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Horror Novels- where to start?

Do you want to fill this, the spookiest of all months with some new horror novels? We’ve got you covered! 

We are going to go theme by theme through some horror novels, so you can find exactly the kinda thing you are looking for! 

Horror Novels about Serial Killers

Silence of The Lambs/ Red DragonThomas Harris

Red Dragon sees the renowned psychiatrist and cannibal Hannibal Lecter finally caught and taken to jail, not before he can stab and maim FBI Agent Will Graham. Years pass and Will must face Hannibal once again to gain his insight on a new serial killer- the tooth fairy. 

Silence of The Lambs centres once again around Hannibal in jail, however, this time many years have passed and trainee FBI Agent Clarice Starling is tasked with interviewing him. Later their brilliant minds combined help capture the new serial killer on the block Buffalo Bill and save his latest intended victim, Catherine Martin. 

Little Star– John Ajvede Linquist

He found her as a baby, abandoned in the forest. He saved her life. With her first breath – a perfect, musical note – he realised she was no ordinary child.

It was for her own protection that he hid her from the authorities. Was it his fault, what she turned into? Or was that why she was left for dead in the first place? The girl who became a little star. Who became, with her extraordinary powers, the most terrifying thing imaginable.

American Psycho– Brett Easton Ellis

I am sure you all know the tale. Patrick Bateman is twenty-six and works on Wall Street; he is handsome, sophisticated, charming and intelligent. He is also a psychopath. We get an insight into the murderous violent ways of Bateman. 

Psycho– Robert Bloch

Norman Bates, who as we see apparently lives with his mother, in a house on a hill adjacent to the motel that they own, now not that much visited as a newer road has been built, bypassing the area. When Mary Crane runs off from her workplace with a bundle of cash she ends up at the Bates Motel quite by chance.

Dexter– Jeff Lyndsy

Dexter, a man born of violence grows up with his adopted family. His father the cop who rescued him from a bloody crime scene and taught him to channel his murderous impulses. Now working as a blood tech for the Miami Police Department, Dexter seemingly has it all figured out, he is a serial killer who you can’t help but kinda like. 

Zodiac– Robert Graysmith

The Zodiac Killer is one of the most prolific in recent History and, one still very much shrouded in mystery. A sexual sadist, the Zodiac’s pleasure was torture and murder. He taunted the authorities with mocking notes telling where he would strike next. The official tally of his victims was six. He claimed 37 dead. He was never caught. 

The Bone Collector– Jeffrey Deaver

New York City has been thrown into chaos by the assaults of the Bone Collector, a serial kidnapper and killer who gives the police a chance to save his victims from death by leaving obscure clues. Baffled, the cops turn to the one man with a chance of solving them – Lincoln Rhyme. Ex NYPD cop Lincoln Rhyme was left paralysed, he guides young police office Amelia on this twisting and turning chase. 

Exquisite Corpse– Poppy Z Brite

 After feigning his own death to escape from a life sentence in prison serial killer Andrew Crompton, makes his way to America with the intention of bringing his art to new heights. Tortured by his own perverse desires, he inadvertently joins forces with Jay, a dissolute playboy. They set their sights on a young Vietnamese-American runaway, who they deem to be the perfect victim.

The Alienist– Caleb Car

Set in New York City in 1896, there is a brutal killer terrorising and killing young male prostitutes. The psychological profiling of murderers is a practice still very much in its infancy. Eminent ‘alientist’ Dr Laszlo Kreizler is drafted in to try and help solve the case before it is too late. 

It is also now a series on Netflix and it is frankly F A N T A S T I C! 

The Surgeon– Tess Gerristen

A serial killer is operating in Boston and has claimed a number of victims. He carries out medical procedures on them prior to killing them. Investigations reveal that the crimes are similar to murders in Savannah but the only problem is that perpetrator was shot dead by the last woman he attacked. However, that woman now lives in Boston. Is there a copy-cat killer operating there?

Horror Novels about Folklore/ Myths/ Occult

The Ritual- Adam Nevill

Four old university friends reunite for a hiking trip in the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle. No longer young men, they have little left in common and tensions rise as they struggle to connect. Frustrated and tired they take a shortcut that turns their hike into a nightmare that could cost them their lives. 

The Ritual is also featured for its film adaptation in Let’s talk Horror myths/ occult.

Harvest Home– Thomas Tryon

The Constantine family move to the idyllic countryside to escape the big city. When the Constantines win the friendship of the town matriarch, the mysterious Widow Fortune, they are invited to join the ancient festival of Harvest Home, a ceremony whose quaintness disguises dark intentions. Something far more sinister than the annual harvest is about to rise out of the earth.

Crucible– Arthur Miller

The story of how the small community of Salem is stirred into madness by superstition, paranoia and malice, culminating in a violent climax, is a savage attack on the evils of mindless persecution and the terrifying power of false accusations.

“The Black Tongue”– Marko Hautala

For generations, the urban legend of Granny Hatchet has plagued the quiet residential area of Suvikylä in northern Finland. As the story goes, this immortal killer murders her victims with a hatchet, then buries the hearts in a potato field and eats them after they’ve rotted black. But not everyone is convinced it is just a story.

Brown Girl in the Ring- Nalo Hopkinson

The rich and the privileged have fled the city, barricaded it behind roadblocks, and left it to crumble. The inner city has had to rediscover old ways — farming, barter, herb lore. But now the monied need a harvest of bodies, and so they prey upon the helpless of the streets. With nowhere to turn, a young woman must open herself to ancient truths, eternal powers, the tragic mystery surrounding her mother and grandmother. She must bargain with gods, and give birth to new legends.

The Bone Witch- Rin Chupeco

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

The Great God Pan– Arthur Machen

A doctor performs an experiment on a young woman that goes horribly wrong, and a series of increasingly strange events follow: sinister woodland rituals, disappearances, suicides… Viewed as immoral and decadent on first publication in 1894, Machen’s weird tale has since established itself as a classic of its genre.

 

Horror Novels about Zombies/ Re-Animation 

Pet Semetary– Stephen King

The story starts when a family lose their beloved cat to a busy road. Close by is an ancient burial ground where local children made a pet ‘sematary’, complete with a misspelt sign. There are stories of it having the power to resurrect the dead. So, of course, the protagonist buries the family cat there while his wife and children are away. What harm can it do? The cat returns from the dead but he is not the same

The dead should stay dead.. 

Frankenstein- Mary Shelley

Frankenstein narrates the chilling tale of a being created by a bright young scientist and the catastrophic consequences that ensue. Considered by many to be the first science-fiction novel, the tragic tale of Victor Frankenstein and the tortured creation he rejects.

World War Z- Max Brooks

It began with rumours from China about another pandemic. Then the cases started to multiply and what had looked like the stirrings of a criminal underclass, even the beginning of a revolution, soon revealed itself to be much, much worse. Faced with a future of mindless man-eating horror, humanity was forced to accept the logic of world government and face events that tested our sanity and our sense of reality.

Also a film, but all reports say the original source material is the best! 

Cell– Stephen King

By Halloween, every major city from New York to Moscow stank to the empty heavens and the world as it had been was a memory. The event became known as The Pulse. The virus was carried by every cell phone operating within the entire world. Within hours, those receiving calls would be infected.

The Girl with all the Gifts– M. R. Carey

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh. Melanie is a very special girl.

Strong Last of Us Vibes! 

The Forest of Hands and Teeth– Carrie Ryan

The world of “The Forest of Hands and Teeth” is unlike our own. Surrounded by fences like caged animals the villagers of Mary’s town are trapped. Or so it would seem. The Sisterhood holds many secrets except one – if that fence is breached there will death. Because outside of the fence lies the forest, and inside the forest are the Unconsecrated. The unconsecrated are infected humans; zombies desperate to infect the living. 

Zombie, Ohio– Scott Kenemore

Peter is a zombie, and he learns pretty quickly that its not all fun and games. The car accident he was in, he learns was not an accident at all. So in his Zombie state he tries to solve the mystery of his own murder! 

the girl with all the gifts

Novels about Vampires

Bram Stokers- Dracula

C’mon, you lot know this story. 

Interview with the Vampire– Anne Rice

Anne Rice has a whole vampire series, called the vampire chronicles that includes Interview, The Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned etc. 

Salem’s Lot- Stephen King

‘Salem’s Lot is a small New England town with the usual quota of gossips, drinkers, weirdos and respectable folk. Of course there are tales of strange happenings – but not more than in any other town its size’

Let the Right One In– John Ajuide Lindquist

Oskar and Eli. In very different ways, they were both victims. Which is why, against the odds, they became friends. Oaskar the little boy is 12 and Eli the little girl is 200.

Dead Until Dark- Charlaine Harris

This is the book that inspired the incredibly horny True Blood show, you know the one I mean. Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She can read minds all except for handsom Bill, the vampire. 

I am Legend- Richard Mattheson

Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth … but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are hungry for Neville’s blood.

Horror Novels about Werewolves 

Blood and Chocolate– Anette Curtis Klause

Vivian is a werewolf who falls in love with a human, Aiden is kind and gentle, a welcome relief from the squabbling pack. He’s fascinated by magic, and Vivian longs to reveal herself to him. Surely he would understand her and delight in the wonder of her dual nature, not fear her as an ordinary human would.

Cycle of the Werewolf– Stephen King

When the moon grows fat, a paralyzing fear sweeps through Tarker Mills. For snarls that sound like human words can be heard whining through the wind. And all around are the footprints of a monster whose hunger cannot be sated…

Sharp Teeth– Toby Barlow

An ancient race of lycanthropes has survived to the present day, and its numbers are growing. Bent on dominance, rival factions are initiating the down-and-out of L.A. into their ranks. Caught in the middle are Anthony, a kindhearted, lovesick dogcatcher, and the object of his affection: a female werewolf who has abandoned her pack.

The Wolfman– Nicholas Pekearo

Marlowe Higgins has a hard life moving from place to place, he is a werewolf. A fiendish serial killer, known as the Rose Killer, is brutally murdering young girls all around the county. Higgins targets the killer as his next victim, but on the night of the full moon, things go drastically wrong.

The Werewolf of Paris– Guy Endore

An outcast named Bertrand Caillet, travels round seeking to calm the beast within. An episodic tale, the story wanders through 19th Century France and into hotspots like the Franco-Prussian war. 

Did for Werewolves what Bram Stokers Dracula did for Vampires! 

The Howling– Gary Brandner

Karyn and her husband Roy had come to the peaceful California village of Drago to escape the savagery of the city. On the surface Drago appeared to be like most small rural towns.
But it was not. The village had a most unsavory history. Unexplained disappearances, sudden deaths. People just vanished, never to be found.

Hound of the Baskervilles– Arthur Conan Doyle

The terrible spectacle of the beast, the fog of the moor, the discovery of a body: this classic horror story pits detective against dog, rationalism against the supernatural, good against evil. When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead on the wild Devon moorland with the footprints of a giant hound nearby, the blame is placed on a family curse. Renowned detective Sherlock Holmes is called to solve the mystery! 

The Bloody Chamber– Angela Carter

When a 17 year old virgin marries a mature and charismatic Marquis it seems like a fairy tale. But when the Marquis is called away on their wedding night, leaving her only her only his keys and a single instruction, her curiosity leads her to uncover a dark secret. “All is yours, everywhere is open to you, except the lock that the single key fits. You must promise, if you love me, to leave it well alone.”

 

sharp teeth book cover

 

 

Novels about Ghost Stories/ Possession and Demons 

The Turn of the Screw- Henry James

A very young woman’s first job: governess for two weirdly beautiful, strangely distant, oddly silent children, Miles and Flora, at a forlorn estate…An estate haunted by a beckoning evil

Women in Black- Susan Hill

A house stands at the end of a causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but it is not until he glimpses a wasted young woman, dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a creeping sense of unease begins to take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk of the woman in black and her terrible purpose.

Haunting of Hill House– Shirley Jackson

It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, the lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

Pretty different from the tale Netflix spun us earlier this year, but both very good. 

IT– Stephen King

Every 27 years a terror haunts the Streets of Derry. But this year, has it met its match? The losers club, a band out outcast, misfit kids fight against this otherworldly evil to rid themselves of its hold forever! Only to find.. 27 years later, he comes back! 

Sleepy Hollow– Washington Irving

Set deep in the forest is the town of Sleepy Hollow, where everything is not as it seems. Gruesome murders have been taking place and young constable Ichabod Crane has been sent from the City to investigate. He soon discovers this is not the work of a normal human killer, but something all together very supernatural! 

The Exorcist– William Peter Blatty

Once a loving daughter, Regan suddenly starts to change. Doctors can not find the cause of her illness, it is as if a different personality has invaded her body. Her mother, terrified for her daughters life, invokes the help of a Priest to perform and exorcism! 

Rosemary’s Baby– Ira Levin

Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse, an ordinary young couple, settle into a New York City apartment, unaware that the elderly neighbors and their bizarre group of friends have taken a disturbing interest in them. But by the time Rosemary discovers the horrifying truth, it may be far too late!

There was an INCREDIBLE mini series of this starring Zoe Saldana.

Amityville Horror– Jay Anson

In December 1975, the Lutz family moved into their dream home, the same home where Ronald DeFeo had murdered his parents, brothers and sisters just one year earlier. 

This was marketed as being more terrifying then Rosemarys Baby and The Exorcist because.. of course it was entirely TRUE!! Was it Jay? WAS IT THOUGH?

The Rite- Matt Baglio

Journalist Matt Baglio uses the astonishing story of one American priest’s training as an exorcist to reveal that the phenomena of possession, demons, the Devil, and exorcism are not merely a remnant of the archaic past, but remain a fearsome power in many people’s lives even today. 

 

So there we have it! These horror novels should keep you busy for the month or so, there are 100s of spooky books out there sure to tickle your spooky bones so go get stuck in! 

Have we included your favourite horror novels in this list? Let us know in the comments below! 


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