Explore the depths of the dark and horrifying world of horror books by reading The 25 of the Terrifying Horror Books. This article gives you information as well as reviews for these 25 horror books. As authors, we often search for the things we love the most about the written word, and no doubt, many of those things fall into the horror genre. We set out to find 25 of the terrifying books ever written by looking at some of horror’s shining stars and finding out what they love the most. We sometimes found that it was not an actual book but an author or character that stood out as frightening. Sometimes we found that it was a series of horror movies that left a lasting impression, and in other cases, a story with one good scare kept popping up when they spoke about their favorites.
The premise of this article is that the reader will know exactly what they are getting into. The 25 horror books will be listed with a very short blurb about each book. You can buy these books on Amazon, eBay, and Waterstones. This way, you can decide whether or not it’s worth reading from the description alone, and you’ll never know just how scary something is until you sit down to read it. This article covers some of the scariest books of all time. Some of these are your classic horror tales, and some of them might surprise you.
1. Pet Sematary By Stephen King (1983)
Publisher description based on Amazon version. Pet Sematary is a suspense novel by American writer Stephen King. Published in 1983, it was King’s eleventh scariest book and the second written in his native state of Maine. The narrative involves the mysterious burial ground of an Indian tribe, pet cemeteries, and a cemetery built on an ancient Indian burial ground. It has been called Stephen King’s “most mature work” and “a masterpiece.” In this book, he explores the themes of loss, grief, and the supernatural, while weaving an intricate and chilling tale that is thrilling and terrifying. Based on King’s childhood experiences and vivid imagination, Pet Semetary illustrates how tragedy can simultaneously traumatize and heal.
2. The Exorcist By William Peter Blatty (1971)
The Exorcist is the debut novel by American writer William Peter Blatty. A 1949 demonic possession and exorcism inspired it that Blatty witnessed as a young man attending Georgetown University. The Exorcist premiered as a film in 1973. This is a book about classic horror. This is the story about a 12-year-old girl possessed by the devil. It walks you through her experience, showing how different people react to evil and tragedy. It delves into some deep philosophical questions about life and death. This book is an amazing novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat at all times. If you are into paranormal creatures or books with a twist, this is the book for you.
3. Hell House By Richard Matheson (1971)
Hell House is the classic novel of one man’s journey beyond death and the darkness he faces. It is a dark movie drama where you can experience for yourself the horrors awaiting the unbeliever in the beyond. Some features of this Kindle book: Heading levels, lists, blockquotes, and more are maintained throughout. The story goes that four unsuccessful parapsychologists take over an old spooky mansion where Houdini spent some time. They go in to investigate haunted house phenomena and how it relates to a dead medium. They wish to prove the existence of ghosts and demons beyond the grave. The aim was for two weeks, but they have only been in 3 days when they start hearing funny noises and seeing flickerings of dark shadows.
4. The Silence Of The Lambs By Thomas Harris (1988)
The Silence Of The Lambs By Thomas Harris is a crime fiction novel about serial killers written by author Thomas Harris. The story features Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Special Agent Clarice Starling of the FBI. This book is widely considered one of the greatest novels of all time and tells the story of FBI trainee Clarice Starling and her relationship with Dr. Hannibal Lecter. It is a fascinating read for people who like crime, mystery, psychology, violence, and thrillers. Exploring character motivation and an overlooked criminal element, this psychological thriller will leave you guessing until the end. The story revolves around Clarice Starling, a rookie FBI student who is tasked to interview a serial killer to find more information about another missing girl.
5. Dracula By Bram Stoker (1897)
Written by Bram Stoker in 1897, Dracula is an epistolary novel—told through diary entries, letters, newspaper clippings, and telegrams. This scarce vintage book is a selection from Kessinger Publishing’s Legacy Reprint Series. Since the advent of eBooks, vintage and pocketbooks have become collectible because their small size and sentimental value make them appealing to collectors and readers alike. The story tells of the nemesis as he travels from Transylvania to London in search of new blood. Published in 1897, Bram Stoker’s tale of Dracula is a literary classic. It will give you a look at real-life vampire tales from across the centuries, plus much more.
6. The Haunting Of Hill House By Shirley Jackson (1959)
The Haunting Of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is a classic supernatural gothic scariest book, first published in 1959. However, the book is not just one genre; it encompasses many. This article unpacks how these genres are presented in the book. In this groundbreaking, best-selling, masterful work of American fiction, Shirley Jackson pulls together the haunting fragments of a story that is “at once familiar and completely original. The Haunting of Hill House has been applauded as a perfect work of unnerving terror and powerful emotional resonance. It will grip you with its subtly constructed tension, and its heroes – at once flawed and very human – will stay with you long after the book is over. As such, they have spurred many imitations, sequels, and prequels.
7. Rebecca By Daphne Du Maurier (1938)
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is a classic tale of gothic romance from one of the twentieth century’s greatest novelists. Set in glamorous Monte Carlo, this deliciously suspenseful and haunting story tells the tale of the de Winter family, whose life becomes unhinged upon the arrival of a new wife. Enjoy a captivating trip back to the early 1950s in Rebecca – a novel that will haunt you long after you’ve read the final pages. Read this book and find out why its author, Daphne Du Maurier, is considered a master of storytelling. It’s a clever, funny tale of marriage and genetics. Rebecca is a haunted house story, a gothic romance, and a compelling portrait of obsession. It was Daphne Du Maurier’s first successful novel after Jamaica Inn and propelled her to widespread fame.
8. Lord Of The Flies By William Golding (1954)
William Golding wrote this Lord Of The Flies in the year 1954. This book tells the story of a group of schoolboys and their adventures and their imagination inside. Thus, this book narrates the adventures and miscellaneous events inside your brain upon reading a book. It is an extremely intense, thoughtful novel about a group of British boys suddenly stranded on a deserted island. Of course, it’s more than just that. It’s proof that human nature can be evil or kind or both, and it’s a meditation on the power of fear. It explores the development of the characters and provides a detailed analysis of the symbolism. The book also includes chapter summaries and line-by-line commentary on each chapter, and a summary with the critical analysis at the end.
9. The Hunger By Alma Katsu (2015)
The Hunger is the debut novel by Alma Katsu. Adapted from the author’s 2015 Black List screenplay, this intense, haunting novel takes us into the hearts and minds of a young New York City-based couple, Elsie and Jamie, from their first meeting during a blackout in Union Square to their dark paths as their marriage deteriorates. Already in deep emotional pain following a miscarriage and Jamie’s estrangement from his father, Elsie’s descent into postpartum depression becomes increasingly dangerous. Unable to trust her husband with her fragile mental state, Elsie conceals it from Jamie until secrets surface. The Hunger is a captivating novel that will stay with the reader long after reading the last page.
10. Frankenstein By Mary Shelley (1817)
Mary Shelley released Frankenstein in 1817. This famous gothic horror novel is based on the themes of creation, responsibility, and morality. It was written when the Romantic Movement was still dominating British literature, and the Age of Enlightenment was coming to an end. In it, Shelley uses elements from both philosophies. Frankenstein is a novel composed by Mary Shelley. It is a science fiction and horror novel that deals with creation, existentialism, and moral responsibility. Though sometimes assumed to be a literary or gothic romance due to its early genre classification as “fantasy” by Percy Shelley, Frankenstein is often considered the pinnacle of early science fiction because it extrapolated contemporary science into myth.
11. Coraline By Neil Gaiman (2000)
In this story of mystery and adventure, Coraline, Neil Gaiman introduces the free-spirited Other Mother and even stranger other mothers. Gaiman invites readers young and old into a darkly magical landscape in this tale of adventure, courage, and self-discovery that will leave them both spellbound and terrified. This is a story of the brave little girl who unlocks the door to extraordinary adventures with her magical parents and their neighbors—adventures that could not possibly have happened in any other house in any other part of this world. Later she discovers a hidden parallel world: an exact copy of her own that’s strangely remote and different but far more exciting. In Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, you will meet some extraordinary people and go to some very strange places.
12. Blood Meridian By Cormac McCarthy (1985)
Blood Meridian is a Western novel by American author Cormac McCarthy. It was first published in 1985 and was McCarthy’s fifth book. It was nominated for the 1986 Pulitzer Prize and won the 1985 National Book Award for Fiction. Set primarily in the Southwest United States and Mexico, the story is based mainly on historical events. Blood Meridian is a best-seller by Cormac McCarthy, published in 1985. It was his fifth book and won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It is considered one of McCarthy’s best works and has been called the author’s “masterpiece.” Based on historical fact, it recounts the tale of The Kid — a fourteen-year-old Tennessean wagon train thief who joins a band of scalp hunters led by the enigmatic Judge Holden. A brilliant, epic, and apocalyptic retelling of the Great American Western, Blood Meridian stands as one of the nineteenth century’s greatest–and most controversial–American novels.
13. American Psycho By Bret Easton Ellis (1991)
American Psycho is a novel by Bret Easton Ellis, originally published in 1991. The story is recounted in the first person by a yuppie named Patrick Bateman. Through his eyes, we get to see the world of late 1980s Manhattan business and excess. A slick satire on the world of upscale 1980s yuppies follows the exploits of investment banker Patrick Bateman, who may be a murderous psychopath. Obsessed with material pleasures and status, he leads a secret life as a serial killer. Admired by his colleagues and lovers for his fierce intelligence and cutting wit, he describes his daily routine in his diary with the same infectious excitement that most people reserve for vacation photos—but all this brutal honesty serves to mask growing feelings of emptiness.
14. The Handmaid’s Tale By Margaret Atwood (1985)
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood was published in 1985. It is a novel of such power that the reader will not forget its images and its forecast. Set shortly, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead. It has responded to social unrest and a sharply descending birth rate by reverting to and going beyond the repressive imperialism of the original Puritans. In Gilead, women are stripped of their names, their citizenship, and their rights. Offred is a Handmaid who may only leave the home of the Commander and his wife. So, we must recommend you to read it once in your life. It will let you experience many historical events.
15. Blindness By José Saramago (1995)
Blindness is a visionary novel by the great Portuguese writer José Saramago. The story begins one day when a large black cloud envelops a city, and everyone goes blind. A mass frenzy to escape quickly follows, but it becomes clear that no one is safe within days, and even those who avoid infection are forced to face drastic changes. As panic spreads, society starts to dissolve. Families are torn apart as people turn on each other. The plague of blindness grows more severe as barriers like race, gender, religion, class, and age cease to exist. In 2006, the Nobel Prize for Creative writing was granted to José Saramago. Blindness — the book that brought him instant literary stardom.
16. A Scanner Darkly By Philip K. Dick (1977)
Philip K. Dick will be identified as one of the most brilliant literary minds to grace science fiction literature. His works were imaginative and prescient, much like the author himself. In the novel A Scanner Darkly, he explores themes familiar to his own life, such as drug abuse and government surveillance. This book has been adapted for both film and animated film and is a popular sci-fi classic among Dick fans. It is one of Dick’s most celebrated novels and has been described by Robert Shea as a draining, harrowing, nearly epic work that seems to get at the heart of science fiction.
17. The Trial By Franz Kafka (1925)
The Trial By Franz Kafka is a stunning portrait of one man against himself and society. The protagonist’s life, Joseph K., has been shattered–not by any conviction or specific accusation, but by a single event: an arrest. As much a paranormal novel as a legal thriller, The Trial is driven by the question, “What is this thing the world calls guilt?” The story follows protagonist Josef K. throughout his arrest and conviction for an unspecified crime, a legal offense that Kafka himself feared might be committed due to his paranoiac sense of guilt. The novel also deals with themes of unresponsive bureaucracy, sexual frustration, and the difficulty of distinguishing dreams from reality.
18. Requiem For A Dream By Hubert Selby Jr. (1978)
In 1978, Hubert Selby Jr. wrote the book Requiem For A Dream. It was later adapted into a film where the main theme focuses on addiction, how it affects the lives of people addicted to drugs, and how it destroys the lives of their families. The interesting stuff about this novel is that it was made into a movie of the same name. This novel opens with Harry and Marion– two lovers and hard drug addicts– wandering into a seedy bar in Brooklyn called Bernies’ Bar, dedicated to drugs, gambling, drinking, and other activities associated with the underworld scene in inner-city America of the 1960s. They have nothing transmitted in their lives but each other. But their addiction makes it impossible for them to keep their relationship going.
19. Slaughterhouse-Five By Kurt Vonnegut (1969)
Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) is a searing anti-war novel considered by many to be his masterwork. Set in the fictional town of Dresden shortly after World War II, it is the story of Billy Pilgrim, who survives the Allies’ bombing of the city–an event Vonnegut survived in real life. After the bombing, Pilgrim can no longer experience time in an orderly fashion. He becomes “unstuck” in time, finding himself living simultaneously in all eras of his life, including his childhood. It is, instead (and like everything else Vonnegut writes), an anti-novel. Its purposeful lack of structure works with the content to reflect the sheer randomness of life in general and Billy Pilgrim’s life in particular.
20. Invisible Man By Ralph Ellison (1952)
Invisible Man’s book is a great one because it updates us on the major characters after they went through all the conflict. It is one of the best books of its time, and the novel was published in 1952 and won so many awards for its uniqueness and power. The book contains scenes that chillingly mirror the events in Ferguson and other instances of black-white conflict. The narrator, a college graduate from the South who moves to Harlem, New York, experiences repeated episodes of racial discrimination. Through encounters with racism and the Communist party, his search for identity eventually yields nothing but frustration and invisibility. The account skips back and forth between the narrator’s experiences in the South and his life in New York City as an adult.
21. Baby Teeth By Zoje Stage (2018)
Baby Teeth By Zoje Stage is a fiction book that offers you a great story meant as a holiday read. It’s about the world of vampires and their hunters. A hunter seeks revenge from the leader vampire because he killed his family members. He, however, finds this a hard task due to the power of the vampire boss. Baby Teeth is a raging, stormy, and unapologetically feminist whirlwind of a novel. While many novels that focus on female rage either succumb to it themselves or turn it into triumphant revenge fantasies, this novel doesn’t rely on that. The book shows the fragility and destructiveness of the patriarchy in an empathetic way. It gets deep inside women’s experiences and makes you want to demand more from the world for them.
22. 1Q84 By Haruki Murakami (2009)
1Q84 is the fifth novel that Haruki Murakami wrote since he won the Yomiuri Prize for his first major work. Murakami expresses the impact of globalism and the current economic situation using Shigemori’s character, which is not an ordinary genre. IQ84 By Haruki Murakami is a private investigator, semi science fiction, suspense novel. This book explores the future makes you wonder if this novel could be real or not. The quality of writing is incredible. The story makes you want to go back and watch a movie again after you finish the book. The book keeps you turning page after page reading each word and expression on the page. There are over 3,500 pages in this book, but you can’t stop reading until it ends. Anyone who likes mystery books will enjoy this challenge.
23. The 120 Days Of Sodom By Marquis De Sade (1905)
It is generally agreed upon that The 120 Days Of Sodom was written (or at least started) by Marquis De Sade in the 1900s while he was imprisoned at the Bastille. The 120 Days is a series of many smaller works, so it would be better to look at them separately rather than one entity. Though banned and burned in public squares well before the century, 120 Days of Sodom was a literary phenomenon. It was a book everyone claimed to have read–or at least read about or heard about–but no one could find. It is a material of common knowledge that the most beautifully refined malice, the most ingenious cruelty are concentrated in the human heart; that there all the tests of courage, constancy, and mastery are undergone; and that we can find there, also, all the wonderful operations of hatred and vengeance, which, in their source, are doubtless cowardly at the bottom.
24. Beloved By Toni Morrison (1987)
The Beloved By Toni Morrison book is considered one of the best books written by a renowned novelist. This is a fantastic and unique novel that you’ll not forget for many years. The author writes about the relationships between mothers and daughters. To further understand this topic, there are great characters that are portrayed in the story. The plot of the book revolves around Sethe’s life and escape from slavery. You’ll read about how she sustains herself aided by many aspects, including memories of her mother’s spirit called Beloved. After twenty years, she finds herself pregnant and fearing for the life of her unborn baby. In her search to save her daughter’s soul, she must also confront her troubled past.
25. Pollen By Jeff Noon (1995)
Pollen is a classic science fiction novel written by the acclaimed British author, Jeff Noon. It was published in 1995. In this book, our protagonist, Harper Blaine, is a designer whose work centers on questions of identity and violation of personal space. The novel is set in Manchester City, where Blaine works on interactive installation sculptures meant to measure visitors’ psychological responses to change. The themes of the novel are cybernetics, biological metamorphosis, conspiracy theories, and artificial intelligence.
The novel’s action takes place over a single day. Its principal character is the city itself, which has become saturated with telepathic pollen, giving those infected with it extraordinary powers. These powers are both wonderful and terrible, beautiful yet horrific.
The truth of the matter is, horror writers are artists. The material they use may be macabre or disturbing, but their craftsmanship is undeniable. There are good reasons that the words’ horror’, ‘terror’ and even ‘frightening’ mean different things to different people. They cannot all be lumped into one section and dismissed as something that everyone hates or fears because there is only one thing people hate or fear: fear itself. There are no cheap thrills here, just pure spine-tingling terror in the forms that made these books some of the most memorable horror novels in history.