What are the best must-read horror novels?

asked by Anonymous
315 contributors
44 solutions
  1. 31

    #1The Shining

    The Shining

    The Shining is written by Stephen King is about a young boy with psychic powers struggling to hold his own against the forces of evil which are driving his father insane in an isolated hotel. 

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    Sandra Ramirez
    Written on February 19, 2018
    "The Shining is one of the most read horror novels. "
  2. 28

    #2It

    It

    It is a thriller book written by Stephen King which tells the story of seven adults who return to their hometown to confront a nightmare they had first stumbled on as teenagers.

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    Jesse Walker
    Written on February 17, 2018
    "IT is one of the best horror novels to date. It is really scary and you do not want to stop reading it. The first time I ever read it, I could not put it down. I read chapter after chapter. You will not regret reading this book. "
  3. 26

    #3'Salem's Lot

    'Salem's Lot

    'Salem's Lot is a book written by Stephen King which is about the story of Jerusalem’s Lot, a small town in Maine whose inhabitants succumb to the evil allure of a new resident. It was published by Anchor in 2008.

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    Betty Payne
    Written on February 12, 2018
    "Stephen King is a genius when it comes to horror. Salem's Lot is one of King's best work. Anything involving Stephen King's work you can count me in. "

DID YOU KNOW?

Despite all the scariest horror novels Stephen King has ever written, did you know that there is only one thing that scares him the most? It is Alzheimer’s disease. Stephen King is an American author known for his best-selling novels, which are mostly classified as sci-fi and horror books. And as a novelist, he fears any illness that might hit his mental capacity. Who doesn't, right?

To describe Stephen King as an influential man is such an understatement. He spent almost half a century scaring us, but little did everyone know that there is more to know beyond his terrifying tone of writing. Yet, perhaps one of the best moments in his life by far is when former President Barack Obama draped a National Medal of the Arts around his neck. Indeed, his works transcended bookshelves and libraries to the point that America owes him a big part of their culture and perception towards horror novels. Among his must-read, horror novels include It (1986), Pet Sematary (1983), The Shining (1977), and The Dead Zone (1979). And of course, some of his best-selling books already reached the theatres through their movie adaptations. Although the print industry is nearly dead, there are still remaining reasons why reading books will always be more thrilling than watching its movie adaptations. While it is visually appealing to watch a movie, just etting your imagination work is another thing. It is the mere act of imagining that makes the scenes in your head more realistic and thrilling.

  1. 24

    #4The Exorcist

    The Exorcist

    Inspired by a true story of a child’s demonic possession in the 1940s, William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist focuses on Regan, the eleven-year-old daughter of a movie actress. A small group of overwhelmed yet determined individuals must rescue Regan from her unspeakable fate, and the drama that ensues is gripping and unfailingly terrifying.

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    Bobby Ortiz
    Written on February 10, 2018
    "This novel will keep you up at night with the horror. It is a classic that everyone should try reading, it is truly horrific."
  2. 23

    #5Misery

    Misery
    Misery is a horror book written by Stephen King. It's the story of a famous novelist held hostage by his fan as he suffers a frightening case of writer's block which could end with him dead at the hands of his twisted fan.
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    Pranav Chauhan
    Written on February 7, 2018
    "One of the scariest book i have ever read. If you are familiar with Stephen Kings work you know exactly what you are buying and reading. If you collect his books or have to read all his titles then this is one that you cant pass up or miss. It will have you on the edge of your seats the entire time and throughout every chapter. "
  3. 21

    #6Carrie

    Carrie

    Carrie is a horror novel by Stephen King that tells the story of Carrie White, a girl that's constantly bullied by her schoolmates. When she finally has a chance to be normal, an unforeseen cruel act will end in horrible disaster.

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    Adam Hamilton
    Written on February 18, 2018
    "One of the better Stephen King novels, short yet deep at the same time and gives a little more depther to the movie. The ending is slightly different as well and adds a unique twist. A must red for hooro fans, whether or not they have seen the movie."
  4. 19

    #7Rosemary's Baby

    Rosemary's Baby
    Written by Ira Levin, this book tells the story of Rosemary Woodhouse, a housewife living in New York with her actor husband. Soon after Guy gets a role in Broadway, she gets pregnant, what gets the attention of an elderly couple that is not what they seem at first glance. 




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    Beverly Perkins
    Written on February 11, 2018
    "I think this book is perfect for horror story lovers. I highly recommend it. This book creeped me out in the best possible ways."
  5. 18

    #8Interview With the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles)

    Interview With the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles)
    This thriller written by Anne Rice combines terror, suspense and erotica. The first book of The Vampire Chronicles tells the story of Louis de Pointe du Lac, a vampire who tells the story of his life to a reporter.



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    Angela Moore
    Written on April 17, 2018
    "This is a classic horror book. I have read this a couple times now."
  6. 17

    #9Ghost Story

    Ghost Story

    Ghost Story is a mystery-thriller book written by Peter Straub which centers on four old men who gather together to tell each other frightening stories, however, one of the stories wherein they did something in the past is haunting them. 

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    Emily Hansen
    Written on February 8, 2018
    "The solution brought me to the Amazon page of this specific book. The book itself has 4 stars, which isn't bad. However, I was expecting to see more of a curated list, such as one from Goodreads. I think this solves the problem though, as long as the person hasn't read it yet."
  7. 13

    #10Swan Song

    Swan Song
    Swan Song is a post-apocalyptic horror novel by Robert McCammon. The evil Man with the Scarlet Eye wants to destroy a girl named Swan, but the last survivors of the nuclear war are determined to protect her.
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    Alan Rios
    Written on February 20, 2018
    "This is a pretty fun, well done book. If you're a fan of the genre like me, there probably isn't all that much new for you but it's all made well enough that you don't mind. Some really frightening scenes in here if you use your imagination."
  8. 11

    #11The Amityville Horror

    The Amityville Horror

    The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson is a horror fiction novel published in 1977. This book is about a family who recently moved into a new house with a murderous past and a series of haunting events started to happen to them.

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    Martha Stevens
    Written on March 6, 2018
    "This is one of the classics in horror. It is an older book, published back in the 70s but is still pretty popular. There is a question of whether or not it is true, so I would consider it fiction. And it is really scary!"
  9. 10

    #12Something Wicked This Way Comes

    Something Wicked This Way Comes

    Something Wicked This Way Comes is a fictional horror novel written by Ray Bradbury and was published in 1962. This book tells the story of two 13-year old boys and their unforgettable, horrifying experience with a traveling carnival.

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    Ajay Dasgupta
    Written on March 10, 2018
    "From the master of scary Ray Bradbury comes Something Wicked This Way Comes. This may be a book that's over 50 years old but it still holds a special place on my kindle."
  10. 9

    #13The Green Mile: The Complete Serial Novel

    The Green Mile: The Complete Serial Novel

    The Green Mile is set in Cold Mountain Penitentiary, home to convicted killers who await their turn to walk the Green Mile towards the electric chair. Prison guard Paul Edgecombe has seen his share of oddities, but never anyone like John Coffey. He'll soon discover the terrible, wondrous truth about Coffey, and it will challenge his most cherished beliefs...and yours.

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    Bruce Guerrero
    Written on February 16, 2018
    "One of my all time favorite King books. The only reason I don't give it 5 stars is because it really isn't horror. It's more mystery and doesn't have any horror elements. But it's still a fantastic read. I'd recommend the book if you've only seen the movie because it has so much more story. Just a really well done novel. "
  11. 8

    #14The Picture of Dorian Gray

    The Picture of Dorian Gray

    The Picture of Dorian Gray is a philosophical book written by Oscar Wilde, which is about Dorian Gray whose painted portrait of himself done by Basil Hallward ages instead of him as he commits sins and vile acts. 

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    Donald Delgado
    Written on May 9, 2018
    "Yes, there are some horror elements here. But I feel like you wouldn't classify this as an actual horror novel. You'd think something like IT, or The Shining or something along those lines. It's a terrific book, but I don't feel it's a horror novel."
  12. 5

    #15Hell House

    Hell House
    Hell House by Richard Matheson narrates the incidents experienced by the four professionals who got hired to investigate the most haunted mansion called the "Belaco House".
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    Sean Hopkins
    Written on February 20, 2018
    "This is a great book on horror that will leave you at the edge of your seat!"
  13. 5

    #16Let the Right One in

    Let the Right One in

    It recounts the unimaginable events in Blackberg such as the teenage boy who got murdered. Meanwhile, a twelve-year-old victim of bullying named Oskar hopes for revenge but also becomes bothered by a strange girl next door who only comes out at night.

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    Betty Hansen
    Written on February 17, 2018
    "This is a good solution the the topic. It is a horror novel that has gotten good reviews on amazon; however there are only a little over 500 making it good, but maybe not the best since it is clearly not one of the most popular of all horror novels. "
  14. 2

    #17The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a book by Robert Stevenson about Gabriel John Utterson, a lawyer, tries to investigate strange events that happen to his old companion, Dr. Jekyll whenever he takes a potion and become an evil Mr. Hyde.
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    Raquel de los Santos
    Written on February 12, 2018
    "This book was scary. It was interesting, I had never read it before."
  15. 1

    #18Christine

    Christine

    Christine is written by Stephen King which recounts the story of a 1958 Plymouth Fury named "Christine" and the new owner Arnie Cunningham who got controlled by the haunting and horrible car with an awful history.

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    Russell Simpson
    Written on February 11, 2018
    "One of the best Stephen King novels. Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Well written."
  16. 0

    #19I Travel by Night

    I Travel by Night

    I Travel by Night is a horror fantasy historical fiction and the first book in the series written by Robert McCammon. It is first published in 2013 by Subterranean Press.

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    William Alexander
    Written on April 20, 2018
    "I am absolutely in love with this book. The book is filled with amazing twists and turns. The suspense the book builds made me not want to put it down. The writing style is very flowing and easy to get through. The characters are interesting and unique. I think this a must read for an horror book lovers. "
  17. 0

    #20Say Cheese and Die! (Goosebumps Series)

    Say Cheese and Die! (Goosebumps Series)

    Say Cheese and Die is the 4th book from the R.L.Stine's classic horror series, Goosebumps. Originally published in 1992, the horror classic was then republished by Scholastic in September 1st, 2003. 

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    William Brooks
    Written on April 7, 2018
    "The Goosebump Series is a series geared toward elementary school children and is most certainly not "must read." Must-read literature must be determined by its ability to stand the test of time and Goosebumps has objectivly not done this. No one beyond age 12 reads Goosebump books and no one will in 10 years. "
  18. 0

    #21The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (Goosebumps Series)

    The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (Goosebumps Series)

    The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb s the 6th book from the R.L.Stine's classic horror series, Goosebumps. Originally published in 1993, the horror classic was published by Scholastic on September 1st, 2003. 

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    Reyansh Sen
    Written on April 3, 2018
    "as a kid i loved the goosebumps series. although this is a good recommendation it isn't the best it could be. as this is aimed towards a younger audience "
  19. 0

    #22The Great God Pan

    The Great God Pan
    The Great God Pan is a classic horror novel by Arthur Machen, first published in 1890. It tells the story of a surgeon, Dr. Raymond, who conducted an experimental operation on a woman's brain so that she may see the spiritual world.
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  20. 0

    #23Stay Out of the Basement (Goosebumps)

    Stay Out of the Basement (Goosebumps)

    Stay Out of the Basement is the 2nd book from the R.L.Stine's classic horror series, Goosebumps. Originally published in 1992, the horror classic was then republished by Scholastic on  September 1st, 2003.

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    Amit Mittal
    Written on March 31, 2018
    "Stay Out of the Basement is one of my favorites in the Goosebumps series as it is very well written and kept me interested throughout. I thought that the story was very creative and will be enjoyed by kids and adults alike."
  21. 0

    #24Ghost Beach (Goosebumps Series)

    Ghost Beach (Goosebumps Series)

    Ghost Beach is the 22nd book from the R.L.Stine's classic horror series, Goosebumps. Originally published in 1994, the horror classic was then republished by Scholastic on September 1st, 2003. 
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    Frances May
    Written on April 4, 2018
    "my husband likes reading horror novels the best book is Ghost Beach (Goosebumps Series) it contains more classic horror series"
  22. 0

    #25Ghost Camp (Goosebump Series)

    Ghost Camp (Goosebump Series)

    Ghost Camp is the 45th book from the R.L.Stine's classic horror series, Goosebumps. Originally published in 199, the horror classic was then republished by Scholastic on September 1st, 2003. 

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    Louis Rose
    Written on April 1, 2018
    "I think this is a good solution because I used to read these books as a kid and they were very entertaining. I think books like these make kids excited and interested in reading. "
  23. 0

    #26Devil Inside

    Devil Inside

    Devil Inside by William Cook is a supernatural horror novel originally published in 2013. The first edition of this book was published by the King Billy Publications. This tells the story of a young boy and the consequences of his wishes.

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    Grace Hopkins
    Written on April 15, 2018
    "Horror fans should NOT miss this book! It's a chilling story that plays on childhood fears... as well as an ending that was very satisfying... It's creepy enough that it stays with you long after you put it down; the sure sign of good horror!"
  24. 0

    #27Something Red: A Novel

    Something Red: A Novel

    Something Red: A Novel is a Fantasy, Horror, Magic, Historical Fiction novel written by Douglas Nicholas. It was published September 18, 2012 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books.

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    Frank Carroll
    Written on April 29, 2018
    "From the moment the great ox Milo hides its face on Hob's skinny chest for comfort, this story had me in the palm of the author's hand. I haven't enjoyed a book so much in years. The writing is exact, lovely; there is a spare precision of sympathy that makes the fact that Douglas Nicholas is first a poet, inevitable. Characters complex and warm, revealed by event and challenge. His older world comes convincingly clear in the details of physicality and sensation. Dread rises masterfully, suspense and horror mingled, drawing closer. I see some of the negative comments take issue with the element of the supernatural and what is perceived as its abrupt emergence. My own take is that there is foreshadowing by the third page on about the nature of that supernatural element, and that as the tale weaves in all its rich elements of detail, character development and evolution, the foreshadowing increases to a point of inevitability. What a ride -- I was chagrined to discover there are not yet any other Douglas Nicholas novels for me to read. That is the one place he let me down. However, I did order one of his books of poetry to compensate... and I will be waiting for his second novel's release."
  25. 0

    #28Night in the Lonesome October

    Night in the Lonesome October

    Night in the Lonesome October by Richard Laymon is a speculative horror fiction novel originally published in 2001. This book tells the story of a man who was recently dumped and decided to walk on the cold streets one October night.

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    Johnny Hanson
    Written on April 14, 2018
    "Night in the Lonesome October is a great solution to the best must-read horror novels. This novel is definitely a little bit older, but I feel it fits the genre and the solution to the problem very well. This novel is about a college student that encountered a bunch of creatures lurking in the dark when he goes for a walk in the middle of the night. "
  26. 0

    #29The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall

    The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall
    The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall is a standalone young adult paranormal novel written by Katie Alender which centers on Delia living in the new house that was previously used as an asylum and now has trapped her. 
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    Patricia Robinson
    Written on April 22, 2018
    "A good paranormal read about girls that have haunted a house and now owned by someone else. "
  27. 0

    #30Shinigami Eyes

    Shinigami Eyes

    Shinigami Eyes is a horror mystery fiction and the first book in the series written by Adam Smith. This young adult book is first published in 2014 by Dark Cherry Press. 

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    Michelle Lucas
    Written on May 6, 2018
    "This is a super-scary book. I made the biggest mistake of reading it while babysitting one night after the little one went to bed. I was in a somewhat unfamiliar house and swear I kept hearing noises. This book, I didnt want to put down, but the more I read it the more freaked out I became. I was reading it the way people watch scary movies with their hands over their face and peeking through their fingers at the same time. That's the best way I can describe reading this book. It was a great book!"
  28. 0

    #31The Collected Ghost Stories of Oliver Onions

    The Collected Ghost Stories of Oliver Onions

    The Collected Ghost Stories of Oliver Onions is a speculative fiction written by Oliver Onions. Originally published in 1935, this book features a collection of ghost stories.

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    April Zheng
    Written on May 8, 2018
    "The Victorians sure love ghost stories, and Oliver Onions is one of the best practitioners of the form. He If you like the ghost stories of Edith Wharton, or if you like Poe, or Jules Verne, for that matter, try Oliver Onions. This edition is extremely inexpensive, so why not take the plunge?"
  29. 0

    #32Shadowland

    Shadowland
    Shadowland is a horror novel by the author Peter Straub. The novel is about two friends who becomes apprentices to a Master Magician. Shadowland was published by Berkley and is available on Amazon.
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    Janet Mitchell
    Written on April 27, 2018
    "I wouldn't call this book a must-read horror novel. It's really long and the story was confusing. It's not even that scary at all. There's better books that you can read if you're exploring horror novels."
  30. 0

    #33The Damnation Game

    The Damnation Game

    The Damnation Game by Clive Barker is a horror fiction novel published in 1985. This book follows the story of a gambling convict named Marty Strauss hired to be a personal bodyguard of a wealthy man involved in supernatural events.

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    Michael Medina
    Written on March 8, 2018
    "am curious what it entails"
  31. 0

    #34The Bazaar of Bad Dreams

    The Bazaar of Bad Dreams

    The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is a collection of Stephen King's stories - both classic and brand-new, featuring autobiographical comments on how the stories came to be. The novel is an O. Henry Prize Winner and is a #1 New York Times bestseller.

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    Sarah Palmer
    Written on March 9, 2018
    "My son loves horror novels mostly the Bazaar of Bad Dreams, he says that the story is interesting because of the autobiographical comments on how the stories came to be."
  32. 0

    #35In the Dark

    In the Dark

    Featuring an introduction by Dean Koontz, a gripping tale of suspense follows young librarian Jane Kerry, who discovers an envelope containing money and instructions signed by the Master of Games, as she is hurled into a dark world where she must play a deadly and disturbing game in order to survive.

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    Adam Hunt
    Written on April 1, 2018
    "A great horror book that will keep you up at night."
  33. 0

    #36Swift to Chase

    Swift to Chase

    Swift to Chase by Laird Barron is a science fiction and horror novel originally published in 2016. This book was included in the Publisher's Weekly Top Ten List of Horror and Science Fiction books for 2016.

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    Marilyn Jensen
    Written on April 13, 2018
    "I bought this book after seeing a colleague reading it. I usually don't read horror books. I couldn't put the book down, which was good and bad. I had some trouble sleeping, scared me! Well written and worth every penny! Will steer clear of horror books from now on though."
  34. 0

    #37Occultation and Other Stories

    Occultation and Other Stories

    Occultation and Other Stories by Laird Barron is an occult fiction and horror novel originally published in 2010. This book won the Shirley Jackson Award in 2010. It includes nine tales of horror inspired by Lovecraft's work.

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    Diya Venkatesan
    Written on April 17, 2018
    "Not my favorite but if you are not sure if you want to read Barron or not this is probably the best place to start with some shorter works. The length does not deter from your engagement in the story."
  35. 0

    #38Welcome to Dead House (Goosebumps)

    Welcome to Dead House (Goosebumps)
    Welcome to the Dead House is the first book from R.L. Stine's classic horror series, Goosebumps. It was first published in 1992 and was republished by Scholastic Paperbacks on September 1st, 2003. 
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    Laura Sullivan
    Written on April 19, 2018
    "This book is a mild horror, but it does not fit as a must read horror novel. These are children's books not adult type horror."
  36. 0

    #39The Girl Next Door

    The Girl Next Door

    The Girl Next Door is a horror novel by Jack Ketchum which follows the story of Meg and her cripple sister Susan who live in the dark basement of the Chandler house as victims to their aunt. It was published in 2005 by Leisure books.

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    Jane Valdez
    Written on May 6, 2018
    "The story is not for the faint of heart and could be considered offensive. But that's how this type of stuff goes."
  37. 0

    #40The Children of Cthulhu

    The Children of Cthulhu

    The Children of Cthulhu is a compilation of chilling new tales inspired by H.P Lovecraft. Instead of sticking to the traditional Lovecraftian ways, the authors of the Children of Cthulhu were asked to bring the true horror of Cthulhu right into the modern world.

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    Wayne Austin
    Written on March 21, 2018
    "This is a modern take on the Lovecraft Mythos, transferring the tried-and-true horror classics to the modern world. It's an interesting look at horror in the 21st Century, and gives hope for any fan that the classics continue to inspire and terrify."
  38. 0

    #41Night of the Living Dummy (Goosebumps Series)

    Night of the Living Dummy (Goosebumps Series)

    Night of the Living Dummy is the 7th book from the R.L.Stine's classic horror series, Goosebumps. Originally published in 1993, the horror classic was republished by Scholastic on September 1st, 2003.

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    Sarah Fox
    Written on March 30, 2018
    "I loved reading Goosebumps as a child. Night of the Living Dummy is one of the first scary books I remember reading and it really made my imagination come alive. Its perfect for an older elementary school child and I can't wait for my own children to read this series."
  39. 0

    #42The Thief of Always

    The Thief of Always
    The Thief of Always by Clive Barker is a dark fantasy novel published in 1992. This book is filled with fables for children but is intended for adults as well. It also contains some graphic illustrations by Barker in black and white.
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    Alice Wan
    Written on March 9, 2018
    "Clive Barker always out for the shock of fear, grips hold of the reader in this story of a little boy. This story takes us through life and what it could be like if we choose to wish for everything we dont have instead of appreciating what we do have. Lovely story line for learning, even if it is not a childrens novel!"
  40. 0

    #43The Awakened: Zombie Fiction (The Awakened Duology)

    The Awakened: Zombie Fiction (The Awakened Duology)

    The Awakened: Zombie Fiction (The Awakened Duology) is a Horror, Romance, Young Adult, Science fiction novel written by Sara Elizabeth Santana. It published November 15, 2016 by Oftomes Publishing.

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    Alan Matthews
    Written on May 14, 2018
    "It's a story that focuses on Zoey and her father as they attempt to navigate the bombed-out landscape. The U.S. has bombed large cities in an attempt to eradicate zombies afflicted with a dangerous virus. It's the first in a series of two and I think readers, especially young adults, will love the excitement and fear of this first novel. "
  41. 0

    #44A Ghost In The House

    A Ghost In The House

    A Ghost In The House is a young adult mystery horror book written by Betty Ren Wright. This paranormal fiction novel is first published in 1991 by Scholastic Press. 

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    Wayne Wood
    Written on April 13, 2018
    "Fans of horror will for sure want to check this one out."

Summary

Best What are the best must-read horror novels
RankSolutionsTypeVotesPrice
1The ShiningBooks 31 Paid
2ItBooks 28 Paid
3'Salem's LotBooks 26 Paid
4The ExorcistBooks 24 Paid
5MiseryBooks 23 Paid
6CarrieBooks 21 Paid
7Rosemary's BabyBooks 19 Paid
8Interview With the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles)Books 18 Paid
9Ghost StoryBooks 17 Paid
10Swan SongBooks 13 Paid
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