Horror: The 100 Best Books

This is one of the 268 lists we use to generate our main The Greatest Books list.

  • The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

    This classic work of literature revolves around the character of Doctor Faustus, a scholar who is dissatisfied with traditional forms of knowledge and yearns for more. In his quest for ultimate power and understanding, he makes a deal with the devil, selling his soul in exchange for 24 years of service from the devil's agent, Mephistopheles. Despite the pleasures and knowledge he gains, Faustus eventually regrets his deal as he faces eternal damnation, symbolizing the human struggle between ambition and morality.

  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare

    This classic play follows the tragic tale of Macbeth, a Scottish general whose ambition is sparked by a prophecy from three witches that he will one day become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred on by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the throne. However, guilt and paranoia plague him, leading to a reign of terror and further bloodshed. His desperate attempts to cling onto power lead to his downfall, illustrating the destructive power of unchecked ambition.

  • The White Devil by John Webster

    "The White Devil" is a gripping and darkly captivating play that delves into the themes of revenge, corruption, and deceit. Set in 16th century Italy, the story follows the lives of two powerful families, the Brachiano and the Medici, as they engage in a web of treachery and manipulation. As tensions rise and secrets unravel, the characters are consumed by their own desires, leading to a tragic and bloody climax. With its complex characters and intricate plot, "The White Devil" explores the depths of human nature and the destructive consequences of unchecked ambition.

  • The Adventures of Caleb Williams by William Godwin

    The novel revolves around a young man named Caleb Williams who becomes a secretary for a nobleman named Ferdinando Falkland. He soon discovers that his employer is hiding a terrible secret, and when he's wrongfully accused of a crime, he's thrown into prison. The rest of the story follows his escape from prison and his subsequent life on the run, all while trying to prove his innocence and expose the truth about Falkland. The book is a critique of aristocratic privilege, the abuse of power, and the injustices of the legal system.

  • The Monk by Matthew Lewis

    "The Monk" is a gothic novel that explores the tragic downfall of a virtuous and respected monk who succumbs to temptation and sin. The protagonist is lured into a world of lust, greed, and pride by a woman who is actually Satan in disguise. His moral decay leads to a series of horrific events including murder, incest, and witchcraft. The novel serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of excessive pride and the destructive power of unchecked desire.

  • The Best Tales Of Hoffmann by E. T. A. Hoffmann

    "The Best Tales of Hoffmann" is a collection of captivating and imaginative stories written by E. T. A. Hoffmann. This anthology showcases the author's unique blend of fantasy, horror, and romance, taking readers on a journey through mysterious and enchanting worlds. From a man's obsession with a mechanical doll to a musician's encounter with a supernatural violin, each tale is filled with suspense, intricate plots, and vivid characters that will leave readers spellbound.

  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

    "Northanger Abbey" is a coming-of-age novel that follows the story of Catherine Morland, a young and naive girl who is invited to stay with the wealthy Tilney family at their estate, Northanger Abbey. Catherine's imagination is fueled by her love for gothic novels, leading her to create fantastical scenarios in her mind. As she navigates the complexities of society and falls in love, Catherine learns valuable lessons about the dangers of letting her imagination run wild and the importance of distinguishing reality from fiction.

  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

    This classic novel tells the story of a young scientist who creates a grotesque but sentient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. The scientist, horrified by his creation, abandons it, leading the creature to seek revenge. The novel explores themes of ambition, responsibility, guilt, and the potential consequences of playing God.

  • Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Robert Maturin

    "Melmoth the Wanderer" is a gothic novel that tells the story of John Melmoth, a man who sells his soul to the devil for 150 extra years of life, and spends that time wandering the earth in search of someone who will take over the pact for him. The narrative is a complex series of nested stories, told by many different characters, and it explores themes of guilt, redemption, and the inherent evil of mankind.

  • The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg

    Set in 18th century Scotland, the novel explores the psychological downfall of a deeply religious man who believes he is predestined for salvation and thus justified in committing a series of murders. He is driven to this path of self-destruction by a mysterious stranger who may be either a devilish tempter or a manifestation of his own deranged mind. The book serves as a critique of religious fanaticism and a chilling exploration of the dark side of human nature.

  • The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe

    This collection brings together all of the author's most famous works, including poems, short stories, and novellas. Known for his macabre and gothic storytelling, the author's works are filled with themes of death, love lost, and human frailty. Notable inclusions are the haunting poem "The Raven," the chilling stories "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Fall of the House of Usher," and his only complete novel, "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym."

  • Twice-Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne

    This book is a collection of short stories that delve into the complexities of human nature and society, often through the lens of New England Puritanism. The tales are characterized by their allegorical nature, moral lessons, and exploration of themes such as sin, guilt, and pride. The author's keen understanding of the human psyche and his ability to weave intricate narratives make this an engaging read.

  • The Black Spider by Jeremias Gotthelf

    "The Black Spider" is a chilling and haunting tale set in a small Swiss village. It tells the story of a pact made with the devil by the villagers' ancestors, resulting in a curse that manifests in the form of a black spider. As the spider spreads terror and death, the villagers must confront their own sins and grapple with the consequences of their forefathers' actions. This dark and atmospheric novella explores themes of guilt, redemption, and the destructive power of evil.

  • The Wandering Jew by Eugène Sue

    "The Wandering Jew" is a captivating novel that follows the intertwined lives of various characters across different time periods and locations. From the Middle Ages to the 19th century, the book explores themes of love, revenge, and redemption as it delves into the experiences of a mysterious immortal figure known as the Wandering Jew. Through vivid storytelling and rich historical detail, the novel offers a thought-provoking exploration of human nature and the consequences of our actions.

  • The Confidence Man by Herman Melville

    "The Confidence Man" by Herman Melville is a satirical novel that takes place on a Mississippi steamboat, where a mysterious man known as the Confidence Man interacts with various passengers, exploiting their weaknesses and manipulating their trust. Through a series of encounters and conversations, Melville explores themes of deception, human gullibility, and the complexities of identity, ultimately challenging the reader's perception of truth and the nature of confidence.

  • Uncle Silas by Sheridan Le Fanu

    "Uncle Silas" is a classic Gothic novel set in Victorian England that follows the story of a young, naive heiress who is left in the care of her mysterious and seemingly sinister Uncle Silas after her father's death. As she navigates her new life in his decrepit mansion, she uncovers dark family secrets, and begins to suspect her uncle may have ulterior motives. The novel explores themes of innocence, corruption, and the nature of evil, all set against the backdrop of a suspenseful and eerie atmosphere.

  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

    This classic novel explores the duality of human nature through the story of a respected London doctor who creates a potion that transforms him into a sinister, violent alter ego. As the doctor increasingly loses control over when the transformations occur, his alter ego's evil deeds escalate, causing havoc in the community. The narrative is a chilling exploration of humanity's capacity for evil and the struggle for individuals to reconcile their public personas with their private desires.

  • She by H. Rider Haggard

    The novel is a classic adventure tale set in a lost African civilization, revolving around a beautiful and immortal queen who has the power to kill at will and is known only as "She". The story follows two men who discover her hidden kingdom while on an expedition. The queen believes one of them to be the reincarnation of her long-lost love and tries to win him over while the other man falls in love with her. The narrative explores themes of power, immortality, and love.

  • The King In Yellow by Robert W. Chambers

    "The King In Yellow" is a collection of interconnected short stories that explore the mysterious and macabre world of the eponymous play, which is said to drive those who read it to madness. Set in a fictional world where the play's influence spreads like a plague, the book delves into themes of forbidden knowledge, the fragility of sanity, and the blurred lines between reality and fiction. With its haunting atmosphere and unsettling tales, "The King In Yellow" captivates readers with its dark and enigmatic narrative.

  • The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells

    A shipwrecked man finds himself on an isolated island run by a mad scientist who has been conducting disturbing experiments, transforming animals into human-like beings through vivisection. The man must navigate this horrifying new reality while trying to maintain his own humanity and sanity, in a world where the line between beast and man is blurred. The narrative is a chilling exploration of the nature of humanity, the ethics of science, and the dangers of playing God.

  • Dracula by Bram Stoker

    This classic horror novel tells the story of Count Dracula's attempt to move from Transylvania to England so that he may find new blood and spread the undead curse, and of the battle between Dracula and a small group of people led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing. The narrative is composed of journal entries, letters, and telegrams written by the novel's protagonists, providing different perspectives on the gruesome events unfolding. The book touches on themes of sexuality, gender roles, and the clash of modern science with traditional superstition.

  • The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

    A young governess is hired to care for two children at a remote English estate. However, she soon becomes convinced that the grounds are haunted by two former employees who have taken control of the children. As she fights to free the children from these apparitions, the line between reality and her own fears becomes increasingly blurred, leading to a chilling and ambiguous conclusion.

  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

    This classic novel follows the journey of a seaman who travels up the Congo River into the African interior to meet a mysterious ivory trader. Throughout his journey, he encounters the harsh realities of imperialism, the brutal treatment of native Africans, and the depths of human cruelty and madness. The protagonist's journey into the 'heart of darkness' serves as both a physical exploration of the African continent and a metaphorical exploration into the depths of human nature.

  • The Jewel Of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker

    "The Jewel of Seven Stars" is a gripping gothic horror novel that follows the story of a young archaeologist who becomes entangled in a mysterious and ancient curse. When an Egyptian mummy is brought to London, strange occurrences begin to unfold, leading the protagonist on a perilous journey to uncover the secrets of an ancient queen and her quest for immortality. As the suspense builds, the protagonist must confront supernatural forces and make a desperate attempt to break the curse before it consumes them all.

  • Ghost Stories Of An Antiquary by M. R. James

    "Ghost Stories of an Antiquary" is a collection of chilling tales that delve into the supernatural and macabre. Written by M. R. James, these stories transport readers to eerie settings, where ancient artifacts, haunted houses, and vengeful spirits lurk. With a masterful blend of suspense and atmospheric descriptions, James weaves narratives that leave readers on the edge of their seats, questioning the boundaries between the real and the supernatural. Each story is a haunting exploration of the human psyche and the terrifying unknown, making this collection a must-read for fans of classic ghost stories.

  • The House Of Souls by Arthur Machen

    "The House of Souls" is a collection of supernatural tales that explore the thin veil between the physical and spiritual realms. From haunted houses to ancient rituals, the stories delve into the mysteries of the occult and the unsettling forces that lurk in the shadows. With vivid descriptions and a haunting atmosphere, the book takes readers on a chilling journey through the unknown, leaving them questioning the boundaries of reality and the existence of otherworldly beings.

  • The Complete John Silence Stories by Algernon Blackwood

    "The Complete John Silence Stories" is a collection of thrilling tales written by Algernon Blackwood. The book follows the adventures of John Silence, a psychic detective who uses his extraordinary abilities to solve perplexing mysteries. From haunted houses to supernatural encounters, Silence's investigations take readers on a captivating journey through the realms of the unknown. With a blend of suspense, horror, and the occult, these stories offer a unique and chilling reading experience.

  • The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton

    "The Man Who Was Thursday" is a metaphysical thriller that revolves around a poet turned detective who infiltrates a secret society of anarchists in London. Each member of the society is named after a day of the week, and the protagonist becomes 'Thursday.' As he delves deeper, he discovers that the other members are also undercover detectives, each unaware of the others' true identities. The narrative explores themes of order and chaos, faith and unbelief, with a surprising twist regarding the identity of the society's leader, 'Sunday.'

  • The House On The Borderland And Other Novels by William Hope Hodgson

    "The House On The Borderland And Other Novels" is a collection of thrilling and imaginative stories by William Hope Hodgson. The book takes readers on a journey through various eerie and otherworldly settings, where they encounter supernatural phenomena, ancient evils, and cosmic horrors. From a haunted house on the edge of reality to a terrifying voyage through time and space, these gripping tales offer a blend of horror, science fiction, and fantasy that will captivate fans of the genre.

  • The Complete Short Stories Of Ambrose Bierce by Ambrose Bierce

    "The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce" is a collection of gripping and thought-provoking tales that showcase the author's mastery of the short story form. Bierce's stories delve into the dark recesses of the human psyche, exploring themes of war, death, and the supernatural. With his sharp wit and incisive writing style, Bierce crafts narratives that are both entertaining and deeply unsettling, leaving readers pondering the complexities of the human condition long after they have finished reading.

  • Widdershins by G. Oliver Onions

    "Widdershins" is a gripping psychological thriller that follows the life of a troubled young woman named Alice. Haunted by a traumatic childhood event, Alice finds herself drawn into a mysterious world of dark secrets and supernatural occurrences. As she delves deeper into the enigmatic past of her family, Alice must confront her own demons and unravel the truth before it consumes her. With its atmospheric setting and complex characters, "Widdershins" is a chilling tale of suspense and self-discovery.

  • The Horror Horn And Other Stories by E. F. Benson

    "The Horror Horn And Other Stories" is a collection of chilling tales that delve into the realms of supernatural and psychological horror. From haunted houses and vengeful spirits to eerie premonitions and macabre transformations, each story offers a unique and spine-tingling experience. With masterful storytelling and a keen eye for suspense, the author takes readers on a journey through the darkest corners of the human psyche, leaving them captivated and unsettled until the very last page.

  • A Voyage To Arcturus by David Lindsay

    "A Voyage to Arcturus" is a philosophical and allegorical novel that follows the journey of a man named Maskull to the planet Tormance, located in the star system Arcturus. As he explores this strange and mystical world, Maskull encounters various beings and experiences profound transformations, both physically and spiritually. Through vivid and imaginative storytelling, the book delves into themes of identity, morality, and the nature of reality, challenging readers to question their own perceptions and beliefs.

  • The Trial by Franz Kafka

    The book revolves around a bank clerk who wakes one morning to find himself under arrest for an unspecified crime. Despite not being detained, he is subjected to the psychological torment of a bizarre and nightmarish judicial process. The story is a critique of bureaucracy, exploring themes of guilt, alienation and the inefficiency of the justice system.

  • Something About Eve by James Branch Cabell

    "Something About Eve" is a captivating novel that delves into the complex and mysterious life of Eve, a woman who possesses an irresistible charm and allure. Set in a small town, the story follows Eve's interactions with various characters, each of whom becomes infatuated with her in their own unique way. As the narrative unfolds, secrets are revealed, relationships are tested, and the true nature of Eve's enigmatic persona is gradually unveiled. With its richly developed characters and thought-provoking themes, this book offers a compelling exploration of desire, identity, and the power of seduction.

  • Medusa by E. H. Visiak

    "Medusa" is a gripping and atmospheric novel that follows the journey of a young man named Richard, who becomes entangled in a mysterious and dangerous world of ancient myths and supernatural forces. As he delves deeper into the secrets of a remote island, Richard discovers a hidden society ruled by a powerful and enigmatic figure known as Medusa. With vivid descriptions and a captivating narrative, the book explores themes of power, temptation, and the blurred lines between reality and fantasy.

  • The Werewolf Of Paris by Guy Endore

    "The Werewolf of Paris" is a gripping and chilling tale set in 19th-century France, exploring the life of a tormented werewolf. The story follows the protagonist's journey as he navigates his dual nature, torn between his human desires and the uncontrollable beast within. Filled with suspense, horror, and a deep exploration of the human psyche, this haunting novel delves into themes of identity, morality, and the eternal struggle between good and evil.

  • The Last Bouquet by Marjorie Bowen

    "The Last Bouquet" by Marjorie Bowen is a captivating historical novel set in 18th-century France. The story follows a young woman named Genevieve, who finds herself caught in the midst of the French Revolution. As chaos and violence engulf the nation, Genevieve's life takes a dramatic turn when she becomes entangled with a group of revolutionaries. Faced with difficult choices and dangerous secrets, she must navigate a treacherous path to protect her loved ones and find her own freedom. Bowen's vivid storytelling and rich historical detail bring this tumultuous period to life, offering a compelling tale of love, sacrifice, and resilience.

  • The Cadaver Of Gideon Wyck by Alexander Laing

    "The Cadaver of Gideon Wyck" is a gripping mystery novel that follows the investigation of a peculiar murder case. When the body of Gideon Wyck, a renowned scholar, is found in his own home, the circumstances surrounding his death become increasingly perplexing. As the detective delves deeper into the case, he uncovers a web of secrets, deceit, and hidden motives among the suspects, leading him on a thrilling journey to uncover the truth behind Wyck's untimely demise.

  • The Second Century Of Creepy Stories by Hugh Walpole

    "The Second Century of Creepy Stories" is a collection of chilling tales that delve into the depths of the human psyche, exploring themes of fear, madness, and the supernatural. From haunted houses to malevolent spirits, each story takes readers on a suspenseful journey, leaving them questioning the boundaries between reality and the unknown. With its masterful storytelling and eerie atmosphere, this anthology is sure to captivate fans of horror and suspense.

  • The Dark Tower And Other Stories by C. S. Lewis

    "The Dark Tower And Other Stories" is a collection of intriguing and thought-provoking tales by C. S. Lewis. From the mysterious and haunting story of a man's encounter with a dark tower to the whimsical tale of a talking cat, this collection showcases Lewis' ability to captivate readers with his imaginative storytelling. Each story explores themes of morality, faith, and the human experience, leaving readers pondering the deeper meanings long after the final page is turned.

  • Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

    "Johnny Got His Gun" is a powerful anti-war novel that tells the story of Joe Bonham, a young soldier who wakes up in a hospital bed after being severely injured in World War I. Trapped in his own body, Joe is unable to see, hear, speak, or move, but his mind remains intact. Through his internal monologue, Joe reflects on his past, his dreams, and the horrors of war, ultimately questioning the value of sacrifice and the devastating consequences of armed conflict.

  • The Outsider And Others by H. P. Lovecraft

    "The Outsider And Others" is a collection of chilling and macabre tales by H. P. Lovecraft. This anthology takes readers on a journey through the author's unique and unsettling imagination, exploring themes of cosmic horror, ancient gods, and the fragility of the human mind. With its atmospheric prose and nightmarish scenarios, this collection is a must-read for fans of Lovecraft's dark and haunting storytelling.

  • Out Of Space And Time by Clark Ashton Smith

    "Out Of Space And Time" is a collection of fantastical and imaginative short stories that transport readers to otherworldly realms and dimensions. From encounters with ancient gods and mythical creatures to journeys through time and space, the author weaves together captivating tales that blur the boundaries between reality and the supernatural. With vivid descriptions and richly developed characters, this book invites readers to explore the unknown and embrace the limitless possibilities of the imagination.

  • Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber

    In this dark fantasy novel, a college professor discovers that his wife, along with other women in his social circle, practices witchcraft, using their powers to manipulate events and protect their loved ones. Initially skeptical, the professor is forced to confront the reality of magic when he becomes the target of a colleague's malevolent spells. As he delves deeper into this hidden world, he must rely on his wife's conjuring abilities to combat the dark forces that threaten to destroy his life and career, leading to a suspenseful exploration of the supernatural's influence on the mundane world.

  • Night Has A Thousand Eyes by George Hopley

    "Night Has A Thousand Eyes" is a gripping psychological thriller that follows the life of a troubled man named John, who possesses an uncanny ability to foresee tragic events before they occur. Plagued by his gift, John becomes increasingly isolated and tormented, as he struggles to prevent the impending disasters that haunt his visions. As the line between reality and premonition blurs, John embarks on a desperate quest to understand the origins of his power and find a way to break free from its relentless grip.

  • The Lurker At The Threshold by H. P. Lovecraft, August Derleth

    "The Lurker At The Threshold" is a chilling tale that delves into the realm of cosmic horror. Set in the fictional town of Arkham, the story follows a man who discovers an ancient manuscript that reveals the existence of a malevolent entity known as the Lurker. As he delves deeper into the mysteries surrounding the Lurker, he becomes entangled in a web of dark secrets, forbidden knowledge, and impending doom. With Lovecraftian themes of madness, forbidden knowledge, and the fragility of the human mind, this book is a haunting exploration of the unknown and the terrifying forces that lurk just beyond our comprehension.

  • Deliver Me From Eva by Paul Bailey

    In "Deliver Me From Eva" by Paul Bailey, the story revolves around Eva, a strong-willed and independent woman who becomes the center of attention for three men. As they each try to win her over, they soon discover that Eva's past and her complicated relationships with her family and friends make it difficult for her to trust and open up. Through a series of unexpected events, the characters are forced to confront their own insecurities and learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness.

  • And The Darkness Falls by Boris Karloff

    "And The Darkness Falls" is a chilling tale that follows a small town plagued by a series of mysterious deaths. As the darkness engulfs the community, a group of unlikely heroes must uncover the sinister secrets lurking beneath the surface. With suspenseful twists and turns, the book explores themes of fear, redemption, and the power of unity in the face of darkness.

  • The Sleeping And The Dead by August Derleth

    "The Sleeping And The Dead" by August Derleth is a gripping mystery novel set in a small town, where a series of strange and unexplained deaths occur. As the local police investigate, they uncover a web of secrets and hidden motives that lead them to question the true nature of the crimes. With a blend of suspense, supernatural elements, and a cast of intriguing characters, this book keeps readers on the edge of their seats until the shocking truth is revealed.

  • The Track Of The Cat by Walter Van Tilburg Clark

    "The Track of the Cat" is a gripping and atmospheric novel set in the harsh winter landscape of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The story follows the lives of the Bridges family as they confront their deepest fears and secrets during a snowbound weekend. As tensions rise and a mountain lion stalks their isolated ranch, the family's relationships are tested, revealing the complex dynamics that exist between siblings, parents, and lovers. With vivid descriptions and psychological depth, the novel explores themes of isolation, survival, and the primal instincts that lie within us all.

  • The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban

    "The Sound of His Horn" is a dystopian science fiction novel set in a future where the Nazis have won World War II. The story follows Alan Querdilion, a British prisoner of war who wakes up in a bizarre alternate reality ruled by a cruel and sadistic Nazi regime. As he navigates this nightmarish world, Querdilion must confront his own survival instincts and grapple with the moral implications of his actions. With its haunting atmosphere and thought-provoking exploration of power and humanity, the novel offers a chilling and unsettling reflection on the consequences of totalitarianism.

  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding

    A group of British boys are stranded on an uninhabited island after their plane crashes during wartime. Initially, they attempt to establish order, creating rules and electing a leader. However, as time passes, their civility erodes, and they descend into savagery and chaos. The struggle for power intensifies, leading to violence and death. The novel explores themes of innocence, the inherent evil in mankind, and the thin veneer of civilization.

  • I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

    The novel is a post-apocalyptic horror story that centers around a solitary man who may be the last human alive on earth after a pandemic has turned the rest of humanity into vampire-like creatures. He spends his days fortifying his home, hunting for food, and killing these creatures while they sleep. At night, he is tormented by their attempts to break into his home and kill him. His isolation drives him to the brink of insanity, and the novel explores themes of loneliness, survival, and the human capacity for hope in the face of utter despair.

  • The October Country by Ray Bradbury

    "The October Country" is a collection of haunting and macabre short stories that explore the dark corners of the human psyche. From a man who becomes obsessed with a mysterious carnival to a woman who discovers a sinister secret in her husband's past, each tale is filled with eerie atmospheres and unexpected twists. With his evocative prose and vivid imagination, the author takes readers on a chilling journey through the shadows of the October Country, where the line between reality and the supernatural blurs.

  • Nine Horrors And A Dream by Joseph Payne Brennan

    "Nine Horrors And A Dream" is a collection of chilling tales that delve into the depths of the human psyche and the supernatural. From haunted houses and cursed artifacts to encounters with malevolent spirits and ancient evils, each story presents a unique and spine-tingling nightmare. With vivid descriptions and a masterful command of suspense, the author takes readers on a journey through the darkest corners of the imagination, leaving them questioning the boundaries between reality and the macabre.

  • Psycho by Robert Bloch

    In this chilling psychological thriller, a young woman named Marion Crane makes a fateful decision to steal a large sum of money and embark on a desperate escape. Seeking refuge at the Bates Motel, she encounters the enigmatic Norman Bates, a seemingly harmless proprietor with a deeply disturbing secret. As the suspense builds, the boundaries between reality and madness blur, leading to a shocking climax that will leave readers questioning their own sanity.

  • Quatermass And The Pit by Nigel Kneale

    "Quatermass And The Pit" is a science fiction novel that follows the investigations of Professor Bernard Quatermass, a brilliant scientist, as he unravels the mystery behind a strange object discovered during an excavation in London. As Quatermass delves deeper into the origins of the object, he uncovers a terrifying truth that connects it to ancient Martian civilization and its influence on human evolution. With the threat of a malevolent force awakening, Quatermass must race against time to prevent a catastrophic event that could change the course of humanity forever.

  • The Lurking Fear And Other Stories by H. P. Lovecraft

    "The Lurking Fear And Other Stories" is a collection of chilling tales by H. P. Lovecraft. The book delves into the depths of horror and the unknown, exploring themes of madness, cosmic entities, and the fragility of the human mind. Lovecraft's atmospheric storytelling and vivid descriptions create a sense of unease and dread, as readers are transported to eerie landscapes and confronted with unimaginable horrors lurking just beyond the veil of reality. From ancient curses to hidden terrors, this collection offers a captivating journey into the darkest corners of the human psyche.

  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

    The book is a chilling tale that revolves around a group of four individuals who decide to stay in a notoriously haunted mansion to conduct a paranormal investigation. The main character, a shy, reclusive woman with a troubled past, becomes increasingly unstable as she experiences terrifying phenomena and becomes obsessed with the house. As the supernatural events escalate, the lines between reality and imagination blur, leading to a shocking and tragic conclusion.

  • The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick

    "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" is a mind-bending science fiction novel set in a future where humanity has colonized other planets. The story follows a group of individuals who become entangled in the mysterious and hallucinatory world of a powerful drug called Chew-Z. As they navigate through the blurred lines between reality and illusion, they must confront their deepest fears and question the nature of existence itself. With its thought-provoking themes and intricate plot twists, the book explores the boundaries of perception, identity, and the human condition.

  • The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski

    "The Painted Bird" is a dark and harrowing novel set in Eastern Europe during World War II. The story follows a young, unnamed boy of unknown ethnicity who is sent by his parents to live in a remote village for safety. However, he is instead subjected to brutal violence, abuse, and superstition by the superstitious peasants. The book explores themes of survival, human cruelty, and the loss of innocence in the face of war and hatred.

  • The Crystal World by J. G. Ballard

    "The Crystal World" by J. G. Ballard is a mesmerizing and haunting novel that takes place in a remote African jungle, where a mysterious phenomenon is turning everything into crystal. As the crystallization spreads, it threatens to engulf the entire world, trapping its inhabitants in a frozen and beautiful but deadly landscape. Amidst this surreal backdrop, the characters grapple with their own desires, fears, and the inevitable decay of life, blurring the boundaries between reality and fantasy. Ballard's evocative prose and exploration of themes such as time, love, and the fragility of existence make this a thought-provoking and unforgettable read.

  • Sub Rosa by Robert Aickman

    "Sub Rosa" by Robert Aickman is a collection of unsettling and atmospheric short stories that delve into the realms of the supernatural and the uncanny. Each story presents a unique and enigmatic narrative, often blurring the lines between reality and the supernatural, leaving readers with a lingering sense of unease. Aickman's masterful storytelling and vivid descriptions create an eerie and haunting atmosphere, making "Sub Rosa" a captivating read for fans of psychological horror and the macabre.

  • The Green Man by Kingsley Amis

    "The Green Man" is a chilling and darkly humorous novel that follows the life of Maurice Allington, a middle-aged innkeeper who becomes haunted by a malevolent spirit. As Maurice's life unravels, he must confront his own demons and face the consequences of his actions. Blending elements of horror, comedy, and psychological suspense, this gripping tale explores themes of guilt, mortality, and the supernatural, leaving readers questioning the boundaries between reality and the supernatural.

  • The Compleat Werewolf And Other Stories Of Fantasy And Science Fiction by Anthony Boucher

    "The Compleat Werewolf And Other Stories Of Fantasy And Science Fiction" is a collection of captivating tales that blend elements of fantasy and science fiction. From werewolves to time travel, the stories explore various themes and genres, taking readers on thrilling and imaginative journeys. With its diverse range of narratives, this book offers an enjoyable and thought-provoking reading experience for fans of both fantasy and science fiction.

  • Grendel by John Gardner

    "Grendel" is a thought-provoking novel that retells the epic Beowulf from the perspective of the monster, Grendel. The book explores themes of existentialism, morality, and the nature of humanity as Grendel navigates his lonely existence and interacts with various characters, including the heroic Beowulf. Through his introspective musings, Grendel challenges traditional notions of good and evil, ultimately questioning the purpose and meaning of life.

  • The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

    "The Exorcist" is a chilling and suspenseful novel that follows the terrifying ordeal of a young girl named Regan who becomes possessed by a malevolent entity. As her behavior becomes increasingly disturbing and her health deteriorates, her desperate mother seeks the help of two priests who embark on a harrowing battle against the forces of evil. With its gripping narrative and intense portrayal of demonic possession, the book explores themes of faith, doubt, and the power of good versus evil, leaving readers on the edge of their seats until the shocking conclusion.

  • The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner

    "The Sheep Look Up" is a dystopian science fiction novel that presents a grim and polluted future where environmental degradation and overpopulation have reached catastrophic levels. The story follows various characters as they navigate a world plagued by toxic pollution, food shortages, and rampant disease outbreaks. With a sharp critique of corporate greed and government negligence, the novel explores the consequences of humanity's disregard for the environment and the urgent need for change.

  • Worse Things Waiting by Manly Wade Wellman

    In "Worse Things Waiting" by Manly Wade Wellman, a collection of eerie and suspenseful tales unfolds, each one delving into the realm of the supernatural. From encounters with vengeful spirits to mysterious disappearances, the stories explore the darker corners of human existence, leaving readers on the edge of their seats. With vivid descriptions and a masterful command of suspense, Wellman invites readers into a world where the line between reality and the supernatural is blurred, and where the worst things imaginable are waiting just beyond the shadows.

  • Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco

    "Burnt Offerings" is a chilling and suspenseful novel that follows the Rolfe family as they embark on a summer vacation in a secluded mansion. As they settle into their new home, they soon realize that something sinister lurks within the walls. The house seems to have a malevolent presence, slowly draining the life out of its inhabitants. With each passing day, the family becomes more entangled in the house's dark secrets, leading to a terrifying climax that will leave readers on the edge of their seats.

  • Salem's Lot by Stephen King

    In a small town called Salem's Lot, a writer returns to his childhood home to find that the town is being plagued by a mysterious evil force. As the residents slowly succumb to the darkness, a group of unlikely heroes must band together to fight against the ancient and powerful vampire who is responsible for the town's descent into chaos. With a chilling atmosphere and intense suspense, this novel explores the themes of fear, loss, and the battle between good and evil.

  • Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison

    "Deathbird Stories" is a collection of dark and thought-provoking tales that explore the complexities of human nature and the consequences of our actions. Through a blend of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, the stories delve into themes of religion, mythology, and the destructive power of greed. With vivid and imaginative storytelling, the author challenges societal norms and forces readers to confront their own beliefs and values.

  • Murgunstrumm And Others by Hugh B. Cave

    "Murgunstrumm And Others" is a collection of chilling and captivating short stories that delve into the realms of horror and the supernatural. From haunted houses and vengeful spirits to ancient curses and demonic creatures, each tale presents a unique and spine-tingling narrative that will leave readers on the edge of their seats. With masterful storytelling and vivid descriptions, the author takes readers on a thrilling journey through the macabre, exploring the darkest corners of the human psyche and the terrifying unknown.

  • Sweetheart, Sweetheart by Bernard Taylor

    In "Sweetheart, Sweetheart" by Bernard Taylor, a young man named David inherits a grand old mansion from his estranged twin brother, Colin, who died tragically years ago. As David settles into his new home, he begins to experience eerie occurrences and encounters the ghostly presence of his deceased brother. Haunted by the past, David delves into the dark secrets of the house and his family, uncovering a chilling tale of love, jealousy, and revenge that spans generations. With its blend of supernatural elements and psychological suspense, this gripping novel takes readers on a haunting journey through the twisted corridors of the human mind.

  • All Heads Turn When The Hunt Goes By by John Farris

    In this chilling horror novel, a wealthy and powerful family is haunted by a malevolent force that has plagued them for generations. As the family gathers for a reunion at their ancestral home, they soon realize that they are trapped in a nightmarish cycle of violence and death. With each passing generation, the evil grows stronger, and the family members must confront their darkest secrets and confront the terrifying truth behind their curse. Filled with suspense and supernatural elements, this gripping tale explores the destructive power of family legacies and the lengths one must go to break free from their grip.

  • The Shining by Stephen King

    A recovering alcoholic accepts a job as a winter caretaker at a remote Colorado hotel, hoping the isolation will help him reconnect with his wife and young son, and work on his writing. However, the hotel has a dark history and a powerful malevolent presence that influences him into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future. As the winter weather leaves them snowbound, the father's sanity deteriorates, leading to a terrifying climax.

  • Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg

    In this gripping mystery novel, a down-on-his-luck private investigator is hired to find a missing person, only to uncover a web of dark secrets and supernatural forces. Set in 1950s New York City, the protagonist delves into the city's seedy underbelly, encountering eccentric characters and facing his own demons along the way. As he gets closer to the truth, the line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred, leading to a shocking and unexpected climax. With its atmospheric setting and intricate plot, this book keeps readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

  • The Wolfen by Whitley Strieber

    "The Wolfen" is a gripping horror novel that follows two New York City detectives as they investigate a series of brutal murders. As they delve deeper into the case, they discover a terrifying secret: a pack of ancient, intelligent creatures known as the Wolfen, who possess the ability to blend seamlessly into human society. Faced with a deadly enemy unlike anything they have encountered before, the detectives must race against time to stop the Wolfen before they claim more innocent lives.

  • The Totem by David Morrell

    "The Totem" by David Morrell is a gripping thriller that follows the story of a troubled young woman named Laura who becomes entangled in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a relentless killer. As Laura tries to uncover the truth behind a series of brutal murders, she discovers a dark secret that connects her past to the present. With her life on the line, Laura must confront her deepest fears and outsmart her cunning adversary before it's too late.

  • Ghost Story by Peter Straub

    "Ghost Story" by Peter Straub is a chilling tale that follows a group of elderly men who are haunted by a dark secret from their past. As they gather to share ghost stories, they soon realize that their own lives have become intertwined with the supernatural. The line between reality and the supernatural blurs as they are forced to confront their deepest fears and face the consequences of their actions. With atmospheric prose and a gripping plot, this haunting novel explores themes of guilt, redemption, and the power of secrets.

  • The Land Of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll

    "The Land of Laughs" is a captivating novel that follows Thomas Abbey, a schoolteacher and aspiring writer, as he embarks on a journey to the hometown of his favorite childhood author. Alongside his girlfriend, they uncover the mysterious and unsettling truth behind the author's stories, blurring the lines between reality and fiction. As they delve deeper into the town's secrets, they are forced to confront their own desires and the consequences of their actions. This thought-provoking tale explores the power of storytelling and the complexities of human nature.

  • The Cellar by Richard Laymon

    "The Cellar" is a chilling and suspenseful novel that follows the story of a young woman named Donna who finds herself trapped in a horrifying nightmare. After being kidnapped and locked in a dark cellar by a sadistic and deranged man, Donna must navigate the twisted and dangerous world she has been thrust into. With her life hanging in the balance, she must summon all her strength and courage to escape the clutches of her captor and survive the terrifying ordeal.

  • Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

    A former FBI profiler, who is renowned for capturing a notorious serial killer, is lured out of retirement to track down a new killer who has a taste for families. The new killer, dubbed "The Tooth Fairy", is a complex character with a troubled past that leads him to commit his heinous crimes. As the profiler delves deeper into the investigation, he is forced to confront his own demons and the manipulative games of the serial killer he previously captured, who is now behind bars.

  • The Keep by F. Paul Wilson

    "The Keep" is a gripping supernatural thriller that follows the story of a Nazi commander who takes control of an ancient castle in Romania during World War II. As the commander and his soldiers begin to experience strange and terrifying occurrences, they soon realize that they are not alone in the castle. With the help of a mysterious prisoner, they must confront a malevolent force that has been awakened, threatening their lives and sanity. This dark and suspenseful tale explores themes of good versus evil, redemption, and the power of ancient forces.

  • The Dark Country by Dennis Etchison

    "The Dark Country" is a collection of haunting and atmospheric short stories that delve into the depths of human nature and the supernatural. From a man who becomes trapped in a nightmarish town to a woman who discovers a mysterious painting with a sinister secret, each tale is filled with suspense, dread, and a sense of unease. With its masterful storytelling and vivid imagery, this collection takes readers on a chilling journey through the dark corners of the human psyche.

  • In A Lonely Place by Karl Edward Wagner

    "In A Lonely Place" is a gripping psychological thriller that follows the life of a troubled writer named Michael, who becomes the prime suspect in a series of brutal murders. As the story unfolds, Michael's dark past and volatile personality raise doubts about his innocence, leaving readers questioning his true nature. Set against the backdrop of a gritty and atmospheric city, this novel delves into the depths of human psyche, exploring themes of obsession, violence, and the blurred lines between reality and fiction.

  • The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

    "The Anubis Gates" is a thrilling time-travel adventure set in 19th-century London. When a wealthy industrialist organizes a trip back in time to witness a famous poet's lecture, the journey takes an unexpected turn. The protagonist, Brendan Doyle, finds himself trapped in the past, caught in a web of magic, Egyptian mythology, and a secret society. As he navigates through dangerous encounters and encounters historical figures, Doyle must unravel the mysteries of time travel and find a way back to his own time before it's too late.

  • The Arabian Nightmare by Robert Irwin

    "The Arabian Nightmare" is a captivating and surreal journey through the dreams and nightmares of a young scholar named Abdulla. Set in medieval Cairo, the book explores the blurred lines between reality and fantasy as Abdulla becomes entangled in a web of magical creatures, mythical beings, and supernatural occurrences. With richly descriptive prose and a deep understanding of Arabian folklore, the story delves into themes of identity, love, and the power of storytelling, leaving readers questioning the nature of dreams and the boundaries of the human imagination.

  • The Wasp Factory: A Novel by Iain Banks

    The novel is a dark and disturbing tale of a 16-year-old boy named Frank who lives on a secluded island with his eccentric father. Frank, who has killed three children in his past, spends his time engaging in violent rituals and maintaining his "Wasp Factory," a barbaric contraption he uses for divination. The narrative takes a turn when his older brother, who is institutionalized, escapes and heads home, leading to shocking revelations about their family's past and Frank's identity.

  • The Ceremonies by T. E. D. Klein

    "The Ceremonies" is a chilling horror novel that follows the lives of two academics who stumble upon an ancient evil lurking beneath a small town. As they uncover a series of disturbing rituals and dark secrets, they become entangled in a battle against an otherworldly force that threatens to consume them and unleash chaos upon the world. With its atmospheric writing and spine-tingling suspense, this book delves into themes of ancient mythology, the power of belief, and the terrifying consequences of meddling with forces beyond human comprehension.

  • Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock

    In "Mythago Wood," a man named Steven Huxley delves into the mysterious depths of Ryhope Wood, a forest that holds ancient and mythical creatures known as mythagos. As he explores the ever-changing landscape, Steven encounters his deceased father's mythago, a powerful and seductive woman named Guiwenneth. Drawn into a world of magic and danger, Steven must confront his own desires and confront the dark secrets that lie within the heart of the wood.

  • Who Made Stevie Crye? by Michael Bishop

    In "Who Made Stevie Crye?" a brilliant scientist named Victor Huntley creates a lifelike android named Stevie, who becomes his lover. However, when Stevie mysteriously malfunctions, Huntley's life takes a dark turn. As he desperately tries to fix Stevie, he becomes entangled in a web of deceit, betrayal, and murder. With a blend of science fiction and psychological thriller, this gripping novel explores the boundaries of love, obsession, and the consequences of playing god.

  • Song Of Kali by Dan Simmons

    The book is a chilling tale of horror set in the labyrinthine streets of Calcutta, where an American poet journeys with his wife and infant daughter in search of a legendary poet who has reemerged with new work after years of presumed death. The city's oppressive heat and mystique envelop the family as they become entangled in a nightmarish plot involving a cult dedicated to the goddess Kali, whose followers may have sinister intentions for them. As the protagonist delves deeper into the city's dark underbelly, he is confronted with the true face of evil and must fight to save his loved ones from the clutches of a terrifying power.

  • The Damnation Game by Clive Barker

    "The Damnation Game" by Clive Barker is a dark and twisted tale that follows the life of a professional thief named Marty Strauss, who is hired by a wealthy and mysterious man named Joseph Whitehead. As Marty delves deeper into his assignment, he becomes entangled in a deadly game of supernatural forces, where he must confront his own inner demons and face the consequences of his actions. With its haunting atmosphere and complex characters, this novel explores themes of desire, redemption, and the price one is willing to pay for ultimate power.

  • Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd

    "Hawksmoor" is a novel that alternates between the 18th century and the 1980s, focusing on two characters both named Nicholas Dyer and Nicholas Hawksmoor. Dyer, an architect in the 18th century, constructs seven churches in London, each with a dark and sinister secret. In the 1980s, Hawksmoor, a detective, investigates a series of murders that occur in the same churches. The narrative explores themes of history, time, architecture, and supernatural elements, creating an eerie and atmospheric tale.

  • A Nest Of Nightmares by Lisa Tuttle

    "A Nest of Nightmares" by Lisa Tuttle is a chilling and suspenseful psychological thriller that follows the life of a young woman named Sarah, who moves into a seemingly idyllic small town to start afresh. However, as she settles into her new home, she begins to experience a series of inexplicable and terrifying events that unravel the town's dark secrets. With each twist and turn, Sarah finds herself questioning her sanity and the true nature of the people around her, leading to a shocking climax that will leave readers on the edge of their seats.

  • The Pet by Charles L. Grant

    "The Pet" by Charles L. Grant is a suspenseful horror novel that follows the lives of a small town community as they become increasingly disturbed by a mysterious and malevolent force. When a young boy discovers a strange creature in the woods, he brings it home as a pet, unaware of the dark consequences that will follow. As the creature grows, so does its power to manipulate and terrorize the town's inhabitants, leading to a chilling climax that explores the depths of human fear and the consequences of unchecked curiosity.

  • Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon

    In the aftermath of a nuclear war that devastates the United States, a group of survivors, including a professional wrestler, a young girl with mystical powers, and a bag lady, embark on a journey across a ravaged America. They must navigate the horrors of a post-apocalyptic world and battle a malevolent force known as the Man with the Scarlet Eye, who seeks to claim the wasteland as his own. Throughout their journey, they discover the power of hope, community, and resilience in the face of unimaginable hardship.

  • Dark Feasts: The World Of Ramsey Campbell by Ramsey Campbell

    "Dark Feasts: The World Of Ramsey Campbell" delves into the eerie and captivating mind of renowned horror author Ramsey Campbell. This book offers a comprehensive exploration of Campbell's unique writing style, his inspirations, and the themes that permeate his works. Through interviews, essays, and analysis, readers are taken on a journey through the dark and unsettling worlds that Campbell has masterfully crafted, revealing the depths of his imagination and the impact he has had on the horror genre.

About this list

"Horror: The 100 Best Books" Book by Stephen Jones (Editor) and Kim Newman (Editor), 100 Books

First published in 1988, Horror: The 100 Best Books has remained the only book of its kind: a solid (and entertaining) annotated reading list spanning the range of horror fiction from the 16th to the 20th century. The device of asking 100 horror, fantasy,and science fiction writers to write about their favorite horror books might seem at first to capture an idiosyncratic sample, but through diplomacy and diligence, editors Stephen Jones and Kim Newman succeeded in obtaining short essays on most (if not all) of the well-known classics, as well as many more lesser-knowns that are well worth discovering. Readers who follow up on these recommendations will find tips about books by writers mostly known for other genres--such as Iain Banks, Robert Holdstock, Lisa Tuttle, and David Morrell.

Added 6 months ago.

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