There are so many good horror book suggestions on the internet – a simple search on Google should tell you all you want to know. However, many of the books suggested are already extremely well known, and might not be of interest to you. That is why as someone who loves literature, especially horror stories, and with Halloween just around the corner, I have decided to suggest my own compilation of horror books that I recommend to anyone who is interested in reading scary stories this holiday.
Here is a short guide to some of the best horror books I’ve ever read, some of which you might have heard of and others that deserve a little more attention. (Don’t read these before bed!)
1. The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
Perfect for those looking for short yet well-written horror tales, what better to read than various tales from the “architect of the modern short story”?
The Tell-Tale Heart
The narrator of this story tells you his “perfect” plan to kill an old man, then guides you through the process of doing it. He might get away with it too, except he starts hearing things…
The Black Cat
A drunk man kills his cat, and it comes back to haunt him. In Poe’s usual style, the narrator is the killer, and we see things through his eyes. Quite a horrific tale.
The Cask of Amontillado
The narrator in this story vows revenge upon a man named Fortunato. He takes advantage of Fortunato’s ego and lures him down into the recesses of an underground vault to taste a rare wine, a cask of Amontillado.
The Premature Burial
Given the title of this story, it's already obvious what it’s about. It’s definitely a scary story. Poe makes you feel as though you are there.
Additionally, if you’re a fan of mysteries, you should also read about the mysterious death of Edgar Allan Poe...
2. The Shining
Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote...and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.
The Shining is one of Stephen King’s best novels and one of the most popular horror stories of all time, making it a great place to start for those who haven’t read any of his other works. The Shining, like most of Stephen King’s works, is difficult to put down due to its intriguing nature; it draws you in and keeps you guessing, constantly wondering what will happen next.
3. Down a Dark Hall
Kit Gordy sees Blackwood Hall towering over black iron gates, and she can’t help thinking. This place is evil. The imposing mansion sends a shiver of fear through her. But Kit settles into a routine, trying to ignore the rumors that the highly exclusive boarding school is haunted.
Then her classmates begin to show extraordinary and unknown talents. The strange dreams, the voices, the lost letters to family and friends, all become overshadowed by the surrounding magic. When Kit and her friends realize that Blackwood isn’t what it claims to be, it might be too late.
This is the perfect novel for fans of spooky mysteries. Although it is a short narrative, the author does an excellent job of describing the setting and characters, creating tension and painting vivid descriptions that make the reader feel as if they are present in the story.
4. House of Furies
After escaping a harsh school where punishment was the lesson of the day, seventeen-year-old Louisa Ditton is thrilled to find employment as a maid at a boarding house.
But soon after her arrival at Coldthistle House, Louisa begins to realize that the house’s mysterious owner, Mr. Morningside, is providing much more than lodging for his guests. Far from a place of lodging for his guests. Far from a place of rest, the house is a place of judgment, and Mr. Morningside and his unusual staff are meant to execute their own justice on those who are past being saved.
Louisa begins to fear for a young man named Lee who is not like the other guests. He is charismatic and kind, and Louisa knows that it may be up to her to save him from an untimely judgment. But in this house of distortions and lies, how can Louisa be sure who to trust?
This is a good read for those who enjoy horror books and young adult literature, and is not your typical YA cliché book. With its mysterious and creepy historical tale, this is a well-paced story that will captivate and intrigue its reader.
The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring….
In Coraline’s family’s new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.
The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks a door to find a passage to another flat in another house the seems just like her own, only thing is that it’s different...
At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there’s another mother, and another after, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.
Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.
If you found the movie terrifying, just wait until you’ve read the book. A short but sinister story with vivid imagery, it’s well-rounded and moves at a perfect pace and length. Despite being a children’s book, this story appeals to adults as well, and will only take a couple of hours to read.
6. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of peculiar photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its decaying bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine’s children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow – impossible though it seems – they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.
This book is an adventurous novel with frequently sinister sections, and is perfect for those looking for a suspenseful book that is not too scary but peculiar and unsettling enough to hold the reader’s attention.
Horror is such a broad genre, allowing for unique stories and chilling tales to be discovered, and Halloween is just the right time for exploring the multitudes of horrifying books out there, just waiting to be read. Therefore, I truly hope you find this article useful and enjoy this holiday season, as I can guarantee you with these books you will be sure to have a frightful time this Halloween. However, keep in mind that if you choose to read any of the books suggested above and you are horrified beyond belief, it will not have been without forewarning from me. Proceed with caution!