Craving a good scare? From creepy paranormal stories to the deeply disturbing -- there's something for all horror fans on this chilling list of tales. Warning: some of these books are not for the faint of heart.
The Deep is an eerie, psychological twist on the Titanic sinking and the ill-fated sail of its sister ship, the Britannic. The story follows the passengers who survived the Titanic sinking, and some who would later sail on her sister ship, The Britannic, and are convinced something sinister and ghostly is at work. Katsu does a wonderful job of weaving historical fiction, paranormal, and horror elements together to form a story that will leave you turning pages late into the night.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Paranormal
After accepting a job from a mysterious benefactor, Frances Jellico finds herself in the English countryside researching a dilapidated mansion's architecture on a sprawling plot of land in the summer of 1969. In the rooms below her attic space are Cara and Peter, who are supposedly cataloging the vast amount of valuables left in the mansion. Not all is as it seems, and Frances finds herself increasingly entangled in Peter and Cara's lives. Fuller uses an anachronistic lifestyle for the characters and flashbacks to add a great level of disorientation to this twisting and eerie story.
The fifteen stories in After the People Lights Have Gone Off by Stephen Graham Jones include two original stories, several rarities and out of print narratives, as well as a few "best of the year" inclusions. This anthology covers all the horror bases, ranging from the supernatural horrors to everyday fears. One takeaway from this book, don't tattoo the dead.
Genre: Short Stories, Paranormal, Occult
This book is filled with atmosphere, chilling darkness, and loaded heavy metal references. Four old college friends try to reconnect on a camping trip in the Scandinavian wilderness. As the journey starts to wear them down, what seems like a shortcut to ease their hike turns into a nightmare in a dark untouched nature, where ancient gods and pagan rituals still rule.
Genre: Paranormal, Survival
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She's not sure what she will find—her cousin's husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region. Noemí is a glamorous debutante, but she's also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin's new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi's dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Gothic Thriller
This classic gothic horror tells the story of Louis de Pointe du Lac, a 200-year-old vampire who has agreed to be interviewed by a reporter. Louis shares his tale of transformation and torturous immortality by talking about his life with Lestat, the vampire who turns him, and Claudia, a child who Louis himself turns. While this tragic story of immortality and loyalty is a bit of a break from the scarier books on this list, Interview with the Vampire is a terrific classic to revisit or sink your teeth into for the first time this Halloween.
There are no ghosts or monsters in this book, just sinister people committing violent and grotesque deeds. Devil All the Time is an unsettling novel that follows different characters as their paths slowly converge. The main character, Arvin, tries his best to protect the ones he loves, in a town full of disturbed characters as they justify the horrible things they've done and plan to do.
Genre: Murder Thrillers, Southern Gothic
With her aunt Charlotte's help, Barrie Anne Blythe must care for a strange and mysterious baby that she finds on her daily trip to the shore. While caring for the child, Barrie Anne discovers her family's secrets that her mother worked desperately to cover. Set in the Pacific Northwest, The Witch's Kind is an ethereal story about love, family, and magic that pulls the reader in like a siren calls a sailor to the water. While not quite a historical fiction piece, The Witch's Kind gives an enthralling glimpse into the lives of those who stayed at home during the Second World War. When Barrie Anne's long-lost husband reappears at the worst time possible, it is up to Barrie Anne and Charlotte to protect their family home, their secrets, and the baby.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Occult, Magical Realism
This creepy southern gothic tells the tale of Jack, a young man who has done his best to flee his traumatic childhood only to find that the horrible evil he was running from now has its sights on his daughter. This novel is full of classic horror goodness, creepy demons, a doomed fate, and gore galore!
Genre: Paranormal, Occult