10 Horror Novels That Will Keep You Up At Night

Horror novels don't just plumb the depths of our psyche. They build up people or worlds around those primal fears. Our list of the novels that will haunt you doesn't just go for the goriest or creepiest books. We understand that different readers have different desires. Whether you are interested in descriptions of violence, some comedy with your scares, or even formal experiments, one of these novels will speak to you. When you click links from this website, we may receive advertising revenue to support our research. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Ten Horror Novels That Will Keep You Up All Night

At least one of these ten novels is guaranteed to hit the sweet spot for any reader, whether they are new to the genre, deeply in love with it, or just experimenting.

  1. The Dead House uses diary entries, photos, and more in a postmodern fashion.
  2. The Merciless takes inspiration from Mean Girls and The Exorcist, plus some gore.
  3. Horrorstör sets a haunted house novel in a fictionalized IKEA.
  4. The Ritual tells a story of a hike gone wrong, with hints of The Blair Witch Project.
  5. American Elsewhere paints a picture of a small town intent on keeping its dark secret.
  6. A Head Full of Ghosts tackles cultural issues like reality television and blogging.
  7. 14 develops an apartment complex whose mysteries might reveal the end of the world.
  8. The Family Plot does gothic horror in Tennessee in a compelling and frightening fashion.
  9. Glimpse uses supernatural horror to struggle with addiction and parenthood.
  10. The Hellbound Heart is the classic that inspired Hellraiser, and remains horrifying today.

Stephen King's Son On How To Write Horror Characters

In Depth

The history of horror literature goes several centuries back. Though frightening stories in books may not be for everyone, they still appeal to countless numbers of readers, both young and old. Here are 10 novels that will keep you awake at night, presented in no particular order.

#1: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich. This novel revolves around Elmbridge High School, which burned 25 years before the events of the story. The blaze took the lives of three teenagers, and caused the disappearance of another. In the ruins of the school was the diary of a girl named Kaitlyn, which tells what took place during the fateful night of the fire. Kaitlyn, however, is believed by some to be fictional. It is at night when Kaitlyn takes over and the dreadful mysteries of the Dead House are revealed.

#2: The Merciless by Danielle Vega. This mystery novel with thriller elements features the story of Sofia. She moves to a new school in Mississippi where she meets Riley and Brooklyn. Riley, who is the more popular of the two, befriended Sofia. Riley then experiences heartbreak when her boyfriend cheats on her with Brooklyn. Because of this, she and her friends perform an exorcism on Brooklyn inside an abandoned house in front of Sofia. What follows leaves Sofia wanting to get out of the house. It's also the beginning of a series, so those who enjoy it will have more waiting for them.

It's also the beginning of a series, so those who enjoy it will have more waiting for them.

#3: Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix. Written in the style of a traditional haunted house story, Horrorstor gives readers a look at the strange and mysterious events that happen at the Orsk furniture shop in Cleveland, Ohio. Three of the store's employees try to get to the bottom of things by patrolling the showroom at night after security cameras reveal nothing. Even after the bookshelves, goblets, and other items have all been broken by the break of dawn. It includes humorous elements as well, making it great for those who need a little levity with their terror.

#4: The Ritual by Adam Nevill. This novel is about a group of four old university buddies who decide to meet up for a reunion in the form of a long hike through the Swedish Forests. As they go deeper into the woods, they have to take a shortcut as two of them get injured. The shortcut, however, leads them to an old shack full of odd artifacts and bones, and a realization that they were not alone after all. The mystery elements work great for readers who like to piece things together.

#5: American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett. Originally published in 2013, this novel has an eerie and bizarre story focusing on Mona Bright. She is a former cop who learns about her deceased mother's old home in Wink, New Mexico. Things start to turn odd when she begins to learn more about her new neighbors, and how the town differs from what she expected.

Originally published in 2013, this novel has an eerie and bizarre story focusing on Mona Bright.

#6: A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay. This novel gives readers a combination of a psychological thriller with a touch of supernatural horror. The story revolves around an American family that goes through the struggles that arise when their 14-year-old daughter, Marjorie, starts to show symptoms of mental illness. Things start to get more complicated when Marjorie is presumed by her father to be possessed by a demon, meaning an exorcism might be necessary. It also functions as a commentary on reality television, pop culture criticism, and what people will do when they're put in a hard position.

#7: 14 by Peter Clines. Released in 2012, 14 is a mystery novel with an apocalyptic tone. Strange things begin to happen when Nate, a broke and jobless man, moves into his new apartment. There, he meets his neighbor, Mandy, and starts to notice something odd in her room, as well as his other neighbors' units. It turns out that the secrets behind the old apartments date back over a century, and these mysteries could spell the end of Nate and everybody else. Fans of cosmic horror or place-based scares are especially likely to find something frightening.

#8: The Family Plot by Cherie Priest. Augusta Withrow sells a huge property in Chattanooga, Tennessee to businessman Chuck Dutton. He invests in old and dilapidated real estate. The property comes with an old house, a barn, and an overgrown cemetery. Chuck's daughter, Dahlia, is assigned to oversee the property. The gothic horror that follows comes when she realizes that the old Withrow mansion is still occupied by something that is angry and lost.

He invests in old and dilapidated real estate.

#9: Glimpse by Jonathan Maberry. This psychological thriller with supernatural touches follows the story of Rain Thomas. She is a former addict who got pregnant when she was only 15 and had to give away her baby for adoption. Things begin to take a bizarre turn when she appears early for a job interview, only to be told that she is almost a full day late. She struggles to find answers as to what happened in the last 24 hours, and what the strange entities haunting her visions could mean.

#10: The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker. This gothic horror novel features a puzzle box that is full of mystery and evil things. Frank Cotton and his love for dark and eerie pleasures lead him to the box and eventually to his gory end. Julia, his sister-in-law, has other things in mind, and attempts to bring him back to life. This source material for the Hellraiser film series is still chilling in its own right, and is a great introduction to one of the contemporary masters of the genre.