Horror Books: Best Collection of Scary Books That You Must Have

Horror Books
Image credits: Mathew MacQuarrie via Unsplash

Out of the all human genre, horror is undoubtedly the most heart-shaking one. Moreover, horror books truly hold a separate fan base apart from terrifying movies and web series. In case you are also the one who can’t wait to go on a roller-coaster ride of demons, monsters, or ghosts then here is your one-go take. Wait no further and simply start scrolling through the list of best horror books of all time.

1. Reprieve by James Han Mattson

Reprieve is a story about racism, loneliness, and horror that will send a chill down your spine. The story revolves around Quigley’s house, which is an escape room. Also, this place is an attraction site where actors in grisly attire assault visitors and if anyone makes it through then the person wins the contest, and a prize of $60,000 is given away along with a t-shirt. So when a group of people enters the escape room for mainly money, a twist occurs when a real murder happens. From horror, nuance, fear to violence, the book is a combination of all of them. Just like the Quigley house, the story until the end will be completely worth it.  

2. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

The Exorcist is one of the ultimate horror books of all time. William Blatty claims that this book is based on real events which makes it a unique read. Regan, a little girl lives with her mom in Washington. When both of them hear weird and loud noises from the attic, their lives change forever. Regan starts behaving abnormally, hurts herself and those around her and things only get worse from here. Chris, her mother, seeks out the help of a priest who suggests exorcism. See how the events twist and turn till the end.

3. The Hunger by Stephen King

The Hunger has been among the top horror books for decades now. Stephen King advises the readers not to read this book after it gets dark. Readers describe the book as “deeply disturbing” so see to it that you are down for this kind of fear. A group of pioneers who were on an adventure faced two paths to one destination. George, the leader, has to make the right choice for the survival of everyone. On the journey, differences turn into violence, children start to disappear and incidents start happening that are beyond natural elements.

4. The Other by Thomas Tyron

Get ready to blow all of your seven senses with one of the best horror books. Holland and Niles are identical twin brothers who are very different from each other. After the unfortunate death of their father, the entire family gathers on the ancestral farm to mourn his death. Mrs. Perry locks herself in the room, allowing the boys to wander freely. Holland starts turning into a monster, and his pranks become truly disturbing. When Niles cannot cover for this brother anymore, things go out of hand. Unfold the story of horror with every page.

5. The Girl From The Well By Rin Chupeco

Read the story about a dead girl who is seeking revenge from the living. Roaming on the streets for centuries, the dead girl did not get peace in her afterlife. Okiku is a spirit full of rage that saves the souls of other such spirits and destroys the living who murder and abuse. After 300 years, she meets a boy but she does not want revenge from him and simply wants to help the sad boy. Learn how the story unfolds and reveal the sadistic truth of the horror novel.

6. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

This New York Times bestselling book is a must-read for horror fans. Things are not normal at the SunDown Motel for a long time, and Carly Kirk wishes to reveal the secrets. Viv Delaney, Carly’s aunt, took a job in this motel but she disappeared mysteriously. Carly comes back to this motel years later and learns that things have been the same ever since. She takes the same front desk job that her aunt once had. See how Carly gets caught up in the mysteries herself and how it leads her to ugly puzzles.

7. Hell House by Richard Matheson

This is the perfect match for those looking for the best horror novels. Here is a story that will haunt you at night and even in the day. Rolf, who is close to death, calls for the best experts to know whether there is life after death or not. Because of the insane reward of $100,000, it is hard to decline the offer of living in the house for just one week. Unfortunate events start unfolding, there are deaths, fear, violence and endless surprises. Get on a journey that will mess with your mind.

8. Pet Sematary by Stephen King

This is one of the scariest books by Stephen King. No doubt, this book is a rollercoaster. Louis Creed, a doctor has the perfect family with a beautiful wife, two adorable children, and a friendly cat. Jud, his new neighbour, warns him about the highway near the house and introduces him to the pet cemetery. However, the woods nearby have a different spine-chilling story going on. Readers say they were scared to turn to the next page because that’s how fearful the story is. See how Creed realizes that sometimes death is better than living.

9. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

A young couple moves to New York and is happy about getting an apartment in Bramford. However, people living there know that Bramford has a bloody history. While the couple has their own reasons for staying in this apartment, their friends warn them how the people who lived there never came out alive. One night, all things change for the worse. Did his husband sell his soul for fame? Why does she not remember anything about being pregnant? Read the book to see the horrifying journey of this couple.

10. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

A family moves into a home on the Ash tree lane, but something is not right with the house. It is bigger inside than it looks from the outside. One day, when the two children explore the house, their voices have a different story to tell. With an ever-growing abyss, the members of the family get trapped in situations that they never dreamt of. Moreover, the book’s format is unusual and not conventional, which gives it a special touch. After reading the book, you will sleep with your lights on.

11. A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

Numerous readers say that they could not finish this book in one go, that’s how scary it is! The story revolves around a teenage girl who has signs of acute schizophrenia. When the doctors are unable to stop the madness, her parents turn to the priest, who suggests exorcism. After a year of being out of work, the family approves of being on the reality show “The Possession”. This becomes a hit show because of the horrific incidents that happen in the household. Paul’s bestseller will shake you to your very core.

12. The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

This book is a New York Times bestseller that contains less than a hundred pages. A girl who is an aura reader and a sex worker finds Susan, a rich woman whose family is in trouble. After arriving at Susan’s home, the girl realises how Susan’s stepson has weird energies. Unfortunate incidents start to unfold in the house, and the girl’s life is in danger. Alongside, Susan finds out how her husband was a client of this girl. Know the story of a house with four deaths already and how more lined up.

13. The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

Another bestselling author Stephen takes you on a journey of psychological horror. Once upon a time, four native American friends went hunting, and the course of their lives changed forever. These men have to fight for their lives as someone from that night of hunt comes to take revenge ten years later. Jones writes about religion, identity, and breaking away from tradition. This thrilling tale will tell you how it feels to live in a world that is trying to kill you constantly. For all the horror geeks, this is one of the best ghost story books which they can’t afford to miss reading.

14. Ring by Koji Suzuki

The story begins with two deaths that do not relate to each other but happen simultaneously. One of the victim’s uncles dug deep into the matter when he learned how two more deaths took place at the same time and there was no reason for death. He finds out that these four were friends who were in a resort a few days ago. Next, he discovers a videotape in the hotel that has disturbing images and says that the person watching this video will die within a week. Horrifying, isn’t it?

15. The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

West Hall, Vermont, is a town where strange events and disappearances are not new. This story is the most horrific incident of the town involving Sara’s death, whose daughter just died. Now, after 19 years, Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother. One morning, Ruthie’s mom disappears, and she finds a diary that has some disturbing secrets. She finds out that she is not the only one searching for someone. This is Ruthie’s chance to stop history from repeating itself and getting out of the historical mystery that ruins lives.

16. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

This book is one of the best literary ghost stories to exist. Apart from two movies and a play, the book also inspires a Netflix series. Dr. Montague, a scholar; Theodora, the assistant; Eleanor, a young woman with sensitivity to horror and Luke, the heir of the Hill House arrive at this house to seek some answers. A series of strange events start to occur and the four of them discuss it over dinner. Slowly, they feel as if the house is pitting them against each other and the terror begins to increase.

17. It by Stephen King

This book is one of the best sellers of Stephen King. Explore how a clown becomes the synonym for terror and bloodshed. “It” revolves around two eras and how an 11-year-old has to face the clown monster. The story starts when George gets killed by the clown. After this, the rest of the six friends start to investigate the matter and start a mission to kill the monster. After twenty-seven years, the friends reunite and prepare for one last mission that will end it all. Uncover the secrets that prevail in Derry and how the little kids deal with them.

18. The Elementals by Michael McDowell

Two families, the Savages and the McCrays are bound by marriage. After the death of the matriarch of the Savage clan, both the families go on a getaway to their summer house. One house is of the Savages, the next one is of the McCrays and the third one is empty for ages or at least it appears to be. See how malevolent spirits in the house are waiting to kill people. If you are looking to read a horror book that will not let you sleep at night, then this is it.

19. Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Broken Monsters is the perfect blend of skin-crawling horror, detection, thrill and suspense. Versado, the good cop, finds herself in an investigation that involves bizarre murders. The story starts when an 11-year-old boy gets cut in half and his upper body is found on the lower half of a deer. Detective Versado identifies the boy because of the scar since he was six. As the investigation goes on and the terror starts to intensity, the story also focuses on an immature reporter who only wants fame and exposure.

20. Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline, a 9-year-old girl moves into a new house with her parents. While roaming around the house, she finds a door to the parallel universe. After she comes back from this Universe, she finds out that her parents are missing. Despite several warnings from the people in the parsley universe, she continues to visit that place. In the other Universe, she has to deal with her evil mother to rescue her parents. See how she realizes the great powers within her and how she plans to escape from the sinister mother.

21. The Bad Seed by William March

The best seller book made it to the National Book Award soon after its release. If you wish to read a book that sends a chill down your spine, grab this novel. Rhoda, a little girl who appears to be innocent, always finds herself in the middle of bizarre incidents. Her mother realizes that Rhoda may be the cause of these incidents. For the longest time, her mother keeps the dark side of Rhoda to herself until one of her friends dies. Unravel the disturbing and creepy truths about this too good to be a true school girl.

22. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

This book is probably Carter’s best work of all time. In this story, a young girl marries a rich Marquis who already had three wives earlier. Marquis gets a business call and leaves the keys to the young girl, but he tells her to stay away from one room. She still enters the forbidden room and finds the bodies of his three wives. This room is a torture chamber that leads to death. Find out if the girl will be able to save herself from the Bluebeard monster or not.

23. Carrie by Stephen King

Stephen King’s first book, Carrie, got a lot of praise and recognition. Carrie is a girl who faces abuse at both her house and school. One day, she discovers that she has telekinesis powers. Carrie uses her powers to destroy the town and seek revenge from the people who poked her. Anyone who tries to stop her eventually meets death. While some people of the town consider her a devil, some of them believe her to be a hero. Get ready for a roller-coaster ride and see what stops Carrie from destroying everything else around her.

24. The Case Against Satan by Ray Russell

Susan is a sweet little girl who starts having fits all of a sudden. One day, she starts stripping in front of the priest when he recruits a younger priest to examine the case. The two priests fight the demonic possession and battle among themselves as well. Furthermore, the priests cannot decide whether evil exists in the girl or not. See how the priests examine the case deeply and find out tricky secrets about the cause. Read this supernatural tale and get a soul-chilling experience. Live through the story of Susan and unravel ugly truths. 

25. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Yet another commendable creation by Silvia Moreno, Mexican Gothic begins with an unexpected letter that newlywed Catalina writes during her depression phase. The letter is addressed to her cousin named Noemi while revealing that her husband is trying to poison her. Later on, Noemi goes to High Place, the countryside home of Catalina’s new husband, Virgil Doyle, to check out the reality. There she finds the “essentially macabre” Doyle family. Well, what happens next is totally a thing to find. Filled by frightening sights of ghosts and brutal violence, this book is one of the finest horror fiction that you can ever come across in your whole life.

26. Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

It is hard to find even a single bibliophile who won’t praise the literary works of Butler. Arriving from the same extraordinary mind, Fledgling is truly the best scary book that you just can’t ignore. The horrifying tale revolves around Shori, an injured young amnesiac who soon gets familiar with the reality of her identity that she is a genetically generated vampire. The story is more of a discovery of her murder. Butler has done the undisputable justification with the hard fiction genre called vampire’s fictional world. Also, he has spot-lighted some out-of-the-town questions like- why do we romanticize the issue of consent that vampires perform against their victims? Why are all vampires supposed to be white-skinned and so on. All in all, if vampire-centric stories fascinate you like anything, then Fledgling deserves to make a place in your bookshelf.

27. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Moving on, if you are a fan of short horror stories then Her Body is a collection that has been created only for you. Yes, presenting the ugly side of violence, Machado’s Her Body showcases the cruelest possible tales. Especially the plot of the husband stitch will leave you speechless where a wife refuses her husband’s request to remove a green silk ribbon from her neck, and what happens after is the matter to read. Not just that, but the turns of real women having babies and more will take you to a bewitching planet.

28. The Grip of It by Jac Jemc

Up next, ‘The Grip’ is one of the most talked-about scary books ever in history. Basically, it’s a relevant betrayal story that turns out into a soul-shaking horror ride. No one could deny the fact that the unimaginable story of James and Julie’s wedding will not let you put the book back even for a second. The cruel bruises on the skin, the stained walls, the fear of having someone around all of the time are the main points that keep up that incredible terror excitement. With no sign of doubt, ‘The Grip of It’ could be your favorite name from the field of horror fiction.

29. The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

Have you ever discovered the story of a newlywed and newly widowed lady? Yes, even the circumstance is quite enough to leave you in that sense of fear. But, it’s nothing because the horror track begins when Elsie decides to visit her dead husband’s hometown to attend his funeral. She soon finds that no one in the village wishes to do anything with the new mistress of The Bridge. Later on, she discovers that the titular wooden cutout around the bridge starts looking out like humans. All in all, Laura has authored a successful milestone in the lane of scariest novels all-round the globe.

30. The Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

It is impossible to complete the list of top horror bookswithout mentioning Paul Tremblay’s The Head Full of Ghosts. Coming from the lovely New England family of four members, the love leads to scattering apart when firstborn daughter Marjorie shows petrifying faces. Well, is this yet another sign of mental sickness or something dreadful is about to come in is on your part of reading. For a hint, the interesting and frightening tale of the young girl and her family will surely fill your heart with enough fear till the end of the novel. So, pick it up at your own risk but if you adore such horrifying fiction the most, then just wait no further.

31. The Suicide Motor Club by Christopher Buelhman

By reading the title of the book, you must be thinking that this book is about some motor club or a group of friends. But, the plot of this unbelievable horror is totally above the predetermined bars of thoughts. The tale is about Judith who was never a nun before until her entire family gets to death by a gang of un-human males with shining eyes. In the whole rotation, Judith tries her best that no one ever again will lose their lives in the Suicide Motor Club.

32. Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant

Now, this book relates massively to its title since the alarming horror classic evolves when Atargatis’s target to record the eyewitnesses’ testimony on the presence of mermaids rolls up. But the hardest turn comes when all of 200 people never seek their way back home. If you want to explore the panic world of mermaids and some vicious truths that come within then rolling in the deep won’t let you sleep for at least a couple of nights.

33. Certain Dark Things by Silvia Morena Garcia

The contribution of Silvia Morena Garcia in horror literary works is of no comparison. If you wish to witness the outbursting competence of her creative mind, then Certain Dark Things is a highly recommended book for you. Highlighting the dark reality of yet another vampire city, the book is a fearful story of a 17-year-old street urchin named Domingo. Not just that but you will also discover a few dirty political games that weave the real level of excitement of all horror fiction lovers. Precisely, Silvia Morena Garcia’s Certain Dark Things is one of the best horror novels that you can ever explore.

Final Words

So, it was a well-researched take about the top scary books that you can consider giving a read. Now, you surely know that from where you can start your journey of reading the scariest possible books. Without any doubt these books are sure to take your reading to the next level and make you think about the unseen world.

If you seriously enjoy horror read then for sure you have got an ultimate list of books you can bring to your bookshelf. Are you ready to pick the one and let your mind cover an unforgettable journey filled with ugly truths, ferocious flows, and nerve-racking turns? Some of these horror books can be truly terrifying, so we suggest you read them at your own risk.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered the scariest horror book ever written?

Well, whenever it comes to selecting the scariest books it’s quite natural to face difficulty while picking the best one, but still, one can say that Reprieve by James Han Mattson, is the scariest book ever written.

What is the most popular horror story?

Different people carry different opinions. Thus, it’s not an easy task to enlist the most popular story but to sync in rightly with the answer ‘The story of Dracula’ by Bram Stoker is one of the most popular horror stories.

What are some disturbing horror books?

Some disturbing books that you should read at your own risk are:
The Hunger by Stephen King
The Girl From The Well By Rin Chupeco
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Morena Garcia
Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant

What are some scary books for 10-year-olds?

After researching a lot with proper caution, we have jotted down this list of some of the scary books for a 10-year old are:
Night of the Living Dummy (Goosebumps #1) by R.L. Stine
The Last Kids on Earth and the Midnight Blade by Max Brallier
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz

What is the number 1 scariest movie?

It’s really tough to specify the best one but still, the Mortuary Collection is the number 1 scariest movie.