Best Horror Novels

A list of Great Horror Novels

I could literally send myself mad trying to write this horror novel list and go capering off into the night gibbering. So I’ll try not to think about it too hard and just go for it!

This list focuses more on contemporary horror, as that’s my general reading preference (although there are one or two golden oldies). But classics like Frankenstein, Dracula, The Castle of Otranto etc haven’t been included.

Also, no short stories or anthologies – so that get’s me out of H. P. Lovecraft and my conflicted feelings about that particular author!

Some of these books are straight out, no question horror. Others you may or may not class as pure horror, but they all have unsettling, dark themes that any horror enthusiast should identify with. And hopefully, there will be one or two new reads here to try.

There’s no way I could write an exhaustive list of all the best horror novels ever written. But here’s my (rather eclectic) attempt at recommending some gooduns.

In no particular order…

  • The Haunting of Hill House – by Shirley Jackson
  • Ghost Story – by Pete Straub
  • Floating Dragon – by Pete Straub
  • The Rats – by James Herbert
  • The Rising – by Brian Keene
  • Carrion Comfort – by Dan Simmons
  • The Girl Next Door – by Jack Ketchum
  • Off Season – by Jack Ketchum
  • The Resurrectionist – by Wrath James White
  • Dweller – by Jeff Strand
  • Katie – by Michael McDowell
  • The Ballad of Black Tom – by Victor LaValle
  • Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin
  • Exquisite Corpse – by Poppy Z. Brite
  • The Doll Who Ate His Mother – by Ramsey Campbell
  • Ancient Images – by Ramsey Campbell
  • The Wasp Factory – by Iain Banks
  • The Handmaid’s Tale – by Margaret Atwood
  • Necroscope – by Brian Lumley
  • The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes
  • Relic – by Douglas J. Preston and Lincoln Child
  • Last Days – by Adam Nevill
  • Beloved – by Toni Morrison
  • The Road – by Cormac McCarthy
  • I Am Legend – by Richard Matheson
  • Stir of Echos – by Richard Matheson
  • Watchers – by Dean Koontz
  • Flowers In The Attic – by V.C. Andrews
  • Battle Royale – by Koushun Takami
  • The Cannibals of Candyland – by Carlton Mellick III
  • The Woman in Black – by Susan Hill
  • House of Leaves – by Mark Z. Danielewski
  • Something Wicked This Way Comes – by Ray Bradbury
  • The Exorcist – by William Peter Blatty
  • The Yellow Wallpaper – by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • The Silence of the Lambs – by Thomas Harris
  • Swan Song – by Robert R. McCammon
  • Jaws – by Peter Benchley
  • The Chrysalids – by John Wyndham
  • The Ruins – by Scott Smith
  • The Collector – by John Fowles
  • 1984 –  by George Orwell
  • Lord of the Flies – by William Golding
  • The Trial – by Franz Kafka
  • The Hellbound Heart – by Clive Barker
  • The Monk – by Matthew Gregory Lewis
  • Zombie – by Joyce Carol Oates
  • Psycho – by Robert Bloch
  • I couldn’t pick just one Stephen King because well … all of them! but I think maybe Carrie, The Shining, IT, Misery and The Stand are my favs

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