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Horror: Short Stories

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short story books horror

short story books horror

30 Best Horror Short Story Books

I love horror short stories. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a baby. I love horror, but I am usually too scared to watch a full-length horror movie. Yep, short stories are my favorite form of the horror genre. And in this article, I’ve compiled a list of the 30 best horror short story books. First, we’ll dive into the best horror short story collections by a single author, and then we’ll move on to the best horror short story anthologies by more than one author.

This list was made possible in part by researching what other people’s favorite horror short story books so I could compare notes. Special shoutout to Reddit’s r/horrorlit sub , in particular these posts with horror short fiction recommendations. \

Also be sure to check out the other short story collections lists here on Broke by Books:

This post contains affiliate links.

The 19 Best Horror Short Story Books by a Single Author

20th century ghosts by joe hill.

short story books horror

We kick off this list of the best horror short story collections with Joe Hill’s 20th Century Ghosts . One of the most influential horror writers of his generation, Joe Hill launched onto the scene with his debut short story anthology, 20th Century Ghosts . This book won the 2005 Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection, aka the Pulitzer Prize of horror writing. I personally love the titular short story, which stayed with me long after I finished it.

How to read it: Purchase 20th Century Ghosts on Amazon

After the people lights have gone off by stephen graham jones.

short story books horror

Both a Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Award Nominee for Best Fiction Collection, Stephen Graham Jones’ After the People Lights Have Gone Off is a first-rate book of horror short stories. Among the fifteen published here, Jones includes several new tales in this compilation along with some that are already anthologized and hard-to-find stories that are out of print. Additionally, artist Luke Spooner supplies fifteen original illustrations.

How to read it: Purchase After the People Lights Have Gone Off on Amazon

The beautiful thing that awaits us all by laird barron.

short story books horror

If you’re not familiar with rising horror star Laird Barron, start with The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us , his third collection of short horror stories. Barron is a genre-bender, melding noir with dark fantasy with science fiction. In this book, Barron interlocks several shorts in a story cycle that’s guaranteed to freak you out.

How to read it: Purchase The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All

The best of richard matheson edited by victor lavalle.

short story books horror

Richard Matheson dominated as a twentieth-century horror author who penned The Twilight Zone episodes and wrote I Am Legend , earning praise for his work by Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Stephen Spielberg. But the truth is, Matheson really excelled as a writer of some of the best horror short stories the genre has ever seen. Dive into Matheson’s work with this anthology, among the best horror short story books, edited by Victor LaValle.

How to read it: Purchase The Best of Richard Matheson on Amazon

Books of blood by clive barker.

short story books horror

Horror wouldn’t be the genre it is without Clive Barker. Experience the chilling physical landscapes and terrifying psychological scares in his Books of Blood: Volumes One to Three , winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Collection (1985). The Washington Post praised Books of Blood as a work that “offer[s] a strikingly bold vision, and some of the most provocative tales of terror ever published.” Start with Books of Blood and get up to speed with Barker’s singular horrifying deconstruction of fear as we know it.

How to read it: Purchase Books of Blood on Amazon

Collapse of horses by brad everson.

short story books horror

See why The Believer called Brian Evenson “One of the most provocative, inventive, and talented writers we have working today” with A Collapse of Horses , among the most viscerally intense collections of horror short stories. A prolific short fiction writer who blends genres, Evenson expertly finds ways to push the limits of fear in tales that find the scary underside of the ordinary. Get your fear on with A Collapse of Horses .

How to read it Purchase A Collapse of Horses on Amazon

Count magnus and other ghost stories by m. r. james edited by s. t. joshi.

short story books horror

Medievalist and scholar M. R. James (1862-1936) was well known for his contribution to literary scholarship, but today we read him for his ghost stories. Prolific author James penned some of the best horror short stories within the subgenre of ghost fiction and is notable for setting his tales in modern settings, as opposed to ghost story writers who were still tied to the Gothic tradition. As a lover of the “antiquarian,” —meaning an affection for the past—James incorporated his interest in antiquities into his horror writing, which lands him the title of being the first author of “antiquarian ghost story.” The bottom line? James was and continues to be enormously influential in horror, and you won’t want to miss out on his acclaimed ghost stories.

How to read it: Purchase Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories on Amazon

Dark tales by shirley jackson.

short story books horror

I absolutely adore American writer Shirley Jackson, known primarily for The Haunting of Hill House —easily the scariest haunted house novel ever—and We Have Always Lived in the Castle , a neo-Gothic story with an unforgettable narrator. But Jackson also penned short horror stories. One of which that is taught often in school settings is “The Lottery,” which was published in 1948 (you can read for free here) and immediately revolutionized short fiction as we know it. In the collection Dark Tales , you’ll find 17 more essential Jackson horror short stories. Get to know this iconic author with Dark Tales .

How to read it: Purchase Dark Tales on Amazon

Growing things by paul tremblay.

short story books horror

I read Paul Tremblay’s “Note from the Dog Walkers,” included here in his horror short story collection Growing Things , for my Long Short Story Project (tl; dr: I read a short story a day for a month— see what I read on the Tumblr blog ). It was delightfully odd, increasingly more disturbing, and wholly unforgettable. And I’m not alone in thinking Paul Tremblay is a genius (I loved his novel A Head Full of Ghosts ). Growing Things won the 2019 Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection, and the book was one of the New York Times ‘ 100 notable books for 2019 .

How to read it: Purchase Growing Things on Amazon

The merry spinster by daniel m. lavery.

short story books horror

If you love retellings, you’ll love Daniel M. Lavery’s The Merry Spinster . The inspired, wicked, and freaky retellings in The Merry Spinster offer fresh horror takes on famous tales like The Velveteen Rabbit , “The Little Mermaid,” Frog and Toad , and “The Frog Princess.” Laced with dark humor, the short stories in The Merry Spinster are scary each in their own way.

How to read it: Purchase The Merry Spinster on Amazon

The new annotated h.p. lovecraft by h.p. lovecraft – edited by leslie s. klinger.

short story books horror

The grandfather of “cosmic horror,” H.P. Lovecraft might be the single most influential horror writer of all time. No, seriously. And certainly, Lovecraft was and remains problematic . But no list of the best horror short story books would be complete without including Lovecraft. If you’re wondering where to begin, jump in with The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft , which includes all the top Lovecraft stories with thoughtful and revealing annotations by literary scholar Leslie S. Klinger that situate each tale within historical, cultural, and literary context.

How to read it: Purchase The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft on Amazon

Nightmares and dreamscapes by stephen king.

short story books horror

Of course we’re going to include Stephen King in this guide to the best horror short story collections. Where would horror be without King? I love King, and my favorite book he’s penned is The Shining . But King has also published a steady stream of short stories over his long career. The one you’ll want to read first is his masterpiece, Nightmares and Dreamscapes . Horror short story books don’t get much better than the 23 short horror stories anthologized here.

How to read it: Purchase Nightmares and Dreamscapes on Amazon

North american lake monsters by nathan ballingrud.

short story books horror

Nathan Ballingrud’s debut short story collection North American Lake Monsters won the Shirley Jackson Award for Single-Author Collection, announcing Ballingrud as an emerging voice in horror fiction. If that’s not enough of a reason to add the book to your TBR, you’ll want to read the book before you see the Hulu adaptation of the book, Monsterland .

How to read it: Purchase North American Lake Monsters on Amazon

The raven: tales and poems by edgar allan poe.

short story books horror

Horror wouldn’t be the genre it is without Edgar Allan Poe’s significant contribution in its earliest days. Poe’s influence is felt even today. For a copy that compiles all the essential spooky stories and poems, get the Penguin Horror edition, which includes an introduction from the Penguin Horror series editor Guillermo Del Toro. Any personal library would benefit from housing one of the best horror short story books like this one.

How to read it: Purchase The Raven: Tales and Poems on Amazon

Some will not sleep by adam nevill.

short story books horror

Adam Nevill’s Some Will Not Sleep won the British Fantasy Award for Best Collection, and it’s easy to see why: the frightening tales in Some Will Not Sleep will make you want to leave the light on at night. Reading Some Will Not Sleep is a mindf**k of an experience all horror fans will appreciate from the author of the novel The Ritual , which was adapted as a Netflix film .

How to read it: Purchase Some Will Not Sleep on Amazon

Songs of a dead dreamer and grimscribe by thomas ligotti.

short story books horror

The Washington Post once called Thomas Ligotti “the best-kept secret in contemporary horror fiction” who has “….create[d] a canon of short stories so idiosyncratic as to defy almost any description save demented.” If that’s not a ringing endorsement of a horror writer, I don’t know what is. To get started, check out Songs of a Dreamer and Grimscribe , which compiles the first two of Ligotti’s short story collections in a single volume with an introduction by Jeff VanderMeer. Ligotti is required reading, and this edition is one of the best horror short story books you’ll want on your home library’s shelves.

How to read it: Purchase Songs of a Dreamer and Grimscribe on Amazon

Spontaneous human combustion by richard thomas.

short story books horror

Genre-bending author Richard Thomas is out with his latest collection of short stories. See why Chuck Palahniuk praised Thomas as: “In range alone, Richard Thomas is boundless. He is Lovecraft. He is Bradbury. He is Gaiman.” A prolific short fiction writer, Thomas has published more than 165 stories in a wide array of outlets. Thomas’ work has received nomination for the Bram Stoker, Shirley Jackson, Thriller, and Audie awards and six times been long-listed for Best Horror of the Year . In Spontaneous Human Combustion , Thomas brings us fourteen fresh stories to make you look over your shoulder and shine a flashlight into the shadows…afraid of what you might find but too afraid not to try.

How to read it: Purchase Spontaneous Human Combustion on Amazon

Through the woods by emily carroll.

short story books horror

I’ve previously written a review of Emily Carroll’s graphic novel Through the Woods here on the blog . And I’m recommending now in this roundup of the best horror short story books because, well, the five fairy tale-inspired tale in Through the Woods are memorably, phenomenally creeptastic.

Check out a sample spread from Carroll’s Through the Woods here:

short story books horror

There’s something singularly fitting to combine art with horror. So much of horror fiction is describing the frightening, the chilling, the terrifying. When you read horror comics or horror graphic novels, that terror is visualized, leading to a powerful one-two punch of scary words and scary art. Trust me, Through the Woods is the best of both horror mediums, one of the best horror short story books period, and you don’t want to skip it.

How to read it: Purchase Through the Woods on Amazon

The wide, carnivorous sky and other monstrous geographies by john langan.

short story books horror

Get to know horror fiction master John Langan with this anthology of nine of his best tales. Langan won the Bram Stoker Award for his 2016 novel The Fisherman and was a nominee for the same award in the short story collection category in 2008. An esteemed writer and legend in the genre, Langan now sits on the board of directors for the Shirley Jackson Awards, judging the best of the best in horror. There’s no better way to get to know Langan than with this collection of horror short stories.

How to read it: Purchase The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and other Monstrous Geographies on Amazon

The 11 Best Horror Short Story Books by Multiple Authors

American fantastic tales: terror and the uncanny volume 1: from poe to the pulps edited by peter straub.

short story books horror

This outstanding two-volume collection from the Library of America is among the best horror stories anthologies. Edited by horror master Peter Straub, American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny is a comprehensive survey of American writers of horror and the supernatural. The first volume covers a time span of Edgar Allan Poe to the pulps, including Washington Irving, Edith Wharton, Ambrose Bierce, and H.P. Lovecraft. At 750 pages, Volume 1 is a steal when you consider how many shorts you get in just one book.

How to read it: Purchase American Fantastic Tales: Volume 1 on Amazon

The best horror of the year edited by ellen datlow.

short story books horror

This long-running and prestigious series that now stretches to thirteen installments is edited by Ellen Datlow, a veteran anthologizers of the best horror short story collections. Each year, the premier short horror stories published in the year are reprinted among the other crème de la crème of the genre’s short fiction. In the most recent installment, Volume Thirteen includes stories by Catriona Ward, Stephen Graham Jones, and Gemma Files, among others. If you want to stay up-to-date and up all night with the best horror being published today, you need this series of horror short story books in your life.

How to read it: Purchase The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Thirteen on Amazon

The creepypasta collection edited by mrcreepypasta.

short story books horror

Creepypasta is here to stay. And what exactly is “creepypasta”? Wikipedia gives a good definition : “Creepypasta s  are horror-related legends that have been shared around the Internet. Creepypasta has since become a catch-all term for any horror content posted onto the Internet. These Internet entries are often brief, user-generated, paranormal stories intended to scare readers.” You might have come across creepypasta before if you’ve ever heard of “The Slender Man.” Get familiar with the genre with The Creepypasta Collection .

How to read it: Purchase The Creepypasta Collection on Amazon

The dark descent (no. 1) edited by david g. hartwell.

short story books horror

The Dark Descent (No. 1) was originally published in 1997, yet it remains influential and in print. It’s not hard to see why this is considered among the best horror short story collections of all time and why it won the World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology. In The Dark Descent , editor David G. Hartwell attempts to trace horror literature to its origins in short stories. The book is divided into three parts: 1) “The Color of Evil,” which includes stories by Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, and H.P. Lovecraft; 2) “The Medusa in the Shield,” which includes stories by Clive Barker and Edgar Allan Poe; and 3) “A Fabulous, Formless Darkness,” which includes stories by Joyce Carol Oates, Robert W. Chambers, and Algernon Blackwood. If you’re looking to move beyond just a surface understanding of horror literature and really explore the genre’s origins, lineage, and theory, pick up The Dark Descent (Vol. 1) .

How to read it: Purchase The Dark Descent (Vol. 1) on Amazon

Dark stars: new tales of darkest horror edited by john f.d. taff.

short story books horror

Whereas the last horror short story collection we just talked about ( The Dark Descent ) was all about the origins of the horror genre, Dark Stars: New Tales of Darkest Horror is all about featuring a diverse slate of the best horror writers working today, including Alma Katsu, Stephen Graham Jones, Caroline Kepnes, and Josh Malerman. If you want to know where horror is going, you need to pick up Dark Stars and devour the twelve uniquely terrifying tales inside.

How to read it: Purchase Dark Stars on Amazon

Echoes: the saga anthology of ghost stories edited by ellen datlow.

short story books horror

Love a good ghost story? Meet Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghosts. The second anthology edited by Ellen Datlow included on this list of the best horror stories anthologies (the first was for The Best Horror of the Year ), Echoes is all about ghost stories. Who doesn’t want to get thrilled and chilled by a ghost tale every once in a while? Datlow has assembled an all-star team of horror author who have offered their take on short fiction in this subgenre, including Alice Hoffman, Joyce Carol Oates, Paul Tremblay, and Seanan McGuire.

How to read it: Purchase Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories on Amazon

Flight or fright: 17 turbulent tales edited by stephen king and bev vincent.

short story books horror

The premise behind these “turbulent tales” is each of the seventeen short horror stories takes place in flight. You might think that would be a limiting constraint, but, in fact, the authors anthologized here break the premise wide open to create seventeen wholly original short stories on a theme. Edited by Stephen King and Bev Vincent, Flight or Fright includes contributions from horror celebs like Joe Hill, Richard Matheson, Ambrose Bierce, and Dan Simmons. Just don’t read it when you’re on a plane…

How to read it: Purchase Flight or Fright on Amazon

Great tales of terror and the supernatural  by phyllis cerf wagner and herbert wise.

short story books horror

Although the Modern Library Classic’s Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural was first published in 1944, it remains in print today. Literary critic Edmund Wilson would be happy to know that; he sung its praises in The New Yorker . Take a look at the lineup of all-star horror authors and classic supernatural stories and you’ll see why this is considered one of the best horror short story collections of all time. All the greats are here: Poe, Wilkie Collins, Ambrose Bierce, H. G. Wells, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, and William James, among others. If you can only afford one horror anthology, it should be Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural because it offers its best bang for your buck at 1,056 pages.

How to read it: Purchase Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural on Amazon

The penguin book of vampire stories by alan ryan.

short story books horror

As Kirkus Reviews says on the cover of this book “The Count himself would be well pleased.” I agree! Edited by Alan Ryan, The Penguin Book of Vampire Stories is packed with the best horror short stories in the paranormal vampire subgenre. What’s so interesting about this horror anthology is how far back it goes way back to the origins of the vampire character. You’ll read early sketches by Lord Byron’s fragments on a vampire story, the infamous “Vampyre” short story by John Polidori, and an excerpt of the novel Varney the Vampyre by James Malcolm Ryder. This collection of stories about vampires through the ages takes a bite out of readers and won’t let go.

How to read it: Purchase The Penguin Book of Vampire Stories on Amazon

Slasher girls & monster boys edited by april genevieve tucholke.

short story books horror

I actually plugged Slasher Girls & Monster Boys in my “Best YA Short Story Collections” article here on the blog. But it’s such a fun anthology that I couldn’t resist giving it an encore in this article about the best horror short story collections. Designed for teens, Slasher Girls & Monster Boys explores horror from the eyes of young adults but is still great horror in its own right. With authors like Nova Ren Suma, Leigh Bardugo, Kendare Blake, and more, this is a book full of spooky gifts.

How to read it: Purchase Slasher Girls & Monster Boys on Amazon

The weird: a compendium of strange and dark stories edited by jeff and ann vandermeer.

short story books horror

“Weird” horror is a distinct subgenre, one that some of the best writers of horror have tried their hand at once or twice. To define it, I’m excerpting from an article from Ransom Center magazine : “Weird fiction is a subgenre of fiction that utilizes aspects of fantasy, horror, and supernatural fiction, while often featuring nontraditional alien monsters. Well-known weird fiction authors include H. P. Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, and M. R. James, while Edgar Allan Poe is often considered a pioneer.” You can learn even more about on the Wikipedia page for “Weird fiction.” And if you’re ready to dive into weird fiction, you’ll definitely want to try The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories , edited by Jeff and Ann VanderMeer. Among the authors anthologized in The Weird are M. R. James, Franz Kafka, H. P. Lovecraft, Jorge Luis Borges, Octavia E. Butler, Kelly Link, and China Miéville. The 110 tales you’ll find in this collection reflect the diverse iterations of weird fiction.

How to read it: Purchase The Weird on Amazon

And that’s it what are some of your favorite horror short story books leave a comment below, share this:.

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Sarah S. Davis is the founder of Broke by Books, a blog about her journey as a schizoaffective disorder bipolar type writer and reader. Sarah's writing about books has appeared on Book Riot, Electric Literature, Kirkus Reviews, BookRags, PsychCentral, and more. She has a BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Library and Information Science from Clarion University, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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Horror Short Stories

Title: The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions), Author: Edgar Allan Poe

Available Online

Title: Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke And Other Misfortunes (Signed Book), Author: Eric LaRocca

Pre-order Now

Title: Essential Tales and Poems (Barnes & Noble Signature Classics), Author: Edgar Allan Poe

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short story books horror

short story books horror

All Kinds of Scary: 11 of the Best Horror Short Story Collections

Recently, I had one of the most fitting reading experiences of my life. I was sitting on my bed, reading How To Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix, which is about scary dolls and puppets. And right in the middle of a tense scene, my Baby Yoda doll fell from my bookshelf (thank you, cats) and landed on my ankle. To say I screamed would be an understatement. I also launched myself several inches straight up off the bed. I was so startled! And then I laughed a lot. What an absolutely perfect time for that to happen. This is all to say: Hello, my name is Liberty, and I like books that scare me. It is fun to read books that scare us, because it’s a controlled burn. We have control over the situation. That’s why I’ve made this list of 11 of the Best Horror Short Story Collections.

This list is comprised of mostly recent collections. You don’t need me to recommend Shirley Jackson or Stephen King to you. That’s like trying to find out about different flavors of ice cream and being pitched vanilla and chocolate — they’re good, but you already know about them. These are some of the most wonderful, unusual, and frightening collections I have read in recent years. And with collections of stories, it’s fun, because you get all kinds of different flavors of scary in one book. So please sit back, secure your tray tables and Baby Yoda dolls, and enjoy this list. I’ll meet you at the bottom to recommend more lists of scary books to check out.

cover of North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud; illustration of a ancient-style dragon monster

North American Lake Monsters: Stories by Nathan Ballingrud

This is Ballingrud’s debut collection, which won a Shirley Jackson Award. Like horror stories throughout history, he uses monsters as a metaphor for things both real and imagined in many forms. There are stories with familiar monsters such as vampires, werewolves; and white supremacists, and a few you may not recognize. And if these stories seem familiar, you might know the series adaptation Monsterland .

cover of Mestiza Blood by V. Castro; pink overlay of photograph of a statue's face

Mestiza Blood by V. Castro

This is subtitled “a short story collection of nightmares, dreams, desire and visions focused on the Chicana experience.” Castro explores horror based in the folklore and legends of Mexican culture — some supernatural, like demons and monsters, and some very human. Castro is quickly becoming one of the best writers putting out horror today. If you enjoy this, you should also check out Goddess of Filth and The Queen of the Cicadas .

Cover of Ghost Summer: Stories by Tananarive Due; photo of a young Black boy kneeling beside a lake

Ghost Summer: Stories by Tananarive Due

This award-winning collection is centered around the town of Gracetown, Florida. Some incorporate the racism and hardships experienced by Black people in America. Though published over a decade ago, there’s a hauntingly familiar story about a pandemic. There’s a woman who is cursed with knowing when people will die. And the first story is the reason I won’t swim in anything but a pool. Pro tip: For anyone who is looking for a Stephen King read-alike, I think Due’s novel The Good House is the closest I’ve read.

cover of Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez; illustration of flames

Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enríquez, translated by Megan McDowell

I cannot wait for everyone to read Enríquez’s horror novel Our Share of Night , coming in February 2023. But in the meantime, you can get several small tastes of her brilliance in this collection (and the follow-up The Dangers of Smoking in Bed .) These are all set in present day Argentina and make up an unsettling collection about real violence and protest in the country, as well as supernatural horrors.

cover of The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell by Brian Evenson; white chalk on green background of legs walking

The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell by Brian Evenson

Once again, humans are the biggest terror in this collection (as it should be — we’re menaces) as are the things we create. Evenson is an expert at combining mankind’s fractured, faulty selves with creeping dread and horror. My favorite story involves a vengeful prosthetic arm. (Related: There’s another amazing story involving a prosthetic arm in Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea: Stories by Sarah Pinsker.)

cover of After the People Lights Have Gone Off by Stephen Graham Jones; photo of a gray house with a bright yellow light in one window and a woman in shadow in the foreground

After the People Lights Have Gone Off by Stephen Graham Jones

By now you are probably familiar with Book Riot fave SGJ’s horror novels Mongrels , The Only Good Indians , and My Heart Is a Chainsaw , since we talk about them a LOT. But he’s also a very prolific writer of short stories, many of which have won awards. This is a great, award-winning collection of terrors real and imagined, in which even the titles are scary: “The Spindly Man,” “The Spiderbox,” “Uncle.” Just…gah.

cover of Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado; illustration of a skinless neck wearing a green ribbon

Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado

This is a National Book Award-nominated collection! Not every book is a horror story, but it’s such a great mix of dread and unusualness incorporated into a look at how we view women’s agency, that it belongs on every list that mentions short stories. The cover illustration is in reference to Machado’s retelling of The Green Ribbon story, which takes on a much more sinister tone in this book.

cover of Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda; teal with a tiny black illustration of a frog and big red font

Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda, translated by Polly Barton

And these are Japanese folk tales with feminist twists! Like so many of the other collections on this list, they do an excellent job combining real world issues with otherworldly instances. This collection is especially spirit-heavy, so heads up, all you ghost fans out there.

Revenge cover by Yoko Ogawa

Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder

Holy cats, I have been recommending this book since January of 2013, which seems impossible. This is a great pick to read during the Halloween season. It’s eleven connected, disturbing stories of people who are seeking, or are the subject of — you guessed it — revenge. Ogawa is like Danny Boyle and Colson Whitehead in that she seems to visit a different genre with each work, but I am holding out hope that she’ll return to horror one day.

cover of Seven Empty Houses by Samanta Schweblin; illustration of an oddly shaped door set in a green wall

Seven Empty Houses by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell

If you have read Schweblin before, you know that everything she writes ranges from unsettling to terrifying. I have read her novel Fever Dream a dozen times and it still upsets me! (I have yet to watch the adaptation, though.) This new collection just made the 2022 National Book Award longlist for a work of translation. It’s seven stories about seven different ways that seven different houses are unusual, to say the least.

cover of Never Have I Ever by Isabel Yap; illustration of a woman with long black hair floating in the sea, with the top of her head just breaking the surface

Never Have I Ever: Stories by Isabel Yap

And lastly (but only because I alphabetized by author), this is a very surreal selection of stories. I will reiterate that you don’t need a man in a hockey mask with a giant knife in every story for it to be scary. These are stories of urban legends, spirits, and spells. But like most things in life, they will shock and surprise you. Nothing is what it seems.

If you enjoy being scared out of your socks by books, you should also check out 20 Must-Read Horror Books You’ve Never Heard Of , We Scare You To Read This: Exciting 2022 Horror Books, and be sure to sign up for our horror newsletter The Fright Stuff !

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short story books horror

short horror stories?

short story books horror

i'm looking for some shorter horror stories/books under 200 pages!

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Can’t recommend Night Shift by Steven King enough. It’s his first shorty story collection and has some absolute classics in there. Haunting of hill House is also short and a good novel although it wasn’t my favorite.

"Skeleton Crew", by King, is also great.

For my contribution, I recommend the "Best Horror of the Year" anthologies, edited by Ellen Datlow. They aren't all great (of course), but there are some stories for every taste across the years.

“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” By Joyce Carol Oates.

Try The Wendigo by Algernon blackwood!

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream is super short and an absolute classic! You can find free pdfs of it online super easily since it's from the 60s

Amazing story. Sticks with you

Yesterday I finished Ring Shout by P Djèlí Clark. Speculative fiction set in 1922 United States. The Ku Klux Klan consists of literal monsters and a young black woman fights them. Highly highly recommend

This one was excellent!!

Just read Unicorn Wasteland by Emma Alice Johnson. It was great! 64 pages.

Thanks for the recommendation!

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh is also great! More fantasy than horror.

If you haven’t checked out Seanan Mcguire’s Wayward Children series, they are all short and a varying mix of fantasy and horror.

Peekers by Kealan Patrick Burke scared the shit out of me. Still does whenever I reread it.

Where to find this?

Juniper by Ross Jeffrey

Occultation or The Imago Sequence, two collections by Laird Barron. Or Wounds and North American Lake Monsters, two collections by Nathan Balingrud.

The Two Sams by Glen Hirshberg (short stories) and Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones (novella)

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Classic horror: the 10 most terrifying short stories ever written

The short story is the perfect medium to deliver a quick, intense burst of fear.

short story books horror

Horror works most effectively in concentrated, intense bursts – which is why the short story has always been its great literary medium. The horror short story flourished in great anthologies, often containing unforgettable works by forgotten writers, or by familiar writers straying into unfamiliar territory, as well as by established genre titans. Here are 10 of the best – stories which have haunted me for years, which I can’t get out of my head. Think of them as doors into secret gardens, or haunted attics, or forbidden cellars. Go and search them out - if you dare.

Robert Aickman – Into the Wood (1968) Margaret Sawyer, the wife of a prosperous Manchester building contractor, is bored and unsatisfied with her life. She travels to Sweden on a business trip with her husband, where she finds herself staying overnight at the Kurhus, a sanitorium for insomniacs, some of whom have not slept for years (there is a young girl who has never slept in her life). Insomniacs, she is told, are unearthly and mysterious, and often seem to acquire foresight; they are like trolls, like lost souls, like witches, like vampires. Sleepers cannot live with them for long, and drive them out. And so they find themselves in the Kurhus, where they wander the labyrinth of paths in the wood all night. This is horror for the connoisseur. Aickman was a magnificent writer of short fiction at its most unsettling and uncanny – in the Freudian sense of not being at home with oneself. Caught in the right mood, his stories are unforgettable. Faber recently did the world the inestimable service of bringing many of his books back into print.

Conrad Aiken – Mr Arcularis (1931) A middle-aged Harvard professor, recovering from surgery, takes a voyage to Europe on a ship which, he learns, is also carrying a corpse home to Ireland. The ship is fogbound, surrounded by icebergs. Mr Arcularis begins to dream that he is walking through the stars, and starts sleepwalking. He is constantly cold. On board the ship, he meets people who remind him of other people: a travelling companion who looks like a woman he met at the hospital; a doctor who looks like his father. He encounters a chess-playing clergyman. He keeps hearing the same piece of music over and over again. Conrad Aiken's dazzlingly literary story is in a tradition of metaphysical sea-stories, from Poe to Melville to Conrad. Aiken was a distinguished poet and a friend of TS Eliot, with whom he shares a Modernist sense of contemporary humanity as the walking dead. Profoundly frightening (especially for middle-aged professors) and unbearably sad.

Sir Andrew Caldecott – Branch Line to Benceston (1947) A London music publisher travels by train to a non-existent seaside resort called Benceston, where he kills his hated business partner, and is found guilty of murder. Back at home with his friends, he awaits the appointed hour of his execution in what he thinks is an alternate reality. Andrew Caldecott took to writing fiction late in life, after retiring from the colonial service – he was governor of Hong Kong and then of Ceylon in the 1930s and 1940s. What's striking about Branch Line to Benceston is not just its uncanny sense of the possibility of living two different lives in two different realities at the same time, but also its contemporary postwar setting of city commuters and Green Belt suburbanisation. Could it be that what's really terrifying here is not the unreal branch line but the real main line, whose commuters all take the same train every day for the rest of their lives?

Oscar Cook – His Beautiful Hands (1931) "Mr A", a celebrated concert violinist, is irresistibly drawn to a Paulina, a Javanese manicurist, who cares for his fingers like no one else. Paulina becomes his lover, and gets pregnant. One by one, Mr A's fingers start to get infected. Then they start to rot. Then they fall off. Oscar Cook was a kind of pulp Conrad, using his decade running a large chunk of Borneo as the basis for a series of memorably gruesome and ghoulish tales of colonial horror, generally featuring cannibalism, sexual revenge or unspeakable rites. This is a seriously nasty and perverse little number. You'll feel like washing your hands afterwards – but maybe it's best not to.

Amelia B Edwards – The Phantom Coach (1864) A honeymooning lawyer, out walking on the Yorkshire moors, gets lost in a snowstorm, and takes refuge in the house of a reclusive scholar. As he is shown the way to the post road, he hears the tragic story of a mail coach accident nine years previously, in which all six people on board were killed. Out of the night, he sees a mail coach coming . . . Edwards's classic ghost story is a staple of anthologies, one of the best of a great tradition of Victorian women's ghost stories. But what lingers in the mind here is not the phantom coach itself (we could all see that coming), but the recluse, a white-maned magus living alone on the moors, whose walls are covered in occult symbols, and who seems to summon up the story's supernatural apparition.

Stanley Ellin – The Specialty of the House (1948) A businessman takes a colleague to Sbirro's, "the restaurant without pretensions", where the clientele is very select and the food irresistible. The house speciality, Lamb Amirstan, is rarely served, but is the most delicious meal ever created . . . This is the best story ever published in Herbert van Thal's long-running Pan Book of Horror Stories series, and was brilliantly filmed in 1959 for Alfred Hitchcock Presents , with Robert Morley as the hapless diner.

WF Harvey – August Heat (1910) On a stifling day, an artist draws a picture of a man on trial. He goes for a walk, and finds himself at the workplace of a monumental mason. The mason has the face of the man on trial – and he's working on a gravestone with the artist's name on it. Is there anything scarier than precognition –the uncanny sense of being haunted by the future, or that you have been here before? Harvey's startling little masterpiece is the best story of its kind.

Marghanita Laski – The Tower (1955) Driving through Italy, a woman happens upon the Tower of Sacrifice, a high tower standing alone outside Florence, reputedly built by a Renaissance Satanist. Rather against her better judgement, she stops the car and decides to climb the tower. Laski was a brilliant, chainsmoking journalist, intellectual, biographer and lexicographer who somehow found time to write fiction as well. Best not to say too much about The Tower , as the pleasure's all in the reading. It's a strong contender for the scariest story ever written.

M S Waddell – The Little Girl Eater (1964) A man is trapped by a falling girder under a pier on a beach. The tide is coming in. He sees a little girl, who goes for help – but her mother's lover tells her that this is the Little Girl Eater, who lives under the pier. This seriously mean-spirited and unpleasant tale is a bit of a curio. It's credited to "Septimus Dale", but seems to have been written by the Belfast children's writer Martin Waddell (who borrowed the pseudonym from a character in Leslie Charteris's Saint novels). One of the nastiest stories ever written. It's sensational.

Edith Wharton – Afterward (1910) An American couple moves into a grandly dilapidated Dorset house that is haunted by a ghost which, they are told, you only recognise as one long after the fact. Edith Wharton is by far the best-known, most straightforwardly canonical writer on this list. But, like Henry James, with whom she is often associated, she was drawn to the ghost story, as well as to tales of American cultural encounters with Europe. Afterward is both. It's another unforgettably uncanny tale of precognition, but it is also a politically thought-provoking story with a serious economic point of view. Ned Boyne, who has retired to Dorset from the US after making his fortune in mining, is writing a book on "the Economic Basis of Culture", and may have come to his life of cultured leisure through a fraudulent business deal which had tragic consequences.

Darryl Jones is the author of Sleeping With the Lights On: The Unsettling Story of Horror (OUP, £10.99)


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 Stephen King at home in Maine, US.

Top 10 horror short stories

With Halloween looming, these tales by authors from Shirley Jackson to Stephen King are guaranteed to keep you awake as the nights close in

I n the foreword to his anthology Skeleton Crew, Stephen King launched a memorable defence of the horror short story. No, they weren’t failed novels. Neither were they ideas he couldn’t bring himself to bin. Comparing a novel to a long affair, he saw the short story as a “quick kiss in the dark with a stranger … but those kisses can be sweet”.

He is right, of course. Some of literature’s most enduring nightmares are short-form. MR James never wrote a novel. Neither did HP Lovecraft . I would argue that their enduring appeal is also ingrained in our childhood: they’re the bedtime story, the vicious Grimms’ fairytale, the ghost story shared around a crackling campfire.

Along with the Pan horror anthologies I inhaled as a kid, it was those memories I tried to recapture when I wrote my own collection, Silverweed Road . Set on a cursed suburban street, the horrors lurking behind each door unlock tales of were-foxes, predatory swimming pools, vengeful urns and a darts player’s pact with the devil.

While all of the stories interlink to form a weird horror ecosystem, I was never chasing a sustained chill. What I was after was that brief, pleasing trickle of fear only a short story can deliver: what I like to call the pleasure shiver. As the sun sinks, the nights close in and spooky season creeps ever closer, what better time to experience a pleasure shiver or 10?

Horror is a many-tentacled beast. From phantom staircases to sinister taxidermists, here are some favourites – but I readily admit to some painful omissions (no Poe, no Kafka, no Blackwood, I could go on) so I eagerly await your comments.

1. The Tower by Marghanita Laski 
 On a stifling tour of Florence, newlywed Caroline breaks free from her controlling husband to explore the Italian countryside. Beyond a dusty track, on a distant hill, a stone tower beckons … As Caroline journeys up its spiral staircase – counting each step, relishing her freedom – the walls close in on her impossible ascent. Or is it descent? While the phallic tower as a patriarchal totem feels a little obvious, what Laski recounts in sparse prose is anything but: the horror is abstract, the fear suffocating, and Caroline’s fate lurks long in the mind. By the end, you’ll be gripping the page like a rusty handrail. Laski was best known as a vinegary literary critic. The Tower was a rare foray into horror. I wish she had written more.

In the Bag by Ramsey Campbell “The boy’s faced struggled within the plastic bag … His eyes were grey blank holes, full of fog beneath the plastic.” So begins the haunting of Clarke – a militant headmaster who feels no guilt for suffocating his playmate during a childhood prank, long ago yet not forgotten … There is something distinctly, darkly Nabokovian about Campbell’s fiction: a shared obsession with the enigma of memory, and how we cope with it. In the Bag is a masterful example: his blurring of past trauma with the supernatural is the literary equivalent of knitting fog. Clarke’s cruel fate is exceptionally nasty. Like all great horror stories, it ends with a gasp.

 3. Survivor Type by Stephen King 
 Of King’s 200-plus stories, I always come back to this one. Offering a day-by-day narrative drive, the diary is perfect for short stories. In Survivor Type, disgraced surgeon turned drug smuggler Richard Pine finds himself marooned on a barren island. As he awaits rescue, entries in his lifeboat logbook pass the time. Nobody comes. There’s nothing to eat. He sharpens a knife and looks at his leg … Oh boy. No ghosts, aliens, or killer clowns. Just auto-cannibalism and stark human horror. King at his most transgressive, and best consumed on an empty stomach.

4. The Landlady by Roald Dahl 
 Poor Billy Weaver. Just turned 17, sent to Bath on a work trip, lost, tired and with nowhere to stay. A cheap B&B and a smiling old landlady offer salvation. And she must be nice because she has pets … Dahl’s unflashy prose is his secret weapon. The simple style disarms you, only before Dahl plunges in the knife. I won’t ruin the twist but the foreshadowing is exquisitely devious. The silent dachshund by the fire. The guest book with only two names. The landlady praising Billy’s beautiful teeth. Dahl wrote The Landlady as a ghost story, scowled at it, then changed the ending. Wise move.

5. The Forbidden by Clive Barker 
 When Books of Blood was unleashed in 1984, Stephen King said: “I have seen the future of horror – and his name is Clive Barker .” With six volumes and 30 stories, what do I pick? The man-made giants of In the Hills, the Cities? The Body Politic’s army of skittering hands? The demonic slapstick of The Yattering and Jack? To hell with it: let’s go with The Forbidden. Candyman is a fine Hollywood adaptation, but in relocating it sacrifices the cold, wintry dread of Barker’s Spector Street Estate: a graffiti-ravaged brutalist pit of social-realist despair where its urban legend looms.

Michael Hordern in Whistle and I’ll Come to You, the 1968 film adaptation of MR James’s story.

6. Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come To You, My Lad by MR James 
 Quintessential James. A callow academic unearths an artefact (a bronze whistle on a shingle beach). An ancient, unknowable force is unleashed (in a two-bed room at the Globe Inn). The subtly uncoiling doom is very Jamesian: a white figure glimpsed in a window, a freshly made bed, mysteriously twisted. Oh, Whistle’s final reveal of “a horrible, an intensely horrible, face of crumpled linen” left me petrified the first time I read it, and my battered copy of his Collected Ghost Stories suggests I’m a glutton for punishment.

7. The October Game by Ray Bradbury 
 Halloween. A suburban house. Mich shuts the gun back in the drawer. Too fast. Too neat. He wants his wife Louise to suffer … From The Veldt to Free Dirt, Bradbury was a master of creepy slow-burners, but he really reached into the abyss for this one. Gouged out in 1948, The October Game’s portrait of a sadistic spouse remains shocking. When Mich invites his wife, daughter and neighbours to play “the witch game” in their pitch-black cellar, Bradbury’s maxim of “hint, don’t show” hits full-force. Dread mingles with the sound of children’s laughter. You daren’t look. Then the cellar lights flash on. At which point, Bradbury abandons you, leaving you alone to your squirming imagination.

 8. The Dunwich Horror by HP Lovecraft To the domed hills of Arkham and an unseen entity, growing in a farmhouse fit to burst. Reducing mankind to an insignificant speck in a malignant universe of cosmic gods, Lovecraft is a sub-genre unto himself, and Dunwich is practically Lovecraft bingo: there are rituals, tentacles, summonings, the Necronomicon, ineffable evils and, in mutant Wilbur Whateley, his greatest character. No matter how many times I’ve read the description of his dog-mauled corpse, I still fan my armpits in feverish confusion (“The goatish, chinless face … coarse black fur … tentacles with red sucking mouths … on each of the hips, deep set in a pinkish ciliated orbit, was what seemed to be a rudimentary eye”). Some find Lovecraft’s decadent prose a turn-off. I’d say it’s key to the madness.

9. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson In The Haunting of Hill House, the incomparable Shirley Jackson delivered horror lit’s scariest line (“God! Whose hand was I holding?”). The Lottery is, for my money, her most terrifying vision of all. It’s a bright, blooming summer’s day in a bucolic village. Laughing children play with stones as the villagers gather around a box. Old Man Warner speaks: “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon …” There are no winners in Jackson’s chilling parable of blind faith. Every interpretation – be it organised religion, capital punishment, mob rule – remains both valid and depressingly timeless. Ironically, Jackson weathered a truly frightening aftermath post-publication: hate mail by the sack-load, as viciously unthinking as The Lottery’s villagers.

10. The Horla by Guy de Maupassant 
 Featuring a vaporous vampiric entity whose persistent, ever-watchful presence drives its genteel protagonist into madness, it was actually a Frenchman who popularised the malevolent, bump-in-the-night, kneel-on-your-chest ghost story. The climax is ruthless but The Horla’s lasting power is in its understanding that terror comes from the unknown and unglimpsed, and went on to inspire Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos.

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100 Favorite Books

Click if you dare: 100 favorite horror stories.

Petra Mayer at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2019. (photo by Allison Shelley)

Petra Mayer

Happy Halloween! A few years ago, we celebrated Frankenstein's 200th birthday by dedicating our summer reader poll to horror stories. We got more than 7,000 nominations and winnowed them down to a list of 100 spine-tingling titles. (Of course, lots has been published since then. After you get through these 100 you can check out this list of 13 new chilling and thrilling tales.) Enjoy!

Who doesn't love a good scary story, something to send a chill across your skin in the middle of summer's heat — or really, any other time? And this year, we're celebrating the 200th birthday of one of the most famous scary stories of all time: Frankenstein.

It's Aliiiiiive! This Year, Our Summer Reader Poll Is All About Horror

NPR Reader Poll

It's aliiiiiive this year, our summer reader poll is all about horror.

Summer Horror Poll: Meet Our Expert Panelists!

Summer Horror Poll: Meet Our Expert Panelists!

H.P. Lovecraft And The Shadow Over Horror

H. P. Lovecraft And The Shadow Over Horror

A few months ago, we asked you to nominate your favorite horror novels and stories, and then we assembled an expert panel of judges to take your 7,000 nominations and turn them into a final, curated list of 100 spine-tingling favorites for all kinds of readers. Want to scar your children for life? We can help. Want to dig into the dark, slimy roots of horror? We've got you covered.

As with our other reader polls, this isn't meant to be a ranked or comprehensive list — there are a few horror books you won't see on it, despite their popularity — some didn't stand the test of time, some just didn't catch our readers' interest, and in some cases our judges would prefer you see the movie instead . (So no Jaws , sorry.) And there are a few titles that aren't strictly horror, but at least have a toe in the dark water, or are commenting about horrific things, so our judges felt they deserved a place on the list.

Let's Get Graphic: 100 Favorite Comics And Graphic Novels

Summer Reader Poll 2017: Comics And Graphic Novels

Let's get graphic: 100 favorite comics and graphic novels.

Happy Ever After: 100 Swoon-Worthy Romances

100 Best Books

Happy ever after: 100 swoon-worthy romances.

One thing you won't see on the list is any work from this year's judges, Stephen Graham Jones, Ruthanna Emrys, Tananarive Due and Grady Hendrix. Readers did nominate them, but the judges felt uncomfortable debating the inclusion of their own work — so it's up to me to tell you to find and read their excellent books! I personally, as a gigantic horror wuss, owe a debt of gratitude to this year's judges, particularly Hendrix, for their help writing summaries for all the list entries. I'd be hiding under the bed shuddering without their help.

And a word about Stephen King: Out of almost 7,000 nominations you sent in, 1,023 of them were for the modern master of horror. That's a lot of Stephen King! In past years, we've resisted giving authors more than one slot on the list (though we made an exception for Nora Roberts during the 2015 romance poll — and she's basically the Stephen King of romance.) In the end, we decided that since so much classic horror is in short story format, we would allow authors one novel and one short story if necessary.

So screw your courage to the sticking point, and dive into this year's list! Here are some quick links to make it easier for you to navigate:

Blood Roots , Zombies And Vampires And Werewolves , The Fear In Our Stars , Horrible Homes , Final Girls , Horribly Ever After , Hell Is Other People , Short And Sharp , Scar Your Children , The Kids Aren't All Right .

Blood Roots: Foundational Horror


by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Mary Shelley's tragically misunderstood monster turns 200 this year, and he is still lurching along, one of the most influential creations ever committed to the page. While reviewers at the time condemned Shelley's "diseased and wandering imagination," her vision of human knowledge and technological advancement outstripping humanity's ability (or inclination) to use that knowledge responsibly still resonates today.

by Bram Stoker

OK, it wasn't the first vampire novel, but Bram Stoker's most famous work was certainly the first book to pull together all the qualities we now associate with vampires — except the sparkling: Transylvanian, aristocratic, dangerous to young women, so, basically Bela Lugosi (who was actually Hungarian, but oh, that accent). Much like its monstrous companion Frankenstein , Dracula wasn't initially regarded as a classic — but once the film adaptations began to appear, it quickly achieved legendary status.

'Young Goodman Brown'

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story is the ur-American horror tale. Published in 1835, it's short and savage: A young husband travels through the dark woods and stumbles upon a satanic orgy. Everyone he knows is there, including his lovely young wife. Then he wakes up in his own bed. Was it all a dream, or do his neighbors lead secret double lives? Is his wife a blushing bride or an emissary from hell? Modern America still lives in the shadow of these implications.

'The Tell-Tale Heart'

by Edgar Allan Poe

Why do you think I'm mad? I'm just nervous. Nervous, I swear. Look at how calmly I can write up this summary of one of Edgar Allan Poe's most famous stories, about an unnamed narrator recounting how he killed the old man with the "evil eye." It wasn't the man, you see, but his "evil eye"! But what's that noise? Louder! Louder! Louder! It is the beating of his hideous heart!

by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

"I have been in love with no one, and never shall," whispers the lovely vampire, "unless it should be with you." Long before Dracula had any brides, Sheridan Le Fanu's deliciously shivery novella gave readers a thrill with its barely-veiled lesbian subtext. Though lesser known than Bram Stoker's work, "Carmilla" was a great influence on Dracula — and a classic in its own right.

'The Turn Of The Screw'

by Henry James

Nobody's entirely sure what evil lurks at the heart of Henry James' seminal story, but we can all agree that it's creepy as heck. Written in the form of a manuscript by a former governess, now dead, it describes her experiences caring for two unfortunate children on a country estate that may or may not be haunted by the ghosts of former estate workers ... who may or may not be communing with or somehow controlling the children. As with several of the stories on this list, readers are left to judge whether the horrors are real or whether our narrator is merely mad.

'The Great God Pan'

by Arthur Machen

Creating a hole in a human head is almost never a good idea, particularly when it's done by a mad scientist who wants to open up the skulls of mankind to the spiritual world. This story of a half-divine woman who inveigles men to their doom shocked critics in its time — and was a major influence on H.P. Lovecraft and authors in his orbit. (And the great god Pan here isn't much like the Pan of Greek myths; he is closer to being one of the Lovecraft-inspired Elder Gods.)

'The Monkey's Paw'

by W. W. Jacobs

That old saying about being careful what you wish for predates W.W. Jacobs' classic spooky story — but there may be no better illustration than this tale of a father, a son and three wishes gone horribly wrong. "'The Monkey's Paw' gets us to do the work of dreaming up the monster on the other side of the door. But it's no less real for that. Really, it's more real, probably," says judge Stephen Graham Jones.

'The Willows'

by Algernon Blackwood

Two friends, never named — though one, we learn, is "devoid of imagination," so remember that as you read — are on a canoe trip down the Danube during its summer floods. This seems foolhardy enough, but then they decide to make camp on an island that turns out to be packed with monstrous, night-walking willow trees who definitely don't want them there. This story was reportedly one of H.P. Lovecraft's favorites, and we can see why.

'The Yellow Wallpaper'

by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Charlotte Perkins Gilman drew on her own experience of illness and powerlessness for "The Yellow Wallpaper" — prescribed a "rest cure" for her nerves, she was forbidden to work, to touch pen or pencil, allowed only two hours' intellectual stimulation a day and commanded to live as domestic a life as possible. It nearly broke her, and she later said she wrote this story of a young woman driven mad by a rest cure and some unfortunate wallpaper as a direct message to her doctor.

'Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad'

by M. R. James and Darryl Jones

Between 1904 and 1925, M.R. James, an ascetic British scholar who lived his entire life at boys' schools, either as a student or a professor, turned out four short story collections that transformed ethereal phantoms into hideously corporeal apparitions with too many teeth, too much hair and plenty of soft, spongy skin. His characters merely had to read the wrong book, collect the wrong artifact or bump into the wrong person on the street, and soon one of his creations would be slithering into their safe spaces — their warm bedsheets, their cozy parlor, their beloved study — and enveloping their faces in a soggy, smothering touch.

Zombies And Vampires And Werewolves: Oh My

The werewolf of paris.

by Guy Endore

Kind of a Les Miserables for lycanthropes, Guy Endore's 1933 novel is The Great American Werewolf Novel. A man journeys through 19th century France, seeking to destroy his nephew — whom he suspects of having inherited the family curse — and along the way giving readers a tour of man's appetite for carnage, with stops during the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune. What does it matter, Endore asks, if a werewolf kills a few people, in the face of a political system that kills thousands?

I Am Legend

by Richard Matheson

Richard Matheson's novel about the last man left after a plague turns humanity into vampire-zombie hybrids is as much a meditation on loneliness as it is a horror story. (Spoiler alert: Things don't end well for the dog.) I Am Legend was turned into several movies, and it was also a major influence on horror master George Romero, who once said he had taken the idea for Night of the Living Dead from Matheson's novel.

Let The Right One In

by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Sometimes we'll tell you to see the movie and skip the book, but in this case, you should read the book, too. Lonely, bullied Oskar befriends his new neighbor, Eli — who seems to be a 12-year-old girl, but is actually a centuries-old vampire. She has a few other secrets, too, but we'll let you find those out on your own. Let the Right One In is a skillfully spooky mix of horrors supernatural — vampirism — and sadly mundane — alcoholism, bullying and child abuse.

The Vampire Chronicles (First Triology)

by Anne Rice

In 1976, Anne Rice released Interview with the Vampire and no one much cared. In 1985, she released the swaggering, sexy The Vampire Lestat to massive sales, which retroactively turned Interview into a bestseller. What had changed? AIDS. Suddenly, everyone got scared of blood and bodily contact. Rice's sensuous, sexy vampires with their raw desire seemed suddenly so much more dangerous and decadent, like a raised middle finger to condoms and fear. The party continued with the third book, Queen of the Damned , but the series began to stutter after that.

Minion (Vampire Huntress Legend Series)

by L. A. Banks

Author L. A. Banks was a pioneer in black supernatural fiction and horror, says our judge Tananarive Due — and this saga of Damali, a young spoken-word artist who discovers she is part of an ancient struggle between good and evil will appeal to both fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and True Blood . But Banks adds extra layers of African spirituality, mythology and musical knowledge — Damali's guardians and guides travel with her in the guise of her backup band, camouflaging their weapons as instruments.

by Alma Katsu

The real Donner Party apparently wasn't scary enough for Alma Katsu, who recasts the story of the infamously ill-fated pioneers as supernatural horror. We know the Donner Party, trapped by snow in the Sierra Nevadas, turned to cannibalism to survive the winter – but what if there was more to it? What if it wasn't plain old wolves that killed that young boy and stripped his flesh? What if ... something ... is following the wagon train as the snows close in, tempers fray and death circles closer?

Those Across The River

by Christopher Buehlman

World War I veteran Frank finds himself broke and unemployed in the midst of the Great Depression, so he decides to try for a fresh start by moving back the rural Georgia town where his family once owned a plantation and writing a book about the estate and the awful events that happened there. Needless to say, this is a bad idea. Those Across the River is one of many books on this list that dig into the ways that humanity's great evils — war and slavery — can haunt countries and generations.

by Josh Malerman

Something is out there — something you can't see. Something you must not see, because one glimpse will drive you violently insane. In Josh Malerman's near-future apocalypse, it has been five years since "The Problem" began, and only a few survivors are left. One of them is a young woman with two small children in tow, who must get them 20 miles to safety, all while blindfolded to avoid catching sight of the mysterious horrors.

Feed (Newsflesh Series)

by Mira Grant

What if journalism was our last line of defense against a zombie apocalypse? (As a journalist, I ... well, actually no, this book scared the bejesus out of me.) In Mira Grant's zombified world of 2040, humanity is confined to tightly patrolled safe zones and bloggers are their primary source of entertainment and information. Brother and sister team Georgia and Shaun Mason are chronicling a presidential campaign convoy that gets attacked by zombies — leading them to uncover a vast conspiracy to use fear of zombies to force social change.

World War Z

by Max Brooks

Inspired by actual oral histories of World War II, Max Brooks' zombie-apocalypse novel chronicles a world on the brink of collapse after a zombie plague. In Brooks' dystopian vision, corporate malfeasance, government repression and incompetence allow the plague to run wild, eventually leaving just a remnant of humanity left to start planning a D-Day (Z-Day?) style attempt to retake the world from the mindless hunger of the zombies.

The Girl With All The Gifts

by M. R. Carey

Young Melanie — only 10 years old — isn't entirely sure why she needs armed guards or why she is so different from the adults who feed and educate her. And then she gets her first taste of human flesh. Melanie is one of the "hungries," humans infected by the cordyceps fungus (which exists in our world for real, though it mostly attacks insects ), and a lot of the horror in M.R. Carey's novel — apart from all the gooily gross descriptions of the infected — comes from what the few remaining "normal" humans do in the face of a fungal apocalypse.

The Fear In Our Stars: Cosmic Horror And Weird Fiction

'the shadow over innsmouth'.

by H. P. Lovecraft

"Even among unrepentant Lovecraft readers, 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth' can start arguments," says judge Ruthanna Emrys, our resident Lovecraft expert. "The Deep Ones, hybrids between humans and their ancient, aquatic brethren, are among Lovecraft's most compelling creations, and it's a rare Lovecraftian anthology that doesn't include a story or five about their amphibious exploits. On the other hand, Lovecraft's terror of Other People is on full display here. Close parallels are drawn between having kids with non-human monsters and having kids with natives of Pacific islands, and there are repeated shudders over Innsmouth folk speaking languages other than English . If you can handle this sort of thing it's an entertaining read; whether you read it or skip it, modern takes like Sonya Taaffe's 'All Our Salt-Bottled Hearts' — also on this list — provide compelling alternatives." Emrys has also written a thoughtful essay for us on how to think about Lovecraft — check it out.

The Ballad Of Black Tom

by Victor Lavalle

Victor LaValle grew up reading H.P. Lovecraft — but when he got older, he began to recognize the racism in those stories he had loved. The Ballad of Black Tom is a powerful response to Lovecraft's racism, taking one of his most hateful stories, "The Horror at Red Hook" and recasting it in the voice of a young black man in 1920s Harlem (and, let's not forget, making a much stronger story out of it). LaValle doesn't look away from this darkness at the root of modern horror — instead, he builds something strange and angry and new on top of it.

The Fisherman

by John Langan

Two men, Abe and Dan, have both lived through terrible losses. They take up fishing together, which sounds perfectly peaceful and soothing — until they decide to look for a fabled fishing spot called Dutchman's Creek, which doesn't exist on any maps. It does appear in legends, though, generally featuring a huge, scary monster — but Abe and Dan press on into the upstate New York wilderness, and untold horrors await.

Laundry Files (Series)

by Charles Stross

Charles Stross' Laundry Files series starts off as half spy-thriller pastiche, half satiric take on the practically-Lovecraftian horrors of office bureaucracy, but it quickly gets into actual horrors like war, fascism, climate change and the inability of humanity to stop metaphorically punching ourselves in the face. "Manages to be both funny and gut-churningly terrifying," says poll judge Ruthanna Emrys.

by Kathe Koja

The first novel for Kathe Koja and the first book published by Dell Abyss, a legendary experimental horror imprint, The Cipher struck like lightning and won the Bram Stoker Award for best novel. A pair of starving artists in a burned-out industrial helltown find a hole in their storage space that swallows anything, and it's not long before someone sticks their hand in — and then things get really weird. A shot fired across the bow of a horror industry that was becoming increasingly misogynistic and conservative, it reminded readers that another early name for horror literature was "the weird."

John Dies At The End

by David Wong

There's a drug, it's called soy sauce, and it lets people see into other dimensions. How long will it take for all hell to break loose? "David Wong is an editor for and his John Dies At the End books (three and counting) deliver the overeducated, undermotivated smarty-pants tone of the best Internet writing, in an anything-goes whirlwind of flying dogs, reality-warping drugs and monsters made out of frozen meat," says judge Grady Hendrix.

At The Mountains Of Madness

by H.P. Lovecraft

"'At the Mountains of Madness' is a classic of cosmic horror and one of Lovecraft's best stories," says judge Ruthanna Emrys. "The terrifying thing isn't meant to be the strange creatures — one hesitates to call them monsters — but the simple fact that all civilizations, all species, fall eventually to entropy. Of course, 'Mountains' inevitably shows off Lovecraft's own well-known prejudices as well, since what actually brings down the ancient civilization of the Elder Things is a slave revolt, with the story squarely on the side of the slaveholders. The definitive abolitionist shoggoth story has yet to be written (though Elizabeth Bear's award-winning 'Shoggoths in Bloom' is an excellent starting point)."

'All Our Salt-Bottled Hearts'

by Sonya Taaffe

What must it be like to know your family will all return to the deep to live forever under the waves in fabled Y'ha-nthlei — and to know that a genetic quirk dooms you forever to dry land? Or worse, to live trapped between wave and shore? Poll judge Ruthanna Emrys calls this story "my single favorite modern deconstruction of Lovecraft. ... Sonya [Taaffe] is among my favorite emerging voices and not nearly enough people have heard of her."

by Junji Ito

A dental technician turned manga artist, Junji Ito is one of horror's singular visionaries. He employs tight, precise draftsmanship to deliver stories that are hard to read, not because they can become grotesque, but because they take ideas (living over a greasy restaurant, falling in love with a house) and pursue them to their logical, and deeply disturbing, ends. While his short stories like "Hanging Balloons" and "Glyceride" are more upsetting than anything else on the market, most people discovered him through his epic, novel-length manga, Uzumaki , about a town where everyone is obsessed with spirals. If you think that sounds harmless, then you don't know Junji Ito.

Communion: A True Story

by Whitley Strieber

"How does a book published as nonfiction sneak onto a list of fiction?" asks judge Stephen Graham Jones. "Easy: Read it all as made up, while also, for the scare, completely and 100 percent (secretly) believing in it, because not believing in this case draws a bull's-eye on your back that can only be seen from the sky." Our judges had a hard time deciding between Communion and Whitley Strieber's equally scary fictional Roswell alien tale Majestic -- so why not read them both?

'The Repairer Of Reputations'

by Robert W. Chambers

Robert W. Chambers' "King in Yellow" stories "are a foundational classic that doesn't get as much attention as Lovecraft for the simple reason that there are only four of them," says our judge Ruthanna Emrys. "This is the best of the lot and a sterling example of a story where the narrative undermines the narrator's prejudices (and eventually everything else he says). It starts with the main character talking approvingly about a rising fascist movement complete with 'suicide chambers' and forced removal of Jews, but quickly becomes obvious that the author is not in sympathy." She also points out that Chambers was one of the first authors to imagine a book (or in this case a play) that harms its readers.

Horrible Homes: Ghosts And Hauntings

The haunting of hill house.

by Shirley Jackson

One of the finest haunted house novels of the 20th century — if not any other century. A scientist convenes a group of four paranormally-experienced people at a mysteeeerious mansion, hoping to find some concrete evidence of the supernatural. What could go wrong? A lot, it turns out, as things begin to go bump in the night, and one of the four, Eleanor Vance, seems fall further and further under the house's evil spell. But are the ghosts real? Or is Eleanor just disturbed? The uncertainty is part of the scare.

The House Next Door

by Anne Rivers Siddons

Anne Rivers Siddons was best known for writing posh fiction about posh Southern people when she turned out this perfect haunted house novel. Taking one part economic anxiety from Robert Marasco's Burnt Offerings , one part emotional unease from Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House , and adding her own observations about Southern yuppies, she updated the haunted house formula to include this beautiful, modern home that wages unrelenting psychic warfare against its owners. Everyone has felt, at some point or another, that their house hates them. Siddons' book explains exactly how much.

Burnt Offerings

by Robert Marasco

At first, haunted house books were about intrepid investigators unraveling the secrets of a cursed fixer-upper (see: The Haunting of Hill House ). But Robert Marasco knows what really scares us: Money. Burnt Offerings created the formula of a family getting a fabulous deal on a piece of property they can't possibly afford, then being brutally punished for their sins. In this 1973 novel, Dad tries to drown Junior, Mom becomes an obsessive neat freak and Grandma's health fails, until the only thing they can do is run screaming into the night, losing their entire deposit. Every modern haunted house book about a deal that is too good to be true — from The Amityville Horror to The Shining — has its roots here.

The Shining

by Stephen King

"The Shining is one of those rare novels in which the premise pulls us in immediately," says judge Stephen Graham Jones, "before we're even through listening to the whole sentence: A writer at an empty hotel for the whole winter — and just like that, we're racing down those hallways, throwing balls at the wall, no schedule, a stocked pantry, a typewriter waiting over there and thousands of feet of floor space for us to fill with our imaginations."

House Of Leaves

by Mark Z. Danielewski

Mark Z. Danielewski was weird right from the start , as his debut novel House of Leaves amply proves (even the footnotes have footnotes, and eventually they take on a life of their own). Partly a haunted house story, partly a love story, partly an account of a fictional film, partly a saga of mental illness — and did we mention that it's written in different colors for different concepts and multiple fonts to designate the multiple narrators? -- House of Leaves will rummage around in your mind and leave it ever-so-slightly different afterwards.

The Elementals

by Michael McDowell

Proclaimed "the finest writer of paperback originals in America today" by Stephen King, Michael McDowell spent his career slumming in the low-rent paperback trade — but that didn't keep him from becoming one of the great 20th century chroniclers of Southern life. Rooted in Alabama, McDowell's characters explored haunted houses choked by sand dunes, pierced their dead mother's hearts with ceremonial knives and married into families of amphibious river monsters but remained always recognizably human. Though he is best known for writing the screenplay for Beetlejuice and contributing to the one for The Nightmare Before Christmas , McDowell's books are being rediscovered now by readers who want more humanity with their chills.

The Woman In Black

by Susan Hill

The heir to M.R. James' tradition of quiet, chilly ghost stories, leavened with some of Daphne Du Maurier's keen psychological insight, Susan Hill has spent years tending her small corner of the horror garden. Her 1983 novel, The Woman in Black , is essentially a slim thesis on the return of the repressed, but it has had an enormous impact, spawning a viewer-scarring BBC adaptation in 1989 and a two-person stage play in 1987 that has become one of the longest-running plays in West End history. Reading Susan Hill feels like standing in a dark room and feeling an ice-cold child's hand slip into yours.

by Bret Easton Ellis

A lot of readers voted for Bret Easton Ellis' best-known work, the slasher novel American Psycho. But our judges felt that Lunar Park was a stronger choice."You go into Lunar Park knowing it's a novel," says Stephen Graham Jones, "but then Bret Easton Ellis tricks you into forgetting that, at which point he can set up scare after scare, run you through this navel-gazing haunted house of a life — not necessarily his . But maybe."

The Bone Key

by Sarah Monette

Shy, awkward museum archivist Kyle Murchison Booth gets tangled up with all sorts of supernatural creepies in Sarah Monette's story collection — sometimes literally, as in the case of the demon lover whose touch leaves scars on his skin. In her introduction, Monette says she was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and M.R. James, but our judge Ruthanna Emrys says that unlike Lovecraft, "Monette makes these into intense character studies where every ghost and monster provides a window into Booth's anxious, lonely psyche."

Wylding Hall

by Elizabeth Hand

A British acid-folk band retreats to a remote old country house for the summer to regroup and write music after one of their singers dies. But ... something ... is there with them. Or maybe it's not? They are, after all, all completely out of their minds on various substances the whole summer. Maybe there's a reason for all those dead birds in the house, for the doors that are locked and then unlocked, for all those odd little details that add up, day after day, reality fracturing a little more — until it breaks.

by Aaron Campbell , Jose Villarrubia , Pornsak Pichetshote and Jeff Powell

It's hard to tell what's scarier in this comic series about a Muslim woman and her multiracial neighbors: the evil spirits that haunt their apartment building or the real-life hatred and xenophobia those spirits feed on. Or the shadowy, scratchy art by Aaron Campbell, which will give you creeps for days.

by Scott Smith

After Scott Smith's debut with a black-as-night best-selling thriller, A Simple Plan , everyone wanted to know he was going to do next. And it turned out that he wanted to do next was write about Yankee tourists getting trapped in Mexico by a sentient plant. The Ruins could have become a travelers' advisory on the dangers of Latin American tourism, but instead it's a cautionary tale about the risks of bumbling around foreign countries and assuming their culture and traditions only run as deep as what you see on the manicured grounds of your five-star resort.

Final Girls: Horror By And About Women

by Daphne du Maurier

Published in 1938, Rebecca wasn't just a massive sales success and it wasn't just the basis for a blockbuster 1940 Hitchcock film that won two Oscars — it also inspired a resurgence of gothic romances (those unavoidable books with covers featuring women running from houses) 20 years later. A tour de force of first-person narration, Rebecca sweeps readers into the point of view of a woman who feels so little right to exist that we never even learn her name. In 1960, Ace Books editor Jerry Gross relaunched the gothic romance after spotting his mother reading Rebecca . "They don't write like that anymore," she told him. She was right.

'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'

by Joyce Carol Oates

Sulky teenager Connie is tired of being compared to her perfect older sister. She wants to hang around with the older kids; she wants to talk to boys . What she gets is an encounter with one of horror's great monsters — Arnold Friend and his creepy gold car. Joyce Carol Oates has said this story was inspired by a real-life serial killer, but everything beyond that has been debated endlessly — is it a feminist fable? An allegory for the changes America was going through in the 1960s? Both? And what do those numbers on the side of Arnold's car mean?

The Red Tree

by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Sarah Crowe may be a novelist, a storyteller by nature, but she is the most unreliable of unreliable narrators in Caitlin R. Kiernan's dark tale of love, obsession and suicide. Sarah moves into a spooky old house, where she unearths a manuscript written by a former resident about his fixation on the gigantic red oak near the house. The tree seems to be connected to a series of murders and accidents ... but then, Sarah's own sanity is slipping, as reflected in the journal entries that tell her story.

by Robert McCammon

Just a magical girl and her dog ... up against unfathomable evil. Seven years after a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union blows America apart, the country is an unrecognizable hellscape, overrun by competing armies, poisoned by toxic rain and sunk in the permanent gloom of a nuclear winter. Young Swan — along with her dog Killer and her pro-wrestler buddy Josh — must face down the entity known as "Friend" to avert further horrors — and with her power over growing things, restore life on Earth.

'The Screwfly Solution'

by James Tiptree Jr.

This 1977 short story by Alice Sheldon is still scarily relevant today in its depiction of a world devastated by a disease that causes men to murder women, and the religious movement that helps justify the killings. Notably, Sheldon is better known by her pen name, James Tiptree Jr. — her true gender wasn't known until late in her career. And today, the James Tiptree Jr. Award is given for works of sci-fi and fantasy that expand our understanding of gender.

'Left Foot, Right'

by Nalo Hopkinson

Nalo Hopkinson "uses Caribbean mythology to create stories that are as horrific as they are character-driven and fresh," says judge Tananarive Due. And this story of loss and guilt and grief, of sparkly red shoes and a young woman coming to terms with an accident that cost several lives is both. It'll warm your heart at the same time it sends a chill down your spine.

Come Closer

by Sara Gran

Amanda has it all — a great career as an architect; a happy, tidy marriage ... and a strange voice in her head that tells her to shoplift, pick up random men and drop obscene prank documents on her boss's desk. And the dreams — at night, she dreams of a woman with sharp teeth, standing beside a bloody sea. Is this the demon Naamah, who has apparently been visiting Amanda since her childhood? Or is she just losing her mind? (Amanda herself is pretty certain it's a demon.)

by Livia Llewellyn

Perhaps we should put a content warning here: Poll judge Ruthanna Emrys says Livia Llewellyn's work is "occasionally X-rated, with a dash of Y, Z and WTFBBQ." However, she adds, "I'm a hard scare and it scares me." The stories in Furnace are surreal and gorgeously written, shot through with equal parts lust and confusion, dripping with bright blood. Read with care.

Horribly Ever After: Fantasy And Fairy Tale Horror

The bloody chamber.

by Angela Carter

A gallery of darkly glittering fairy tales, Angela Carter's 1979 book takes "Sleeping Beauty," "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Bluebeard" — among others — and mutates them until they're poisonous draughts of sex and death, garnished with baroque curlicues of sadomasochism and cruelty. A decadent, throbbing book in which the Beast licks off Beauty's flesh, the Erl-King is garroted with his own hair, and Little Red Riding Hood is warned about men who are "hairy on the inside" before throwing her clothes in the fire and seducing the wolf, it resulted in Neil Jordan's feverish and ravishing movie, The Company of Wolves .

Through The Woods

by Emily Carroll

Don't step foot in the forest — or if you choose to, read cartoonist Emily Carroll's short story collection first, so you get an idea of what you might be up against. Carroll's illustrations are shiveringly gorgeous, all bloody washes of red and icy blue shadows, spidery black and faint yellow glows in the darkness, woven through with skittering lines of story. "These are tales of strange things that come from or go into the woods — and what they did to people, or had done to them, along the way," says our reviewer Amal El-Mohtar.

by Neil Gaiman , Mike Dringenberg , Malcolm Jones III and Sam Kieth

Neil Gaiman's chronicle of Death's little brother Dream isn't strictly horror (he is more a mopey goth, annoying and still somehow compelling), but our judges agreed that vast swaths of his realm, the Dreaming, are pretty horrific. And then there is the 1989 story "24 Hours," about a villain who steals an artifact from Dream and uses it to trap a group of people in an all-night diner and torture them — forcing them to confess their sickest secrets, worship him as a god and ultimately kill each other in gruesomely beastly ways. Where's Dream? He shows up at the end and doesn't do much (*shudder*).

Her Body And Other Parties

by Carmen Maria Machado

Carmen Maria Machado's debut story collection is an unsettling mix of ghost stories, campfire tales, the things young girls whisper to scare one another at sleepovers (the woman with the ribbon around her neck, ugh) and even Law & Order reruns. They run the gamut from fairy tale to horror, but all of these stories consider the bodies and experiences of women, the violence visited on them and the ways they respond.

White Is For Witching

by Helen Oyeyemi

Teenage Miranda Silver is tormented by a craving for things that aren't food, like chalk and plastic, and as this early novel by Helen Oyeyemi opens, she is dealing with her mother's death and the malevolent spirits in her house. Lush and incantatory, packed with twins, strange hungers and hauntings, White is for Witching is a cornucopia of creepy scares.

'Goblin Market'

by Christina Georgina Rossetti

Oh Laura, oh Lizzie — maybe you should just have stayed home. But who can resist the temptations of "Figs to fill your mouth, Citrons from the South, Sweet to tongue and sound to eye?" And who wouldn't peep at goblin men, no matter how dire the consequences? I'll buy, I'll buy.

Experimental Film

by Gemma Files

There is a line you can draw between the ghosts and spirits of horror and the silver nitrate ghosts that flicker across the frames of early silent films, and Gemma Files makes the connection clear in Experimental Film . Film critic Lois is at a low point in her life when, one night at an experimental film screening, she sees a few fragments of mysterious silent footage featuring a woman in a shimmering dress, moving through fields and speaking to workers; this is Lady Midday, a spirit fading along with her films, who sees in Lois a chance to regain her powers.

Hell Is Other People: Real World Horrors

'the lottery'.

You know this story even if you haven't read it: A seemingly-idyllic New England village gathers for an annual lottery, at which it is gradually revealed that one resident will be stoned to death to ensure a good harvest. Outraged New Yorker readers canceled their subscriptions when "The Lottery" first appeared in 1948, appalled at Shirley Jackson's insinuation that their comfortable lives might be hiding horrors. But some letter writers wondered whether such rituals were real, and if so, where could they be seen?

The Collector

by John Fowles

The horrors in John Fowles' first novel are purely human — it is Fredrick's monstrous desire for and feelings of entitlement toward beautiful art student Miranda Grey that drives the story. Where before he had been happy collecting and immobilizing butterflies, now it's Miranda he must pin down and keep. And how dare she be so ungrateful, so unwilling?

by Dan Simmons

Give this to the Shackleton fan in your life, but then run away quickly. No heartwarming tale of ice-bound persistence here; The Terror takes on Sir John Franklin's ill-fated 1845 expedition in search of the Northwest Passage in which he and both his ships were lost. Franklin's real fate — frozen and starving, locked in the Arctic ice — is awful enough, but Dan Simmons ratchets up the horror with a mystery and a monster that looks like a giant polar bear.

by Dean R. Koontz

Our readers loved Dean Koontz, and our judges agreed that Intensity , his tale of a woman frantically fleeing a murderer, was their choice for the list and a natural fit in this category. There are no evil spirits here, no Elder Gods under the waves — just a tense duet between "homicidal adventurer" Edgler Vess, addicted to the intensity of experiences, and intended victim Chyna Shepherd, who turns the tables on Vess, risking her life to stop him.

The Girl Next Door

by Jack Ketchum

"The Girl Next Door takes us down step after step, until — too late — we realize we're in a small damp cellar, and then it grabs our head, makes us see what is going on over in the corner," says judge Stephen Graham Jones. "Worse, it leaves us there, doesn't allow us any of the usual outs, it makes us accept that this horror is a potential built into ... people? Society? All of us? Hopefully not, but if we don't guard against it, maybe so, too. The Girl Next Door is that guard."

Exquisite Corpse

by Poppy Z. Brite

The big star of the Dell Abyss imprint, Poppy Z. Brite (now Billy Martin) spoke in the language of the marginalized, the forgotten and the lost. Brite's first two novels, Lost Souls and Drawing Blood , were inspirational texts for goth kids, gay kids, lost kids, unwanted kids — basically everyone the Happy Shiny '90s didn't have room for — telling them that no matter what anyone said, they belonged. Exquisite Corpse , on the other hand, was a romance novel about two serial killers so bleak and unforgiving, it almost ended Brite's career.

"Night They Missed the Horror Show"

by Joe R. Lansdale

"Night They Missed the Horror Show" is "a story that doesn't flinch even once," says judge Stephen Graham Jones. "It's a story that looks straight on at terrible things, yeah — but the real power of this story is that it has a clear moral center. It pulls off that impossible trick of getting us to side with people we have no business siding with, and then it punishes us for our complicity, it punishes us for leering, it leaves us feeling dirty and compromised. When horror is really working, it works like this." (And a language warning — there's some ugly stuff here.)

by Dathan Auerbach

What hath the Internet wrought? To find the most original ghost stories these days, you have to dive into the online world of creepypasta: urban legends unleashed by anonymous authors online. Like a nest of squirming eels, these stories mutate, procreate and cross-pollinate with alarming speed and slipperiness, occasionally getting mistaken for reality. Penpal — and its close relative John Dies at the End — capture the spirit of online horror and trap it between two covers. Dathan Auerbach originally posted Penpal in serial form on Reddit's r/nosleep board, and while it loses something in book form, it's still a disconcerting tale about a kid who learns that his childhood may not have happened quite the way he remembers it.

by Joe Hill

Not strictly a vampire story, despite the license-plate pun of the title — but Joe Hill's tale of a child predator who whisks his quarry away to a place called Christmasland where their souls are imprisoned to the tune of sugary Christmas music is still plenty blood-chilling. With its biker heroine with supernatural gifts pursuing her classic-car-driving nemesis through roads real and strange, NOS4A2 is a wild ride.


by Octavia E. Butler

The aliens in Octavia Butler's short story are awful-looking insectoids who implant their eggs in human hosts, but that is actually not what is horrible in "Bloodchild." While there is a touch of body horror in Butler's depiction of male pregnancy, what is scary here is the queasily familial relationship between the alien Tlic and their human hosts. The Tlic see humans affectionately, as big warm convenient animals. And the humans, though troubled, mostly return that affection.

Lord Of The Flies

by William Golding

Keep your vampires, werewolves and haunts — few things are as scary as "the darkness of man's heart." William Golding's tale of tale of castaway boys gone murderously feral has become shorthand for any situation in which people start turning on each other. "What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?" asks the ill-fated Piggy, and it's pretty clear what Golding thinks. Bonus: Stephen King got the name Castle Rock from one of the locations in Lord of the Flies .

The Handmaid's Tale

by Margaret Atwood

Blessed be the fruit ... of Margaret Atwood's horrifically sharp mind. This classic feminist dystopia is prominent in the public mind right now, and not just because it has been made into a TV series. Atwood's book mines true horror from what people do to one another (poor Offred, suffering through the Ceremony every month) — and to themselves. (Who really thinks Serena Joy was happy with her accomplishments?)

by Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison's towering and beautifully crafted story concentrates the horrors of slavery into one singular horror — the apparition of Beloved, whose mother Sethe has killed her to spare her from being taken by slave catchers. While slavery has been over for a decade when the book opens, it's as much a specter in Sethe's new home as Beloved is and is destined to haunt and scar lives long after her unquiet spirit disappears. Beloved isn't a horror novel in the strictest sense of the word, but our judges felt it more than deserved a place here.

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation

by Octavia E. Butler , John Jennings and Damian Duffy

Octavia Butler's story of a young woman yanked backwards in time from the 1970s California to the slave quarters of a Maryland plantation is horrifying enough on the printed page, but John Jennings and Damian Duffy's graphic adaptation means you really can't look away. "The graphic novel makes the horror of imagining being whisked back to the slavery era even more visceral," says judge Tananarive Due.

The Devil In America

by Kai Ashante Wilson

"Horror often tries to explain the inexplicable," says judge Tananarive Due, and Kai Ashante Wilson's novelette about the things lost to slavery and hellish destruction of a black town in the years just after Emancipation "is as good an explanation as any for why incidents of mass violence against blacks have peppered our history."

'I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream'

by Harlan Ellison

Lots of movies, books and stories have been built on the premise of an out-of-control artificial intelligence. But except for maybe HAL 9000, none of them are as scary as AM, the supercomputer created by warring nations in Harlan Ellison's horrifying short story. AM abruptly gets tired of the war, ends it by triggering a mass genocide and spends the next century or so working out its hatred of humanity by torturing the last five remaining humans — but not letting them die.

Short And Sharp: Story Anthologies

Books of blood.

by Clive Barker

In 1984, Clive Barker burst onto the scene with one of the most remarkable debuts in horror: three volumes of short stories known as the Books of Blood . It was as if a band you had never heard of released a box set instead of a first album. Never treated with much respect in the United States (his American publisher only printed them in paperback), the stories raised the bar for horror, making it sexier, queerer and more poetic. Ranging from slapstick comedy to gross-out horror to breathtaking surrealism just in the first volume alone, each story is technically perfect and philosophically unnerving.

The October Country: Stories

by Ray Bradbury

Evil babies, mysterious jars, bodies in a lake, strange inheritances, monstrous families — whatever your favorite flavor of horror is, you're likely to find something to your taste in this collection. Ray Bradbury wrote these 19 stories early in his career, but they read like the work of a mature master, gripping and stylish. If you can, find one of the editions that includes the striking, stark-edged illustrations by Joseph Mugnaini; they'll add an extra frisson for your reading pleasure.

The Weird: A Compendium Of Strange And Dark Stories

by Ann Vandermeer and Jeff VanDermeer

Ann and Jeff VanderMeer's massive anthology includes everyone from Franz Kafka to George R.R. Martin — and some of the weirdest stories ever assembled between two covers. It won a World Fantasy Award in 2012, and it's guaranteed to keep you occupied (and thoroughly creeped out) for a good long while. Alternatively, you can use it to squash any pesky monsters under your bed.

The Imago Sequence and Other Stories

by Laird Barron

Tough guys are generally no match for the eldritch horrors of Laird Barron's Imago Sequence — which, if you had to sum it up, you could describe in an extremely reductive manner as H.P. Lovecraft meets Raymond Chandler. Imago Sequence is a great read if mere noir isn't dark enough for you, and it has a peculiar humor all its own — Lovecraft's Great Old Ones become, in Barron's world, crotchety but plenty scary old people.

Alone With the Horrors: The Great Short Fiction of Ramsey Campbell, 1961-1991

by Ramsey Campbell

Modern horror's ultimate stylist, Ramsey Campbell started his career as a Lovecraft imitator before going off in his own direction. Specializing in the horror of cities, dirt, squalor and the general mind-shattering everyday degradations of urban life, Campbell creates a world in which there is no difference between our brutalist, lunatic buildings and their brutal and insane inhabitants. Strongest in his short stories, a massive selection of which are collected here, he writes from the point of view that our cities are haunted garbage heaps, and we're all just the ghostly, numb cadavers infesting their derelict ruins

Things We Lost In The Fire

by Mariana Enriquez

Contemporary Argentinian politics provide plenty of horror in Mariana Enriquez' story collection — crime, abandonment, corruption, drugs; Enriquez grew up in Argentina during the country's brutal Dirty War period and draws on it in her writing. But then the horrors begin to creep in from outside the boundaries of our own world — haunted houses, evil rituals, disappearances that seem political but prove ... otherwise. "I guess I've always been a dark child," she told NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro. "There's comfort in darkness for me."

The Kids Aren't All Right: Creepy Kids

by Peter Straub

Teenagers Tom and Del are miserable at their extremely grim boarding school — tormented by staff and upperclassmen alike — until a tragic fire halfway through Peter Straub's book leads them to retreat to Del's uncle's spooky house in the Vermont woods (called, of course, Shadowland). Uncle Coleman is a master stage magician and, to put it mildly, not a very nice fellow. And it turns out that the magic he is teaching Tom and Del has much more to it than just stagecraft. Also, at one point the Brothers Grimm appear, making for a truly warped fairy tale of a novel.

A Head Full Of Ghosts

by Paul Tremblay

Old-fashioned and very modern horrors collide, explosively, in Paul Tremblay's novel. As a teenager, Merry Barrett's older sister Marjorie, begins to display signs of mental illness, leading her parents to consult a priest, who recommends exorcism and who brings in a TV production company to make a reality show about the troubled family, with tragic consequences. Years later, Merry begins to dig up the past, leading to what our reviewer Jason Heller calls a "bloodcurdling revelation ... as sickeningly satisfying as it is masterful."

Rosemary's Baby

by Ira Levin

The first horror novel to hit the best-seller list since Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca in 1938, Ira Levin's trim, sleek thriller stapled eyeballs to pages with its passionate commitment to "going ... there." Realizing that the scariest moments in horror happen in the lead-up, rather than the payoff, Levin decided that nothing could be scarier than pregnancy, when your womb is rented to an unseen tenant who turns your body into a life support system for nine months. Throw in what most mothers suspect anyways — that their child is the spawn of Satan — and you've got true horror. Precise, understated and without a single wasted word, director Roman Polanski cemented its legend with his scrupulously faithful blockbuster film adaptation.

The Exorcist

by William Peter Blatty

William Peter Blatty's novel — and William Friedkin's subsequent movie — became a cultural landmark, helping launch the horror revival of the late '60s and early '70s. Rewritten, reinvented, deconstructed and just straight up ripped off numerous times over the years, the original story of a single mother and her daughter possessed by a demon can sometimes edge over into melodrama, but mostly it's a "what happens next?" read that grabs you by the throat with prose as primal and bloody as the King James Bible, forcing you to care about issues of faith and sin as deeply as Blatty did when he wrote it.
"Stephen King is the absolute worst brand-name author," says judge Grady Hendrix. "Open up a John Grisham or Nora Roberts book, and you know you're getting a legal thriller or a romance. But the only thing that ties Stephen King's horror novels, nonfiction, young adult and mysteries together is his name on the cover. True believers became aware of this with 1978's "The Woman in the Room," a story inspired by his mother's death, but it was "The Body" that told everyone else King had more to say than "Boo!" Made into the movie Stand By Me , it's still one of the great American coming-of-age stories." And, says Hendrix, it's got a dead body and the horror of growing up — so it belongs on the list.

'It's A Good Life'

by Jerome Bixby

Dr. Spock's 1946 Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care reassured nervous parents that their children were going to be just fine and that you couldn't hug them or love them too much. But books ranging from William Golding's Lord of the Flies to William March's The Bad Seed reminded us that a child's natural state is evil. Science fiction writer Jerome Bixby delivered the most economical reminder with his 1953 short story "It's a Good Life," since adapted into The Twilight Zone show and movie three times and into one episode of The Simpsons . A young boy gets everything he wants — or else he makes bad things happen with his mind, resulting in a town of helicopter parents who live in mortal terror of denying this little monster anything.

by Thomas Tryon

The dark horse among the trinity of books that kicked off the horror revival of the late '60s and early '70s, The Other will never be as well-known as Rosemary's Baby or The Exorcist because it lacks a hit movie version. But just as The Exorcist owned the possession genre and Rosemary spawned a whole brood of satanic pregnancies, The Other gave us a graduating class of homicidal children and evil twins. The story of identical twins living on an idyllic farm, it slowly descends into madness involving drowned babies and hidden pitchforks. Possessing an M. Night Shyamalan-worthy twist and told in dense, poetic language, it's a hammer wrapped in velvet.

by Nick Cutter

When you think of Canada's idyllic Prince Edward Island, you think of Anne of Green Gables , right? Not for long. The Troop brings that old urban legend about tapeworm diet pills to body-horrific life in a story about a group of PEI Scouts whose camping trip on a nearby island is rudely interrupted by an emaciated stranger ... and the genetically-engineered parasite he carries. Trapped on the island after the parasite takes their scoutmaster, the boys must survive however they can.

by Ken Greenhall

Written under the pen name Jessica Hamilton, this is a classic tale of a sociopathic young girl with powers far beyond the natural. Elizabeth – perceptive, detached, ruthless – becomes obsessed with an apparition in an antique mirror, a beautiful woman who says she is a distant relative – and after Elizabeth gets through with her murderous agenda, pretty much her only relative. Stylish and nasty, Elizabeth will make you look twice at any mirrors you may pass.

Please, Momma

by Chesya Burke

Grief and loss are truly, gruesomely haunting in Chesya Burke's short story about a mother unable to let go of her ghostly daughter and a daughter desperate to save her mother from the horrors she has brought on herself. Burke makes the pain of loss physical and malevolent, and her writing feels like riding in a car at night, watching strange things flicker at the side of the road. (Image: Getty/Chirag Rai/EyeEm)

Scar Your Children: Horror For Beginners

Scary stories to tell in the dark.

by Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell

The book that named this category — a generation of children were scarred by Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark . Not so much because of Alvin Schwartz's stories themselves, which are certainly creepy but nothing to look under the bed about. No, it's Stephen Gammell's "ugh get it off me" illustrations, in all their skin-crawling scribbly watercolor blot glory, that haunt everyone who ever found this in their school library as a kid. They reissued this with updated, cutesified illustrations a few years ago — SACRILEGE. Gammell or get out.

Goosebumps (Series)

by R. L. Stine

If you were a kid in the '90s, chances are you read at least one volume of R.L. Stine's long-running and immensely popular Goosebumps series. Not, perhaps, the scariest books on this list — Stine has frequently said he avoids real terror — they're still a great way to warp budding young readers into a lifelong love of horror. (Also, Slappy the Dummy was extremely creepy, I don't care what you say.)

by Daniel Kraus

Daniel Kraus' book pays lip service to the hoary old story of a young boy who loses his mother and is sent to live, and bond with, his estranged dad. Only this time out, Dad is a squatter who lives in filth, and he and his son bond over his job: grave robbing. Learning the best ways to yank gold fillings out of corpses and how to remove their rings, the two learn to love and appreciate each other while going facedown into rat nests and cracking open coffins full of liquefying corpse-meat. Taking every societal norm — cleanliness, honesty, not desecrating the dead — and setting it on fire, this is literally the most anti-social book ever written.

The Jumbies/Rise Of The Jumbies

by Tracey Baptiste

Young Corinne La Mer doesn't believe in Jumbies at first ... but that isn't stopping them from trying to take over first her family and then her entire island. Author Tracey Baptiste draws on her own Trinidadian heritage for this darkly fantastical duology that mixes mythology, folklore and the real-world horrors of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. "I felt giving [children] this kind of story where something horrible happened, but something beautiful resulted from it, would be some small amount of comfort," Baptiste told NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro .

The House With A Clock In Its Walls

by John Bellairs

Trafficking in the kind of American Gothic perfected by Ray Bradbury, John Bellairs' three books set in the fictional Michigan town of New Zebedee are lonely and charming and shot through with a sense of creeping damp and creeping doom. Sort of a Harry Potter for less sporty boys, they star chubby Lewis Barnavelt, who has been banished to live with his Uncle Jonathan after his parents die in a car wreck. The good news: Uncle Jonathan is a wizard. The bad news: Living with him means that Lewis will probably die. Simultaneously comforting and creepy, the New Zebedee books, with their scratchy illustrations by Edward Gorey, scarred children throughout the '70s and '80s.

Spirit Hunters

by Ellen Oh

After a series of traumatic events, seventh-grader Harper Raine — half-Korean and half-white — moves to a new house her friends say is haunted. Spoiler alert: It is. An evil spirit gets its hooks into her younger brother, and Harper has to break through to her repressed memories of the trauma in order to free him — with the help of her grandmother's knowledge of Korean tradition. Spirit Hunters is a genuinely scary read, full of ghosts and gore and family trauma.

by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean

Neil Gaiman's tale of a young girl who steps through a strange door and finds a magical new family is charming ... at first. But then Coraline realizes her other mother and father aren't going to let her go home. " Coraline is deft and creepy and fun and dark and wrong," says judge Stephen Graham Jones. "It's our knee-jerk fantasy come to life too fast, without us having had time to draw boundaries around what we thought we wanted."

Down A Dark Hall

by Lois Duncan

When 14-year-old Kit arrives at the Blackwood School for Girls (that's not an ominous name at all), she knows right away that there's something dark, something wrong about the strange old house. And that's before she even meets the other three students — and before they discover the strange new talents for painting, math, music and poetry that only come out as they sleep. Down a Dark Hall is a gothic classic, and one of Lois Duncan's best.

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Explore the best new horror books for adults and teens. Read the most anticipated horror novels, upcoming fantasy horror books, and sci-fi horror books coming in 2023.

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Creepiest New Horror Books For Adults & Teens

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Looking for the scariest new horror books of 2023? You’re at the right place. We collected some of the most anticipated and spookiest horror novels and book series that will take you around the world and beyond.

You’ll find here some of the most anticipated horror books written by new writers as well as beloved horror novelists who will surely raise all the hair on your neck. While we love Stephen King, Joe Hill, and Dean Koontz, we wanted to show you a few other excellent horror authors we thought you might like or even fall in love with.

RELATED: Best Horror Audiobooks From Around The World

You’ll also find here some of the creepiest upcoming fantasy horror books, new seriously scary horror romance thriller books as well as new sci-fi horror books for adults and teens. But you’ll find here all kinds of novels from the horror genre including, gothic, psychological, serial killers, and atmospheric horror books coming in 2023.

In case you’re looking for more new books of 2023 you should check out our book nook where you’ll find curated book lists with the best new fiction and fantasy books coming in 2023.

23| So Pretty by Ronnie Turner – January 2023

So Pretty by Ronnie Turner - new horror books

Buy It Here

The arrival of a young man in a small town sparks, hoping to leave his past behind him, but everything changes when he takes a job in a peculiar old shop, and meets a lonely single mother… A hypnotic gothic thriller and a mesmerising study of identity and obsession.

When Teddy Colne arrives in the small town of Rye, he believes he will be able to settle down and leave his past behind him. Little does he know that fear blisters through the streets like a fever. The locals tell him to stay away from an establishment known only as Berry & Vincent, that those who rub too closely to its proprietor risk a bad end.

Despite their warnings, Teddy is desperate to understand why Rye has come to fear this one man, and to see what really hides behind the doors of his shop.

Ada moved to Rye with her young son to escape a damaged childhood and years of never fitting in, but she’ s lonely, and ostracised by the community. Ada is ripe for affection and friendship, and everyone knows it.

As old secrets bleed out into this town, so too will a mystery about a family who vanished fifty years earlier, and a community living on a knife edge.

Teddy looks for answers, thinking he is safe, but some truths are better left undisturbed, and his past will find him here, just as it has always found him before. And before long, it will find Ada too.

So Pretty is one of the most atmospheric new gothic horror books for adults.

22| how to cook and eat the rich by sunyi dean – january 2023.

How to Cook and Eat the Rich by Sunyi Dean - new horror books

How to Cook and Eat the Rich is one of the best new horror books with a unique dystopian story.

21| the midnight game by cynthia murphy – january 2023.

The Midnight Game by Cynthia Murphy - best new horror books

Rules of The Midnight Game: Do not turn on the lights. Do not go to sleep. Do not leave the building.

When a group who have met on a creepy Deddit thread decide to meet in real life, they only have one plan in mind: they are going to summon the Midnight Man. And once you start the Midnight Game, you must finish it – there’s no other way out! Six strangers. One night. But how many survivors?

The Midnight Game is one of the best new Ya Horror books with a dark crime story.

20| camp damascus by chuck tingle – july 2023.

Camp Damascus by Chuck Tingle - scariest new horror books

From beloved internet icon Chuck Tingle, Camp Damascus is a searing and earnest horror debut about the demons the queer community faces in America, the price of keeping secrets, and finding the courage to burn it all down.

They’ll scare you straight to hell.

Welcome to Neverton, Montana: home to a God-fearing community with a heart of gold.

Nestled high up in the mountains is Camp Damascus, the self-proclaimed “most effective” gay conversion camp in the country. Here, a life free from sin awaits. But the secret behind that success is anything but holy.

Camp Damascus is one of the most chilling new horror books for adults.

19| the nightmare man by james markert – january 2023.

The Nightmare Man by James Markert - new horror books

T. Kingfisher meets Cassandra Khaw in a chilling horror novel that illustrates the fine line between humanity and monstrosity.

Blackwood mansion looms, surrounded by nightmare pines, atop the hill over the small town of New Haven. Ben Bookman, bestselling novelist and heir to the Blackwood estate, spent a weekend at the ancestral home to finish writing his latest horror novel, The Scarecrow. Now, on the eve of the book’s release, the terrible story within begins to unfold in real life.

Detective Mills arrives at the scene of a gruesome murder: a family butchered and bundled inside cocoons stitched from corn husks, and hung from the rafters of a barn, eerily mirroring the opening of Bookman’s latest novel.

When another family is killed in a similar manner, Mills, along with his daughter, rookie detective Samantha Blue, is determined to find the link to the book—and the killer—before the story reaches its chilling climax.

As the series of “Scarecrow crimes” continues to mirror the book, Ben quickly becomes the prime suspect.

He can’t remember much from the night he finished writing the novel, but he knows he wrote it in The Atrium, his grandfather’s forbidden room full of numbered books. Thousands of books. Books without words.

As Ben digs deep into Blackwood’s history he learns he may have triggered a release of something trapped long ago—and it won’t stop with the horrors buried within the pages of his book.

The Nightmare Man is one of the scariest new horror books with a terrifying mystery story.

18| the destroyer of worlds by matt ruff – february 2023.

The Destroyer of Worlds by Matt Ruff - new horror books

“Ruff renders a very high-concept, imaginary world with such vividness that you can’t help but feel it’s disturbingly real.”

Christopher Moore In this thrilling adventure, a blend of enthralling historical fiction and fantastical horror, Matt Ruff returns to the world of Lovecraft Country and explores the meaning of death, the hold of the past on the present, and the power of hope in the face of uncertainty.

Summer, 1957. Atticus Turner and his father, Montrose, travel to North Carolina, where they plan to mark the centennial of their ancestor’s escape from slavery by retracing the route he took into the Great Dismal Swamp.

But an encounter with an old nemesis turns their historical reenactment into a real life-and-death pursuit. Back in Chicago, George Berry fights for his own life. Diagnosed with cancer, he strikes a devil’s bargain with the ghost of Hiram Winthrop, who promises a miracle cure—but to receive it, George will first have to bring Winthrop back from the dead.

Meanwhile, fifteen-year-old Horace Berry, reeling from the killing of a close friend, joins his mother, Hippolyta, and her friend Letitia Dandridge on a research trip to Nevada for The Safe Negro Travel Guide.

But Hippolyta has a secret—and far more dangerous—agenda that will take her and Horace to the far end of the universe and bring a new threat home to Letitia’s doorstep. Hippolyta isn’t the only one keeping secrets. Letitia’s sister, Ruby, has been leading a double life as her white alter ego, Hillary Hyde.

Now, the supply of magic potion she needs to transform herself is nearly gone, and a surprise visitor throws her already tenuous situation into complete chaos. Yet these troubles are soon eclipsed by the return of Caleb Braithwhite.

Stripped of his magic and banished from Chicago at the end of Lovecraft Country, he’s found a way back into power and is ready to pick up where he left off. But first he has a score to settle. . . .

The Destroyer of Worlds is one of the most chilling new horror books for adults and is a great choice for readers who enjoy dark sci-fi and Lovecraftian stories.

17| vampires of el norte by isabel canas – august 2023.

best new horror books - Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Canas

Vampires and vaqueros face off on the Texas-Mexico border in this supernatural western from the author of The Hacienda.

As the daughter of a rancher in 1840s Mexico, Nena knows a thing or two about monsters—her home has long been threatened by tensions with Anglo settlers from the north. But something more sinister lurks near the ranch at night, something that drains men of their blood and leaves them for dead.

Something that once attacked Nena nine years ago.

Believing Nena dead, Néstor has been on the run from his grief ever since, moving from ranch to ranch working as a vaquero. But no amount of drink can dispel the night terrors of sharp teeth; no woman can erase his childhood sweetheart from his mind.

When the United States attacks Mexico in 1846, the two are brought abruptly together on the road to war: Nena as a curandera, a healer striving to prove her worth to her father so that he does not marry her off to a stranger, and Néstor as a member of the auxiliary cavalry of ranchers and vaqueros.

But the shock of their reunion—and Nena’s rage at Néstor for seemingly abandoning her long ago—is quickly overshadowed by the appearance of a nightmare made flesh.

And unless Nena and Néstor work through their past and face the future together, neither will survive to see the dawn.

Vampires of El Norte is one of the most exciting new gothic horror books for adults that’s set in 1840s Mexico.

16| bad cree by jessica johns – january 2023.

Bad Creel by Jessica Johns - scariest new horror books

In this gripping debut tinged with supernatural horror, a young Cree woman’s dreams lead her on a perilous journey of self-discovery that ultimately forces her to confront the toll of a legacy of violence on her family, her community and the land they call home.

When Mackenzie wakes up with a severed crow’s head in her hands, she panics. Only moments earlier she had been fending off masses of birds in a snow-covered forest. In bed, when she blinks, the head disappears.

Night after night, Mackenzie’s dreams return her to a memory from before her sister Sabrina’s untimely death: a weekend at the family’s lakefront campsite, long obscured by a fog of guilt.

But when the waking world starts closing in, too–a murder of crows stalks her every move around the city, she wakes up from a dream of drowning throwing up water, and gets threatening text messages from someone claiming to be Sabrina–Mackenzie knows this is more than she can handle alone.

Traveling north to her rural hometown in Alberta, she finds her family still steeped in the same grief that she ran away to Vancouver to escape. They welcome her back, but their shaky reunion only seems to intensify her dreams–and make them more dangerous.

What really happened that night at the lake, and what did it have to do with Sabrina’s death? Only a bad Cree would put their family at risk, but what if whatever has been calling Mackenzie home was already inside?

Bad Cree is one of the best new supernatural horror books for adults and is a great choice for those readers who love magical realism and psychological horror stories.

15| the salt grows heavy by cassandra khaw – may 2023.

The Salt Grows Heavy by Cassandra Khaw - new horror books

From USA Today bestselling author Cassandra Khaw comes The Salt Grows Heavy , a razor-sharp and bewitching fairytale of discovering the darkness in the world, and the darkness within oneself.

You may think you know how the fairytale goes: a mermaid comes to shore and weds the prince. But what the fables forget is that mermaids have teeth. And now, her daughters have devoured the kingdom and burned it to ashes.

On the run, the mermaid is joined by a mysterious plague doctor with a darkness of their own. Deep in the eerie, snow-crusted forest, the pair stumble upon a village of ageless children who thirst for blood, and the three ‘saints’ who control them.

The mermaid and her doctor must embrace the cruellest parts of their true nature if they hope to survive.

The Salt Grows Heavy is one of the most atmospheric new horror books for adults who love haunting fantasy tales.

14| don’t fear the reaper by stephen graham jones – february 2023.

Don't Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones - best new horror books

December 12th, 2019, Jade returns to the rural lake town of Proofrock the same day as convicted Indigenous serial killer Dark Mill South escapes into town to complete his revenge killings, in this riveting sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author, Stephen Graham Jones.

Four years after her tumultuous senior year, Jade Daniels is released from prison right before Christmas when her conviction is overturned.

But life beyond bars takes a dangerous turn as soon as she returns to Proofrock. Convicted Serial Killer, Dark Mill South, seeking revenge for thirty-eight Dakota men hanged in 1862, escapes from his prison transfer due to a blizzard, just outside of Proofrock, Idaho.

Dark Mill South’s Reunion Tour began on December 12th, 2019, a Thursday.

Thirty-six hours and twenty bodies later, on Friday the 13th, it would be over.

Don’t Fear the Reaper is the page-turning sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones.

Don’t Fear the Reaper is one of the scariest new horror books with a chilling mystery.

13| into shadow – amazon original stories – new dark fantasy short story collection.

INTO SHADOW - amazon original stories - Anthology short story collection (Small)

This eerie new dark fantasy anthology collection has seven brilliant short stories by acclaimed and popular authors, namely Alix E. Harrow, Garth Nix, Lev Grossman, Nghi Vo, Tamsyn Muir, and Veronica G. Henry, and Tomi Champion-Adeyemi.

Readers can enjoy a wide range of stories and explore atmospheric dark fantasy worlds while also getting to know female knights and bodyguards, mediums, and ghouls among many other fascinating characters human and supernatural characters.

The settings also vary and readers can get immersed in modern and historical dark fantasy worlds as well as travel around the world and visit all sorts of places from small US towns to the magic-filled streets of Brazil.

You’ll be able to find all types of dark fantasy stories in this collection so you can actually enjoy modern, historical, mystery, and epic dark fantasy tales all in one. These spooky stories were designed to be read or listened to in a single sitting so they make perfect companions for those who are looking for quick but chilling bedtime reads.

Into Shadows is one of the most exciting new dark fantasy anthology collections with thought-provoking and imaginative stories that are perfect for adults and YA readers who are looking for short but complex and thrilling reads.

12| gallant by v.e. schwab, victoria schwab – new horror fantasy book, april 2022.

Gallant by V.E. Schwab, Victoria Schwab - new fantasy horror books 2022 (Small)

V.E. Schwab is known for her adult fantasy books and this story is among the best new horror books for young adults. We are convinced everyone is going to enjoy it as Schwab seems to be great in this area as well. Olivia Prior receives an invitation back home, to Gallant, but no one appears to know about that letter.

Is there a proper bone-chilling horror without a mansion that is out of this world? Once Olivia crosses those ruined walls, her life changes forever. A dark, at first scary world answers many of Olivia’s questions about who she is and where she belongs. If you’re into dark fantasy books you should check out this one.

Gallant is deservedly among the most anticipated fantasy horror books for teens and adults in 2022.

RELATED: Best New Books About Witches & Magic

11| Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin – New Sci-fi Horror Book, February 2022

Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin - new horror books 2022

Get It Here

If you enjoy post-apocalyptic horrors, this one is definitely going to be on your must-read lists. In case you are new to the genre, Felker-Martin’s remarkable piece is a superb start without a doubt. Travel the New England coast with Beth, Fran, and Robbie, who know they cannot trust anyone, but each other. Hunting feral men is their only key to survival, but plenty of adventure awaits our heroes.

2022 is a great year for new horror novels and if you are looking for perfectly written LGBT+ new dystopian books for adults then Manhunt is for you.

Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin is definitely among the spookiest horror books of 2022.

10| dead silence by s.a. barnes, stacey kade – new sci-fi horror book, february 2022.

Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes, Stacey Kade - new sci-fi horror books 2022

Some of the scariest horror books and stories take place on ships. For a good reason; there are always plenty of mysterious occurrences in the middle of the ocean. Furthermore, the idea of not being able to get away raises the hair on everyone’s neck. S.A. Barnes and Stacey Kade invite readers to a spaceship, where all hell is about to break loose.

A freshly redundant crew receives a distress signal, which turns out to be the future’s Titanic, the Aurora, a gigantic luxury spaceship. You might think it is not a good idea to enter that ship, and probably you are right.

Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes and Stacey Kade is one of the creepiest sci-fi horror books for adults.

RELATED: New Historical Fantasy Books For Adults

9| The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas – New Supernatural Horror Book, 2022

The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas - new horror books 2022

Isabel Cañas’ book début is certainly a strong one, The Hacienda is full of unique characters, petrifying secrets, and captivating ideas. We are hopeful about many exciting new horror novels coming from Cañas’ pen.

Beatriz has to accept Rodolfo’s proposal, as she is left on her own after the Mexican government was overthrown. Despite the dark rumors, she seeks safety at Rodolfo’s infamous countryside estate Hacienda San Isidro.

Not long after moving in Beatriz had to realize, the rumors were in fact true; something lurks in the darkness. Can she get out alive and unravel the mystery? If you’re craving new fantasy books you should put this spooky read on your TBR.

The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas is among the most entraining and mysterious fantasy horror books in 2022.

You Might Also Like: Best New Vampire Books

8| The Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon – New Ghost Horror Books, April 2022

The Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon - New Ghost Horror Book 2022 (Small)

One of the most anticipated upcoming horror books is Jennifer McMahon’s peculiar and lovable piece. The Children on the Hill is going to be one of your favorites in no time if you enjoy reading gothic horrors. The book shows that friendship can be anywhere, no matter the differences.

When renowned psychiatrist Dr. Helen Hildreth takes a little girl home from her treatment center, she forms a bond with the doctor’s grandchildren.

Their friendship blooms as they face their fears in the dark. A magnificent book you are not going to be able to put down. If you’re looking for spooky new gothic books then don’t miss this thrilling read.

Jennifer McMahon’s  The Children on the Hill  is among the most frightening fantasy horror books for teens and adults alike.

7| all the white spaces by ally wilkes – new historical horror novel, january 2022.

All the White Spaces by Ally Wilkes - New Historical Horror Novel 2022

2022 is a great year for horror lovers, as there are a number of amazing horror books for adults and teens as well. Ally Wilkes’ writing career kicks off on a high note for sure. All the White Spaces is a fascinating LGBT horror novel that is packed with scary moments in the frozen corners of Antarctica.

Jonathan Morgan wouldn’t have thought that going on an expedition with his hero, James “Australis” Randall, the famous explorer would end up being the scariest time in his life. Due to a terrible disaster, the crew has to leave the ship and survive winter in the snow. If it wasn’t enough, it seems supernatural forces are decimating the crew.

All the White Spaces by Ally Wilkes is an eerie Polar LGBT horror that is going to raise the hair on your neck while reading.

6| what moves the dead by t. kingfisher – new gothic horror book, july 2022.

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher - New Gothic Horror Books 2022 (Small)

Probably most horror fans would love to find an answer to this question. Alex Easton, a retired soldier, is going to find it out the hard way when he learns his old friend is dying.

If you are looking for gothic horrors packed with sinister forces and dark secrets, you are at the right place. The modern retelling of Edgar Allen Poe’s classic, The Fall of the House of Usher is going to make your weekend. It is certainly a read that will make you want to leave the lights on at night.

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher is one of the creepiest new horror books in 2022.

5| string follow by simon jacobs – new horror book, february 2022.

String Follow by Simon Jacobs - New Horror Books 2022

If you are a huge fan of gothic horrors with a modern vibe then Simona Jacob’s String Follow is a superb choice for you. Beyond the unique and quirky characters and the dark humor, there is plenty to enjoy in this book.

A group of Ohio misfits live their absolutely out-of-the-ordinary lives and darkness doesn’t avoid any of them. There are a lot of potentially triggering elements in the book, so make sure to pick it up when you are in the right mindset.

String Follow by Simon Jacobs is a unique and spooky read that is full of dark moments and releasing humor.

4| mestiza blood by v. castro – new short horror story collection, january 2022.

Mestiza Blood by V. Castro - new short story horror books 2022 (Small)

V. Castro is most likely to become a household name in horror circles as the first book, Mestiza really shows off the author’s talents. This collection of nightmarish stories will give you the chills while not being able to put it down until you read all of them.

Each of the stories is amazing for various reasons. You can find sci-fi shorts as well as the darkest horrors. There are some really incredible strong female leads that are going to inspire everyone. The urban legend and folklore stories are most definitely among the creepiest horror stories you can find in 2022.

V. Castro’s Mestiza Blood is a fascinating collection of remarkable horror stories, you’ll hope to be only fiction.

RELATED: New Retelling Books To Read

3| The Shadow Glass by Josh Winning – New Fantasy Horror Books, March 2022

The Shadow Glass by Josh Winning - New Fantasy Horror Book 2022 (Small)

Josh Winning’s passion for nostalgia and movies show in the pages of this captivating dark fantasy. While it is a bit different from most of the books on the list, we guarantee, every reader is going to feel a little darkness creeping up on their spine. Jack Corman seems to have hit rock bottom; work and life do not work as he imagined earlier.

Just when he would have been evicted from his home, he decides to return to his childhood home while mourning his father. An unbelievable group of beings need his help; the puppets from his father’s failed movie came to life so they can save the world against other of his father’s creations. If you’re looking for scary and exciting new dark fantasy books then pick up this unique novel.

The Shadow Glass by Josh Winning is a suspenseful and creepy fantasy all horror lovers will love.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Best Dark Fantasy Audiobooks For Adults

2|  Sundial by Catriona Ward – New Fiction Horror Books, March 2022

Sundial by Catriona Ward - New Fiction Horror Books 2022 (Small)

One of the most gripping Psychological thriller-horror books for adults is Sundial. Catriona Ward has a great sense to build suspense, while also freaking readers out with every page.

Rob has everything she dreamed of, a loving husband, children, and the perfect home. Still, she cannot rest when she realizes something is wrong with her oldest daughter. Callie has strange hobbies, and her friends hide in the shadows.

To help her, Rob decides to take Callie back to where she grew up, but at Sundial she has to make a terrible decision and both of their lives will change forever. If you’re looking for new thriller and mystery books then you should pick up this thrilling novel.

Catriona Ward’s Sundial is one of the most anticipated new horrors of 2022 for both adults and teens.

1| the fervor by alma katsu – new psychological horror books, april 2022.

The Fervor by Alma Katsu - New Psychological Horror Books 2022

Lovers of the horror genre are most definitely familiar with Alma Katsu’s name. The award-winning author has brought to us another frightening story, this time we are going to the second world war.

Meiko Briggs and her daughter Aiko had to go through difficult times; it wasn’t easy to be a Japanese-American in the forties. As they are sent to an internment camp, unexpected forces are unleashed; a demon poses a much darker threat than any war on the planet.

The historical fiction book The Fervor by Alma Katsu is among the most anticipated horror books in 2022.

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20 Best Scary Short Stories to Tell in the Dark

The best part? You can read them all right now.

open book with mysterious smoke and rose petals teacup out of focus on a dark background spellbook and modern magic concept

'Tis the season for spooky tales told in the dark. While we never need an excuse to read, Halloween is the ideal time to dig into a ghastly ghost story or a chilling true crime book. So, to celebrate the season, we've gathered some of the best scary short stories available to read for free—featuring fixtures of Mexican folklore and feminist vampires. These horror stories are best enjoyed with a fall-themed cocktail in hand—to calm the nerves, of course. Much like's own Sunday Shorts fiction collection , you can read these instantly. From Angela Carter to Stephen King , these spine-tingling scary short stories are guaranteed to frighten you as much as the best Halloween movies out there. Finally, if you've got kids or squeamish teens, we've also included some family-friendly bedtime options, too.

an out of focus, blurred ghostly woman wearing a white dress, running away from the camera on a misty autumn day in a forest

La Llorona is a fixture of Mexican folklore. In this story, Silvia Moren0-Garcia—author of the horror novel Mexican Gothic —puts a modern twist on the age-old tale, by casting a homeless woman as the legendary La Llorona.

road amidst trees against sky during foggy weather

Now a podcast , "The Left Right Game's" first incarnation was as a post on "No Sleep" subreddit, where users submit fictional stories often framed as urban legends. " The Left Right Game" quickly garnered a reputation as one of most elaborate, unexpected, and downright terrifying entries ever. It's about a supposedly harmless game, which can be played on any old suburban road.

midsection of businessman using smart phone while standing on footbridge in city

If you're looking for a small story that packs a big scare, check out this imaginative riff of a fixture of the modern age: The cell phone. A girl buys a smartphone that happens to have pictures which foretell her own doom.

whitby abbey near sunset

Joe Hill comes from horror pedigree: His father is the Stephen King. With this short story (and all of his novels), Hill shows his own distinct, but equally chilling, style. "Abraham's Boys" is about the sons of the Dutch vampire hunter, Professor Abraham Van Helsing—the sons who have no idea who their father really was.

boy holding a snakes

"Snakes are easy. It’s people that I don’t know how to charm," the narrator of this sneaky and unexpected story says, at one point—before the plot gets extremely gnarly (trust us, it will). "All the Fabulous Beasts" uses tropes of horror and metamorphosis to discuss trauma rooted in reality.

ghost on a rock, in the woods

Looking for a kid-friendly story to read around the campfire? We've got you covered with this charming short story about a house in Arkansas that's teeming with ghosts—but the friendly kind.

girl walking in forest

Dread. That's the word that best describes this early short story from the legendary Joyce Carol Oates. Connie is a teenage girl at odds with her family, so she turns to the world for companionship. What she finds may be even worse.

caucasian woman sitting on hill

Carmilla is a vampire novel first published in 1872, predating Dracula by two decades. In 2019, the acclaimed author Carmen Maria Machado edited a new edition of Carmilla . While promoting the book, Machado had quite an...unexpected interview with Electric Liter ature . It's best not to give away any details from the interview. Just be sure to read until the end—because frankly, this deliciously creepy Q&A; is better than any vampire movie.

close up of pebble stack

From The Haunting of Hill House to We Have Always Lived in the Castle , Shirley Jackson made a career out of forging terrifying, but thought-provoking, tales. "The Lottery" is her most famous short story and a staple on school curricula—for good reason. Read what happens when a community perpetuates a twisted tradition.

people exploring jungle cave with headlamp, okinawa, japan

If it's a Neil Gaiman story, you know you're in for an enchanting, magical, and yes—slightly creepy ride. This short story, in particular, begins with an extremely evocative opening; the kind that teases a story you'll read in one sitting. Follow along as our unnamed protagonist searches through dark caves to find what he's looking for, and encounter what he isn't.

outback shed

Published as part of's Sunday Shorts fiction collection , Kali Fajardo-Anstine's short story follows a 20-something year old woman living in a remote desert house, with a mind of its own—literally. While there are horrors in this story, they're not supernatural, but an all-too-common kind.

nocturnal destination

Rebecca author Daphne DuMaurier wrote "The Doll" when she was 20 years old. Then, it was lost for approximately 70 years, only resurfacing in 2010. The legend around "The Doll" is but an appetizer for the delightfully creepy story itself, which foreshadows DuMaurier's career as an author of unforgettable gothic fiction.

The Vampire II, 1895-1900

If you are looking for a great gothic story about vampirism, look no further than "The Lady of the House of Love." This short from renowned author Angela Carter follows a female vampire queen on her quest to find her next victim.

In the hospital.

In "Patient Zero" we meet Jay, a little boy who has been in the hospital for a long, long time. In fact, Jay is not allowed to leave. But why are the doctors and nurses going to such lengths to keep Jay locked away and who really is the danger? Tananarive Due asks these questions and more in this short, thrilling tale.

mannequins with brown haired and brunet style wigs on shelves

"Hello, Moto" is a short story about three best friends, each in possession of a magical wig. While the wearers planned to use their powers for good, the tone of the story takes a sudden and abrupt shift when the wigs possess them.

antique dark corridor

Emily Carroll is known for her creepy, horror comics and "His Face All Red" is one of her most popular pieces. The pacing is solid, atmosphere is chilling, and tale is top notch.

Toddler girl on couch in living room

From the very beginning of this haunting short story, one thing is clear: Momma is sick and her kids are suffering. But what is the cause of Momma's illness? The truth is terrifying.

Woods, Gloucestershire, UK

Summer camps are the perfect horror setting. After all, kids reside in these facilities alone, with no parents and little-to-no supervision. However, the camp in "How to Get Back to the Forest" is unlike any other, and we quickly learn, these children are never going home.

a silhouette of a blurred figure emerging from the light at the end of a dark sinister tunnel with a grunge, vintage, grainy edit

Brian Everson's "A Collapse of Horses"—for which an entire collection of stories was later named—isn't about gore or jump scares; instead, it follows an unreliable narrator through a confusing, post-traumatic time. A solid psychological thriller.

harry potter book covers

16) Horror Books in Portuguese

17) horror books in spanish, 18) vampire books, featured horror books, 1) dracula by bram stoker.

Written by Bram Stoker and published in 1897, it is a classic that no one should stop reading. Despite the fact that there were previous works that had a vampire as a character, it was Dracula who took center stage in the collective imagination.

2) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by R. L. Stevenson

The central theme is the eternal dilemma between good and evil, which is so relevant and at the same time makes this a timeless book. Is it possible to be happy living in one of the extremes? What about tints and grays? These are some questions that may arise from reading this novel.

3) The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

4) the phantom of the opera by gaston leroux.

The Phantom of the Opera is a novel by French writer Gastón Leroux, published in 1910. Listed as a great work of Gothic literature, it mixes romance, drama, mystery, and veiled social criticism.

5) The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe

The Black Cat is one of the most popular horror stories by Edgar Allan Poe, published in 1843. Literary critics have cataloged this story as one of the most horrifying ever written in the world.

6) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Seeing that he had created some kind of monster, Victor immediately regrets it, flees, and then tries to get rid of it, but cannot do it. The creature is a being that cannot adapt to the world and its unhappiness leads it to take revenge. Thus begins the persecution between creation and creator, which takes the characters to the limit of despair.

7) The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft

8) the turn of the screw by henry james.

The Turn of The Screw is a short novel with a catchy, mysterious, terrifying, and surprising plot. It is masterfully written by Henry James, who creates a building tension throughout the narrative, as well as an unsettling atmosphere where you constantly feel that something terrible is about to happen.

9) Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu

Carmilla is a gothic horror novel, the precursor of the vampire stories that inspired later works such as Dracula. It was published in 1872 and written by Sheridan Le Fanu, who gave the narrative different elements that make it enter the Gothic genre.

10) The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The young Dorian Gray makes a dark pact in which he has a free pass to live a sinful life without suffering the consequences of the passage of time on his body. However, no pact with evil is free, something is always taken in return. Dorian must suffer the consequences of a life without limits that will inexorably lead him to a tragic end.

11) The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

12) at the mountains of madness by h. p. lovecraft, 13) the house on the borderland by william hope hodgson.

The House on the Borderland is a novel that masterfully combines supernatural horror and fantasy. Some of the events narrated in the book are considered by many critics to be unique in this type of literature, at least until the year of its publication in 1908.

14) The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

The War of the Worlds is a horror and science fiction novel published in 1898. It deals with an invasion of aliens from the planet Mars. The narrator is the author of articles classified as speculative science and is the protagonist of the novel, although his name is never revealed.

15) Morella by Edgar Allan Poe

Her husband is afraid of her, however, he does not get away from her. When they have their daughter, Morella dies, but everything indicates that her soul entered the little girl’s body. Subsequently, a series of strange events unfold and keep the reader anxious until the end.

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    Castro explores horror based in the folklore and legends of Mexican culture — some supernatural, like demons and monsters, and some very human. Castro is quickly becoming one of the best writers putting out horror today. If you enjoy this, you should also check out Goddess of Filth and The Queen of the Cicadas.

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