Who doesn’t love a good scary story, something to send a chill across your skin in the middle of fall — or really, any other time?
The definition of scary changes from person to person. For some, it might be ghosts and haunted houses. For others, serial killers. For still others, the most frightening things are the ones that go bump in the night, unseen.
Despite the width of this spectrum, what unites all lovers of horror is the thrill that horror novels inspire within us: that universal sensation of your heart thumping out of your chest, as cold sweat breaks on your forehead when you turn the page.
Check out our top picks for Scary/Horror Books:
Uncle Silas by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Uncle Silas is a Victorian Gothic mystery/thriller novel by the Anglo-Irish writer J. Sheridan Le Fanu. It is notable as one of the earliest examples of the locked room mystery subgenre. It is not a novel of the supernatural (despite a few creepily ambiguous touches) but does show a strong interest in the occult and in the ideas of Swedenborg.
The Return Of The Soul by Robert Smythe Hichens
Can the soul of the dead come back to haunt the one who was responsible for its death? What would happen if the responsible one did not believe it could be so, and yet was in love with the returned soul? The Return of the Soul is a horror story of a man who is visited by the returning soul of a deceased, and who has some very perplexing issues to deal with upon that return.
The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe
The Narrator is summoned to the remote mansion of his boyhood friend, Roderick Usher. The Narrator reunites with his old companion, who is suffering from a strange mental illness and whose sister Madeline is near death due to a mysterious disease. The Narrator provides company to Usher while he paints and plays guitar, spending all his days inside, avoiding the sunlight and obsessing over the sentience of the non-living. When Madeline dies, Usher decides to bury her temporarily in one of his house’s large vaults. A few days later, however, she emerges from her provisional tomb, killing her brother while the Narrator flees for his life. The House of Usher splits apart and collapses, wiping away the last remnants of the ancient family.
Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel written by the British author Mary Shelley. Shelley wrote the novel when she was 18 years old. The title of the novel refers to the scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who learns how to create life and creates a being in the likeness of man, but larger than average and more powerful. In modern popular culture, people have tended to refer to the Creature as “Frankenstein”, despite this being the name of the scientist, and the creature being unnamed in the book itself. Frankenstein is a novel infused with elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement. It was also a warning against the “over-reaching” of modern man and the Industrial Revolution, alluded to in the novel’s subtitle, The Modern Prometheus. The story has had an influence across literature and popular culture and spawned a complete genre of horror stories and films. It is arguably considered the first fully realized science fiction novel. The novel raises many issues that can be linked to today’s society.
Ghosts of Koa – Volume 1 by Colby R Rice
For over one hundred years the Civic Order and the Alchemic Order have held a shaky truce, peppered by violence and mistrust. But when Koa, a Civilian-born insurgency, bombs an Alchemist summit, the truce is shattered. Now, Koa is rising. War is coming. And all sixteen-year-old Zeika Anon can do is keep moving as she watches the lords of alchemy slowly overtake her home.
But when clashes between Koa and the Alchemic Order put a final, deadly squeeze on the remaining Civilian territories, Zeika finds herself in the crosshairs of fate. She must walk the line between survival and rebellion against the Alchemists. On one side of the line awaits death. On the other, the betrayal of her civilization, her loyalties, and herself.
The first volume in THE BOOKS OF EZEKIEL series, GHOSTS OF KOA is a fast-paced, post-apocalyptic survival tale, set in the streets of a dying city that has been crushed by alchemic law. Layered with the elements of gritty crime drama, dark urban fantasy, hard sci-fi, and horror, GHOSTS OF KOA is a wild ride to the end of a young girl’s sanity as she struggles with an impossible choice: to keep one step ahead of a war… or to be consumed by it.
Recommended for fans of Stephen King, Clive Barker, Dean Koontz, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Divergent by Veronica Roth.