Hello there everybody! With the spooky season almost upon us, you might be looking for a good book to scare the shit out of you. I thought I’d put together a little list to help you with that goal.
These novels are listed in no particular order, and I’m just listing them because I loved them. I received nothing in exchange for these endorsements, but uhh, if Mr. King wants to give a cover quote for my next book, I’m all ears…
Now, without further ado…
MirrorWorld by Jeremy Robinson
Definitely more action horror than straight up horror, but MirrorWorld delivers on both counts.
There’s another world that exists beyond the veil of our own. One filled with monsters that feed off the fear of those who live in the mortal realm. There’s a war brewing between humanity and the beings known only as the Dread.
The only person who can stand in their way is Crazy. Literally. That’s his name. A Crazy is only called that, because he can’t feel fear.
I enjoyed this book for the great monsters, cool ideas (this novel was originally published before Stranger Things and the Upside Down entered the public consciousness) and frenetic action.
Fear Nothing by Dean Koontz
I read this when I was 10. I was way too young for it, and I’m sure I pestered my mother about things that a 10 year old shouldn’t even be thinking about, but that didn’t stop me from loving it.
The book follows Christopher Snow, who is afflicted by a disease called xeroderma pigmentosum. His skin cannot repair itself from damage caused by ultraviolet light, and so lives a life of the night.
Christopher’s father has just passed away, and someone has just stolen his father’s body from the crematorium. That’s the beginning of a strange turn of events that makes Christopher question just what kind of shady business his parents were involved in.
I’ve reread this a couple of times since I was a kid, and I still love it. Thrills, chills, and scares aplenty. Get yourself a ticket to the Mystery Train.
Feed by Mira Grant
This is the start of a series. One so addictive that you won’t be able to stop yourself from buying the next book as soon as you finish the last.
Feed follows a group of young reporters on the campaign trail of the next President of the United States of America. The kicker? The wild places between towns are filled with zombies.
But this isn’t your average zombie novel. The virus at the centre of all of this is so well thought-out and fleshed out that it feels like its own character. And this take on zombies is so fresh that you’ll wonder why everyone went nuts over The Walking Dead when they could have been hyping the Newsflesh series.
The Outsider by Stephen King
This list could have just been 10 Stephen King novels, but I forced myself to limit my choices to one book per author. I was tossing up between this novel and Duma Key, but ultimately The Outsider won out.
A young boy is savagely murdered. Eyewitness testimony places a well-loved baseball coach, covered in blood, at the scene of the crime. The police have him dead to rights, and they slam the cuffs on him in front of the whole town at a packed out stadium.
The only problem? Coach has a watertight alibi, backed up by physical evidence that’s impossible to forge. There’s no way he could be in two places at once, is there?
Man, what a great novel. Anything else I can say will venture into spoiler territory, and you really need to go into this one fresh.
The Ruins by Scott Smith
A group of unwitting teenagers head down to South America for the time of their lives. They stumble across an ancient ruin, ringed by salted earth. One thing leads to another, and the teenagers find themselves trapped on that ruin, which is filled with a hungry, malevolent force that the locals cannot allow to escape.
This book made my skin crawl. Don’t watch the subpar movie based on it. Read the book.
Aliens: Phalanx by Scott Sigler
This is the best thing to happen to the Alien franchise since Aliens. Imagine an underground medieval society that lives in fear of black-skinned demons who stalk the world above. These demons kill indiscriminately, and sometimes carry people back to their den in Black Smoke Mountain to turn them into more demons…
But the remaining humans who live in the dwindling holds deep within the mountain range must trade with one another, and the only way to do that is to send runners: swift, silent and ready to die to keep their people safe.
I love Scott Sigler’s books. I could have easily put Infected or Earthcore on here. In fact, go and read those too while you’re at it. But as a fan of the Alien franchise who wanted something different? I couldn’t ask for something better.
Horns by Joe Hill
Merryn, the girl Ig Parrish was supposed to marry, was raped and murdered. The people of his home town point the finger firmly at him.
Ig wakes up on day with two nubs growing out of his forehead. The horns begin growing, and people start telling Ig their deepest, darkest secrets. What if he could use these newfound powers to bring Merryn’s true murderer to justice?
The movie with Daniel Radcliffe in it was good. But the book is amazing. The story is told in a completely different way. One that is still terrifying, but with less focus on the unfolding mystery. The book lays the cards out on the table early, but not to its detriment. Truly unique.
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
One day something indescribable happens. People start seeing things in the world around them that force them to kill themselves. Their minds break, and there’s no coming back.
Malorie is pregnant and finds refuge in a house with a number of other survivors. But what point is there in living if there isn’t a world to go back to? The only thing that can stop this malevolent force is by shutting your eyes.
Don’t look. Don’t see. Keep your eyes closed.
You might have already seen the movie, but I urge you to go and read the book. This is an exercise in experiencing a narrative through different senses. The way that Malerman conveys how Malorie experiences the world through the blindfold is masterful.
The Troop by Nick Cutter
A scout troop head over onto an island for some good old-fashioned survival training. The only problem is that the Hungry Man arrives shortly after them, and the Hungry Man is carrying a deadly, infectious disease.
Soon after their trip begins, it devolves into a Lord of the Flies type situation where the kids are forced to fight for their survival against a terrifying and ravenous foe.
This book made my skin crawl. This definitely is not a book for the faint of heart.
Last Days by Adam Nevill
A documentary maker is approached to film a doco on the Temple of the Last Days, an infamous cult responsible for a terrible massacre. But not all is as it seems, and the Temple of the Last Days might have been onto something…
A series of impossible events plague their shooting schedule, and it seems as though the documentary maker has caught the attention of something terrifying. Something that the Temple of the Last Days were trying to reach out to.
This book scared the shit out of me. It reminded me of a found footage horror movie, but with the ability to really get into the heads of those behind the camera.
I ummed and ahhed about which Adam Nevill book I wanted to include here. Both The Ritual and The Reddening were amazing, but it was Last Days that really scared me.
Well, there you have it folks.
10 great horror novels for you to dive into this Halloween. If you end up picking up one of these, let me know what you think in the comments down below!