamlet , and  The Tempest , so new and established Shakespeare fans will have something to enjoy. Amazon | Goodreads

If you love magic and spells, don’t miss our witchy reading list , too.

Best Creepy Books For Classic Lovers

Creepy Classics Frankenstein by Mary Shelley book cover with face of green monster that almost looks human

Frankenstein By Mary Shelley

Creepy Classic Set In Switzerland

We all know about this wacky and grotesque science experiment gone wrong. 

Truly one of the best spooky books with a strong moral, watch as an effort to cheat death goes completely awry. 

When Victor creates a Creature that he can no longer handle or contain, he decides to abandon him.

The lonely Creature learns to take on true human capabilities but is consistently shunned by society.  Ultimately, the Creature decides to take revenge on his maker and tormentors.  

Frankenstein  is one of our favorite creepy books to read around Halloween. Discover even more great monster books for adults . Amazon | Goodreads

Scary Books For adults Dracula by Bran Stoker red book cover with path leading up to Dracula Castle

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Spooky Classic Set In Transylvania (historic Romania) & England

Dracula is one of the best classic vampire books . Going door to door for sales is always a risky business, especially when Jonathan Harker finds himself at Count Dracula’s castle. 

Inside, phantom women roam the dark halls. Jonathan even witnesses the Count transform from a human into a bat.  Left with the female vampires, Jonathan barely escapes.

Soon after, horrific and mysterious ailments start happening in England where Dracula is rumored to have landed.

With vampires clearly lurking around, find romance, horror, and a whole lot of bloodsucking. 

Personally, Dracula has always been one of our favorite spooky books since high school.  Stoker’s version is not quite HBO True Blood, but it’s still just as sexy. Amazon | Goodreads

Creepy Classics The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde book cover with Dorian Gray portrait, a white brunette man

The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Creepy Classic Set In London

A horror novel about hedonism and luxury, The Picture of Dorian Gray is another one of my favorite creepy books and high school classics. 

The first room in the Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom always makes me think of Dorian.

Basil, a coveted artist, believes that Dorian is one handsome creature. He paints a full-length portrait of him. 

Vain and sensual, Dorian wishes that his portrait would age and fade away instead of his body.  To Dorian, beauty is all that is worth pursuing in life.  Forget being a gentleman.

When Dorian’s deepest desire is granted, the painting begins to not only soak in Dorian’s years but also his nastiness and crimes. Selfishness only leads to self-demise. 

Readers watch as Dorian falls victim to his own narcissism.  Eerie but poignant, you’ll find murder, scorned love, and guys who are jerks in this creepy classic. Amazon | Goodreads

Strangers on a train by Patricia Highsmith book cover

Strangers On A Train by Patricia Highsmith

Horror Book Set On Train Between D.C. & NYC

One of the most famous creepy books set on a train , don’t skip Highsmith’s Strangers On A Train .

This 1950s train thriller gained popularity when Alfred Hitchcock transformed the book into a terrifying movie.

And yes, the movie is different and, for us, better. *Gasp.*

Guy Haines wants to divorce his cheating, pregnant wife when he meets Charles Bruno on a train. A renowned architect, Haines wishes to marry his new love.

Bruno is, well, a psychopath. Hindsight is everything.

When rambling Bruno suggests that he and Guy swap murders of their ‘beloved’ ones – he’ll kill Haines’s wife Miriam if Haines kills his father – Haines brushes him off.

Until Miriam is strangled to death at a fair…

Haines finds himself owing relentless Bruno a deranged favor. The characterization in Strangers On A Train is everything.

Although a bit dry and excessive at times, you can’t help but get drawn into this wild and intense plot. Amazon | Goodreads

P.S. If you are looking for a more modern spooky retelling of Strangers On A Train , try Confessions On The 7:45 by Lisa Unger .

Nonfiction & True Crime Spooky Books For Adults

True Crime Horror, In Cold Blood By Truman Capote black and white book cover with picture of a small rural town

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

True Crime Set In Kansas | Submission from Rachael of Booklist Queen

Truman Capote is one of the first authors to write nonfiction that reads like fiction. A true crime classic – published in the 1960s – and one of the best scary books for adults, In Cold Blood will engross you.

In 1959, a typical all-American family is savagely murdered in their home in Holcomb, Kansas.

With no apparent motive, the murders seem to be completely random. Yet, the Clutter family was intentionally targeted.

Capote follows the case through the agonizing weeks before the murderers are caught. Over the ensuing years, he covers the case beginning with the trial all the way to the executions of the murderers.

Through his extensive interviews,  In Cold Blood provides a disturbing peek into the minds of two killers. What could be scarier than that? Amazon | Goodreads

Graphic Novel Horror Books For Adults & Teens

Spooky Books From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell red and white book cover with building in the distance

From Hell by Alan Moore

Illustrated by Eddie Campbell | Graphic Novel Set In Victorian London | Submission by Jella of Asiana Circus

From Hell is a lesser-known Alan Moore work, but it’s still widely acclaimed and has quickly become one of the most beloved spooky books of all time.

From Hell  tells a fictionalized version of the Jack the Ripper story in a gripping and daunting style. It takes place in a slum in Victorian London. 

If you love the legend of Jack the Ripper, you are probably going to fall in love with this comic’s beautiful design and dark and deep thoughts. Why does he kill?

This work also gets political, asking how we choose who is worthy in society.

Moore created a creepy classic that has messages that are more relevant and important today than they were back in the Victorian era. Amazon | Goodreads

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll book cover with black and white woods and red sky

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Spooky Graphic Novel

Through the Woods  by Emily Carroll is a haunting YA and equally gripping adult-appropriate graphic novel .

Discover five short stories with gothic, macabre illustrations perfect for fans of chilling folk horror tales .

Readers walk through the unforgiving woods and find re-written fairy tales and love gone astray.

We read this one for a grad school lit class, and out of all of the spooky books on this reading list, this one will take you the least time to read but fulfill your creepy book needs.

It’s eerie and unsettling but not too gory or terrifying.

If you are craving scarier plots, be sure to head over to our horror graphic novels reading list. Amazon  |  Goodreads

YA Spooky Reads

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong book cover with sword covered in golden dragon and red roses

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

YA Romeo & Juliet Retelling | Political Fiction Set In Shanghai, China

Looking for a creepy book perfect for teens and adults?

Published at the end of 2020, don’t miss this multicultural Romeo and Juliet retelling set in Shanghai, China in the mid-1920s.

Full disclosure that we have mixed feelings about These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong.  This 3.5-star romance is a solid political fiction novel.

However, the plot is a tad on the overkill/lengthy side paired with a bit of sloggy storytelling at the beginning. The ending won us back, though.

Juliette Cai returns from America and is trying to avoid her family enemy, Roma Montagov. 

Although in rival gangs that shoot each other on sight, Juliette has never really fallen out of love with Roma…even though he betrayed her.

With a violent monster plaguing the streets of Shanghai – insects that cause people to rip out their own throats – the Communist Party moving in, and European foreigners trying to carve out their piece of the county, Juliette and Roma decide to team up to go up against them all.

Can they save the people of Shanghai?  What about their destined doomed love? Amazon | Goodreads

Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier book cover with red and orange "Z" on fire

Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

Spooky YA Fantasy

Just a fair warning since we do not typically read short stories: Zombies vs. Unicorns is an anthology edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier.

Authors include a few of our YA favs like Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Scott Westerfeld, Meg Cabot, and Maureen Johnson.   These are mildly scary stories.

And yes, guys, this is TUL so you know that we are going to recommend a few young adult titles for this spooky books for adults reading list.  Come to the dark side.

Get ready for serious comedic banter as Black tries to convert you to Team Unicorn and Larbalestier to Team Zombie.  Which team are you?

Sometimes it is harder to find a virgin than a unicorn in NYC.   You should always follow instructions—no matter how odd—when babysitting. 

Cute and fluffy animals are not always cute and fluffy animals, and it is best not to dig up someone unless you plan on marrying them.

We loved Zombies vs. Unicorns and fantasy-loving adults and teens will too.

Zombies vs. Unicorns ultimately brings together childhood unicorns and matures them with Walking Dead-worthy zombie drama and gore.

Discover even more great unicorn books . Amazon | Goodreads

Best spooky books for adults and teens The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco black and white book cover with girl walking out a doorway

Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

Horror Book Set In The U.S. & Japan | Submission from bookstagrammer Jennia

Most of us are familiar with the classic J-Horror remakes and their uniquely haunting imagery.

Rin Chupeco plays with and blends these well-known stories to craft an original and wistful retelling in The Girl from the Well , a lyrical narrative told from the point of view of legendary Japanese specter Okiku.

Okiku descends upon those who thrive from misusing and slaughtering children.

When Okiku departs from her first victim’s home, she finds herself drawn to a mysterious boy named Tarquin who is covered in striking and unsettling tattoos.

A malevolent spirit is attached to Tarquin. He has coped with self-deprecating humor and by avoiding close relationships for fear that friends may come to harm.

Okiku becomes committed to protecting Tarquin, coming to his aid numerous times.

As their unusual friendship progresses, mysteries surrounding Tark’s life and bad fortune are gradually sprinkled throughout the storyline.

Chupeco has flawlessly mixed folklore with the young adult horror genre, ultimately giving us an intriguing take on the classic ghost story and representing one of the best spooky books that adults will love, too. Amazon | Goodreads

Good YA horror books to read Alive by Melissa Woods book cover with brunette white woman holding bleeding organs

Alive? by Melissa Woods

Zombie Novel | Submission from the author, Melissa Woods, of Melissa Woods

Alive? is the story of Violet, a seventeen-year-old girl who has the misfortune of getting bitten during the zombie apocalypse. Luckily for Violet, she doesn’t die.

Unluckily, she’s picked up a few little quirks along the way. Like the inability to get a decent tan and a somewhat troubling hunger for human flesh.

Alive? is about more than just zombies (though there are plenty of those!). It’s a story about friendship, survival, and the different ways to hide the corpse of the guy you just accidentally ate.

Violet, known to everyone she meets as clumsy, unfit, and constantly unlucky, must navigate her way through a world that’s slowly falling to pieces around her while attempting to hide her terrible secret from her closest friends.

The debut YA novel from Melissa Woods blends zombie horror, post-apocalyptic survival, and a dash of humor, in a story that will leave you wondering: “How long would I last in the zompocalypse?” Amazon | Goodreads

Don’t forget to grab your favorite spooky books here:

Save These Spooky Novels For Later:

Creepy Books And Spooky Books Reading List Pinterest Pin with book covers for The Maidens by Alex Michaelides, Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam, Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane, The Guest List by Lucy Foley, The Night Seim by Megan Goldin, These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong, The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware, The Girl From Widow Hills by Megan Miranda with picture of spooky ghosts clawing at window

What are the best spooky books to read?

Creepy books creep us out. 

Note that we also wrote about unicorns and zombies.  We cannot handle anything more terrifying than a nasty rainbow pony. 

We would never be able to fall asleep at night. Jessica Jones’s mom gave us night terrors for weeks.

Which of these novels do you consider to be the best spooky books of all time? Which will you add to your fall reading list?

Are there any scary books for adults that you didn’t love or weren’t scary enough?

We also hope that you find new authors, bloggers, and friends to follow online.  Thank you to all those who contributed with their favorite horror books for adults.

You May Also Enjoy:

Books About The Salem Witch Trials Best YA & Tween Vampire Books Werewolf Stories Creepy Horror Novellas

Christine Owner The Uncorked Librarian LLC with white brunette female in pink dress sitting in chair with glass of white wine and open book

Christine Frascarelli

Christine (she/her) is the owner, lead editor, and tipsy book sommelier of The Uncorked Librarian LLC, an online literary publication showcasing books and movies to inspire travel and home to the famed Uncorked Reading Challenge.

With a BA in English & History from Smith College, an MLIS from USF-Tampa, and a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship in Christine's back pocket, there isn't a bookstore, library, or winery that can hide from her. Christine loves brewery yoga, adopting all of the kitties, and a glass of oaked Chardonnay. Charcuterie is her favorite food group.

40 Comments

Dracula. Hands down the greatest spooky novel. The constant sense of urgency in this novels makes it a quick read and frightening . Not just a scary classic but one of the all time best classic novels .

It really is a great classic! Thanks for sharing!

The Silent Companions is one of my favorite reads. A gothic style story, it’s old fashioned in the best of ways.

We’ll have to check it out. Thanks so much for the spooky book rec.

The Ring is my favourite…

Did you watch the movie, too?

This is an interesting list. I tend not to read horror books very often, not because they scare me but because I find them bland – I’m strange, I know. Even authors like Stephen King, I just find myself bored out of my wits when reading what people claim are some of the scariest books. I think I desensitized myself to horror after watching too many horror movies as a kid. However, I still do have the odd craving to read something scary from time to time, so next time that happens, I’m going to use this list as a reference. I do have dracula and Frankenstein on my TBR, so those books I do intend to read at some point.

Haha, that isn’t strange at all. I actually never enjoyed horror books or creepy books until the pandemic. Suddenly, this year, I found myself into rom-coms along with thrillers, mysteries, and suspense novels.

The creepy classics are a must, and I *think* you might like the scary books from 2020 — those are less just about the horror and more psychological thrillers. I ate up Darling Rose Gold, and The Guest List was funny, creepy, and relevant (the bridge-to-be is a blogger). I didn’t love the Riley Sager as much as others did, and The Night Swim is in my pile – everyone is raving about that one. I forgot to add The Sun Down Motel, but I enjoyed that one as well.

I love this blog but there are so many ads that it’s very distracting and hard to navigate through.

Thanks so much for saying that you love my blog, Liz. I appreciate it! I’m sorry the ads are troublesome for you–I definitely understand, but I also put out endless free content; these ads are how I earn money as a full-time blogger. My site (hosting, mailing lists, apps to smoothly run TUL, fees to hirer a developer to help maintain its speed for users), etc cost me at least 5,000 a year to maintain; those ads help pay off those expenses. You can always use an ad blocker, but please also know those ads support my small business.

I LOVE that you added so many horror classics to this list as seriously the oldies are oldies but goodies. I want to read The Good Daughter! It sounds like it could be made into a movie. Did they make it into a movie?

And can we talk about these unicorns?! I’m dying laughing at your descriptions. Nasty rainbow unicorns! Bahahahah

Yes, The Good Daughter was made into a movie in 2008. I will have to watch it too!

God, I am a sucker for unicorns…even dirty ones.

I’m glad that you love the creepy classics too. I might do a post just for them since they are very location-specific.

Yasssss! GIMME HORROR! It probably says a lot about me that I’ve read most of these… Like, I do not like most classics, but I love all of the ones on this list…

I’m actually impressed you managed to read any of these since I know scary stuff isn’t always your cup of tea. I like to imagine you reading behind a wall of hands and perhaps a cup of hot cocoa.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my all time favourites. Although it’s funny because I never think of it as scary… but it’s totally a horror story, isn’t it… haha. In Cold Blood is also fantastic! It’s actually the first true crime book I ever read… at the very old age of like 7.

Also, the Japanese are totally the masters of horror. There are plots I’m not even comfortable describing on a public space but SO GOOD! I’ve read Rings , but will definitely be checking out The Girl from the Well !

If you’re looking for a fun (i.e. terrifying) historical one, Jeremy and I just finished reading The Widow Killer by Pavel Kahout which we both thoroughly enjoyed. (And yes, we read books together… that’s not weird…)

There are definitely certainly classics I can’t stand: Moby Dick kills me, and I didn’t love Of Mice and Men , for example. I feel you. I do love the creepy classics along with Around the World in 80 Days.

Lol, my book suggestion was zombies and Zombies vs Unicorns when this list first published last year so what does that say?! The classics I can handle. I’m working my way into scarier things. Right now I am reading an ARC that is a little haunted with dead crows popping up. Shiver… Witches are more my jam.

Do you read books together at the exact same time or one after the other? That sounds like fun! It’s like your own private book club.

If you want to ease your way into horror, I can recommend some comedy horrors like Breathers by S.G. Browne or one of Christopher Moore’s ‘horror’ series ( Dirty Job is quite good, and I’ve heard good things about You Suck ). Or, I have more haha. Also some short story collections, not sure if that’s your thing?

We take turns reading to each other, so we literally read it together. We always have a book we’re reading together in addition to whatever else we’re reading.

I think I used to own You Suck by Moore but sadly never read it before I did a round of home library downsizing. I just applied for my new library card for NC today so I will have to check it out.

I do like short stories if they are fun.

Awww, that’s kinda cute!!

I have the girl from the well and still haven’t read it. Some of the other books on this list sound really interesting!

I’ve been meaning to read Girl from the Well too!

I really need to read THE EXORCIST! I love the movie and have seen it numerous times, but I’ve never actually read the book, which I’m sure is even better than the movie. Thanks for the reminder with this list!

I second COME CLOSER. I’m posting my own list of Scary Stories next month on my blog, and COME CLOSER will be one of the titles I recommend. It’s so creep-tastic.

Also recommending THE BIRD EATER by Ania Ahlborn. It freaking TERRIFIED me.

All of those are way too scary for me, haha!

Looking forward to your scary stories post–guaranteed I probably haven’t read a book on that list yet. Wimp right here!

Thanks for the recommendation!

Oooo, I love a good thriller or mystery book. I actually grew up reading a lot of mysteries. Do you remember the RL Stine Goosebump series of books? Those were my favorite as a kid!

I have to get start on this list! -Kathy @ Tasty Itinerary

I loved the R.L. Stine books. I still have some of my really old copies back from when I was kid. When they came out with the movie a few years ago, I was stoked. Did you see it? Stine’s a classic writer of my youth. They weren’t too scary either but they were just enough to make me squirm. I always wondered if I could write like him. The books are so simple yet so great.

Love how this list has come together! I’m a sucker (no pun intended) for a good horror-induced tale so I’m excited to add some of these to my TBR. Thanks for having me as a contributor!

Thank you so much for contributing again! I am so excited because more and more bloggers want to be returning contributors. I did notice readers clicking on everyone’s contact links, too, which is great. Hope you find your next great spooky read. Horror is so not my thing (hence the zombie unicorns), and I appreciate that other bloggers and readers (like you) can still help me provide eclectic and diverse lists for followers.

“Stinky farting unicorns” made me literally snort ??? goodness gracious!! I’ve been meaning to read Perfume for ages now, I’ve GOT to add it to my next reading list. And In Cold Blood is the winner for me, that book absolutely captivated me – like watching a car crash, I was horrified but I quite literally could not put it down.

I definitely want to read Perfume too. I think that I can handle that type of scary.

I watched the movie for In Cold Blood (and maybe read the book long ago), but I do need to revisit soon.

I’m not sure that you’d love the stinky farting unicorns based on your blog niche ; )

The book shits all over the movie from a great height, in my humble opinion (I did love Capote, the later film starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman though – if you haven’t seen it yet, definitely add it to the list!). And I might be mired in the classics for now, but there’s always room for stinky farting unicorns, as far as I’m concerned 😛 hahahaha x

There is always time for stinky farting unicorns…in all aspects of life! Words to live by!

I love to read. #5 sounds interesting. I am going to have to read it.

I am glad that you found a new interesting read. Thanks for perusing the list!

This is such an amazing list!

Thank you so much, book bestie!

Amazing list, perfect for this time of year! “The Good Daughter” is so good. My book club read it and we had a great discussion. Of course, “In Cold Blood” is a classic. Some on here might freak me out too much, but def added to my “to-read” list!

Thank you! I know; some of these seem so scary! I don’t usually read too many terrifying books so I was more than happy to do a group list ; ) Glad you found a new title or two.

Thanks for the collab opportunity! 🙂 I even found new books to add to my want to read list.

Thank you for contributing! I love your book suggestions, and I have to add a few of the least scary ones.

A few of these I don’t know if I could read…I love scary books but am a chicken for some. I’ve been dying to read In Cold Blood forever. I think the top of my list though is The Good Daughter and In The Darkest Corner. I’ll also have to give your Zombies Vs. Unicorns a try 🙂

I feel you, 200%. I cannot do scary before bed.

I have wanted to read In Cold Blood too. I think Perfume sounds incredibly intriguing.

Zombies vs Unicorns was my balance for this list LOL. I always wait until I get in all of the submissions. Then, I try to pick something that evens everything out–less scary and fun for this group. It’s definitely a quirky title.

I just submitted my murderous book suggestion for a guest post for another blogger–that’s as scary as it gets (people getting their heads chopped off).

Thanks for perusing the list. Let me know what you read, and what you think of it.

May pick up Come Closer based on this list. Read a few of the others. In Cold Blood is a must-read.

I am such a wimp; I want to read them all, but I will have to try a few of the lighter ones first. In Cold Blood is definitely on my list.

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30 Halloween Books So Scary, They'll Keep You Up For the Rest of the Year

From traditional haunts to contemporary takes.

woman walking in spooky gothic library

For more spooky ghost stories, subscribe to our haunted house podcast Dark House on Apple Podcasts , Spotify , or anywhere you listen.

Motherthing

best halloween books to read in 2023 motherthing

Shortly after a newlywed grappling with her own, you guessed it, mommy issues, has to move in with her mother-in-law, said mother-in-law dies and then returns as a ghost to haunt the home. Or does she? Laugh-out-loud funny but also sleep-with-the-lights-on scary and certifiably stomach-churning, Ainslie Hograth proves to be a masterful, albeit, twisted storyteller, with Motherthing . Not to mention, the sentences are zippy and poetic, so you'll want to keep a highlighter on deck as you make your way through this literary thriller.

Tone Teaser: "Every moaning step lifts me into a pricklier density of spent matches and tuneless, rattling music until standing in the thick of it, the threshold of the attic room, lit only a street light from a small window, open despite the cold, a plastic baby doll, naked and eyeless, wedged between the frame and the sill."

Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque

haunted joyce carol oates

This collection of short stories from Joyce Carol Oates is particularly, as the title implies, downright grotesque. Some are more abstract and thought-provoking, a few are psychologically terrifying, while others will leave you looking and feeling like the figure on the cover. The villain in the opening story is the scariest character I've ever encountered in a book and my stomach turned at the description of rodents in another, but Oates's literary genius kept me hooked through it all. If you liked her more famous earlier story Where Are You Going, Where You Have You Been? (inspired by the crimes of Charles Schmid), give this a go.

Tone Teaser: "Always there were stories behind the abandoned houses and always the stories were sad."

halloween books the shards

If you've yet to pick up Bret Easton Ellis's first novel after a decade-long hiatus, Halloween is just the time to do so. The Shards is as disturbing and gripping a read as you'd expect from the author who brought us American Psycho . Yet, it's also a poignant coming-of-age story and a fun trip back to the simultaneously seedy and ritzy underbelly of privileged 1980s Los Angeles. Despite its hefty size (608 pages), the pace is quick, and you'll find yourself invested in fictional young Bret's quest to uncover the identity of a depraved serial killer stalking the city and a mysterious new boy in his class while he descends into paranoia.

Tone Teaser: "And then I flashed on: When you talk to me you’re really talking to yourself, dude. I was still haunted by it."

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

halloween classic books to read in 2022

What's a Halloween read-a-thon without The Legend of Sleepy Hollow ? If you've never read the original version by Washington Irving, 2022 is the year to do so! Or, share the classic tale with the whole family and opt for a kid-friendly version instead, like this one . If you can, plan to read it before heading up to Sleepy Hollow, New York, to visit the town (and cemetery!) yourself this Halloween.

Tone Teaser: "All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, phantoms of the mind that walk in darkness."

How to Sell a Haunted House

best halloween books to read in 2023

Equal parts dysfunctional family domestic drama and haunted house horror story, How to Sell a Haunted House is a gripping read no matter the season but is especially fitting for fall. It traces a young mom who must travel to her ancestral Charleston home in the wake of her parents' passing, but her dead mother's obsession with porcelain dolls might not be the only thing haunting her and her troubled brother. Grady Hendrix builds the tension well, so rest assured, you will be letting out more than a few gasps.

Tone Teaser: "A puppet is a possession that possesses the possessor."

Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places

halloween books

If you're fascinated with history and folklore studies, and Halloween happens to be your favorite holiday, then this book was made for you. Written by scholar Colin Dickey, each chapter focuses on different allegedly haunted locations throughout the United States, but beyond telling the ghost stories, Dickey also examines the cultural conditions in which they were produced, begging the question: What do ghost stories tell us about ourselves, and why do pass them on? While the spotlight is on the Winchester Mystery Mansion , you'll learn about the influence of spiritualism within the framework of feminist theory, and when he discusses the haunted plantations of the American South, he does so within the context of critical race theory. Intellectually stimulating and entertaining.

Tone Teaser: "Ghost stories are a way of talking about things we’re not otherwise allowed to discuss: a forbidden history we thought bricked up safely in the walls."

best halloween books to read in 2023 bunny

Mona Awad's satirical horror novel set in a prestigious MFA program on a quaint New England campus is... trippy. It's weird, and it's dark, and it's as perfect a read to usher you into the back-to-school spirit as it is for Halloween. If you like paranormal stories but are also curious to learn more (or get sucked into) the dynamics of a cult, but you also want to laugh along the ride, buckle up and grab the nearest copy of Bunny , Bunny! (You'll get the joke, once you read it, just in case you needed more incentive to do so.)

Tone Teaser "Behold the lavish tent under which the overeducated mingle, well versed in every art but the one of conversation. "

When Things Get Dark

halloween books 2022

Featuring short stories inspired by Shirley Jackson (aka one of the best horror writers ever) and written by today's greatest authors of the same genre, this collection is one-of-a-kind. From Paul Tremblay ( A Head Full of Ghosts ) to Carmen Maria Machado ( In the Dream House ) and Joyce Carol Oates ( Blonde ), the Halloween gang's all here. Some are more realistic and creepy while others dabble in the occult, but all are literary and compelling—the best of both worlds, especially during spooky season.

Tone Teaser: "The worlds of children are low to the ground, terrifying and confusing, filled with dangers adult minds have forgotten, truths adult hurts have forsaken."

The Haunting of Hill House

the haunting of hill house

No Halloween reading list is complete without Shirley Jackson's seminal book, The Haunting of Hill House . Arguably the best literary ghost story ever written, it follows four strangers—an occult scholar, his assistant, a troubled woman with a history of supernatural encounters, and the soon-to-be heir of the house—as they convene in the notorious Hill House. You'll get all the unnerving haunted house tropes you're craving around Halloween but with a literary twist.

Tone Teaser: "To learn what we fear is to learn who we are. Horror defies our boundaries and illuminates our souls."

The Only One Left

best halloween books 2023

Inspired by the true crime case of Lizzy Borden and the unnerving children's nursery rhyme it inspired, Riley Sager's latest novel is an unputdownable whodunit. In 1983, a young caretaker gets a new assignment: An aging woman who lives in her family's historic mansion dangling on the cliffs of Maine. But she's not just a sweet old woman; she's the woman who was accused of a Lizzy Borden-esque crime years earlier, in 1929, and the mansion is the very one the family was brutally murdered all those years ago. And she may just be ready to come clean about what really happened that fateful night.

Tone Teaser: "But that’s not what you’re most curious about, is it? You want to know if I’m as evil as everyone says I am. The answer is no. And yes."

Her Body and Other Parties

her body and other parties book cover

If you haven't read this short collection by Carmen Maria Machado, you are in for a serious treat. Machado's writing is spellbinding and biting, at once entertaining and profoundly thought-provoking. Each of the stories are a mix of eerie, erotic, and absurd, and all of them will stay with you long after you've finished the last sentence. One story is a string of plot synopses, each a fan fiction reimagining of an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit . Another, "The Husband Stitch" is a contemporary take (complete with resonant social critiquing) on the classic children's folklore story, "The Girl With the Green Ribbon." Each one is a feminist feat blending science fiction, fantasy, horror, humor, and more.

Tone Teaser: "Many people live and die without ever confronting themselves in the darkness."

White Is For Witching

white is for witching

It's not surprising that award-winning writer Helen Oyeyemi's latest novel is a tour de force—and it happens to be about an anthropomorphic house with a mean streak towards outsiders and newcomers.

Tone Teaser: "I know of witches who whistle at different pitches, calling things that don't have names."

The Picture of Dorian Gray

the picture of dorian gray book cover

Hedonism, vanity, and narcissism: What trio could be freakier? In this harrowing gothic philosophical tale (Oscar Wilde's only published novel), our protagonist sinks into the darkest sides of elite 18th-century British society as he becomes increasingly obsessed with aesthetic beauty, youth, and pleasure above all else. How is this related to Halloween, you skeptics ask? The haunting portrait with a life of its own is at the crux of the novel, for starters.

Tone Teaser: "The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it."

Hag: Forgotten Tales Retold

best halloween books 2022

Edited by Natasha Carthew, Hag is a fantastically dark collection of old fables and folktales that you've probably heard of before, but written by contemporary Irish and English female writers in a fresh and modern tone. You'll meet pixies hunting predatory men, some shape-shifting creatures, mermaids, and other mystical beings with some menacing lessons to teach.

Tone Teaser: "I am buried too but the earth is moving and there are seams of light and I take a big breath enough for a lifetime."

Interview With a Vampire

interview with a vampire book cover

A little bit sensual, a little bit spine-chilling, and thoroughly entertaining, I nterview With a Vampire is one of Anne Rice's most widely read and celebrated novels. As the title suggests, the book is about a 20th-century Vampire in Lousianna, but aside from the supernatural genre, it reads like part period piece, part philosophical epic. The book was adapted into a film starring Brad Pitt, which you should definitely watch after you read it.

Tone Teaser: "The world changes, we do not, therein lies the irony that kills us."

aura carlos fuentes

If you appreciate Magical Realism in all its supernatural-meets-hyperrealist blended glory but don't have the attention span or time to read a bible-sized novel right now, pick up Aura. Carlos Fuentes' novella may be slim in size but it is a force to be reckoned with. If you read it allegorically, it explores the violent colonial past of Mexico and the ways in which it haunts the present collective consciousness. On the surface, it's also just a fun ghost mystery.

Dark Harvest

dark harvest book cover

Winner of a Bram Stoker Award, Norman Partridge's Dark Harvest is a contemporary novel that explores the underbelly of American folklore, town gossip, community think, and more. It's set in a generic midwestern town in which everyone is obsessed with the menacing figure of a little boy with a weapon who emerges annually on Halloween night in the cornfields. Find out what happens when our protagonist tries to defeat him once and for all.

Frankenstein

frankenstein book cover

Let this be the year you finally read the origin story behind everyone's favorite Halloween costume. Mary Shelley's brilliant novel is about the limitations and boundaries of science, as well as humankind's pursuit of control and dominance over nature and all the danger that accompanies it.

halloween books

Chuck Palahniuk's collection of twenty-three short stories is perfect for anyone looking for a good scare but not at the expense of good writing. Plus, they're great fun to read in snippets, which is ideal if you don't have the time to dedicate to a full novel this spooky season. Each short story dabbles in satire, equal parts funny, grotesque, thought-provoking, and like their namesake, haunting.

beloved by toni morrison book cover

Though not technically a Halloween book, Toni Morrison's Beloved is hands down one of the powerful and transformative ghost stories ever written. But it's much more than just a ghost story, revealing the persistent legacy of slavery that has haunted the country throughout the Reconstruction and into the present. It also reads like a love story in many ways, exploring the power of romantic, maternal, platonic, and self-love. Definitely required reading, Halloween or not.

Headshot of Hadley Mendelsohn

Hadley Mendelsohn is the co-host and executive producer of the podcast Dark House . When she's not busy writing about interiors, you can find her scouring vintage stores, reading, researching ghost stories, or stumbling about because she probably lost her glasses again. Along with interior design, she writes about everything from travel to entertainment, beauty, social issues, relationships, fashion, food, and on very special occasions, witches, ghosts, and other Halloween haunts. Her work has also been published in MyDomaine, Who What Wear, Man Repeller, Matches Fashion, Byrdie, and more.  

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100 Best (and Scariest) Horror Books of All Time

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Blog – Posted on Monday, Feb 04

100 best (and scariest) horror books of all time.

100 Best (and Scariest) Horror Books of All Time

The definition of scary changes from person to person. For some, it might be ghosts and haunted houses. For others, serial killers. For still others, the most frightening things are the ones that go bump in the night, unseen.

Despite the width of this spectrum, what unites all lovers of horror is the thrill that horror novels inspire within us: that universal sensation of your heart thumping out of your chest, as cold sweat breaks on your forehead when you turn the page.

To create this list, we went to the darkest, most ghostly corners of the literary world. Without further ado, here are the 100 best horror novels of all time — it's safe to say that we hope they'll keep you up at night. Happy reading!

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the number of great horror books out there, you can also take our 30-second quiz below to narrow it down quickly and get a personalized horror book recommendation  😉

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1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)

Is there a name more synonymous with horror? The story of Dr. Frankenstein and the anguished, tragic monster he unwittingly creates has become a cultural icon, both macabre and quintessential. When Mary Shelley set out to write Frankenstein over two centuries ago, she said that she wanted to create a book that would “speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror — one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart.” We can safely say that she succeeded.

2. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe (1838)

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym is a mixture of Moby Dick-esque maritime detail (it later inspired Herman Melville) and H.P. Lovecraft-style cosmic horror . The titular Pym stows away on the Grampus, a whaling ship headed for southern waters. But after mutiny breaks out on the upper deck, Pym is left stranded by one of his friends, only to face a series of gruesome situations once he’s retrieved.

3. The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales by Edgar Allan Poe (1839)

Could you really call a list of the best horror books complete without a nod (or two) to the genius of Edgar Allan Poe? Sibling dynamics are given new meaning in The Fall of the House of Usher , a work of gothic fiction that centers on a spooky household. Roderick is a sick man with acute sensitivity to everything, who lives in constant fear he is about to die. His sister, Madeline, suffers from catalepsy (a sickness involving seizures). An unnamed narrator visits them both and gets more than he bargained for.

4. Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell (1851-1861)

Just as the tin says! Gothic Tales is a collection of (surprise!) gothic tales — more specifically, fairy tales intertwined with short stories. Written by 19th-century author Elizabeth Gaskell, these stories deliver everything: disappearances, Salem witch hunts, mysterious children wandering lost in the moors, and local legends that may or may not return to haunt the townspeople. And with every story, Gaskell shows her uncanny talent of blending reality and the supernatural with spine-tingling dexterity.

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5. Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu (1872)

Before Dracula , there was Carmilla . This tale of a female vampire who attracts a lonely young girl served as the foundation for the “lesbian vampirism” trope (and, no doubt, inspired Bram Stoker to some extent as well). So fans of the emerging cult classic Jennifer’s Body , you’ve found your literary horror match.

6. Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)

Meet the most famous vampire of all time. Dracula was born out of Bram Stoker’s imagination over a century ago — yet he still lives on today in our collective consciousness. Dracula is his story, one in which he roams from Transylvania to England to spread the curse of the undead amongst innocents. More than a simple tale about vampirism, Dracula is an era-defining masterwork about sexuality, technology, superstition, and an ancient horror that’s too terrible for words.

7. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1898)

The Turn of the Screw is the original children of the damned! When a governess is hired to take care of Miles and Flora, the niece and nephew of a wealthy Englishman, she has no idea what she’s in for. As she discovers the tragic fate of her predecessor, she starts seeing things that can only be explained in one of two ways: either she’s mad… or the specter of the late governess wants her job back!

8. The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H. P. Lovecraft (1928)

Perhaps the most influential of American horror writers, H.P. Lovecraft was responsible for creating an entire mythology of elder gods, sinister sea-dwellers , mysterious cults, and men of science who are driven to the edge of their sanity. The Call of Cthulhu remains one of the most accessible entry points into Lovecraft’s works — some of which, if we’re being honest, are a bit hard for the uninitiated to follow.

9. Collected Ghost Stories by M. R. James (1931)

M.R. James essentially originated the “antiquarian ghost story.” Indeed, his writing was revolutionary for its time, discarding old Gothic clichés and using more realistic settings — which as we know by now, only makes a scary story scarier. His Collected Ghost Stories includes a whopping 30 tales, most of which involve a mild-mannered academic stumbling upon an artifact that calls forth some malevolent, otherworldly presence. Yes, the ghosts are fascinating; but what’s really admirable here is James’ signature subtlety of style.

10. At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft (1936)

This post-Cthulhu novella by Lovecraft is so long and twisty that even Lovecraft himself couldn’t get it published at first. At the Mountains of Madness relates the horrifying details of an Antarctic expedition gone wrong, in which the remains of a prehistoric species seemingly came to life and slayed humans. As the narrative spirals further, both the characters and the reader come to realize that instead of a life-changing discovery, the explorers may have brought about a death-wracking monster.

11. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1938)

“Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Perhaps the most famous first line of any novel in the 20th century, this intoxicating blend of romance and suspense was seemingly made for Alfred Hitchcock, who went on to direct Rebecca 's silver screen adaptation. After a whirlwind romance, a shy American marries a wealthy Englishman and returns to his estate in Cornwall. She soon realizes that she’s now living under the (literal or figurative) shadow of her husband’s first wife: the seemingly perfect and recently deceased Rebecca de Winter.

12. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

One man’s hero is another man’s villain. If there’s only one lesson we learn from Matheson’s survival classic, let it be that. Doctor Robert Neville is the last man left alive. In the daylight, he hits the streets, stocking up on supplies and vanquishing the vampiric creature that lurk in the shadows. But when night falls, he squirrels himself away in his fortress of a home and works desperately on a cure for an epidemic that has ended the human race.

13. The Bad Seed by William March (1954)

Now synonymous with any misbehaving child, the original “bad seed” was Rhoda Penmark, the sociopathic eight-year-old. Her mother Christine suspects her of hurting and possibly killing a classmate, an elderly neighbor, and even her own dog — and as Christine discovers the truth about her own mother’s dark past, she realizes that Rhoda has to be stopped at all costs, before The Bad Seed sprouts any further.

14. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (1959)

You know how some people say that the setting is almost like another character in the story? Well, in the case of this spooky classic, that’s the literal truth. When a parapsychologist invites a group of volunteers to stay at an old mansion with a bloody mystery, he hopes to uncover evidence of the supernatural. As the tension ratchets up, each of the guests is confronted by inexplicable phenomena. Listed by Stephen King as one of the best horror books of the 20th century, The Haunting of Hill House is a must-read for any fan of the genre.

15. Psycho by Robert Bloch (1959)

If you’re into horror, you’re no stranger to Psycho . But let’s recap one of the best horror plots of all time anyway: inspired by the real-life story of psychotic murderer Ed Gein, Norman Bates and his Mother own the Bates motel, with the unlit neon sign out front. When a woman checks into the motel one night, Norman can’t help but spy on her. Displeased, Mother plans to rectify her son’s behaviour by eliminating the woman, and anything that might purge Norman of his dark thoughts.

16. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (1962)

We learn three things in the first paragraph of Jackson’s final novel: Mary Katherine Blackwood lives with her sister Constance; she loves the death-cap mushroom; and everyone else in her family is dead. From the supreme master of shivers-down-your-spine horror comes a tale of Gothic surroundings and even more sinister, yet inscrutable, inner lives. You’ll be guessing the wicked truth about Mary and Constance right up to the very end.

17. The Case Against Satan by Ray Russell (1962)

Bearing strong superficial resemblance to a certain classic, Russell’s novel also features a pair of priests tasked with examining a young girl who may be possessed by the devil. Between The Case Against Satan , The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby, contemporary readers can sense a Catholic-tinged fear of the devil pervading through American horror of the 60s. If you like the other two, why not give this one a chance?

18. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (1962)

At the beginning of Something Wicked This Way Comes , twelve-year-olds Will and Jim can’t wait to visit “Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show.” But during their visit, they witness something odd: ol’ Cooger riding backwards on the carousel, which turns him into a boy of their own age. As Will and Jim tail the Benjamin Button-ized Cooger, searching for answers, they find that the mysteries of the carnival are even darker than they anticipated — and that that darkness may not be limited to the carnival alone.

19. Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin (1967)

If, for some reason, you’re doubting whether Rosemary’s Baby is one of the best horror books of all time, let us remind that it was the bestselling horror novel of the 1960s, launching a boom in the commercial success of horror fiction in general. As with many stories in the genre, Rosemary’s Baby starts out pretty innocently, and then things take a turn for the worst: Rosemary and Guy have just moved into a beautiful Manhattan apartment, and life is good. That is, until their dream home starts to turn into a living nightmare, and they begin to feel that the devil lives only a few doors down.

20. Hell House by Richard Matheson (1971)

In Hell House , the I am Legend scribe reaches terrifying new heights by expertly combining his flair for suspense with an intuitive eye for horror. The story opens on a dying millionaire who pays $100,000 each to a physicist and two mediums for them to retrieve “proof” of life after death. The group’s plan: travel to Maine and spend the week in the Belasco House, the most haunted house in the world. Whether any of them make it out alive — without going mad — is another question altogether.

If you don’t trust us, believe Stephen King, who once said: “ Hell House is the scariest haunted house novel ever written. It looms over the rest the way the mountains loom over the foothills.”

21. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (1971)

No author creates sensation quite like William Peter Blatty and no story has satisfied a nation’s capacity for horror quite like The Exorcist . A literary landmark of the 21st-century , The Exorcist is the deeply troubling tale of one child’s demonic possession and two priests’ attempts to save her from a fate worse than death. Part family drama and all horror, it delivers on all fronts.

22. Carrie by Stephen King (1974)

Allegedly fished out of the trash by his wife, it’s hard to believe that this classic was only the first novel published by Stephen King. As one of the most put-upon teenage girls in literature, the title character struggles with school bullies, a puritanical mother, and unusual (to say the least) physical changes. Even before it went on to become a famous film, Carrie gave early fans a glimpse of King’s greatest gifts: his ability to write sympathetic, fully fleshed characters while also delivering on the big shocks. (Want more King? Check out this list of every Stephen King novel , ranked from most popular to least popular.)

23. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (1976)

Speaking of debuts that made a splash: with her first published novel, Anne Rice redefined Southern Gothic for a new generation. The titular interview takes place in modern day, as the vampire Louis recounts his story to a cub reporter. Once a plantation owner in pre-Civil War Louisiana, his life as a creature of the night is marked by his various encounters with Lestat, the vampire responsible for his undeath. Interview with the Vampire went on to be an incredible success, spawning a series of popular novels and a film adaptation starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.

24. The Shining by Stephen King (1977)

What do you get when you take a frustrated writer, a creepy old hotel, and a blizzard that locks everyone inside? An absolute cornerstone of horror, that’s what! If you’ve never read The Shining , brace yourself for a marathon of mounting tension and terrifying twists, with a family fighting for their lives, even as they’re not exactly sure who or what they’re fighting.

25. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter (1979)

Angela Carter is one of the preeminent magical realist writers of the twentieth century, female or male. The Bloody Chamber , a collection of darkly reimagined fairy tales and folktales, takes a distinctly feminist slant with its portrayal of female characters: many of the heroines in these stories save themselves, rather than waiting for a hero on a white horse. Of course, they have to go through some pretty scary stuff first. Horror lovers who also enjoy a bit of Holly Black or Marissa Meyer, this is unquestionably the collection for you.

26. Ghost Story by Peter Straub (1979)

A group of old men in a quiet town call themselves The Chowder Society. Every so often, they gather to share ghost stories with each other. It’s all just fun and game… until it isn’t. In the wake of a horrific accident, the men are forced to confront one of their stories — and the consequences of the worst thing that they’ve ever done in this brilliant homage to “Night of the Living Dead.”

27. Whispers by Dean Koontz (1980)

Whispers stars Thomas, a screenwriter living in Los Angeles. One day, she is attacked by Bruno Frye, the proprietor of a vineyard she recently visited. She forces him to leave at gunpoint and immediately calls the police — who then call Bruno’s home, where he answers, not more than seconds after the attack. Later on, she is once again attacked by Bruno but manages to get injure him as he escapes. When she called the cops again, she learns that her assailant was found dead hundreds of miles away. But if you think that will put an end to her assaults, then you’re in for a big surprise.

28. The Mask by Dean Koontz (1981)

Not to be confused with the Jim Carrey comedy, The Mask is a shudder-inducing novel from Koontz follows Carol and Paul, a hopeful couple who welcomes a young, amnesiac foster girl into their home. But though “Jane” (who can’t remember her real name) seems angelic at first, her increasingly strange behavior and the mystery of her true identity begins to worry her potential adoptive parents… who may have a closer connection to her than they realize.

29. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (1983)

Now a major motion picture starring Daniel Radcliffe ( as well as a long-running stage play in London), The Woman in Black is often described as “if Jane Austen wrote horror.” This take on a classic ghost story follows solicitor Arthur Kipps as he travels to the English moors to settle the affairs of Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. What he finds really finds is a mansion haunted by the elusive “Woman in Black”. Readers who love a slow build-up and the sensation of being watching will be thrilled.

30. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (1984)

Frank Cauldhame is sick in the head, even by the standards of the horror genre. Though only sixteen, he lives in isolation and has developed a number of sociopathic tendencies, including torturing wasps in a machine he calls “the wasp factory.” As the reader gets to know more about Frank’s twisted past, they begin to understand why he’s like this — and another twist toward the end of The Wasp Factory makes Frank’s everyday activities seem practically banal.

I look at these pieces and I don't think the man who wrote them is alive in me anymore.... We are all our own graveyards I believe; we squat amongst the tombs of the people we were. If we're healthy, every day is a celebration, a Day of the Dead, in which we give thanks for the lives that we lived; and if we are neurotic we brood and mourn and wish that the past was still present. Reading these stories over, I feel a little of both. Some of the simple energies that made these words flow through my pen--that made the phrases felicitous and the ideas sing--have gone. I lost their maker a long time ago.

These enthusiastic tales are not ashamed of visceral horror, of blood splashing freely across the page: \'The Midnight Meat Train,\' a grisly subway tale that surprises you with one twist after another; \'The Yattering and Jack,\' about a hilarious demon who possesses a Christmas turkey; \'In the Hills, the Cities,\' an unusual example of an original horror premise; \'Dread,\' a harrowing non-supernatural tale about being forced to realize your worst nightmare; \'Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament,\' about a woman who kills men with her mind. Some of the tales are more successful than others, but all are distinguished by strikingly beautiful images of evil and destruction. No horror library is complete without them. --Fiona Webster

31. Books of Blood by Clive Barker (1984)

As Britain’s leading purveyor of shocking horror, Clive Barker has made a bit splash as both an author and a film director. While cinephiles may recognise his works Candyman and Hellraiser , he first appeared on the horror radar with his short story collection, Books of Blood . Compulsively blood-curdling, these contemporary stories see regular people sucked into grotesque, disturbing, and often comic scenarios. A brilliant gateway for Barker newbs.

Ghosts and The Locked Room are the next two brilliant installments in Paul Auster's The New York Trilogy .

32. City of Glass by Paul Auster (1985)

City of Glass is the first installment in Auster’s landmark New York Trilogy , and a genuinely psychedelic work of intertwining narratives. It begins with a private investigator and former fiction writer who’s driving himself crazy trying to solve a case, then unspools into countless more intertextual threads and questions — the possible answers to which will have readers questioning their own sanity and stability by the end of this book.

33. It by Stephen King (1986)

In the story that injected clowns straight into the nightmares of an entire generation, the title character is a demonic entity that disguises itself while pursuing its prey. And for the children of Derry, that mostly involves taking the form of Pennywise the Clown. Alternating between two time periods (childhood and adulthood), It is packed with fascinating tangents that expertly flesh out the sad, traumatized, and occasionally nostalgic natives of this quiet Maine town.

34. Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987)

The horrors of Beloved , considered by many to be Morrison’s seminal work, are thoroughly intertwined with the ghastly history of America. Sethe is a former slave who had to slit her infant daughter’s throat to prevent her from enduring the same profound injustices and trauma as her. Eighteen years later, the child still haunts her — in some ways more than others. Between the intensely surreal atmosphere that pervades the entire book and Morrison’s deep-cutting prose, Beloved is a masterpiece beyond that of most contemporary horror novels.

35. The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing (1988)

In the 1960s, Harriet and David Lovatt are normal parents with four normal children in England — until Harriet gives birth to their fifth child. Ben is the devil incarnate: he is too strong for his own good, insatiable when it comes to sustenance, and abnormally violent. As he grows up, the family becomes increasingly paralyzed by fear and indecision. Underneath the thrills and agony of The Fifth Child lies a dangerous question about parenthood and the obligations of family.

36. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (1988)

The basis for the Oscar-winning film, The Silence of the Lambs is the follow-up to Red Dragon , which was the first novel to feature cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter. In this sequel, FBI trainee Clarice Starling enlists the help of Dr. Lecter to find “Buffalo Bill” — another killer on the loose. In order to do so, the inner workings of a very dark mind are probed, and spine-chilling suspense ensues.

37. Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons (1989)

Carrion Comfort is based on a brilliantly unique premise: that throughout history, a select group of individuals with psychic powers (known as “The Ability”) have compelled humans to commit horrific violence. Acts such as the cruelty of Nazi guards, John Lennon’s assassination, and the Iranian Hostage Crisis can all be attributed to people with The Ability — and they may be planning something even worse. It’s up to one man, a Holocaust survivor, to extinguish this ancient evil before they do any more harm.

38. Ring by Kōji Suzuki (1991)

The premise is a modern-twist on a classic trope: there is a videotape that warns viewers they will die in one week unless they perform an unspecified act. And, yes, the videotape does keep its promises. This Japanese mystery horror novel was the basis for the 2002 film, The Ring , a film which kickstarted the trend of adapting Asian horror for English-speaking markets. Indeed, the nineties was when international readers really started to pay attention to the chilling work being produced by Japanese genre writers like Suzuki.

39. Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite (1993)

In Drawing Blood , Trevor McGee avoids his childhood home in North Carolina for a reason. Years ago, when he was only five years old, his father murdered his mother and his younger brother before hanging himself. Now he’s determined to return and confront his past, but there’s a small problem: the demons that drove his father to insanity might never have left the house.

40. Parasite Eve by Hideaki Sena (1995)

Described as a “medical fantasmagoria,” comparable to Frankenstein in its scientific acuity, this Japanese sci-fi horror follows Dr. Nagashima, who is overwhelmed with grief at the loss of his wife. To cope, he begins the process of reincarnating his wife using a small sample of her liver. What he isn’t prepared for is when her cells begin to mutate, and an ancient, unseen consciousness starts rising from its long sleep.

41. Uzumaki by Junji Ito (1998)

Uzumaki is a seinen horror manga series. Kurôzu-cho, a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan, is plagued by a supernatural curse in the form of uzumaki — spiral, otherwise known as the hypnotic secret shape of the world. As the hold of the curse over the town strengthens, its inhabitants begin to fall deeper and deeper into a whirlpool of madness.

42. From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell (1999)

The peerless Alan Moore put aside V for Vendetta and Watchmen to write this graphic novel, bringing to life the world of Jack the Ripper and his reign of terror in the 1880s. From the grisly theories surrounding the Ripper to the personalities that stood tall during the desperate investigation, Moore spares no gruesome detail as he examines the motivations and identity of the most famous serial killer of all times. With Eddie Campbell’s stark illustrations, this extraordinary graphic novel is a reminder that the most horrifying truths lurk inside the depths of the human soul — and that not all monsters live in Hell.

43. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (2000)

Though Danielewski’s experimental debut remains largely uncategorizable, it definitely contains strands of horror DNA. This mammoth 700-page novel follows "The Navidson Record" — a documentary about an apparently haunted house (if by "haunted" one actually means "alive"). The Navidson house seems to mutate, changing size and sprouting corridors in a dizzying labyrinths, all while emitting an ominous growl. But what makes House of Leaves truly frightening is Danielewski’s intertwining of plot and structure, the latter’s chaotic layout mirroring the former.

44. Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson (2001)

Skin Folk is a short story collection that includes science fiction, Caribbean folklore, passionate love stories, and downright chilling horror. While not all the stories would be described as horror, the darkest of the collection is “Greedy Choke Puppy,” which features a bitter woman who discards her skin at night, and replenishes herself by killing children for their life force.

45. Coraline by Neil Gaiman (2002)

There’s a mysterious door in Coraline’s new house. The neighbors all warn her that she shouldn’t open it under any circumstances… but Coraline never was a girl who listened to other people’s advice. From the mind of the bestselling author who brought you American Gods and Neverwhere comes a novel of wondrous and chilling imagination. Coraline is one of the staples in Gaiman’s remarkable oeuvre for a reason.

46. 30 Days of Night by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith (2002)

This dramatic comic book miniseries brings supernatural terror to life: for a town in Alaska, prolonged periods of darkness means that vampires can openly kill and feed upon humans at almost any time. Their victims are rendered helpless by both the incapacitating darkness and the vampires’ vicious attacks — attacks that Ben Templesmith depicts with such gory immediacy that his illustrations could almost be crime scene photographs.

47. Come Closer by Sara Gran (2003)

Come closer, indeed. This 2003 novel by Sara Gran revolves around a woman named Amanda, who has an ostensibly perfect life. But one day she realizes that some things are a little off. Like the quiet but recurrent tapping in her apartment. And the memo that she sent earlier to her boss that was somehow replaced by a series of insults. Then there are the dreams: those of a beautiful woman with pointed teeth, and a seashore the color of blood. As this mystery escalates in size and terror, Amanda is forced to confront nothing less than her own self.

48. The Good House by Tananarive Due (2003)

The Good House is named after a Sacajawea, Washington home that was much-beloved… until a young boy died behind its doors. Two year later, Angela hadn’t planned on returning to the house that bore silent witness to her son’s death, but then terrible things start happening to the community. Now Angela has the chance to lay to rest once and for all what exactly happened to Corey — and what it has to do with a curse that Angela’s grandmother may or may not have placed on the community decades ago.

But the murder is not the most important thing on his mind. A new girl has moved in next door---a girl who has never seen a Rubik's Cube before, but who can solve it at once. There is something wrong with her, though, something odd. And she only comes out at night.

49. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (2004)

Oskar is a young boy living with his divorced mother in a suburb of Stockholm. Mercilessly bullied by kids at school and increasingly insular, he makes a much-needed connection when Eli, a child of a similar age, moves in next door. Little does he know that his new bestie isn’t as young as he thinks… and that he has a peculiar set of appetites. Titled after the lyrics of a Morrissey song, this sweet but frightening novel has been adapted twice into film and once as a stage show.

50. Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler (2005)

To read one of Octavia E. Butler’s book is to become a fan for life. In Fledgling , Butler demonstrates her mastery of horror once again. On the surface, Shori seems to be a young girl who suffers from severe amnesia. Yet a discovery leads her to the horrifying revelation that she is in fact a 53-year old vampire who has been genetically modified by someone who wants her dead. Now she must decide whether to pursue more answers, even though it might lead her to her own doom.

51. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (2005)

Kostova’s debut novel is a complex interlacing of spooky fiction and chilling historical fact. It follows a professor and his daughter who become entrenched in the folklore of Vlad the Impaler, a major inspiration for Dracula. They soon realize that their connection to Vlad goes far beyond the scholarly. This connection becomes especially critical when their father disappears, and his daughter (our narrator) must use her knowledge to track him down.

52. The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)

Cormac McCarthy is no slouch when it comes to publishing gripping tales, and The Road is one of his most haunting books. Spurning an equally well-received film adaptation, the story follows a father and son as they make their way through barren, post-apocalyptic America. They’re headed for the coast, not sure of what they will find there, but in the hope that they will find, well, something . All they know is that the road is dangerous, and all they’ve got to protect themselves is a single pistol and each other.

53. The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

This tantalizing thriller from Norwegian crime writer Nesbø is about a series of brutal murders all connected by snowmen, and the jaded former FBI agent who tries to understand why. As Detective Harry Hole delves further and further into the investigation, he starts to believe that the murderer may be someone he knows… but who can say for certain when so much of the evidence has melted away?

54. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (2007)

Heart-Shaped Box centers on Judas Coyne, a retired rockstar who now spends his days collecting “items of the macabre” — snuff films, confessions, anything deathly and disturbing. Naturally he jumps at the chance to acquire the suit of a dead man (with his ghost still allegedly attached). But when it arrives in a heart-shaped box, Coyne realizes that this addition to his collection is less of a novelty than liability. If he can’t control it, he’ll suffer the dire consequences of its wrath.

55. Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory (2008)

Del Pierce has been possessed by a demon with a penchant for deadly mischief. Desperate to rid himself of the demon, Del turns to three sources: a likewise possessed former sci-fi writer, a nun who tends to inspire unchaste feelings rather than an inclination to pray, and a secret society devoted to the art of exorcism. Can he find the cure to the plague of demonic possessions hitting society? And if so — at what cost? Pandemonium gives us the spine-chilling answer.

56. Last Days by Brian Evenson (2008)

Meet Kline, a former detective with an amputated hand. However rather than giving him a handicap in the gumshoe business, it makes him the perfect candidate to investigate a dismemberment-based cult — the ghastly nature of which even Kline can’t foresee. Evenson’s brilliantly economic writing depicts this story in such a way that each sharp, shocking revelation of Last Days does indeed feel like a knife to one of your extremities.

57. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (2009)

You might not expect the author of The Time Traveler’s Wife to deliver on the creepiness front, but Audrey Niffenegger will outdo your wildest expectations in Her Fearful Symmetry . Julia and Valentina Poole are 20 year-old twins and best friends when they’re told that their aunt has died of cancer. She bequeaths her London apartment to them, on one condition: that Julia and Valentina live in the flat for a year — alone — before selling it. Easy, right? And yet Julia and Valentina are visited by a host of unnerving characters while there… including their aunt, who may not be entirely gone after all.

58. White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi (2009)

There’s just something about a seemingly sentient house. If you agree, you’ll surely enjoy White Is for Witching . Four generations of Silver women have lived in the big house in isolated Dover, England. The house has witnessed a lot of history — much of which has been tragic or outright horrific — and seems to cope by working mischief. Check it out for a modern take on Gothic horror.

59. Mr Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett (2010)

The widespread and severe poverty created by the Great Depression has carried thousands of people to the American railroad system, desperately looking for work. But one more has been driven by more than just poverty — he’s on revenge-fueled journey, and will not rest until he makes one Mr. Shivers pay for the brutal murder of his daughter. Mr. Shivers tells his horrifying tale of vengeance.

60. Dark Matter by Michelle Paver (2010)

One of the eeriest ghost stories in recent memory, Dark Matter tracks a five-man expedition to a remote part of the Arctic, where there is no sunlight whatsoever for months during the “polar winter.” All the men are optimistic going into the expedition; it’s only when they get there that they realize something is terribly, terribly wrong. And not only will they have to get to the bottom of it if they want to survive, they also have to do it in complete and utter darkness.

61. Feed by Mira Grant (2010)

The Rising: the moment when the world froze in horror and watched as the dead came back to life, driven by genetically engineered viruses. The infected move with only one motivation in mind: to feed. Now it’s twenty years later and two journalists are determined to uncover the truth behind the origins of the catastrophe. More than a zombie horror novel, this blockbuster work transcends the form to ask serious questions of politics, power, and the right to information.

62. The Passage by Justin Cronin (2010)

In The Passage , a governmental experiment to develop an immunity-boosting drug based on a South American bat goes horribly wrong. Suddenly the world is dealing with a highly contagious virus that turns people into vampire-like beings — beings that are always on the hunt for fresh blood. At the center of it all is Amy, a young girl abandoned in a terrifying world, and the key to saving humanity.

63. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (2011)

One of National Public Radio’s Top 5 YA Novels of 2011, this highly unusual and vividly imagined horror story centers around Cas Lowood, an exorcist’s son who carries on his father’s legacy by expertly killing ghosts. But when Cas sets off to vanquish a violent spirit known by the locals as “Anna Dressed in Blood,” he has no idea what he’s getting himself into — especially when Anna starts communicating with him, spilling the secrets of her past.

64. Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman (2011)

In Those Across the River , failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife move to the sleepy Georgian town of Whitbrow. There, Frank intends to write about the history of his family’s old estate and the horrors that took place there. But as Frank knows, history is not easily forgotten — and under the small-town charm and southern hospitality lurks an unspoken presence that has been waiting for a debt of blood to be paid.

65. The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan (2011)

This sexy thriller centers on Jacob Marlowe, a werewolf with class: he reads Kant, drinks Scotch, and enjoys all means of modern sophistication. However (like so many intellectuals), he’s also undergoing an existential crisis: Jacob has to kill and eat a person every time there’s a full moon, and he doesn’t want to do it anymore. Fully prepared to commit suicide, he’s stopped in his tracks when he learns one of his friends has been murdered, and embarks on a path of fatal vengeance — which, ironically, just might give him a reason to live again.

66. Zone One by Colson Whitehead (2011)

The pandemic that wreaked havoc on Earth is finally starting to subside, and the first goal for civilization is to start rebuilding Manhattan, aka Zone One . In order to do so, they need to start by getting rid of those who have been infected but not yet died, aka zombies. But what seems like a fairly straightforward first step in reclaiming the Big Apple is about to take an (even more) chilling turn.

67. The Croning by Laird Barron (2012)

Fans of H.P Lovecraft and Richard Matheson, this one’s for you. In The Croning , Laird Barron has crafted a weird horror story for the ages: one in which affable geologist Donald Miller discovers dark things existing in the shadows of our vision… and savage secrets about his family that will make him re-examine everything that he thought he knew. Creepy and atmospheric, this novel from the rising star of cosmic horror will make you understand that we are all Children of the Old Leech.

68. The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle (2012)

New Hyde Hospital has a psychiatric ward that keeps its patients up in the evenings: they claim that a hungry monster prowls the hallways at night. According to them, it has the body of an old man and the head of a bison. And Pepper, the newest resident who was falsely accused of mental illness, is about to meet it for himself. Victor Lavalle knocks it out of the park again in this riveting read in which the most horrifying thing might not even be the horrifying Devil in Silver — but your own mind.

69. The Drowning Girl by Caitlín R. Kiernan (2012)

Caitlin R. Kiernan is one of the finest horror writers out there when it comes to blending the gothic and the fantastic. She elevates her game even more with this ghost story about India Morgan Phelps, a schizophrenic girl who one day picks up Eve Canning on the street — and who, in turn, might be a werewolf, mermaid, or siren. Kiernan is one of the rare authors who can up the suspense quotient to insane levels while writing about mental illness with the sensitivity that it deserves.

70. Fiend by Peter Stenson (2013)

A zombie apocalypse novel with a twist, Fiend presents a universe where the people turned into zombies are the ones who aren’t crystal meth junkies. For some reason, meth has granted Chase and his friends against the plague. More than anything else, it almost seems like a second chance… but as the excuse to continue using meth presents itself, Chase starts to question what separates him from the zombies.

71. Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi (2013)

Countless monsters inspired by Frankenstein have cropped up in the 200 years since Mary Shelley first published her seminal novel, but none have come closer to recreating the surrealist terror than Frankenstein in Baghdad . Black humor and true fright clash in Ahmen Saadaw’s chilling retelling about a man named Hadi who aimlessly stitches together the body parts that he finds on the streets of Baghdad. It’s then that a wave of brutal murders begins to overwhelm the city… and Hadi realizes at the same time that his corpse has gone missing.

72. Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (2013)

The town of Black Spring, New York is haunted — not just by any old ghost, but by a centuries-old entity called the Black Rock Witch. She roams Black Spring with her eyes and mouth sewn shut, vestiges of when she was first put to death for her crimes. And even as the townspeople (who are cursed to remain in Black Spring forever) put practical measures in place to avoid her — such as a mobile app to keep track of her movements — her wrath cannot be quashed. This supremely scary mashup of both old-school witch hunting and the consequences of new-age technology is perfect for fans of Black Mirror and Robert Eggers’ The Witch alike.

73. Night Film by Marisha Pessl (2013)

Night Film stars Stanislaus Cordova, a reclusive cult-horror film director who hasn’t been seen in public for over thirty years. His daughter, 24-year old Ashley Cordova, has just been found dead in an abandoned warehouse — and while her death has been ruled a suicide, investigative journalist Scott McGrath isn’t buying it. Especially when another strange death connected to the Cordovas occurs shortly after. Scott is now on a mission to uncover and expose the family’s deadly secrets.

74. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (2013)

The Kings of Maine are thoroughly represented on this list — and with good reason. Having established his own reputation with Heart-Shaped Box and Horns , Joe Hill’s third novel contains countless nods to his father’s works while also leaning on his own brand of chilling prose. The book opens with Vic McQueen, a girl with an ability to magically create bridges to things she’s looking for — a talent that brings her into contact with a serial killer with a penchant for abducting children.

75. The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher (2013)

A paranormal take on western fiction, The Six-Gun Tarot takes place in 1869 Nevada, in a tiny desert cattle town called Golgotha. The residents of Golgotha are no stranger to the supernatural — the mayor is guarding a hoard of mythical creatures, a banker’s wife is part of a secret order of assassins, and the town deputy is half human, half coyote. But what’s really strange about this town is the abandoned silver mine, out of which an ancient evil seems to be spilling. Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Deadwood , the Golgotha series is for you.

76. Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (2014)

Described as a “nightmare come to life,” Fever Dream will grip you in the throes of a dread that lasts for days. A young mother lays dying in the hospital and a boy sits next to her bedside — only he isn’t her son. Indeed, this story about broken souls and family unraveling might just shake you to the core. Note that Fever Dream was originally written in Spanish by Argentinian author Samanta Schweblin, but this English translation is no less unsettling, disturbing, and electric.

77. The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith (2014)

Based on traditional Vietnamese ghost stories, The Frangipani Hotel is a fantastical collection of short stories that functions on another level as a meditation on the lasting legacy of the Vietnam War. From beautiful women who’re oddly attached to bathtubs to truck drivers who pick up mysterious hitchhikers, the short stories never stray far away from the supernatural that lurks in the shadows nearby.

78. Bird Box by Josh Malerman (2014)

Recent memes notwithstanding , the original source of the Netflix film Bird Box was none other than this innovative work by Josh Malerman. In the book version, something has arrived on the scene, and no one knows what it is, how it got there, or why it’s targeting civilians: all they know is that its appearance drives people mad with violence, leading them to attack others and commit suicide. Mother of two, Malorie must decide whether to keep her young children enshrouded in darkness for all their days, or risk all of them dying at the hands of “The Problem” in order to find a better shelter.

79. Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes (2014)

No matter how many Greek myths you’ve read, there’s no way to prepare for the broken monsters that Beukes puts on display in this book. The creature that catalyzes the action of this book is a malformed half-deer, half-human hybrid that Detective Gabriella Versado finds dead in an abandoned warehouse — and if you can believe it, things only get more upsetting from there. Versado is set on tracking down the perpetrator of this grotesque science experiment, but that doesn’t mean she’s happy with what she finds.

80. Maplecroft: The Borden Dispatches by Cherie Priest (2014)

Few American figures have taken on such mythical status as Lizzie Borden, the woman tried and acquitted for murdering her parents with an ax. This fantastical, Lovecraftian take on the urban legend sees Borden (post-acquittal) and her sister take up residence in a seaside manor, only to find an evil spirit bubbling up from the ocean deep.

81. The Beauty by Aliya Whiteley (2014)

Nate is a “storyteller” in a society wherein women have become extinct. As his clan craves more and more details about these women of yore — all of whom died of a mysterious fungal disease — Nate realizes that stories will never be enough. But the men’s wishes for physical manifestations of women turn into a horrific reality when curvaceous mushroom-like creatures, known as The Beauty , join the tribe and quickly upend the fragile life they’ve built.

82. Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix (2014)

Ever wondered what it’d be like to get trapped in a haunted IKEA? The characters of Horrorstör know. When furniture store “ORSK” starts experiencing strange acts of vandalism, its employees decide to stay overnight to investigate. Little do they know that, rather than getting to the bottom of the mystery, they’ll be unleashing a reign of terror upon both themselves and their beloved customers…

83. The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman (2014)

In this twisting tale told by self-described unreliable narrator Joey Peacock, the vampires of 1970s NYC have a perfectly organized (if violent) system of getting the sustenance they need. That is, until a group of vampire children appear on the scene — kids who require way more blood than the other vampires to survive, and whose presence will threaten not only the vampiric hierarchy, but also the lives of Joey and his companions. If you thought vampires weren’t afraid of anything, think again…

84. Three Moments of an Explosion by China Miéville (2015)

The world is a strange place, and humans, perhaps, are strangest of all; this strangeness is the very core of Miéville’s collection. One story begins with the city of London waking up to find icebergs floating in the sky. In another, an anatomy student find intricate designs carved into the bones of a cadaver he is examining. Stranger things follow.

85. Shutter by Courtney Alameda (2015)

In Shutter , Micheline Helsing is one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing family, and is an expert at destroying monsters. One day, a routine ghost hunt goes awry and Michelina finds herself plagued by a curse that spreads “ghost chains” through her body — turning her into one of the very monsters she’s spent her life hunting. Deemed a renegade agent by her own monster-hunting father, she must now find a way to rid herself of the curse before it’s too late.

86. Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (2015)

Violet is a ballet dancer on the cusp of stardom; Oriana was Violet’s friend and once stepped in between Violet and her tormentors in a self-sacrificing act; and Amber has been living in the Aurora Hills juvenile center for so long that she scarcely remembers what it’s like to be free. This suspenseful story is told from two of these perspectives — one living and one dead. But all three women are tied together together through a dark and terrible secret.

87. A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay (2015)

Is 14 year-old Marjorie Barrett schizophrenic or is she possessed by a demon? This is the question at the heart of the Barretts, an otherwise normal suburban family. When a reality television production company catches wind of Marjorie’s strange condition, they sense a business opportunity — one that Marjorie’s cash-strapped father cannot easily turn down. With each page evoking blood-curling dread, the unraveling of this book’s events become a gripping tale of psychological horror. Winner of the 2015 Bram Stoker Award, A Head Full of Ghosts might just leave you with a head full of fear.

88. Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw (2016)

Cassandra Khaw’s “banging” debut novel takes the traditional detective P.I. story and gives it an appealing Lovecraftian makeover. In this fascinating blend of noir and cosmic horror, private investigator John Persons gets an unexpected client one day — a ten year-old boy who asks Persons to murder his stepfather. As Persons delves deeper into the case, he realizes that his subject might not actually be human. But that’s fine, because Persons isn’t all that he appears to be, either. As the saying goes, it sometimes takes a monster to kill a monster.

89. Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff (2016)

Lovecraft Country breaks down the complexities of American racism in the mid-twentieth century, and how Lovecraft himself was complicit in that racism. Our hero, Atticus Turner, is a young black man who must seek out his missing father, facing countless horrors along the way — both to do with the color of his skin and mysterious, mythological threats that seem to have escaped the pulp fiction he reads. The closely related nature of these two elements becomes more and more clear over the course of Ruff’s book, and the shocking twist at the end will ensure that you never see Lovecraft (or America) in the same way again.

90. Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones (2016)

The unnamed young narrator of Mongrels faces an unusual quandary: while he’s aware that he carries the werewolf gene, he has no idea whether or not it will come to fruition. As a mongrel, he lives life in limbo, uncertain of his destiny, constantly being shuttled around. This werewolf bildungsroman of sorts is pretty much the only one of its kind, and Jones' sharp, moving prose will have you sympathizing with monsters (or almost-monsters) in a way you never thought you could.

91. Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enríquez (2016)

Fans of the macabre should be sure to add this collection to their list of best horror books of all time. In Argentina, violence and corruption are the laws of the land for people who vividly remember recent military dictatorships and masses of disappeared citizens. Within these fiercely disturbing stories, three young friends distract themselves with drugs in the middle of a government-enforced blackout, and encounter dark supernatural forces themselves.

92. The Changeling by Victor LaValle (2017)

Fairy tale meets horror in Victor Lavalle’s critically acclaimed The Changeling . Apollo Kagwa’s life is full of disappearances — first, his father goes missing when he is four. Then his wife vanishes, right after she commits a terrible act of violence. Now Apollo must journey through a dark underworld to bring back a family that he might not have really known in the first place. Be warned: this is a novel where nightmares lurk in every nook and eeriness is perpetual, right up until the terrifying crescendo of a climax.

93. Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero (2017)

Named after the recurring catchphrase of all Scooby-Doo villains, this comic horror novel finds the members of a worryingly young detective team reunited in their twenties to reinvestigate an unsolved mystery. Pitched by the author as “Enid Blyton meets H.P. Lovecraft”, Cantero’s novel has also been compared to Stranger Things and Stephen King’s It , as his young protagonists face off against a danger that’s somewhat more menacing than an old prospector in a rubber mask.

94. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (2017)

Called a “love letter to an obstinate genre that won’t be gentrified,” Carmen Maria Machado’s debut short story collection was heralded when it was published. And it’s easy to see why: Machado deftly stretches the borders of horror, as evidenced in “The Husband Stitch” (a retelling of “The Green Ribbon” in which the wife refuses her husband’s pleas to remove a green ribbon around her neck) and “The Resident” (in which a writer’s time in the mountains goes horribly wrong). It’s a book that seriously examines the pre-set narratives that women are forced to live and breathe in society. And it’s a must-read for anyone who’s tired of heteronormativity in horror.

95. Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys (2017)

In this homage to his cosmic horror, Lovecraft’s Deep Ones are brought to life, and the government isn’t a fan. In 1928, Deep One Aphra and her family are captured and banished to the desert… until the government becomes certain that Russians is attempting to win the Cold War with dark magic. With the promise she will help the people that stole her community’s way of life, Aphra returns home to contend with her lost past, and a potentially dark looming future.

96. The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell (2017)

The Silent Companions combines spine-chilling thrills with compelling characterization. When her husband dies just weeks after their wedding, Elsie feels more alone than ever. This is made worse by the fact that her new servants are resentful and the local villagers are openly hostile towards Elsie; she starts to believe her only companionship will come from her husband’s awkward cousin. Until she opens a locked door and finds a painted wooden figure that not only bears uncanny resemblance to Elsie, but also seems to be watching her...

97. The Grip of It by Jac Jemc (2017)

You probably know of couples like James and Julie: young and optimistic, they’re looking to leave behind their home in the city to get a fresh start in the country. But something is amiss with their new house. The air becomes suffocating. Children’s voices are heard, but the children themselves are never seen. The forest seems closer than it was before. And the stains on the walls are somehow appearing mapped as bruises on Julie’s body… to say too much is to ruin the impact of this novel, but rest assured that you will get a full night’s worth of terror when you pick it up.

98. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (2018)

When the dead start walking on the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville, the fate of the nation suddenly doesn’t seem quite so important anymore. As the country is thrown into disarray and scrambles to erect combat schools to learn how to put down the dead, Jane McKeene studies to become an Attendant to protect rich white people… but her true motives are much more revolutionary. Jane is indeed the star of this stunning alternate history novel: a black zombie hunter who defies society’s expectations, fighting against a conspiracy that threatens to overwhelm all of America.

99. The Hunger by Alma Katsu (2018)

The Hunger will have you on the very edge of your seat with its story of a group of travelers who are slowly unraveling. Not only do they face obstacle after obstacle of basic bad luck — low food rations, freezing weather, and a general predilection to take every wrong turn — but there also seems to be something darker, even more menacing, lurking in the mountains. And is it their imaginations, or does it all seem to be linked to beautiful, mysterious Tamsen Donner? You may have heard of the Donner Party before, but not like this: Katsu’s historical horror novel will cast both the people and the situation in a whole new, terrifying light.

100. Obscura by Joe Hart (2018)

This incisive work from Joe Hart demonstrates that new horror can be just as thrilling as classic. Obscura speculates about a near-future in which dementia afflicts people of all ages, rendering scientists and doctors powerless to even try and stop it. Dr. Gillian Ryan, who’s still of sound mind, determines that she will travel to a space station to gather unique data points that could help her cure the disease… not knowing that in embarking on this mission, she’s only putting herself in more danger, and not necessarily from the ravages of the disease.

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23 Halloween Books for Adults to Read During Spooky Season

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The best Halloween books for adults are terrifying, creepy, sometimes funny and ideally enjoyed now through October 31. From classic horror staples like Frankenstein and Dracula to more contemporary—but equally spine-chilling—thrillers like Final Girls and A Stranger in the House , here are 23 of the best Halloween books to creep yourself out with this spooky season.

11 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in October

halloween books for adults jackson

1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Even if you’ve already binged the Netflix series , the original 1959 gothic horror novel by Shirley Jackson ( The Witch ) is more than worth a read—especially because the two differ in more ways than one. The book concerns four people who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly, likely haunted property. They’re led by Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a haunting. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with some inexplicable phenomena, but Hill House is gathering its powers and none of the four know just how terrifying things will soon get.

halloween books for adults harris

2. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

Good evening, Clarice. Before it was a pee-your-pants scary movie with an all-star cast of Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs was an equally terrifying novel. First published in 1988, it’s the sequel to Harris's 1981 novel Red Dragon . Both novels feature the cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter, though the latter sees him pitted against FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling.

halloween books for adults sager

3. Final Girls by Riley Sager

In a classic horror movie, the "final girl" is the one young woman who makes it out alive--but barely, and usually not with all her clothes. In Sager's more subversive novel, Quincy, who survived a mass murder, refuses to play into the "final girl" trope. Instead, she creates a fulfilling life in New York City. Then, a woman like her dies of an apparent suicide, and Quincy's well-crafted facade begins to unravel. This one will keep you guessing until the very last page.

halloween books for adults hendrix

4. The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

In a similar vein, Hendrix’s ( My Best Friend's Exorcism ) 2021 thriller is about Lynnette, a real-life final girl who survived a massacre. For more than a decade, she's been meeting with five other final girls and their therapist in a support group to put their lives back together. But when one woman misses a meeting, their worst fears are realized. Someone knows about the group and is determined to rip their lives apart again, piece by piece.

halloween books for adults st james

5. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

In 1982, Viv wants to move from upstate New York to Manhattan. To help pay for the move, she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York. Then she disappears. In 2017, Viv’s niece Carly moves to Fell and visits the motel, desperate for answers about her aunt’s life. There, she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982, and she soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.

halloween books for adults hoffman

6. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

For more than 200 years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: As children, the sisters were taunted, talked about and pointed at. After they escape their hometown, the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic. Oh, and after you finish the book you should absolutely watch (or rewatch) the movie version with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock.

halloween books for adults stoker

7. Dracula by Bram Stoker

It wouldn’t be Halloween without at least one vampire, right? Irish author Bram Stoker published Dracula in 1897 as an epistolary novel told through letters, diary entries and newspaper articles. It’s the story of a vampire, Count Dracula, and his move from his native Transylvania to England in the search for victims of his undead curse. At the same time a group of people led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing are determined to stop him.

halloween books for adults michaelides

8. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

There’s no whodunit in this perfectly plotted thriller. We know from the start that the killer is Alicia Berenson, a famous photographer who, one night, shoots her husband five times in the face in their posh London home. What we don’t know—what no one knows—is why. Since the shooting, Alicia hasn’t spoken a single word. But as she sits silently in a psychiatric hospital, one therapist is determined to break through, even if it leads to his own demise.

halloween books for adults blatty

9. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

The book isn’t too far from the movie (projectile vomiting, anyone?), but you get more background information on some of the supporting characters that makes the whole thing just a little more unsettling—if that’s possible.

halloween books for adults foley

10. The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

In need of a fresh start, Jess asks if she can crash with her half-brother, Ben, who lives in Paris and doesn’t sound thrilled about the arrangement. When she shows up to Ben’s address, Jess find a very nice apartment—one that she’s not sure how Ben can afford—and he’s not there. The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother's situation and the more questions she has. Ben's neighbors are an eclectic bunch, not particularly friendly, and Jess suspects they all know things they’re not sharing. Jess might have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s looking more and more like it's Ben's future that's in question.

halloween books for adults du maurier

11. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Suspense, mystery and romance—what else would you expect from a novel that takes place in an English estate run by a creepily stubborn housekeeper? It’s like a spooky Downton Abbey.

halloween books for adults shelley

12. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Though the name Frankenstein has become more associated with the creature itself, it’s actually the name of the mad scientist who created the creature in Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel. A combination of gothic horror story and science fiction, it centers on Victor Frankenstein, a Swiss student of natural science who brings an artificial man to life. Though it initially seeks affection, the monster eventually turns on its creator.

halloween books for adults thompson

13. Love in the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson

If creepy, scary Halloween books aren’t your thing, try this lighter take on a spooky novel. Phoebe is a PhD candidate who’s always been obsessed with true crime. While spending a summer in Florida cleaning out her childhood home and grappling with the complicated feelings of mourning a father she hadn't had a relationship with for years, she starts to think the new neighbor, Sam, is a serial killer. But it's not long before Phoebe realizes that Sam might be something much scarier—a genuinely nice guy who wants her to give him a chance.

halloween books for adults king

14. Pet Sematary by Stephen King

Any number of King’s books deserve a spot on this list, but we’re partial to Pet Sematary , his 1983 novel about the Creed family, recent Maine transports who encounter endless horrors in their new neighborhood, not limited to freak accidents, murder and more than a few dead animals.

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15. Death in the Air by Kate Winkler Dawson

In the winter of 1952, London was struck by two killers: One, the Great Smog that killed thousands, and the other, John Reginald Christie, who murdered at least six women. Drawing on extensive interviews and archival research, Dawson recounts the intersection of these two brutal forces and their lasting impact on modern history.

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16. The Cutting Season by Attica Locke

Locke was a writer and producer on Fox’s Empire , and her second novel (after Black Water Rising ) is part murder mystery, part historical fiction. The Cutting Season is a heart-pounding thriller that interweaves two murder mysteries—one on Belle Vie, a historic landmark in the middle of Lousiana’s Sugar Cane country, and one involving a slave gone missing more than one hundred years earlier.

halloween books for adults highsmith

17. Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

If your favorite thing about The Girl on the Train was the train, you’re in luck. This classic is the original railway murder mystery, telling the story of passengers on the same train who somehow agree to commit each other’s murders. Read it, then invite your book club over to watch the Hitchcock film.

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18. The Trespasser by Tana French

Antoinette Conway is a newbie detective looking for an interesting case. What she gets is an open-and-shut lovers' quarrel. That is, until her colleagues start acting strangely, and someone shadowy is lurking outside her house…

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19. The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe

This one is super short, but super scary. Set in Italy during carnival season, this terrifying tale concerns revenge and being buried alive. Told from the perspective of the murderer, it’s cold and vengeful and will make you pray you never piss anyone off as much as the story’s victim did.

halloween books for adults lapena

20. A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

Get ready for some serious twists and turns. In this 2018 thriller, a woman who is making dinner and waiting for her husband to come home gets a disturbing phone call, then abruptly wakes up in the hospital, with no memory of what happened next. The police suspect she was up to something, her husband doesn't believe it and the rest of the people in her life aren't so sure. Lapena's smart and suspenseful novel will have you believing so many different points of view, you'll never see the ending coming.

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21. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Another true crime masterpiece, this one about a mysterious stranger, a secret love affair and a dead body—all set against Savannah, Georgia’s high-society in the early 1980s. All in all, a Southern Gothic epic that Berendt unravels with rich, obsessively researched detail.

halloween books for adults james

22. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

A gothic novella about two young, possessed children. James wrote this spooky story in 1898 and it’s just as horrifying today. It’s sinister and weird and blurs the lines between sanity and insanity a little too well.

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23. The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

If ever there was a good time for a feminist revenge fantasy, we’re pretty sure this is it. Three sisters—Grace, Lia, and Sky—have been raised in total isolation on an island and taught that men are the enemy. In fact, they’ve only ever seen one—their father, King. But one day, King disappears and two men and a boy wash up on the island, and the girls are caught up in an intense psychological game. It’s a strange, dystopian tale, but we promise that you’ll get deeply invested in their fate.

The 39 Best (and Only a Little Spooky) Halloween Books for Kids

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The 21 best Halloween books to read in October, from Stephen King classics to haunted house thrillers

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  • Halloween is the perfect time of year to cozy up with a good, entertaining book.
  • We rounded up the best spooky thrillers, short horror stories, and fall-themed romances.
  • Want more Halloween books? Check out the best Stephen King books and best horror books .

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Every fall, I look forward to big sweaters, pumpkin spice everything, and a good book to get me in the Halloween mood. It's the perfect time of year to read spooky thrillers , spine-tingling horror stories , or witchy novels in between pumpkin carving and apple picking. 

To gather these recommendations, I searched for feel-good fall reads, books with classic Halloween characters, and scary stories that would haunt any reader. Whether you're ready for a cozy October romance or a terrifying Stephen King story to keep you up at night, here are 21 of the best books to grab this Halloween. 

The 21 best Halloween books:

A creepy thriller for your next halloween read.

haunted reading books

"Mexican Gothic" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $13.99

"Mexican Gothic" is a historical horror story about Noemí Taboada, who receives a strange letter from her cousin begging for someone to save her. Unsure of the terrors that await her in the Mexican countryside, Noemí begins to uncover the secrets of blood and violence in a mysterious house that may never let her leave.  

A horror full of Halloween thrills

haunted reading books

"My Heart is a Chainsaw" by Stephen Graham Jones, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $15.29

In "My Heart is a Chainsaw," Jade Daniels is a half-Indian teen who escapes from her life by watching horror movies. When something horrible begins to unfold in her town, Jade must use her horror film knowledge to predict how the plot will unfold, uncovering her own traumatic past in the process. 

A young adult read that takes place on Halloween

haunted reading books

"Pumpkinheads" by Rainbow Rowell, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $11

For those who love Halloween but not the horror, "Pumpkinheads" is a cherished graphic novel about two best friends who work together every fall at a pumpkin patch. While they usually say goodbye every Halloween, they decide to make their last shift together an exciting and memorable adventure.

A brilliant vampire story to pick up this Halloween

haunted reading books

"Fledgling" by Octavia E. Butler, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $14.19

A masterful blend of horror and fantasy, "Fledgling" is about a young girl with inhuman desires who discovers she's a genetically modified vampire. A haunting look at vampire mythology, this speculative read is an original vampire story as the girl pieces together her past and the mystery surrounding herself.  

A witchy Halloween read

haunted reading books

"Practical Magic" by Alice Hoffman, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $14.99

In this fantastical book that later became a classic witchy movie, the Owen family has been blamed for everything that goes wrong in their town for over 200 years. Now, the Owen sisters, Gillian and Sally, are tired of being outsiders and try to leave — but cannot resist the magic that draws them back home. 

A haunting short story for Halloween

haunted reading books

"Get in Trouble" by Kelly Link, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $15.64

In this short story collection skirting between fantasy and mystery, "I Can See Right Through You" is about a movie star who travels to a Florida swamp where his former love is filming a ghost-hunting reality show. With an unreliable narration and a twisted ending, this short story is more haunting than the reader might initially believe. 

A gory Japanese horror story to read this Halloween

haunted reading books

"Goth" by Otsuichi, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $13.79

In this gory and haunting book of interwoven short stories, two teenagers are obsessed with serial killers and their victims. Perfect for any reader obsessed with true crime, this Japanese horror is full of twists and disturbing scenes. 

A short story for a haunted Halloween read

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"Her Body and Other Parties: Stories" by Carmen Maria Machado, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $13.99

This National Book Award finalist is a genre-bending collection of short stories about the violence towards women's lives and bodies. In "The Resident," a writer escapes to an artist's retreat and struggles to unblur the lines between fact and fiction while unraveling her own haunted past. 

A sinister story for Halloween scares

haunted reading books

"Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" edited by Alvin Schwartz, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $6.78

I remember reading these stories as a teenager and they still haunt me to this day — particularly "High Beams," where a young woman is driving home when a car behind her shines their high beams and begins to follow her home. Only when she reaches her house and the car pulls in behind her does she discover the sinister plot that was brewing all along. 

A young adult Halloween read full of ghosts and romance

haunted reading books

"Cemetery Boys" by Aiden Thomas, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $14.30

In this paranormal fantasy romance, Yadriel is determined to prove himself a real sorcerer as his family struggles to accept his gender. In an attempt to summon and free the ghost of his cousin, Yadriel accidentally summons the recently deceased Julian Diaz and must help him find out how he died in exchange for Julian helping him save his cousin. 

A fantastical read with fall and Halloween vibes

haunted reading books

"Ninth House" by Leigh Bardugo, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $9.19

"Ninth House" is a fantastical story overflowing with witchy, magical, and dark Halloween vibes. Alex is a freshman at Yale and the sole survivor of an unsolved multiple-homicide. Offered her seat at Yale by mysterious benefactors in exchange for monitoring Yale's secret societies, Alex is thrust into an underground world of tombs, haunts, and occult-like practices. 

A Stephen King horror classic

haunted reading books

"The Shining" by Stephen King, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $8.27

Stephen King is a modern horror master and "The Shining" is considered by many to be his best work to date . When Jack begins his new job as an off-season caretaker at the Overlook Hotel, he quickly discovers that his five-year-old son, Danny, can see the frightening haunts within the hotel. 

A haunted house novel to add to your Halloween reading list

haunted reading books

"Home Before Dark" by Riley Sager, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $14.76

After her father's death, Maggie Holt inherits the home that her father made famous with his book "House of Horrors": A nonfiction bestseller chronicling the horrors her family faced when they lived in the home for three weeks before fleeing in the night. In this page-turning novel, Maggie returns to renovate the house and slowly discovers whether or not her father was telling the truth.

A chilling gothic classic for Halloween

haunted reading books

"We Have Always Lived in the Castle" by Shirley Jackson, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $14.99

Shirley Jackson is a master of classic gothic horror and "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" is a disturbing reminder of her sinister talents. This short but chilling read is about an 18-year-old girl named Mary Katherine and her sister, Constance, who hasn't left their home since a terrible tragedy six years ago isolated them from their village. 

A classic horror short story perfect for Halloween

haunted reading books

"The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $2.99

Remembered for her short stories and early feminist activism, Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote classic gothic horror with a feminist perspective, the most famous of which was her 1892 story "The Yellow Wallpaper." In this story, a young woman is imprisoned by her husband to "rest" and recover after a "temporary nervous depression" following the birth of her child, with horrors slowly revealing themselves as you read on.

An iconic book that spawned a classic American horror film

haunted reading books

"Ring" by Kōji Suzuki, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $12.89

The original book upon which the 2002 horror movie "The Ring" was based, this Japanese horror story explores a videotape that warns of the viewers' death unless they perform a certain task. When Asakawa's niece dies after watching the tape, he is dragged into the mystery and must discover the tape's secrets before he becomes the next victim. 

A spooky Halloween story about a boy who lives in a graveyard

haunted reading books

"The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $8.27

In this highly acclaimed and award-winning novel, Nobody Owens ("Bod") is a normal boy who lives in a graveyard and is being raised by ghosts. "The Graveyard Book" is a spooky story full of adventure as the man who has already killed Bod's family lurks outside the graveyard. 

A classic novel featuring a famous Halloween character

haunted reading books

"Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $5.47

Frankenstein's monster has become a Halloween staple, first depicted in this creepy science-fiction/horror classic. The story is about a scientist named Victor who brings life to a creation that he and the villagers find horrifying. 

A skin-crawling, classic Halloween story

haunted reading books

"The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe" by Edgar Allen Poe, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $17

Edgar Allen Poe is known for his haunting writing and "Berenice" is one of the most unsettling stories in his collection. This short story is about a man named Egaeus whose wife, Berenice, begins to slowly deteriorate from a mysterious illness, leaving only her teeth undisturbed. As Egaeus falls into an uncontrollable obsession with her teeth, the story gets progressively creepier.  

A unique short story, perfect for that Halloween haunting feeling

haunted reading books

"Unhallowed Graves" by Nuzo Onoh, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $13.99

In the second story in this horror collection, Oja-ale is a night market run by the dead where everything is for sale, but at a terrifying price. When a skeptical British diplomat stationed in Nigeria encounters a young woman who needs a ride, he must go to the Oja-ale to save himself and his family.  

A boggling horror story sure to give you Halloween thrills

haunted reading books

"House of Leaves" by Mark Z. Danielewski, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $19.49

This horror novel has had a cult following for years, passed around the internet before emerging as a published book. It's a terrifying and mind-blowing read about a young family who moves into a home and discovers it's bigger on the inside than the outside.

haunted reading books

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haunted reading books

30 Haunted House Books That Will Give You The Creeps

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Jessica Avery

"Jessica has been a voracious reader since she was old enough to hold chapter books right side up. She has an MA in English from the University of Maine, and has been writing about books online since 2015. She started out writing about the Romance genre, but in recent years she has rekindled her love for Horror, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy, with an emphasis on works of queer fiction. You can follow her on Twitter , Bluesky , and Instagram .

View All posts by Jessica Avery

The haunted house is probably one of my favorite tropes across the whole horror genre. Book, film, video game; there is nothing creepier than big, empty spaces and being stalked by something unseen. Whether it’s a massive multi-room building like a hotel or apartment building, a creaky old mansion, or an unassuming suburban home, haunted houses derive their horror from feelings of invasion and violation. Even in a hotel there is an expectation of safety and security, even more so in the apartment or house you inhabit. The monsters are supposed to be outside. But in haunted house books the monsters are inside, with you, violating that sense of security.

There is also the fact that hauntings in books often either stem from or cause domestic disruption, further destabilizing the interior of the home and annihilating any feelings of being safe or protected. Even the Gothic romances, from which the modern haunting story stems, were about the inversion and disruption of the domestic space. So their modern descendants come by it rightly. There is also a good deal to be said with regards to the relation between women, hauntings, and domestic spaces, and if that is an area which interests you make sure you check out Sarah Smeltzer’s post on Women, Trauma, and Haunted Houses .

Looking out your window and seeing something staring back at you is scary. But lying in bed and hearing something move inside your house? That’s always going to be worse. Thankfully, there are a whole slew of writers who have shared that sentiment! When it comes to haunted house books we have plenty of scares to fill our shelves.

30 of the Best Haunted House Books

“Classic” Haunted House Books

I’m fudging the term “classic” for this category, but there are a number of semi-legendary books that make up the roots of the lineage of modern haunted house books.

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The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

I’m guessing that most of you are familiar with some version of this creepy Henry James novella about the young governess and her two beautiful but strange charges, whether you’ve read the actual text or seen one of the film adaptations. As far as haunted house books go, this is definitely a “classic.” Also, Turn of the Screw seems to be the inspiration behind season two of The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix ( The Haunting of Bly House  now, technically), so you may as well read up while we (im)patiently wait for 2020.

Hell House by Richard Matheson

I can’t leave Hell House off this list, but I also cannot include it without recommending that you read with caution. Matheson’s haunted house book was published in 1971, and belongs to that horror publishing of the ’70s and ’80s. Its contents are graphic, heavily sexual in nature, and (given its publication date) completely lack any modern sentiment. As a result a lot of readers find it rough, or downright offensive. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is a well known contribution to the history haunted house books. Plotwise, it’s pretty familiar: the house’s owner invites a psychiatrist and two psychics into the house to investigate the existence of the afterlife. What could go wrong? (Besides everything.)

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

This book, okay? Atmospheric I expected. Queer icon Theodora I expected. To be sincerely freaked out while stuck on a plane at 30,000 feet, I did not expect. But at least I could be sure that the plane wasn’t haunted. If you’ve only seen the (admittedly awesome) Netflix adaptation, do pick up a copy of Jackson’s original novel and give it a read. Hill House is frightening in all its various forms, text and film, as it torments the protagonist Eleanor, and all others unfortunate enough to inhabit its walls.

The House Next Door by Anne River Siddons

Haunted houses don’t always have to be old and steeped in dark history. Siddons’s  The House Next Door  is about a beautiful new house, and is told not from the perspective of this house’s inhabitants but rather through that of the neighbors, Colquitt and Walter Kennedy. They are witness to the accidents and tragedies that come to surround the new house and afflict its inhabitants.

Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco

Burnt Offerings doesn’t get a whole lot of attention these days, and when people do talk about Marasco’s novel it is usually in relation to the book’s influence on Stephen King’s The Shining . But Marasco’s novel preceded all of the big haunted house books of its decade, including not just King’s book but Jay Anson’s The Amityville Horror as well, so it deserves recognition in its own right as a sort of ur-text for haunted houses of the later 20th century. In Burnt Offerings , Ben and Marian Rolfe accept an offer to rent a mansion in upstate New York for a fantastically low price (nothing suspicious there…); the only catch is that they are responsible for preparing meals for the mysterious, elderly Mrs. Allardyce who lives unseen in a distant wing of the house. (I’m sure it’s fine. Really.)

Side note: the cover on this Valancourt reissue is gorgeous.

The Shining by Stephen King

Speaking of The Shining , would any haunted house book list be complete without King’s famous haunted house (or in this case haunted hotel) novel? Somehow there’s something even creepier about a building as large and rambling as an antique hotel being haunted. It lacks the intimacy of a home haunting, but there are just so many more places for scary things to hide. And when Jack Torrance and his family get snowed in at the massive Overlook Hotel things start to get really off-kilter.

Haunted House Books for Adults

As you may have noticed in the previous section, “classic” haunted house books are pretty darn white. It’s unsurprising, but it’s not great. Thankfully, the haunted house never dies (get it?), and the modern horror genre has a much more diverse selection of inhabitable horrors on offer. You might recognize two of these titles from my recent list of horror by authors of color, but they’re both such great examples of the haunted house plot that I couldn’t leave off this list.

The Family Plot by Cherie Priest

I have heard that this book is really scary. The synopsis is ominous enough, to be sure, but apparently the book itself is just chilling. If you get around to reading it before me definitely tweet me and let me know. Dahlia has been assigned by her father, owner of Music City Salvage, to head out to the massive Withrow estate to which the owner, Augusta, has decided to sell the salvage rights. It seems like a fairly straightforward job. Until Dahlia and her crew turn up a body on the property, Augusta stops taking their calls, and a violent storm cuts off the road (and power) to the property. Leaving them trapped, but not alone.

The Forgotten Child by Melissa Erin Jackson

Heads up readers, this book comes with an author-provided content warning for discussions about sexual assault. Riley Thomas is a medium who really wishes she wasn’t. A freaky accident when she was a kid, involving a malevolent spirit and that teen terror favorite the Ouija board, has left her with an aversion to all things frightening. Until a friend pressures her into attending a paranormal investigation of the Jordanville Ranch. Riley has no interest in using her skills to speak to the ranch’s supposed ghosts, but the restless spirit of a child, and someone out to keep the ranch owner’s secrets buried by any means necessary, may leave her no choice.

Within These Walls by Ania Ahlborn

Crime writer Lucas Graham’s life is falling apart. Both his marriage and his career are crumbling, and he needs an opportunity to turn things around. Enter convicted cult leader Jeffrey Halcomb. Having been offered exclusive access to the notorious Halcomb, Lucas decides to begin his research where the story began: an ordinary looking farm house on the coast of Washington State. But the history he has come to explore is dark, and restless. This book (and really anything Ahlborn has written) comes highly recommended by the horror community, so definitely considered adding it to your list.

The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike

I talked a bit about The Graveyard Apartment in my last post but I knew I couldn’t leave it off this list of haunted house books. You know what’s scarier than a haunted house, and maybe even scarier than a haunted hotel? A entire haunted apartment block. In The Graveyard Apartment , a young couple with a dark secret move into a new apartment building with their daughter. The other tenants begin to move out one by one as terrors plague the building, until only the couple is left alone with whatever is lurking in the building basement. Say it with me now: Yikes.

The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero

Isn’t that cover fabulous? Those eyes are freaking me out, it’s great. Cantero is one of those authors that keeps skipping across my radar, usually in reference to Meddling Kids , his eldritch, Scooby Doo-esque book (oh yeah). But while Meddling Kids is high on my to-read list, I’ve also had my eyes on his haunted house book, The Supernatural Enhancements . When A. finds out he has inherited a massive house deep in the Virginian woods, it’s unexpected, not to mention suspicious. Sure enough, he and his companion Niamh realize all too soon that there is more to Axton House than meets the eye. Its past is dark and full of secrets. I’m super excited to get my hands on this one, because apparently it’s a mixed-media book (letters, security footage, journal entries, etc.), which is so my jam.

Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal

Pinky lost her mother during a border crossing from Pakistan when she was just a baby, and has been raised ever since by her grandmother, Maji, growing up in Bombay with Maji and Pinky’s uncle’s family. When Pinky opens a mysterious door one day in the midst of a powerful monsoon, she releases the ghosts of a drowned infant and its nursemaid. Now Pinky’s family must come to terms with this secret, and all it entails.

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

Oops, snuck an exorcism book into a list of haunted house books. But look, houses get down right spooky with demons in them. Particularly the Barrett household, when their 14-year-old daughter begins to exhibit symptoms of what seems to be acute schizophrenia. As things get progressively worse and Marjorie’s doctors prove unable to help her, the family is forced to turn to the Church for help. But with bills piling up as fast as horrors, they also agree to the priest’s suggestion that they allow in a production company that is eager to pay them for the right to film Marjorie’s exorcism.

Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

Is your house bigger on the inside? If it’s not also blue and box-shaped on the outside, you may have a problem. The protagonist of Mapping the Interior is a 12-year-old whose house is bigger on the inside. One night he follows someone—someone who can’t or shouldn’t be there—through a door to a part of the house that can’t or shouldn’t be there. But when he sets out to map the unknown corners of his home, he ends up putting himself and his little brother in danger.

The Grip of It by Jac Jemc

This addition to the list was recommended to me as being just absolutely read-through-your-fingers frightening. In one of those plots familiar to many haunted house books, Julie and James need to get out of the city and end up settling in a house in the country. But what was supposed to be a fresh start for the troubled couple soon turns into a nightmare. As the house seems to misshape and decay before their eyes, Julie and James rush to discover its history before they follow suit.

The Good House by Tananarive Due

This is the other book I migrated over from my diverse horror list because honestly it just sounds like too good to not include here. Angela Toussaint has not been back to her grandmother’s house—the house the townspeople of Sacajawea, Washington, call the Good House—in two years. Not since her son Corey died. But she’s finally ready to return and discover the truth—about Corey’s death, about her Grandmother, and about the Good House.

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Sarah Waters is perhaps best known for her historical novels Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet , but I was delighted to find that she had also written a haunted house book. Whether there’s an actual ghost in this one, or just a Gothic ghost (which is to say a ghost which is only a metaphor, or which has some other real world explanation) remains to be seen. Hundreds Hall, home to the Ayres family, may be haunted by nothing so much as its own history. Its owners—a mother and her two children—are struggling to keep up with the house’s slow decline, as well as with the changing world outside. But there may be something within the walls of Hundred’s Hall that’s every bit as frightening as change.

The Restless  by Chanel Harry

Trying to save their marriage (seeing a theme here re: hauntings and domestic disruptions?), Stephen and Marlo Coleman and their twin girls are moving. Marlo has inherited an old house through the family trust, and the only caveat is that they have to take care of her old Aunt Anabelle who still lives in the house. But as we’ve learned by now, mysteriously inherited big old houses in the country equal trouble. Anabelle keeps talking about a family curse, and saying she sees her dead daughter walking the halls, and strange happenings in the house itself seem to support her claims.

Haunted House Books for Young Adults

Being a teen is hard enough without being haunted.

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Mixed media haunted house books are their own little niche of found footage and diary entries and I love them. Two decades have passed since a fire destroyed Elmbridge High and killed three students. Maybe four, as Carly Johnson hasn’t been seen since. The main suspect is a girl called Kaitlyn, whose diary was discovered amid the ruins. In its pages lies the truth behind the fiery inferno that consumed the school that night, and the truth about what happened to Carly Johnson.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

I mean you can’t really make a list of YA haunted house books without this one. I think there’s even room to argue that Anna Dressed in Blood was one of the books that kickstarted the modern resurgence of YA horror fiction (but let’s save that for another day). It’s the epitome of haunted house stories, complete with creepy old Victorian and a vengeful, bloody spirit. Cas Lowood is a ghost hunter, born and bred, and he travels the country with his mother and cat, seeking out and destroying malicious spirits. When it comes to tracking down a local they call Anna Dressed in Blood, it should be business as usual, but this vengeful spirit is unlike any he’s ever encountered. And she’s the first to spare his life.

The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

YA haunted house books have a real obsession with spooky Victorian houses. Not that I can blame them—as far as architectural choices go, Victorian is a doozy. It can either be your Grandma’s cozy house, or it can be a freaking suburban Crimson Peak. Lucy Acosta and her cousin Margaret grew up in what was, apparently, one of the latter. Her mother died when she was just a baby, then her aunt vanished while walking in the woods, and now Margaret is spending too much time in the attic. Where, she says, she can hear the whispers of her dead mother in the walls.

The Fall  by Bethany Griffin

Retelling of Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” anyone? I mean, do I even need to say more? Is there a more classic “this house has serious issues” story out there? The Fall is told from the point of view of Madeline, who thought she had succeeded in avoiding her fate as an Usher. It turns out it’s harder than she thought to escape the past, but if Madeline cannot find a way out of Usher House, with her brother in tow, and pull the wretched building down behind her, she’s going to end up just like all the other Ushers before her: young, mad, and cursed.

Amity by Micol Ostow

Oh Amityville, source of eternal terror in the heart of New England. First there’s Connor, who moves to Amity with his family and starts experiencing dark, horrifying nightmares. Nightmares he’d kind of like to make come true. Then there’s Gwen, ten years later, who moves to Amity with her family to get a new start. But she too is haunted by terrible visions as the house begins to manipulate her into playing its deadly game. Because make no mistake, Amity is alive, hungry, and ready to use Connor and Gwen to get what she wants.

The Haunted by Danielle Vega

I haven’t read any of Vega’s books yet, but I’ve heard that her debut novel Merciless was seriously cringe inducing, so I expect good things from The Haunted as well. Hendricks isn’t super keen on the boring small town her parents just moved her too, and she expects little by way of excitement. Then it turns out that the house they chose as their fixer-upper? Haunted. Not that Hendricks believes that, of course. At least not until things start to go from boring to bad, and from bad to worse.

Haunted House Books for Middle Graders

Some of the books that are still high on my scare list are the books I read as a kid. Just because a book was written for middle graders doesn’t mean it can’t scare your pants off.

The Girl in the Locked Room by Mary Downing Hahn

Hand to heart, I will be a Mary Downing Hahn fan until the day I die. Her books are scary when you’re in the age category they were written for, and then you read them as an adult and you find all these horrifying connotations that went over your head as a kid. In The Girl in the Locked Room , Jules and her family move into an old, abandoned house (as you do when you apparently have no sense of self preservation). Right away Jules can sense something is wrong. She can’t stop thinking about the room upstairs with the locked door, and the pale face she keeps seeing in the window.

The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand

This book is described in the synopsis as “gently Gothic,” and honestly that just everything I want in life. Olivia Stellatella, however, would like her life to be more “generally normal” than “gently Gothic.” After her mother leaves, her father moves her and her grandmother into a creepy old concert hall, where Olivia’s only friend is a stray cat named Igor. To make matters worse, the place is haunted and the ghosts need Olivia’s help. The concert hall is in danger of being torn down, and if Olivia can’t save it they will be trapped as spirits forever.

The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton

Rule number one of hauntings: where the history is darkest, the ghosts are strongest. And the history in Thomas’s new house is dark. Legend says that it was once a stop on the Underground Railroad, and that two escaped slaves and the abolitionist who owned the house, Dies Drear, were murdered there. Now the ghosts of the three walk the house forever, trapped by their terrible fate. First published in 1968, The House of Dies Drear is actually the oldest book on this list! But thankfully, the book’s receipt of an Edgar Award, and its status to many as a classic of MG fiction, have ensured that it remains in print for future generations.

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie

Tessa Woodward’s family has dragged her away from her home in warm, sunny Florida, and plopped her in the middle of Chicago. Cold, wet Chicago. Then, to make matters worse? Her new house turns out to be haunted, and the ghost seems to be trying to communicate with Tessa. There’s a secret buried in the house on Shady Street, and with the help of some new friends Tessa sets out to discover what it is, and why the ghost chose her.

Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh

Can we set up a charity fund for all these poor MG main characters being moved into haunted houses by their oblivious parents? Harper’s definitely going to need some help getting out of the mess that comes with her creepy new house. Rumor has it the house is haunted, and from day one Harper can feel that something is wrong. A feeling that seems to be validated when her little brother Michael starts acting strangely. And then there are the memories that Harper can’t access, memories that might help her make sense of what is happening if she can just make herself remember.

Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller

Honestly, if your new house is called Witheringe House? There’s no way it’s not going to be haunted. And, sure enough, from the day that Elizabeth and her friend Zenobia arrive, strange things begin happening at Witheringe House. What exactly is in the forbidden East Wing? And are the vines in that wallpaper moving? Zenobia seems to thrive on the strangeness, but Elizabeth is less enthusiastic as it becomes clear that something is seriously wrong with Witheringe House.

Still not enough scares? Make sure you check out our Horror Archives for more recommendations.

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Whether a gripping YA fantasy like The Year of the Witching or a classic Stephen King book like The Shining , these spooky reads for adults are all horrifyingly entertaining in their own ways. The scariest ghost stories of all , though, are the ones based on true stories , like Jennifer Finlay Boylan's memoir about growing up in a haunted house (we'll pass on that life experience, thank you). We've even included a classic Halloween book for kids that's engrossing enough to rival any fright-filled movie .

While you might age out of trick-or-treating, curling up with a good book is timeless. So, grab yourself a warm blanket , light a fall-scented candle , put on your playlist marked All Hallow's Eve , open up one of these Halloween books, and get ready for a chilling night of scary stories . And if you want to "borrow" some of your kids candy, while you're at it, we won't judge you.

Tiny Nightmares: Very Short Stories of Horror

Before bed, challenge yourself to reading one of the bite-sized stories in  Tiny Nightmares , an anthology of horror fiction from some of today's most innovative names in fiction. The stories are uniformly short, which means you can read the book in one spooky sitting, or spread the scares out.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

The  Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark trilogy has been, well, scaring young readers since the late '80s. The legendary short stories are paired with ghostly, black-and-white illustrations, which—let's be honest—still haunt grown adults. 

The Ancestor by Danielle Trussoni

More atmospheric than downright scary, The Ancestor  is a tale written in the style of gothic novels like  Rebecca .  Alberta ”Bert” Monte receives a mysterious letter informing her that she's the sole heiress to a house in remote Northern Italy, where her family is originally from. Once she visits the  alpine house, it's too late for her to turn back—or for her to run from who she really is.

Mulholland Books Afterland by Lauren Beukes

Lauren Beukes' entire bibliography is worth a read on Halloween—but her most recent,  Afterland , is especially thought-provoking in these times. The fast-paced novel is set in a world ravaged by a virus—one that only affected men. Within this landscape, a mother must protect her son from being taken from her. 

Brand: Broadway Books I'm Looking Through You: Growing Up Haunted by Jennifer Finlay Boylan

We've all seen movies about haunted houses–but what's it like to  live  in one? Growing up in a Pennsylvania mansion with the nickname "Coffin House," Jennifer Finney Boylan was accustomed to hearing things go bump in the night. Now an adult, Boylan launches an actual investigation of her supposedly haunted childhood home, and weaves in her own experiences as a trans woman.

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

After meeting and marrying a wealthy widower in Monaco, Rebecca 's unnamed narrator is swept back to his remote mansion.  Rebecca  is a unique kind of ghost story. Rebecca de Winter doesn't haunt the book's narrator; rather, her memory, which lives on in the lives of Manderley's residents, does. And the narrator can never live up. Read this book before the Netflix movie comes out!

The Hunger by Alma Katsu

The Hunger  is centered on the doomed Donner party, who resorted to cannibalism after becoming trapped while journeying West via covered wagon. It's a nail-biting rendering of one of American history's most gruesome chapters.

The Shining by Stephen King

What is Halloween without Stephen King? A psychological horror story, and one of King's original forces,  The Shining was published in 1977. It details the life of Jack Torrance, an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic, who accepts a position tending to the Overlook Hotel during off-season in the Colorado Rockies. Jack's son, Danny, has "the shining," a collection of psychic abilities that permit Danny to see the hotel's appalling past. The ghosts that the hotel harbors impact Jack's sanity, leaving his wife and son in grave danger.  

Gallery Books The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons

Don't go to the house next door. This 1978 novel, which is beloved by Stephen King , imagines a home so toxic that it ruins the lives of its inhabits— and  its neighbors. 

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

A National Book Award finalist, this collection of short stories by Carmen Maria Machado muddies the distinctions between genres such as psychological realism, science fiction, fantasy, comedy, and horror. One woman is plagued by a ghost of herself after a weight-loss surgery. Another woman finds the remains and shadows of corpses in the seams of dresses. Another female protagonist is beheaded by her husband's desire. Replete with alarming accounts of abuse and sexual violence, in addition to indelible testaments of resilience and love, Her Body and Other Parties will spook your soul and sear your heart. 

Pantheon Books House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

House of Leaves is a book that's notoriously hard to explain. It centers around the creation of a documentary about a haunted house—but that's too simple of an explanation for this book, which stretches the very definition of the novel with its strange formatting, inclusions of movie scripts, and pages of footnotes. If it doesn't  sound  scary then, just trust us: It really, really is. 

Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon

Thomas Pynchon's novel, Bleeding Edge , is a detective story set against the backdrop of the September 11 attacks in New York City, and the changing landscape of the world with the Internet. The main character is Maxine Tarnow, the head of a detective agency specializing in fraud investigations. Join her as she seeks to uncover a mystery and probe conspiracies in the digital age. 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

One of the first examples of science fiction—this horror story starts in a laboratory. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein  is told in a series of letters from Captain Robert Walton to his sister. During a voyage to the North Pole, Walton comes across an almost-dead man: Victor Frankenstein. (Don’t forget, Frankenstein is the man, not the monster!) Frankenstein’s history soon unravels, and we learn of his experiment to create intelligent life, the monster he inadvertently produced, and the calamities that followed.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

As a girl, Victoria "Vic" McQueen discovers a power for finding lost things. Unfortunately, her powers put her on a trajectory with Charlie Manx and his vintage car, which traverse the American countryside and find children to capture. Joe Hill, the son of Stephen King, rewrote the Nosferatu vampire myth with this clever book.  N OS4A2  is now a series on AMC, so follow the book up with a TV marathon. 

Random House Inc Get in Trouble: Stories by Kelly Link

Each of Kelly Link's short stories is a trip off the plane of our reality, and into a more fascinating and off-kilter universe. The stories aren't technically  scary , but they're fueled by relentless imagination, which takes readers to unsettling places.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind

Set in eighteenth-century Paris, Perfume features Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, who is born with a ghoulish gift: an absolute sense of smell. He indulges his passion for scents as a child, infatuated with the idea of capturing the odors of fresh-cut wood, oils, metals, and herbs. But his craving to create the perfect perfume soon breeds dangerous consequences, ultimately leading him to commit a murder.

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

Immanuelle Moore, the protagonist of this YA page-turner, is born into the cloistered religious community of Bethel. Her mother died in childbirth, but left her with a legacy—which some would call a curse.  When Immanuelle comes of age, she begins to learn that her birthright involves witches, runes, and the kind of power only she can harness. Immanuelle will venture into the mysterious Darkwood around her community, and claim what is hers.

The Good House by Tananarive Due

Angela Toussaint inherits her grandmother's large home in rural Washington State. Upon moving in, she learns that she's not alone in her house. Book after book, horror writer Tananarive Due delivers scares grounded in character.

Llewellyn Publications The Uninvited: The True Story of the Union Screaming House by Steven LaChance

You know what's even better than a story about a fictional ghost haunting? A story about a real one. Steven LaChance and his family were driven from their Union, Missouri home by supposedly supernatural forces. Was it really haunted? Read the gruesome and detailed account, and decide for yourself. 

Edgar Allan Poe: The Complete Short Story Collection

From Edgar Allan Poe, the author of the sinister concluding couplet, "In her sepulchre there by the sea /In her tomb by the sounding sea," comes this collection of short stories. The table of contents includes the famous "The Tell-Tale Heart," related by an unnamed narrator who commits and describes a murder, all the while trying to persuade the reader of the narrator's sanity. 

Headshot of Serena Alagappan

Serena Alagappan is currently studying social anthropology at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. She is a recent graduate of Princeton, where she studied Comparative Literature and served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Nassau Weekly. On the cover page of her second grade diary she listed her dreams: 1) Get a pet giraffe. 2) Read every book in the world. 3) Become a writer. Her dreams haven't changed much since! 

Headshot of Elena Nicolaou

Elena Nicolaou is the former culture editor at Oprah Daily. 

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The Haunted Library

Written by Edgar Award Winner Dori Hillestad Butler, The Haunted Library is a not-too-scary chapter book mystery series that follows the adventures of Claire and her ghost friend, Kaz.

The Haunted Library #1 by Dori Butler; Illustrated by Aurore Damant

The Haunted Library : Titles in Order

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17 Spine-Tingling Haunted House Books

If you’re a fan of horror books like me, you probably know the haunted house setting is a classic. In fact, books set in haunted houses are some of my favorites! Below, I’m sharing some of the best haunted house books, from Shirley Jackson’s classic The Haunting of Hill House to modern novels by beloved horror authors.

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Best Books Set in Haunted Houses

Whether you read horror novels year-round or only during spooky season, haunted house books are a must-read. There’s something so fascinating about creepy mansions with sordid pasts, ghostly hallways, and things that go bump in the night.

Here’s my list of favorites (plus a couple books I’m excited to read), from eerie mysteries to truly terrifying tales.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House book cover

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One of the most well-known and classic haunted house stories, The Haunting of Hill House follows a doctor researching hauntings at a notorious mansion with a sordid past – Hill House – with a group of people he has recruited to help. But the house is more powerful than they ever imagined.

(The Netflix TV show adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House is definitely worth watching, too, though it’s much different than the book!).

The September House by Carissa Orlando

The September House book cover

Margaret has finally found her dream house – a gorgeous Victorian place at a shockingly reasonable price. But soon, she comes to find out why: every September, the house comes alive in a terrifying way, and ghosts roam free.

Despite this, Margaret is determined to stay. That is, until her husband leaves abruptly and her daughter comes to the house, unaware of the secrets it holds.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager book cover

As a child, Maggie Holt moved into an old estate called Baneberry Hall with her parents. Just three weeks later, they flee during the night, and her father writes a bestselling book about the horrors they supposedly encountered.

Maggie, too young to remember what happened, returns to the estate twenty five years later after her father’s death. She doesn’t believe what her father wrote – but soon, strange events at the house have her questioning everything.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Mexican Gothic book cover

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Set in 1950s Mexico, Mexican Gothic is a unique take on Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca . A debutante receives a letter from her newly-married cousin – who believes she’s in danger – asking for help. She arrives at the mysterious gothic mansion, only to be greeted by even more dark secrets.

The Shining by Stephen King

The Shining book cover

The Shining follows the Torrance family as they agree to take care of the remote and eerie Overlook Hotel during the off-season, with a harsh winter brewing. (The setting is not technically a house, but a haunted hotel.)

This classic horror novel will scare your socks off – especially if you watch the movie adaptation afterward!

If you love Stephen King, be sure to check out this post for all of Stephen King’s short story collections in order, plus the best TV and movie adaptations based on those stories!

How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix

How to Sell a Haunted House book cover

A woman returns to her childhood home in Charleston to clean up her parents’ house after they pass away. But it will take much more work than she anticipated to get this house on the market – especially since the house has other plans.

(From the bestselling horror author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires – which I highly recommend!).

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

The Last House on Needless Street book cover

This book is eerie and strange, with a haunting atmosphere and twisty plot. It’s the kind of book you know practically nothing about before you start it – and that’s the best way to read it.

So I won’t give a synopsis here, other than to share the tagline from Goodreads: “This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.”

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw book cover

A classic haunted house story about a woman who’s hired to take care of two young children in an old mansion. But soon, the children’s behavior starts to change. Is it them, or could it be the house?

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher book cover

What Moves The Dead is a retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic story, The Fall of the House of Usher . This atmospheric Gothic horror novel is complete with a decaying ancestral home, fungal growths, and strange voices at night.

Check out this post for more Gothic fantasy novels !

Slade House by David Mitchell

Slade House book cover

Slade House is a strange manor – with a door that only appears in the right conditions – where a strange brother and sister live. Once every nine years, someone is allowed in. But too late, they’ll realize they can’t leave.

David Mitchell is one of my favorite authors, and when it comes to genre, he’s in a league all his own. Typically, he writes what I’d call literary magical realism , but this novel – his foray into horror – is absolutely worth reading.

(Although this novel works as a standalone, I recommend starting with The Bone Clocks first, if possible, since there are some connections/returning characters).

This House is Haunted by John Boyne

This House is Haunted book cover

If you’ve heard of John Boyne (and his wildly popular books The Heart’s Invisible Furies and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas ), you might be surprised to find that he’s also written a gothic horror novel!

This story, reminiscent of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw , is set in the 1860s. It’s about a governess who arrives at an old house to care for two children, only to find that something about the situation is very wrong.

The Good House by Tananarive Due

The Good House book cover

This supernatural suspense story follows a woman who returns to her grandmother’s house in the Pacific Northwest two years after a tragedy destroyed her family (at that very house).

While she was away, it seems more tragedies have struck the town. But are they just coincidences, or is something evil lurking inside her family home?

The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero

haunted reading books

An odd yet lovable twenty-something European kid inherits a fortune from a distant American relative, along with an old mansion steeped in mystery and haunted by a dark past.

He is joined by an equally eccentric companion, a bright young woman who communicates solely through writing and gestures. They explore the mansion, determined to uncover the secrets of its former owners, and stumble upon something quite unusual.

The story is composed of mostly excerpts from letters, dream journals, and sound/video recordings. There are puzzles and codes galore, making this such a fun read.

It’s a bit reminiscent of The Shining and House of Leaves , but not quite as terrifying and not quite so dark. It goes off in its own direction, and has a great sense of humor!

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

The Sun Down Motel book cover

A young woman travels to a small town to find out what happened to her aunt, who disappeared years ago after working the night shift at a seedy motel. She quickly finds out the town has a sordid history of suspicious murders.

This is more of a mystery/thriller than a horror novel, but it definitely still has a creep factor!

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon

The Invited book cover

Looking for a simpler life, a couple decides to build the house of their dreams in the rural woods of Vermont.

The woman, interested in history, learns about the property’s past – including a local legend about the mysterious deaths of the family that lived on the land before them.

Inspired, she decides to add old materials from the property into the house they’re building, without realizing she’s inviting danger into her new home.

The Elementals by Michael McDowell

The Elementals book cover

Two families return to their group of Victorian summer homes off the Gulf of Alabama after a rough year. They stay in two of the houses, as usual, and leave the third empty – where it sits, decaying, waiting for them.

White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

White Smoke book cover

Jackson takes the classic haunted house story and gives it a modern spin with this psychological thriller/horror novel.

Marigold’s family moves into a beautiful house in a strangely dilapidated neighborhood. Soon, she starts to see strange things happen in the house – but nobody believes her.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

haunted reading books

If you’re looking for something with a gothic/Victorian feel, try this eerie, slow-burn historical fiction story!

It features a ghostly country estate with unusual painted wooden figures, where a young widower is forced to make her home – despite her feeling that someone is watching her.

hardcover haunted house books on a white fireplace mantel with a candlestick

There you have it: some of my favorite haunted house books to chill your bones this spooky season. Happy reading!

More posts you might enjoy:

  • 21 Spooky Books for Halloween (for Adults)
  • The Best Spooky Mystery & Thriller Books
  • Holly Gibney Books by Stephen King (Series Guide)
  • 12 Atmospheric Dark Academia Books
  • Riley Sager Books In Order

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20 best books on haunted houses – 2023 reading list & recommendations

Welcome to the fascinating world of haunted houses, where the realms of the supernatural and the ordinary collide. If you have a penchant for spine-chilling tales and unexplained phenomena, then you’re in for a treat. In this article, we will dive into the realm of haunted houses books, exploring the lesser-known gems that have flown under the radar of mainstream popularity.

While there are numerous renowned classics like Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House” or Richard Matheson’s “Hell House,” we will focus on those hidden treasures that might have eluded even the most avid readers of the genre. These books will take you on a journey through dark corridors, creaking floorboards, and chilling atmospheres that will leave you questioning the boundaries of reality.

But what makes a haunted house book truly exceptional? It’s not just about the ghostly apparitions or the eerie settings. Instead, it’s the unique and unconventional ideas that set these books apart. Prepare yourself for narratives that challenge traditional notions of the supernatural, characters that defy expectations, and plots that will keep you guessing until the last page.

So, if you’re ready to explore the hidden depths of haunted houses literature, join us as we unveil the 20 best books about haunted houses that you may have never heard of. From forgotten classics to modern masterpieces, this list has something for every avid reader of the paranormal. Get ready to immerse yourself in a world where the walls whisper secrets, and the shadows hold untold mysteries. Let’s embark on this haunting journey together.

  • 1 The Invited
  • 2 The Silent Companions
  • 3 The Broken Girls
  • 4 The Grip of It
  • 5 The Little Stranger
  • 6 The Haunting of Hill House
  • 7 The Woman in Black
  • 8 The Shining
  • 9 Hell House
  • 10 The Amityville Horror
  • 11 The Turn of the Screw
  • 12 House of Leaves
  • 13 The Elementals
  • 14 The Ghost Writer
  • 15 The House Next Door
  • 16 The Haunting of Maddy Clare
  • 17 The Ghosts of Sleath
  • 18 The House on Cold Hill
  • 19 The Ghosts of Eden Park
  • 20 The Ghosts of Berkeley Square
  • 21 Conclusion

best books about haunted houses The Invited

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The Invited

By jennifer mcmahon.

Are you ready to enter a world of mystery and the supernatural? Look no further than Jennifer McMahon’s captivating novel, The Invited. This spellbinding tale takes readers on a thrilling journey into the realm of haunted houses, weaving together elements of suspense, history, and the unexplained.

In The Invited, McMahon skillfully brings to life the story of Helen and Nate, a couple who decide to build their dream home on a plot of land rumored to be haunted. As they begin to uncover the secrets of the past, they find themselves entangled in a web of ghostly apparitions, buried secrets, and a haunting presence that refuses to let go.

What sets The Invited apart from other books about haunted houses is McMahon’s unique approach to the genre. Rather than relying solely on jump scares and cheap thrills, she delves deep into the psychology of her characters, exploring the complex emotions and motivations that drive them. This exploration of the human experience adds a layer of depth and realism to the supernatural elements of the story, making it a truly captivating read.

McMahon’s writing style is both hauntingly beautiful and effortlessly engaging. Her vivid descriptions bring the eerie setting to life, allowing readers to feel as though they are right there, experiencing the chilling events alongside the characters. The atmosphere she creates is palpable, ensuring that you’ll be turning the pages late into the night, unable to tear yourself away from the gripping narrative.

In addition to the captivating storyline, The Invited also offers a fresh perspective on the concept of haunted houses. McMahon explores the idea that homes can absorb the energy of those who lived within their walls, leaving an indelible imprint on the present. This unique take on the supernatural adds an intriguing layer of depth to the narrative, making it a captivating read for both fans of the genre and those seeking something new.

The Invited is a book that will leave you questioning the boundaries between the living and the dead, and pondering the lasting impact of our actions. It’s a hauntingly beautiful tale that will stay with you long after you turn the final page. So, if you’re ready to embark on a journey into the world of haunted houses, pick up a copy of The Invited today and prepare to be enthralled.

best books about haunted houses The Silent Companions

The Silent Companions

By laura purcell.

Are you ready to embark on a spine-chilling journey through the darkest corners of haunted houses? Look no further, for Laura Purcell’s mesmerizing novel, The Silent Companions, will take you on a hauntingly unforgettable adventure. This book is far from your typical ghost story, as Purcell weaves a gripping tale filled with mystery, suspense, and a touch of the supernatural.

In The Silent Companions, Purcell introduces us to Elsie Bainbridge, a young widow who finds herself amidst the eerie corridors of a desolate manor known as The Bridge. As Elsie unravels the secrets of the house, she discovers a collection of wooden figures called “silent companions” that seem to have a life of their own. These silent companions, with their vacant eyes and twisted smiles, hold the key to a haunting past that Elsie must confront.

Purcell’s writing is masterful, transporting readers to a bygone era where whispers of the supernatural echo through the halls. Her vivid descriptions of The Bridge and its inhabitants make it feel as though you are walking alongside Elsie, experiencing the bone-chilling terrors firsthand.

But what sets The Silent Companions apart from other haunted house tales is its exploration of the human psyche. Purcell delves deep into the characters’ minds, exposing their fears, desires, and darkest secrets. She skillfully intertwines psychological suspense with supernatural elements, creating a captivating narrative that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Furthermore, Purcell’s attention to historical detail adds an extra layer of authenticity to the story. From the intricacies of Victorian mourning rituals to the societal constraints placed upon women, she paints a vivid picture of a time long past. The Silent Companions is not only a haunting tale but also a glimpse into the societal norms and prejudices of the era.

If you are seeking a book that will send shivers down your spine and leave you questioning the boundaries of reality, The Silent Companions is the perfect choice. Prepare to be captivated by Purcell’s unique narrative voice, her meticulously crafted characters, and a plot that will keep you guessing until the very end. This is a haunted house book like no other, a must-read for fans of gothic fiction and lovers of the macabre.

best books about haunted houses The Broken Girls

The Broken Girls

By simone st. james.

If you are a lover of chilling mysteries, then “The Broken Girls” is the perfect book to add to your collection. Simone St. James masterfully weaves together a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. This isn’t your typical haunted house tale – it’s a hauntingly atmospheric and deeply atmospheric exploration of forgotten secrets and lost souls.

Set in a remote boarding school, Idlewild Hall, the story follows journalist Fiona Sheridan as she investigates the mysterious death of her sister twenty years ago. When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored, she can’t resist peeling back the layers of the school’s disturbing past. As she digs deeper, she uncovers a series of secrets that connect the present to the past, and she becomes entangled in a chilling web of dark history.

What sets “The Broken Girls” apart is St. James’ ability to seamlessly blend the genres of mystery, historical fiction, and supernatural horror. The book combines elements of a ghost story with a gripping murder mystery, creating a unique reading experience that will leave you craving more. St. James expertly crafts her characters, making them feel real and relatable, and her attention to detail transports you to the eerie corridors of Idlewild Hall.

But what truly sets this book apart is the way it explores the theme of haunted houses. St. James delves into the idea that a haunted house is not just a physical structure, but can also be a metaphor for the haunting memories and secrets that linger within our own minds. Through her vivid descriptions and atmospheric prose, she brings the haunted halls of Idlewild Hall to life, making you feel as though you are right there, experiencing the chilling presence that lingers.

If you’re looking for a book that will keep you up late into the night, “The Broken Girls” is the perfect choice. It’s a hauntingly beautiful tale that will leave you questioning the boundaries between the living and the dead, and the lengths we will go to uncover the truth. So grab a cup of tea, curl up in your favorite reading nook, and prepare to be captivated by this mesmerizing journey into the heart of darkness.

best books about haunted houses The Grip of It

The Grip of It

By jac jemc.

If you’re a fan of spine-chilling tales that will keep you up at night, then “The Grip of It” by Jac Jemc is a must-read. This hauntingly captivating book takes you on a journey through the depths of a house that holds more secrets than meets the eye.

Jemc skillfully weaves a mesmerizing story that delves into the eerie world of a haunted house. But this isn’t your typical haunted houses book. Instead of relying on jump scares and predictable ghostly encounters, Jemc explores the psychological aspects of fear and the disintegration of a couple’s relationship.

The author’s unique writing style keeps you on the edge of your seat, as you navigate the mysterious happenings within the house. With every turn of the page, you’ll find yourself questioning reality and questioning what lurks in the shadows.

What sets “The Grip of It” apart from other books about haunted houses is its exploration of the human psyche. Jemc masterfully intertwines the supernatural with the depths of our own fears and insecurities, forcing us to confront our own demons.

Prepare to be captivated by the atmospheric prose that plunges you into the heart of the house’s chilling secrets. As you uncover the truth, you’ll find yourself questioning whether the house is truly haunted or if the haunting lies within the characters themselves.

This book on haunted houses is a thought-provoking exploration of fear, relationships, and the power of the mind. With its gripping narrative and unique approach to the genre, “The Grip of It” is a must-have for anyone seeking a truly haunting reading experience.

best books about haunted houses The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger

By sarah waters.

Prepare to be captivated by Sarah Waters’ spellbinding novel, The Little Stranger. This haunting tale takes readers on a mesmerizing journey through a world of mystery and suspense, where the line between the supernatural and the mundane becomes blurred.

Set in post-war Britain, The Little Stranger introduces us to Hundreds Hall, a once-grand estate steeped in history. As the Ayres family struggles to maintain their ancestral home, a series of inexplicable events begin to unfold. Strange noises, mysterious sightings, and unexplained tragedies plague the family, leaving them questioning their sanity and the very fabric of their reality.

What sets The Little Stranger apart from other books on haunted houses is Sarah Waters’ masterful storytelling. She weaves a tale that goes beyond the typical ghost story, delving into the complexities of class, desire, and the human psyche. With each turn of the page, you’ll find yourself engrossed in the atmospheric setting and deeply invested in the fate of the Ayres family.

Waters has a keen ability to create vivid and complex characters that leap off the page. Dr. Faraday, the local country doctor who becomes intertwined with the Ayres family, is a particularly intriguing character. As the narrative unfolds, you’ll find yourself questioning his motives and his reliability as a narrator.

One of the most intriguing aspects of The Little Stranger is how Waters challenges the traditional notions of haunting. Rather than relying on jump scares or cheap thrills, she explores the psychological toll that a haunted house can have on its inhabitants. The book raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of fear, trauma, and the boundaries between the seen and the unseen.

Whether you’re a fan of ghost stories or simply enjoy a thought-provoking read, The Little Stranger is a must-read. Sarah Waters’ exquisite prose and unique take on haunted houses will leave you spellbound from beginning to end. So, grab a copy and prepare to lose yourself in a world where the past refuses to stay buried and the walls hold secrets that will chill you to the bone.

best books about haunted houses The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House

By shirley jackson.

If you’re a fan of spine-chilling tales that will leave you questioning the very nature of reality, then The Haunting of Hill House is the perfect book for you. Shirley Jackson’s masterpiece takes you on a journey into the depths of fear and the unknown, with a unique twist on the haunted house genre.

Unlike other books about haunted houses, Jackson delves into the psychological aspects of terror, exploring the power of the mind to distort reality. The eerie Hill House becomes a character in itself, its creaking floors and whispering walls creating an atmosphere of unease that lingers long after you’ve put the book down.

What sets this book apart from others in the genre is Jackson’s ability to weave a narrative that is as much about the haunting of the house as it is about the haunted individuals who enter its doors. With each chapter, the tension builds, drawing you deeper into the mystery of Hill House and the secrets it holds.

But it’s not just the chilling atmosphere and suspense that make this book a must-read. Jackson’s writing is a masterclass in crafting vivid and haunting imagery, immersing you in the world of Hill House and its haunted inhabitants. The prose is elegant and captivating, making it impossible to put the book down.

The Haunting of Hill House is a book that will challenge your perception of reality, leaving you pondering its unsettling themes long after you’ve turned the final page. If you’re ready to embark on a journey into the heart of darkness, this is the haunted houses book that will keep you up at night, questioning what lies beyond the shadows.

best books about haunted houses The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black

By susan hill.

Prepare to be captivated by Susan Hill’s haunting tale, The Woman in Black. This mesmerizing book takes readers on a chilling journey into the realm of the supernatural, exploring the mysteries and secrets that lie within the walls of a secluded mansion. Unlike any other book about haunted houses, Hill’s masterful storytelling will leave you breathless, your heart racing with anticipation.

As you delve into the pages of The Woman in Black, be prepared to witness the power of atmosphere and suspense. Hill weaves a web of intrigue, gradually unveiling the dark history that permeates the eerie estate. With each turn of the page, you will become immersed in a world where things are not as they seem.

What sets this book apart is Hill’s ability to create an atmosphere so tangible, you can almost feel the cold drafts creeping through the corridors and hear the faint whispers echoing in the night. The Woman in Black is a haunting masterpiece that will send shivers down your spine and keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.

Step into the world of haunted houses like never before with this unforgettable tale. The Woman in Black will challenge your perception of reality and make you question what lies beyond the veil of the everyday. Don’t miss out on this unique and spine-tingling experience.

best books about haunted houses The Shining

The Shining

By stephen king.

Are you ready to enter the realm of chilling suspense and supernatural terror? Look no further than Stephen King’s masterpiece, The Shining . This haunting tale takes you on a journey through the labyrinthine corridors of the Overlook Hotel, where you will encounter spine-tingling horrors that will leave you breathless.

But what sets The Shining apart from other books about haunted houses is King’s unparalleled ability to delve into the depths of the human psyche. Through the eyes of Jack Torrance, a struggling writer and caretaker of the hotel, we witness the gradual descent into madness and the terrifying forces at play within the walls of the Overlook.

King’s writing is a masterclass in building suspense, with each page turning effortlessly, leaving you on the edge of your seat. His vivid descriptions paint a vivid picture of the isolated hotel, its dark secrets lurking behind every corner. You’ll find yourself holding your breath as the tension mounts, unable to tear yourself away from the gripping narrative.

But what truly sets The Shining apart is its exploration of themes beyond the typical haunted house story. King delves into the complexities of addiction, the breakdown of family relationships, and the power of the human spirit to overcome unimaginable horrors. It is a story that lingers long after you’ve turned the final page, leaving you pondering the depths of the human condition.

So, if you’re ready to embark on a spine-chilling adventure, immerse yourself in the atmospheric world of The Shining . This book about haunted houses will transport you to the heart of darkness and leave you questioning the very nature of fear itself.

best books about haunted houses Hell House

by Richard Matheson

Are you ready to embark on a spine-chilling journey into the realm of the supernatural? Look no further than Richard Matheson’s gripping masterpiece, Hell House. This hauntingly captivating book will transport you to the eerie depths of a house shrouded in mystery and darkness.

Dive into the realm of the unknown as Matheson weaves a tale that will leave you questioning the very fabric of reality. Hell House delves into the darkest corners of the human psyche, exploring themes of fear, desire, and the paranormal.

Unlike any other book about haunted houses, Hell House takes a unique approach to the genre. Matheson’s writing transcends the conventional tropes, offering readers a fresh and thought-provoking perspective on the supernatural. You’ll find yourself utterly captivated by the intricately woven plot, unable to tear yourself away from the gripping narrative.

Prepare to be taken on a rollercoaster ride of suspense and terror as you uncover the secrets that lie within the walls of Hell House. Matheson’s vivid descriptions will send shivers down your spine, making you question the very reality you thought you knew.

With its masterful storytelling, Hell House will leave you pondering the existence of the paranormal long after you turn the final page. Don’t miss out on this hidden gem in the world of haunted houses books – it’s a must-read for any lover of the supernatural.

best books about haunted houses The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror

By jay anson.

If you are a fan of spine-tingling tales and have a fascination with the supernatural, then “The Amityville Horror” is an absolute must-read for you. This captivating book delves into the mysterious world of haunted houses, providing a fresh and unique perspective that will leave you questioning the nature of reality itself.

Written by the brilliant author Jay Anson, “The Amityville Horror” takes you on a thrilling journey through the chilling events that unfolded within the infamous Amityville house. Anson’s masterful storytelling skillfully weaves together a tapestry of suspense, horror, and paranormal encounters that will have you gripped from the very first page.

Unlike typical haunted house stories, “The Amityville Horror” presents a refreshing take on the genre by exploring the psychological impact that living in such a house can have on its inhabitants. Through detailed descriptions and vivid imagery, Anson delves deep into the psyche of the characters, unraveling their fears, anxieties, and darkest secrets.

What sets this book apart from others in the genre is its meticulous attention to detail and its ability to blur the lines between fact and fiction. Anson’s extensive research into the Amityville case brings a sense of authenticity to the narrative, leaving you wondering whether the events described in the book are indeed based on true events.

As you immerse yourself in the pages of “The Amityville Horror,” be prepared to question your beliefs and challenge your understanding of the supernatural. Anson’s unique insights and fresh perspectives on haunted houses make this book a captivating and thought-provoking read for anyone with an interest in the paranormal.

So, if you are ready to embark on a journey into the heart of darkness, pick up “The Amityville Horror” today and prepare to be captivated by a tale that will linger in your mind long after you turn the final page.

best books about haunted houses The Turn of the Screw

The Turn of the Screw

By henry james.

Are you ready to embark on a spine-chilling journey through the eerie world of supernatural phenomena? Look no further than Henry James’ captivating masterpiece, The Turn of the Screw. This hauntingly atmospheric book delves into the mysteries of ghostly encounters and the blurred lines between reality and the supernatural.

In this spellbinding tale, James weaves a web of suspense and psychological intrigue that will leave you questioning your own perceptions. Set in a remote English country house, the story follows a young governess who is tasked with caring for two enigmatic children. As she delves deeper into their lives, she becomes increasingly convinced that the house is plagued by malevolent spirits.

What sets The Turn of the Screw apart from other books about haunted houses is its unique approach to the genre. James skillfully blurs the line between the tangible and the intangible, leaving readers with a sense of unease that lingers long after the final page. The author’s masterful prose and intricate character development add layers of complexity to the story, elevating it beyond a simple ghostly tale.

As you immerse yourself in the gripping narrative, you’ll find yourself pondering the nature of evil, the fragility of sanity, and the power of perception. James’ exploration of the human psyche and the dark recesses of the mind will leave you questioning your own beliefs about the supernatural.

So, if you’re in search of a book that will transport you to a world of haunted houses and otherworldly encounters, The Turn of the Screw is the perfect choice. Prepare to be enthralled, captivated, and unnerved as you navigate the twisted corridors of this literary masterpiece.

best books about haunted houses House of Leaves

House of Leaves

By mark z. danielewski.

Prepare to be captivated by the mind-bending masterpiece, House of Leaves, as Mark Z. Danielewski takes you on a journey through the labyrinth of a haunted house like no other. This book is not your typical ghost story; it is an immersive experience that will challenge your perception of reality.

House of Leaves is a book that defies categorization, blending elements of horror, mystery, and psychological thriller. It is a narrative within a narrative, intertwined with footnotes, appendices, and even a film analysis. As you delve deeper into the pages, you will find yourself unraveling the layers of the story, much like the characters within the haunted house.

Danielewski’s unconventional writing style, with its fragmented sentences and unconventional formatting, mirrors the disorienting nature of the house itself. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat, questioning what is real and what is imagination. The haunted house becomes a metaphor for the complexities of the human mind, exploring themes of identity, perception, and the darkness that resides within.

Unlike any other book about haunted houses, House of Leaves challenges the conventions of storytelling and invites you to actively engage with the text. It encourages you to explore the footnotes, decipher hidden messages, and even physically manipulate the book itself. Each page is a work of art, with text that twists and turns, creating an immersive reading experience that is both exhilarating and unsettling.

House of Leaves is not for the faint of heart. It is a book that demands your full attention and rewards the curious reader with a hauntingly unforgettable experience. So, if you are ready to step into the depths of the unknown and explore the enigma of haunted houses, this is the book you’ve been waiting for.

best books about haunted houses The Elementals

The Elementals

By michael mcdowell.

If you’re searching for a book that will send chills down your spine and leave you questioning the boundaries of reality, look no further than “The Elementals” by Michael McDowell. This hidden gem in the realm of horror literature takes a unique approach to the haunting genre, as it explores the mysteries and dark secrets surrounding a trio of houses nestled on an isolated stretch of Alabama coastline.

Unlike your typical haunted house tales, “The Elementals” delves deep into the concept of elemental forces. McDowell masterfully weaves together a story that intertwines the supernatural with the natural, blurring the lines between the two. With his eloquent prose and vivid descriptions, McDowell transports readers to a world where the elements themselves become malevolent entities, wreaking havoc on those unlucky enough to cross their path.

What sets this book apart is McDowell’s ability to create a sense of dread and unease without relying on jump scares or cheap thrills. Instead, he builds tension slowly and methodically, allowing the eerie atmosphere to seep into your bones. As you turn each page, you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat, eagerly anticipating what lies ahead.

But “The Elementals” is more than just a book about haunted houses; it’s an exploration of family dynamics, secrets buried deep within the past, and the lengths people will go to protect those they love. McDowell’s characters are richly developed and flawed, adding depth and complexity to the already enthralling storyline.

So if you’re looking to immerse yourself in a hauntingly atmospheric tale that will both captivate and unsettle you, “The Elementals” is the perfect choice. Prepare to be transported to a world where the elements hold sway, and the line between the supernatural and the natural is blurred beyond recognition.

best books about haunted houses The Ghost Writer

The Ghost Writer

By john harwood.

If you are a fan of mysteries and haunted houses, then The Ghost Writer by John Harwood is the perfect book for you. Dive into a world of dark secrets, hidden pasts, and spine-chilling encounters that will keep you on the edge of your seat till the very last page.

In this captivating novel, Harwood weaves a tale of suspense and intrigue that revolves around a haunted house. But this is not your typical haunted house story. Harwood cleverly combines elements of gothic fiction, psychological suspense, and ghostly apparitions to create a unique reading experience.

The story follows Gerard Freeman, a struggling writer who becomes entangled in a web of family secrets when he inherits a remote and eerie house from a long-lost relative. As Gerard delves deeper into the history of the house, he uncovers a series of haunting mysteries, unearthing a dark and sinister past.

The brilliance of Harwood’s writing lies in his ability to create an atmosphere that is both chilling and captivating. His vivid descriptions bring the haunted house to life, making you feel as if you are right there, experiencing the eerie presence and the unexplained phenomena alongside the characters.

What sets The Ghost Writer apart from other books about haunted houses is its unique and unconventional approach. Harwood takes familiar themes and tropes associated with haunted houses and adds his own twist, surprising readers with unexpected plot twists and revelations.

This book is not just about ghosts and haunted houses; it delves into the human psyche, exploring themes of guilt, obsession, and the lengths people will go to protect their secrets. Harwood’s characters are complex and flawed, adding depth to the story and making it all the more compelling.

So, if you are searching for a book that will transport you to a world of mystery and suspense, The Ghost Writer is a must-read. Prepare to be captivated by Harwood’s haunting prose and get ready for a thrilling journey into the dark corners of the human mind.

best books about haunted houses The House Next Door

The House Next Door

By anne rivers siddons.

If you have a taste for the extraordinary, a fascination with the unknown, and a curiosity that knows no bounds, then “The House Next Door” is the hauntingly perfect book for you. Anne Rivers Siddons takes us on a gripping journey into the enigmatic world of haunted houses, exploring the secrets that lurk within their walls.

Unlike other books on haunted houses, Siddons weaves a tale that is both chilling and thought-provoking. Set in a quaint suburban neighborhood, this novel unravels the unsettling story of a house that seems to hold a sinister power over its inhabitants. But what sets this book apart is the way Siddons explores the psychological impact of the haunted house, delving deep into the minds of those who are drawn to it.

With her vivid descriptions and masterful storytelling, Siddons paints a vivid picture of the house, bringing it to life in a way that will send shivers down your spine. The atmosphere she creates is palpable, making you feel as though you are right there, experiencing the haunting firsthand.

But what truly sets “The House Next Door” apart from other books about haunted houses is Siddons’ unique exploration of the human psyche. Through her characters, she delves into the dark corners of the mind, exploring the reasons why some are drawn to the allure of the haunted house. It is a fascinating exploration of the human desire for the unknown, for danger, and for the thrill of the supernatural.

So, if you’re looking for a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat, that will make you question the nature of reality, and that will leave you with a lingering sense of unease, then “The House Next Door” is the haunted houses book you’ve been waiting for. Get ready to be captivated, enthralled, and spooked by Siddons’ masterful storytelling.

best books about haunted houses The Haunting of Maddy Clare

The Haunting of Maddy Clare

Step into a world of spine-chilling suspense and unearthly encounters with “The Haunting of Maddy Clare” by Simone St. James. This captivating novel takes you on a journey through the eerie realm of haunted houses, where the boundaries between the living and the dead blur. Prepare to be enthralled by St. James’ masterful storytelling as she weaves a tale of mystery, romance, and supernatural phenomena.

In “The Haunting of Maddy Clare,” St. James introduces us to Sarah Piper, a young woman who finds herself entangled in a quest to uncover the truth behind Maddy Clare’s restless spirit. As Sarah delves deeper into the secrets surrounding Maddy’s tragic past, she becomes immersed in a world of ghostly apparitions, unexplained phenomena, and long-buried secrets.

What sets this book apart from other haunted house tales is St. James’ ability to create palpable tension and a sense of foreboding. Her vivid descriptions transport you to the heart of the haunted houses, making you feel as if you are walking alongside the characters, experiencing their fear and uncertainty.

One of the unique aspects of this book is its exploration of the psychological impact of the supernatural. St. James delves into the depths of human emotions, exploring the fear, fascination, and even attraction that can arise when faced with the unknown. This adds a layer of complexity to the story, making it not just a simple ghost tale, but a thought-provoking exploration of the human psyche.

If you’re a fan of haunted houses books, “The Haunting of Maddy Clare” is a must-read. It will keep you on the edge of your seat, eagerly turning the pages to uncover the truth behind Maddy’s haunting. With its compelling characters, atmospheric setting, and unexpected twists, this book is sure to leave you with a sense of wonder and a lingering sense of unease.

Prepare to be spellbound by “The Haunting of Maddy Clare” and embark on a hauntingly unforgettable journey into the world of the supernatural.

best books about haunted houses The Ghosts of Sleath

The Ghosts of Sleath

By james herbert.

If you’re a fan of spine-chilling tales that will keep you up all night, then “The Ghosts of Sleath” by James Herbert is the perfect book for you. This gripping novel takes you on a haunting journey into the world of the supernatural, where the spirits of the dead roam freely and the living are caught in a battle for their souls.

Unlike your typical haunted house story, “The Ghosts of Sleath” delves into the dark corners of the paranormal with a unique twist. Herbert’s vivid descriptions and masterful storytelling will transport you to the eerie village of Sleath, where the walls whisper secrets and the shadows hold ancient horrors.

One of the things that sets this book apart is its exploration of the psychological impact of hauntings. Herbert delves deep into the minds of his characters, revealing their fears, doubts, and inner demons. As you turn each page, you’ll find yourself questioning what is real and what is merely a figment of the imagination.

But what truly makes “The Ghosts of Sleath” stand out is Herbert’s ability to blend the supernatural with thought-provoking themes. Through his writing, he explores the concept of the afterlife, the nature of evil, and the power of redemption. These deeper layers elevate the book from a mere ghost story to a profound reflection on the human condition.

So, if you’re ready to embark on a chilling adventure into the world of haunted houses, “The Ghosts of Sleath” is the perfect companion. Prepare to be captivated by James Herbert’s mesmerizing prose and drawn into a world where the line between the living and the dead is blurred. This book will leave you questioning your own beliefs about the supernatural and craving more of Herbert’s haunting tales.

best books about haunted houses The House on Cold Hill

The House on Cold Hill

By peter james.

Are you ready for a spine-chilling journey into the supernatural? Look no further than Peter James’ captivating novel, The House on Cold Hill. This haunting tale will transport you to a world filled with mystery, suspense, and spine-tingling terror. Prepare to be enthralled as you step into the shoes of the Harcourt family, who have just moved into their dream home – a beautiful mansion nestled in the countryside.

But all is not what it seems in this idyllic setting. From the moment they set foot in the house, strange occurrences begin to unfold. Doors creak, shadows lurk, and whispers echo through the corridors. As the Harcourts delve deeper into the history of their new abode, they uncover a dark secret that has plagued the house for centuries.

What sets The House on Cold Hill apart from other books on haunted houses is Peter James’ ability to infuse the story with an air of authenticity. The author’s meticulous research into real-life haunted locations brings a chilling realism to the narrative, leaving readers questioning the line between fact and fiction.

James masterfully crafts a sense of unease that permeates every page, keeping readers on the edge of their seats. With vivid descriptions and atmospheric prose, he transports you into the heart of the house, making you feel the icy breath on your neck and the hair-raising presence that lingers in the shadows.

But The House on Cold Hill is more than just a tale of supernatural horror. It explores the depths of human nature and the lengths people will go to protect those they love. As the Harcourts fight to unravel the mysteries of their new home, they are forced to confront their own fears and face the darkness that dwells within.

If you’re a fan of haunted houses, this book is a must-read. But even if you’re new to the genre, The House on Cold Hill offers a fresh and unique take on the age-old concept. With its gripping plot, well-drawn characters, and unexpected twists, it will keep you enthralled until the very last page.

So, dim the lights, cozy up under a blanket, and prepare yourself for a bone-chilling journey into the unknown. The House on Cold Hill will leave you questioning the shadows in your own home and longing for the safety of daylight.

best books about haunted houses The Ghosts of Eden Park

The Ghosts of Eden Park

By karen abbott.

If you’re someone who loves a thrilling tale that combines history, mystery, and the supernatural, then “The Ghosts of Eden Park” by Karen Abbott is the perfect book for you. Set in the 1920s during the Prohibition era, this captivating non-fiction narrative transports you to the world of George Remus, a wealthy bootlegger with a taste for the extravagant.

But this isn’t just a book about a bootlegger; it’s a haunting exploration of the dark side of the human spirit and the haunted houses that exist within us all. Abbott weaves together a gripping story that reveals the hidden depths of Remus’s empire, as well as the ghosts that lurk in the shadows of his opulent Cincinnati mansion.

What sets “The Ghosts of Eden Park” apart from other books on haunted houses is Abbott’s meticulous research and her ability to bring the past to life. Through her vivid descriptions and attention to detail, you’ll feel as if you’re walking the halls of the grand mansion, hearing echoes of long-forgotten secrets.

Abbott also introduces us to a cast of fascinating characters, from Remus’s enigmatic wife Imogene to the relentless Prohibition agent Mabel Walker Willebrandt. Each character adds depth and complexity to the story, making “The Ghosts of Eden Park” a truly immersive reading experience.

But what truly makes this book unique is Abbott’s exploration of the metaphorical haunted houses that exist within us all. Through Remus’s rise and fall, we are forced to confront our own desires, ambitions, and the ghosts that haunt our own lives.

So, if you’re craving a book that will transport you to a bygone era, thrill you with its suspense, and leave you pondering the ghosts that reside within us all, “The Ghosts of Eden Park” is a must-read. Prepare to be captivated by Abbott’s masterful storytelling and to embark on a journey that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

best books about haunted houses The Ghosts of Berkeley Square

The Ghosts of Berkeley Square

By antony bird.

Looking for a spine-chilling read that will keep you up at night? Look no further than Antony Bird’s mesmerizing book, The Ghosts of Berkeley Square. This hauntingly captivating work delves into the shadowy world of spectral apparitions and explores the eerie tales of haunted houses.

Unlike any other book on haunted houses, The Ghosts of Berkeley Square takes readers on a thrilling journey through history, uncovering the secrets and mysteries that lie within the walls of these spectral dwellings. Bird’s meticulous research and engaging storytelling will transport you to a realm where the supernatural meets reality.

Through vivid descriptions and gripping narratives, Bird brings to life the spirits that inhabit these haunted houses, painting a picture so vivid that you’ll feel as though you’re standing right beside them. From the creaking floors to the flickering lights, every spine-tingling detail will send shivers down your spine.

But what sets The Ghosts of Berkeley Square apart from other books about haunted houses is its unique exploration of the psychology behind these paranormal phenomena. Bird delves into the depths of the human mind, offering fresh insights and perspectives on why these specters continue to haunt us.

Whether you’re a believer in the supernatural or a skeptic, The Ghosts of Berkeley Square will captivate and intrigue you. This is not just another haunted houses book; it’s a thought-provoking exploration of the unknown, a journey into the realm of the paranormal that will leave you questioning what lies beyond the veil of reality.

So, if you’re ready to embark on a thrilling adventure and uncover the secrets of haunted houses, grab a copy of The Ghosts of Berkeley Square today. Prepare to be enthralled, terrified, and forever changed by this extraordinary book.

In conclusion, while there are many popular books about haunted houses that have captured the imaginations of readers, it is important to explore some lesser-known gems in the genre. These hidden treasures offer unique perspectives and unconventional storytelling that may surprise and delight even the most avid haunted house enthusiasts.

One such book is “Shadows of the Forgotten” by Sarah Porter. This haunting tale takes place in a forgotten mansion that holds dark secrets and a ghostly presence that will leave readers on the edge of their seats. Porter’s atmospheric writing and intricate character development make this a must-read for fans of haunted house stories.

Another intriguing choice is “The House of Whispers” by Anna Taborska. This chilling novel delves into the supernatural occurrences within an old Victorian house, where the walls seem to whisper and the rooms hold a malevolent energy. Taborska’s vivid descriptions and masterful use of suspense will keep readers guessing until the very end.

For those seeking a more unconventional take on the haunted house genre, “House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski is a truly unique and mind-bending experience. This experimental novel weaves together multiple narratives and incorporates unconventional formatting to create a disorienting and immersive reading experience. It pushes the boundaries of what a haunted house story can be and is sure to leave a lasting impression on readers.

In summary, while the popular books about haunted houses have their merits, exploring the lesser-known titles can lead to exciting discoveries and fresh perspectives. Whether it’s Sarah Porter’s atmospheric “Shadows of the Forgotten,” Anna Taborska’s chilling “The House of Whispers,” or Mark Z. Danielewski’s mind-bending “House of Leaves,” these hidden gems offer a tantalizing glimpse into the world of haunted houses that should not be overlooked. So, venture beyond the well-trodden path and discover the haunting stories that await you in the shadows.

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Book Reviews

Is bigfoot real a new book dives deep into the legend.

Gabino Iglesias

haunted reading books

A person dressed as Bigfoot makes their way through the snow during a blizzard in Boston in January 2015. John O'Connor's The Secret History of Bigfoot explores the myth and its lingering appeal. Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images hide caption

A person dressed as Bigfoot makes their way through the snow during a blizzard in Boston in January 2015. John O'Connor's The Secret History of Bigfoot explores the myth and its lingering appeal.

My obsession with literature exploded in my early teens. Back then, my diet consisted mostly of whatever classics I could find, novels by Jules Verne, poetry by Mario Benedetti, and a lot of horror novels by Stephen King, Richard Laymon, and Bentley Little — all of which I was arguably way too young to be reading.

Then I discovered cryptozoology and went down a rabbit hole, consuming anything I could find about cryptids like Nessie, mokèlé-mbèmbé, and the chupacabras as well as animals that had jumped from cryptozoology to the pages of science books — the giant squid ( Architeuthis dux ) and the coelacanth. My favorite cryptid? Bigfoot. Books, documentaries shot with a $12 budget, shaky footage online; I couldn't get enough. I wanted to know more about it, but also about the folks who swore it was real, the people who had seen it, the devout researchers who spent countless nights out in the middle of woods looking for the famous creature I'd seen in the Patterson-Gimlin film (which is, along with the Zapruder film, probably one of the most scrutinized pieces of footage in history).

When I heard John O'Connor's The Secret History of Bigfoot: Field Notes on a North American Monster was coming, I knew I had to read it. My expectations were somewhere close to the exosphere — unfair, I know — but O'Connor surpassed all of them.

Cover of The Secret History of Bigfoot

If you're looking for a book that proves the existence of Bigfoot, look elsewhere. If you want a book that's all about discrediting evidence and making those who believe in Bigfoot look like mumbling fools wearing tinfoil hats, also look elsewhere. The Secret History of Bigfoot is a smart, engaging, incredibly informative, hilarious, and wonderfully immersive journey not only into the history of Bigfoot in North America and the culture around but also a deep, honest, heartfelt look at the people who obsess about, the meaning of its myth's lingering appeal, and the psychology behind it.

O'Connor, a journalist and self-diagnosed skeptic, is fascinated by Bigfoot, so he spent a year travelling around the country, talking to those who live for Sasquatch, and tracking Bigfoot in the untamed terrain of the Pacific Northwest. The book would've been interesting if O'Connor merely transcribed his interviews with those looking for Bigfoot. But his research and interviews also include psychologists and scientists — and he delves deep into everything from history and philosophy to politics and the flawed nature of memory. The result is one of the most compelling nonfiction books you'll read this year.

She wrote a Bigfoot book for kids. It was no small feat

Author Interviews

She wrote a bigfoot book for kids. it was no small feat.

There are two elements that make this is fantastic read. The first is O'Connor's voice. As knowledgeable as he is funny and as well-read as he is self-deprecating, O'Connor quickly turns into the perfect narrator for this adventure. His quest for understanding is powerful, and he presents every person in this book with the same gravitas. Yes, this is a hilarious narrative, but also a very serious and enlightening one in which O'Connor prefers to make fun of himself instead of making fun of others (except for folks who are convinced the election was stolen).

The Lore Of Bigfoot Lives On At North Carolina Bigfoot Festival

The Lore Of Bigfoot Lives On At North Carolina Bigfoot Festival

The second element is the breadth and scope of this book. This is about Bigfoot, about its history and the people trying to find him, but O'Connor somehow manages to take the discussion into unexpected places without ever straying far from the creature at the core of the narrative. Occam's razor, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, the effects of unreliable witness accounts and racism in our legal system, pseudoscience and its appeal, "the magnetic tug of hidden things," and "the considerable gap between perception and reality" are all part of this book. So are Fernando Pessoa, Henry David Thoreau, M.C. Escher, Joseph Campbell, the Appalachian Trail, the movies Harry and the Hendersons and Predator, Immanuel Kant, Martin Heidegger, and Dr. Jeff Meldrum, a full professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University who was always the voice of reason in many of those documentaries I used to watch. And those are only a few of the people, cultural products, and ideas in the book. O'Connor is brilliant in an engaging way. You'll learn things reading this book, but you'll never feel like he's trying to teach you something or preaching about his own beliefs.

The Secret History of Bigfoot is a wonderful book about one of the most ubiquitous myths in the U.S. and around the world: a wild man, a hairy beast stalking the woods, a magical creature that remains untouched by the mess we've made. It's also a celebration of one of the weirdest subcultures we have and a narrative that fully embraces the fact that we sometimes need to believe in something that's bigger and freer than us. Bigfoot, a large being stomping around in the woods, is all of that and more. He speaks to us of fear, sure, but also of magic and the wildness of nature. Bigfoot might be out there, but its presence is all over this book. Go look for it. I assure you it's an amazing adventure you can embark on without leaving your house.

Gabino Iglesias is an author, book reviewer and professor living in Austin, Texas. Find him on X, formerly Twitter, at @Gabino_Iglesias .

Bluey launches YouTube reading series with celebrity guests from Bindi Irwin to Eva Mendes

haunted reading books

Bluey fans now have a new way to experience the blue heeler pup and her younger sister Bingo − one that invites them to join in on the adventure.

Bluey Book Reads , a new YouTube series launched by BBC Studios on Monday, connects kids to the world of reading with stories based on episodes from " Bluey" the show .

Two episodes of the read-along series will be made available each month on the official Bluey YouTube channel and on Bluey's officialwebsite Bluey.tv.

Here's what to expect.

Bluey Book Reads is celebrity-led

Famous Australian pop duo and sisters Kylie and Dannii Minogue kicked off Bluey Book Reads on Monday with "Mini Bluey," a story about "discovery and sisterly love" in which Bluey and Bingo prove to their dad, Bandit, how alike they are after he claims they are too different, according to a news release from BBC Studios.

Check out: USA TODAY's weekly Best-selling Booklist

"Bluey is an Aussie icon so when I was asked if I’d like to read Mini Bluey with my sister, it was an easy YES!" Kylie Minogue said in a statement. "This episode, 'Mini Bluey,' was perfect for us for obvious reasons: big sister and little sister! It reminded me so much of being kids growing up in Australia."

Dannii Minogue added in a statement that Bluey stories "jump from the page and tickle me in the belly."

“There is life before Bluey, and life after! Once you know Bluey ... you are hooked!" she said. "It’s laugh-out-loud. It is fun for so many ages, as we can all relate to different members of Bluey's family."

Bluey Book Reads is part narration and visuals combined with live action shots, according to the BBC. Other celebrities involved with the series include:

  • Australian TV personality and conservationist  Bindi Irwin
  • Olympic gold medal diver  Tom Daley
  • Comedian, actor and BBC Radio 2 host  Romesh Ranganathan
  • English actor and producer  Suranne Jones  
  • American actor Jenna Fischer  
  • American actor Eva Mendes  
  • American actor, singer and dancer  Jordan Fisher
  • French actress and comedian  Camille Cottin  
  • American actor, comedian and writer  Rob Delaney

Bluey Book Reads release schedule

Here's a look at the episodes to come:

  • On Feb. 12 - Kylie and Dannii Minogue read "Mini Bluey"
  • On Feb. 26 - Bindi Irwin reads "The Creek"
  • On March 11 - Tom Daley reads "Barky Boats"
  • On March 22 - Romesh Ranganathan reads "Easter"
  • On April 5 - Suranne Jones reads "Grannies"
  • On April 19 - Jenna Fischer reads "Charades"
  • On May 3 - Eva Mendes reads "Mum School"
  • On May 17 - Jordan Fisher reads "Swim School"
  • On June 1 - Camille Cottin reads "The Beach"
  • On June 14 - Rob Delaney reads "Daddy Putdown"
  • Australia edition
  • International edition
  • Europe edition

very badly damaged car

Cousin of Hind Rajab, 6, haunted by her last call after family car shot at in Gaza

Mohammed Hamada says he is devastated by death of Palestinian girl and relatives, whose bodies have now been recovered

The cousin of a six-year-old Palestinian girl who died in Gaza after her family’s car appeared to come under fire from Israeli tanks has told how he spoke to her as she waited to be rescued and said he was haunted by her last words.

Hind Rajab ’s body was recovered on Saturday, alongside those of six of her relatives, and two Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) paramedics, Yusuf Al-Zeino and Ahmed Al-Madhoun, sent to find her in Gaza City.

Her cousin, Mohammed Hamada, said he was devastated by her death, as he accused the Israelis of having killed her.

Trapped in the car, Hind had phoned the Red Crescent and pleaded with them to come to save her, telling them: “I’m so scared, please come.” The aid agency lost contact with the ambulance dispatched to her aid on 29 January and its crew and Hind remained missing until her death was confirmed on Saturday. Her exact cause of death is unclear.

Hind had also spoken on the phone to her cousin, Mohammed Hamada, as she waited to be rescued. Speaking from Frankfurt, Germany, the 28-year-old said: “Hind said: ‘Please help me. Please come and rescue us. Rescue me.’ She told me that she was injured in the leg. “I was literally crying because I was unable to do anything, and I think all of my family were in the same situation. But the funny part was how strong she was. My wife told her: ‘Sweetheart, don’t be scared, God loves you and he will take care of you.’ And she just responded with ‘OK’. I think Hind was braver than all of us.” Hamada said he has been overwhelmed by grief since that day and that he relived the trauma on Saturday after finding out that Hind’s body had been recovered. “We all thought that when we get a chance to get their bodies and bury them that it’s going to be easier but it wasn’t like this. It was like deja vu so we were again with all the pain and the tears,” he said.

Palestinian girl Hind Rajab

The tragedy comes as Israel prepares a ground offensive in Rafah in southern Gaza , despite warnings from aid agencies that such an assault would be a “catastrophe”.

More than half the strip’s population of 2.3 million are thought to be sheltering in the city, having fled the Israeli military campaign elsewhere in Gaza. Israel had previously designated Rafah a safe zone. Hamada said the tragedy unfolded on 29 January, when Hind and her uncle, aunt and four cousins attempted to flee Gaza City which had been under bombardment by the Israeli military. But the family appeared to have encountered Israeli tanks in the Tel al-Hawa area with their car coming under fire. Hamada said he first found out from other relatives at around 13.40 (11.40GMT) that the family had been “shot” by the Israeli military and that he and another cousin contacted the PRCS for help. He then called the family directly and spoke to Hind’s 15-year-old cousin, Layan Hamadeh, who was also in touch with the PRCS. The aid agency has published a partial recording of her harrowing phone call in which she can be heard screaming. Hamada said: “Layan told me that her father and my aunt – her mother is my aunt – were shot and they are all dead. She said the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers were shooting them and she also told me that the tanks are getting closer to them. “She said that she was injured, Hind too, and they need help. And then I asked her about her father and my aunt, if they were OK. She told me that she could not look them in the face. I really don’t know why, if it was because their injuries were so bad or because they were away from the car.” Layan explained that she had been injured in the leg, as had Hind, but that “she didn’t know how bad the injury or injuries were because she was covered – all of them were covered – in blood,” Hamada added. He said he spoke to her a few times in between trying to coordinate the rescue with the Red Cross but that the last time he was able to reach her was at 14.40. The IT worker, who moved from Gaza to Germany 10 years ago, said: “The last call I had with Layan, she was scared and she screamed that they are shooting at her and I believe she died while we were on the call with her. “I took the timestamps of all the calls that were made and I believe either me or the Red Cross were the last talking to her. I could hear that they were shooting at her and this was the last time. A couple of minutes later I was able to call them again but this time Hind came on the phone and said Layan has passed away.” Soon after the family lost contact with Hind, who Hamada described as a “funny kid” with dreams of becoming a doctor. He said Layan wanted to be a lawyer and was “very smart, very thoughtful”.

Wreckage of an ambulance

Hamada said the family does not yet know how Hind died but that they hold the IDF responsible.

“They were evacuating safely from one place to another because they could hear shots ... and then they got attacked. The Red Cross coordinated [the rescue] with the IDF – clearly, they did – and then [paramedics] got shot too. So who else is responsible for that?”

The PRCS has accused Israel of deliberately targeting the ambulance, which they said had been bombed. It published footage of what it said were the blackened and destroyed remains of the vehicle. The ambulance was found just metres away from Hind’s family’s car, which was said to be smashed and riddled with bullet holes.

The Guardian has contacted the IDF for comment.

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How to Read the Hunger Games Books in Order

Don't know where to start check out this hunger games reading guide..

Rosie Knight Avatar

2024 marks 16 years since Suzanne Collins debuted the brutal world of The Hunger Games and its heroic rebel leader, Katniss Everdeen. With the recent release of the prequel novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, and its subsequent film adaptation, now is the perfect time to revisit the original books that started it all.

Set in a dystopian world where kids kill each other annually as a way to quell a rebellious and fractured nation, The Hunger Games sparked a YA frenzy and inspired women all over the world to take up archery. If you're feeling like you want to revisit the franchise but don't know where to start, we're here to guide you through the Hunger Games books in order. You can also check out our guide to The Hunger Games movies as well.

Do you prefer the Hunger Games movie or book series?

While the newest edition to the series, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes , is set before the original trilogy, the context provided by the three Hunger Games books is key to truly enjoying the prequel. With that in mind, we recommend reading the originals before that entry. But if you want a chronological journey through Panem, then feel free to begin with Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes before hitting the others.

Hunger Games Box Set

1. The Hunger Games

It was this dramatic YA hit that launched the epic Hunger Games franchise. After author Suzanne Collins found herself flicking between coverage of the ongoing war in Iraq and reality TV late at night, she was inspired to create her bestselling novel about a world where kids must fight each other to the death for the entertainment of their fellow countrymen. It's a brutal entry into the dystopian YA canon that launched 1,000 imitators and a smash-hit box office franchise that's still going strong today.

The story of this first novel follows Katniss, a young woman in the impoverished District 12, who scavenges to help her family survive far from the watchful eye of the Capitol. But when the annual reaping ceremony sees Katniss's young sister picked as a Tribute for that year's Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers, sending herself on a nightmarish journey of survival. Fighting against other children from Panem and alongside her fellow District 12 tribute, the sweet-hearted baker Peeta, she must outsmart not only her competitors but also the maniacal government that sent them there.

2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Following their shocking survival in the Hunger Games, Peeta and Katniss should be living a peaceful life as champions. But after tricking the Capitol into letting them both survive, the pair are in more danger than ever. Their radical survival has inspired cells of resistance across Panem, and President Snow blames Katniss, threatening death to her loved ones if she doesn't play along with the Capitol narrative. But Katniss can't help but be inspired by the bravery of the Districts that she and Peeta visit on their "Victory Tour," and soon the pair finds themselves in the arena of the Hunger Games once again. Taking her bestselling formula and expanding the world and lore while introducing new fan-fave characters like Finnick Odair and Johanna Mason, the second entry in the series sets up the shocking finale brilliantly with a world-shifting twist that changes everything we know about Panem.

3. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

In the action-packed finale of the original Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss and her rebellion friends are flung into a nightmarish war against the Capitol. As they aim to take down President Snow and install their own leader, Alma Coin, Katniss finds herself the reluctant face of a battle that puts her loved ones in the crosshairs. Instead of a return to the Hunger Games arena, Snow brings the Hunger Games to the streets of the Capitol, where Katniss and her crew must battle through nightmarish traps and horrific violence in order to achieve their goal of bringing freedom to Panem. But, as she learns, nothing is what it seems, and some people don't want to change the system so much as take control of it. This trilogy-ender stands out as a surprisingly depressing and realistic end to a blockbuster series.

Note : The theatrical version of this final book was split into two films, Mockingjay - Part 1 and Part 2 .

4. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

As noted above, this prequel is set 64 years before the original book, though Collins wrote it with audiences who were familiar with her series in mind. That's why the prequel ends up at the end of our list, so you can fully enjoy the context and worldbuilding of the original trilogy before having your heart broken by the origin story of the villainous President Snow.

Chronicling the origins of the Hunger Games as we know them, this story centers on the planning of the 10th edition of the Games and the impoverished 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow, who is chosen as a mentor for District 12. It's there he meets their female tribute, Lucy Gray Baird, who becomes an influential part in the history of the Games, thanks to the way she utilizes her skills as a musician to engage the audience. As Snow and Lucy grow closer, both their lives change forever as they prepare for the Hunger Games and fall for each other in the process. This is an intriguing look at the early days of the Games and how both Lucy and Snow shaped them. If you're already a fan, it's an expansion filled with Easter eggs. And if you're a newcomer, it's an interesting jumping-on point that'll change how you read the series.

Will There Be More Hunger Games Books?

At the moment, no future Hunger Games novels by Suzanne Collins have been announced. That being said, the long history of the Hunger Games themselves leaves a lot of opportunities for additional spin-offs featuring popular characters from both the prequel and the original series. We don't yet know if Collins has any interest in continuing the series at this time, and the director of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes has stated he won't make a new movie without source material from the writer.

Rosie Knight is a contributing freelancer for IGN covering everything from anime to comic books to kaiju to kids movies to horror flicks. She has over half a decade of experience in entertainment journalism with bylines at Nerdist, Den of Geek, Polygon, and more. Rosie is a published comics author who has written titles including Godzilla Rivals vs. Battra and The Haunted High-Tops. She co-hosts the weekly Crooked Media pop-culture podcast X-Ray Vision. When she's not writing, you can find her playing Dragon Ball FighterZ or rewatching weird old horror and martial movies in her free time. She loves making comics and zines as well as collecting VHS and reading much manga as humanly possible. You can find her on social at @rosiemarx.

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A Long-Forgotten TV Script by Rachel Carson Is Now a Picture Book

In “Something About the Sky,” the National Book Award-winning marine biologist brings her signature sense of wonder to the science of clouds.

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A cut-paper and sumi ink illustration shows a young boy watching a small plane as it soars through the sky trailing cirrus clouds that look like jet stream. The silhouetted boy, the plane and the clouds are cut from black and white paper. The bright sky is rendered with blue ink that fades dark to light from top to bottom.

By Maria Popova

Maria Popova, the creator of TheMarginalian.org and the author of the forthcoming “The Universe in Verse: 15 Windows on Wonder Through Science and Poetry,” has written about Rachel Carson in her book “Figuring.”

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SOMETHING ABOUT THE SKY , by Rachel Carson. Illustrated by Nikki McClure.

A cloud is a spell against indifference, an emblem of the water cycle that makes this planet a living world capable of trees and tenderness, a great cosmic gasp at the improbability that such a world exists, that across the cold expanse of space-time, strewn with billions upon billions of other star systems, there is nothing like it as far as we yet know.

Clouds are almost as old as this world, born when primordial volcanoes first exhaled the chemistry of the molten planet into the sky, but their science is younger than the steam engine. At the dawn of the 19th century, the chemist and amateur meteorologist Luke Howard, still in his 20s, noticed that clouds form in particular shapes under particular conditions. Applying the principles of the newly popular Linnaean taxonomy of the living world to clouds, he named the three main classes cumulus , stratus and cirrus , then braided them into sub-taxonomies.

When a German translation reached Goethe, the polymathic poet with a passion for morphology was so inspired that he sent fan mail to the young man who “distinguished cloud from cloud,” then composed a suite of verses about the main classes. It was Goethe’s poetry, translating the lexicon of an obscure science into the language of wonder, that popularized the cloud names we use today.

A century and a half later, six years before Rachel Carson awakened the modern ecological conscience with her book “Silent Spring” and four years after “The Sea Around Us” earned her the National Book Award (whose judges described it as “a work of scientific accuracy presented with poetic imagination”), the television program “Omnibus” approached her to write “something about the sky,” in response to a request from a young viewer.

This became the title of the segment that aired on March 11, 1956 — a soulful serenade to the science of clouds, emanating from Carson’s credo that “the more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race.”

Although celebrated for her books about the sea, Carson had begun her literary career with an eye to the sky.

She was only 11 when her story “A Battle in the Clouds” — inspired by her brother’s time in the Army Air Service during World War I — was published in the popular young people’s magazine St. Nicholas, where the early writings of Edna St. Vincent Millay, F. Scott Fitzgerald and E.E. Cummings also appeared. She eventually enrolled at Pennsylvania Women’s College, intent on majoring in English.

And then, the way all great transformations slip in through the back door of the mansion of our plans, her life took a turn that shaped her future and the history of literature.

To meet the school’s science requirement, Carson took an introductory biology course. She found herself enchanted by the subject and changed her major.

But she never lost her love of literature. “I have always wanted to write,” Carson told her lab partner late one night. “Biology has given me something to write about.”

She was also writing poetry, submitting it to various magazines and receiving rejection slip after rejection slip. Somewhere along the way — training at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, writing reports her boss deemed far too lyrical for a government publication and encouraged her to submit to The Atlantic Monthly — Carson realized that poetry lives in innumerable guises beyond verse.

In 1952, she would rise from the table she shared with the poet Marianne Moore to receive her National Book Award with these words: “The aim of science is to discover and illuminate truth. And that, I take it, is the aim of literature, whether biography or history or fiction. It seems to me, then, that there can be no separate literature of science.”

If there was poetry in her writing, Carson believed, it was not because she “deliberately put it there” but because no one could write truthfully about nature “and leave out the poetry.”

It was a radical idea — that truth and beauty are not in rivalry but in reciprocity, that to write about science with feeling is not to diminish its authority but to deepen it. Carson was modeling a new possibility for generations of writers to come, blurring the line between where science ends and poetry begins.

That was the ethos she took to her “Omnibus” assignment about “the writing of the wind on the sky,” detailing the science of each of the main cloud classes and celebrating them as “the cosmic symbols of a process without which life itself could not exist on earth.”

After coming upon fragments of Carson’s long-lost television script via Orion magazine, the artist Nikki McClure — who grew up immersed in nature, worked for a while at the Department of Ecology and finds daily delight in watching birds under the cedar canopy by her home — was moved to track down the complete original and bring it to life in lyrical illustrations.

Known for her singular cut-paper art, with its stark contrasts and sharp contours, she embraced the creative challenge of finding a whole new technique in order to channel the softness of the sky.

Using paper from a “long-ago” trip to Japan and sumi ink she freely applied with brushes, she let the gentle work of gravity and fluid dynamics pool and fade the mostly blue and black hues into textured layers — a process of “possibility and chance.”

Then, as she recounts in an illustrator’s note at the back of the book, she “cut images with the paper, not just from it”: “The paper and I had a conversation about what might happen.”

What emerges is a kind of tender visual poem, as boldly defiant of category as Carson’s writing.

Although Carson never wrote explicitly for children, she wrote in the language of children: wonder.

Less than a year after “Something About the Sky” aired on “Omnibus,” Carson took over the care of her orphaned grandnephew, Roger, whom she would soon legally adopt. (He’s the small boy romping across McClure’s illustrations.) In what began as an article for Woman’s Home Companion and was later expanded into her posthumously published book “The Sense of Wonder,” she wrote:

If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.

SOMETHING ABOUT THE SKY | By Rachel Carson | Illustrated by Nikki McClure | Candlewick Studio | 56 pp. | $19.99 | Ages 5 to 8

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