The Greatest "Horror, Fiction" Books Since 2000

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 264 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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Horror is a genre of literature that is designed to evoke feelings of fear, terror, and dread in the reader. It typically features supernatural or paranormal elements, such as ghosts, monsters, or otherworldly creatures, and often explores themes of death, violence, and the unknown. Horror books can range from subtle and psychological to graphic and gory, but they all share the common goal of scaring and thrilling their readers. Whether it's a classic ghost story or a modern slasher novel, horror books offer a unique and thrilling reading experience for those who enjoy being scared out of their wits.


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  1. 1. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

    The novel is a complex and multi-layered narrative that revolves around a young man who comes across a manuscript written by a blind man about a documentary that doesn't appear to exist. The documentary is about a family who moves into a house that is larger on the inside than it is on the outside, with shifting walls and hallways that lead to impossible spaces. The novel is known for its experimental layout, with some pages containing only a few words and others filled with footnotes, different fonts, and sideways text, reflecting the disorienting and labyrinthine nature of the house itself.

  2. 2. Coraline by Neil Gaiman

    A young girl named Coraline Jones moves into a new home and discovers a secret door leading to an alternate version of her life, where her "Other Mother" and "Other Father" reside. Although this parallel world seems better at first, she soon realizes that her Other Parents want to keep her there permanently and that they are not as they appear. Coraline must use her bravery and wits to save herself and her real parents, who have been kidnapped by the Other Mother, and free the souls of other children trapped in this alternate world.

  3. 3. Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado

    "Her Body and Other Parties: Stories" is a collection of short stories that weave elements of psychological realism and science fiction to explore the realities of women's lives and the violence inflicted upon their bodies. The narratives range from a woman refusing to let her husband remove a green ribbon from around her neck, to a salesclerk in a mall making a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store's prom dresses. The book centers on women's experiences in their bodies, touching on themes of sexuality, gender, and the dynamics of power.

  4. 4. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

    The novel follows the unusual life of a boy named Nobody "Bod" Owens who, after his family is murdered, is raised by the supernatural inhabitants of a graveyard. Under the protection of ghosts and his guardian, who is neither living nor dead, Bod learns about the living world and the dangers it holds, including the man Jack who continues to hunt for him. As he grows up among tombstones and crypts, Bod explores the limits of his graveyard home, encounters creatures of the night, and ultimately confronts the sinister forces that took his family from him, all while trying to lead a normal life despite his extraordinary upbringing.

  5. 5. 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.

  6. 6. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

    In "Mexican Gothic," a young woman named Noemí travels to a remote mansion in the Mexican countryside to rescue her cousin who has seemingly fallen under the spell of her new husband. As Noemí delves deeper into the eerie and unsettling atmosphere of the house, she uncovers dark family secrets and confronts a malevolent force that threatens their lives. Blending elements of gothic horror and Mexican folklore, this atmospheric tale explores themes of colonialism, racism, and female empowerment in a captivating and chilling narrative.

  7. 7. World War Z by Max Brooks

    The book is an apocalyptic horror novel presented as a collection of individual accounts in the aftermath of a global pandemic that leads to a catastrophic zombie outbreak. Through interviews with survivors from various countries and walks of life, the narrative unfolds the social, political, cultural, and environmental implications of the zombie crisis, known as World War Z. The personal stories explore the widespread panic, the collapse and resurgence of governments, military strategies employed to combat the undead, and the human resilience in the face of a decimated world. The novel serves as a critique of societal responses to disasters and a commentary on the human condition.

  8. 8. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

    In the novel, a team of four women—an anthropologist, a surveyor, a psychologist, and a biologist—embark on an expedition into Area X, a mysterious and remote region cut off from civilization. The area is known for its strange occurrences and the disappearance of previous expedition members. As the team delves deeper into the wild and enigmatic landscape, they encounter bizarre creatures, cryptic signs, and the remnants of a lost civilization. The biologist, serving as the narrator, documents their discoveries and her own personal transformations, driven by the unseen forces of Area X. The novel explores themes of nature, mutation, and the unknown, as the expedition's members confront the limits of knowledge and the consequences of seeking to uncover the inexplicable.

  9. 9. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

    In a sprawling steampunk metropolis teeming with bizarre creatures and arcane technologies, a gifted scientist unwittingly unleashes a nightmare upon the city. When his experiment with a rare caterpillar goes awry, monstrous, dream-eating moths are set loose, preying upon the citizens' minds and plunging the city into terror. As the scientist grapples with the consequences of his actions, a motley group of individuals, including a renegade artist, a wingless bird-man, and other outcasts, come together in a desperate attempt to save their city from the eldritch horrors that now haunt its shadowy streets. Their journey takes them through the city's various layers, from the opulent heights to the grimy depths, revealing the complex tapestry of cultures and conflicts that define this urban labyrinth.

  10. 10. Gideon The Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

    In a universe where necromancers hold power, Gideon, a skilled swordswoman, is reluctantly paired with her childhood rival, Harrow, to compete in a deadly trial that could grant them immortality. As they venture into an ancient, decaying mansion filled with secrets and puzzles, they must unravel the mysteries of their world and face sinister forces lurking within. With a blend of dark humor, complex characters, and a gripping plot, "Gideon The Ninth" is a thrilling and unique blend of science fiction and fantasy.

  11. 11. Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis

    The novel is a metafictional narrative blending reality and fiction, where a novelist with a tumultuous past grapples with the demons of his personal life, including substance abuse and strained relationships. As he settles into suburban life with his family, bizarre occurrences begin to unfold, blurring the lines between his creations and reality. The protagonist is haunted by the ghost of his father, a mysterious toy that comes to life, and a series of child abductions that eerily echo his own literary work, leading him on a surreal journey of self-discovery and redemption.

  12. 12. Weaveworld by Clive Barker

    In this dark fantasy novel, the reader is transported to a world where a magical carpet, known as the Fugue, contains an entire realm within its intricate weaves. This tapestry serves as a sanctuary for a race of beings and their rich culture, hidden from the dangers of the human world. When a young man accidentally discovers the carpet, he becomes entangled in a struggle to protect the Fugue from malevolent forces that seek to destroy it. As the story unfolds, the characters must navigate a perilous landscape of treachery and sorcery, where reality and fantasy intertwine, and the fate of both worlds hangs in the balance.

  13. 13. Feed by Seanan McGuire

    In a world where humanity has been ravaged by a zombie apocalypse, a team of bloggers sets out to cover the presidential elections, offering a unique perspective on the state of a society where the undead are a constant threat. The protagonist, a young woman with a passion for the truth, navigates a landscape of danger, political intrigue, and conspiracy, all while dealing with the challenges of living in a post-apocalyptic environment. As they delve deeper into the heart of America's reanimated politics, they uncover a plot that could have dire consequences for both the living and the undead, forcing them to confront the question of what it truly means to be human in a world overrun by zombies.

  14. 14. The Terror by Dan Simmons

    "The Terror" is a historical fiction and horror novel that follows the ill-fated Franklin Expedition. The crew of two British Royal Navy ships are trapped in the Arctic ice, where they face not only the harsh environmental conditions but also a mysterious and brutal monster that stalks them in the endless night. The novel combines historical and survival themes with supernatural horror, creating a chilling and suspenseful atmosphere.

  15. 15. Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

    The book is a dark and haunting tale set in a Swedish suburb during the 1980s, where a young boy, ostracized and bullied at school, finds an unlikely friendship with a mysterious new neighbor who only appears at night. As a series of gruesome murders plague the town, the boy becomes increasingly aware that his new friend is not what she seems. Blending elements of horror, romance, and coming-of-age, the story explores themes of loneliness, identity, and the desperate need for connection in a world that often seems cold and unforgiving.

  16. 16. Through The Woods by Emily Carroll

    "Through the Woods" is a haunting collection of five eerie and atmospheric graphic stories that delve into the dark and unsettling world of fairy tales and folklore. Each tale is a standalone narrative, rich with gothic themes and chilling twists, exploring the sinister things that lurk in the forest and the horrors that await in the shadows. The book's striking and evocative illustrations complement the spine-tingling tales, creating an immersive experience that draws readers into the depths of the woods where the boundary between reality and nightmare blurs. With its blend of horror, suspense, and the supernatural, the book captivates with its exploration of fear and the unknown.

  17. 17. The Lone Way To A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

    In this character-driven space opera, a diverse crew aboard a tunneling spaceship embarks on a treacherous mission to punch wormholes through the far reaches of the galaxy. As they journey to a distant planet fraught with conflict, the crew members—each with their own unique backgrounds, species, and perspectives—navigate the complexities of their interpersonal relationships, cultural differences, and personal struggles. The narrative delves into themes of friendship, family, and acceptance, painting a vivid picture of life in a vast, multicultural cosmos where the vastness of space is matched only by the depth of individual experiences and the bonds that form in the most unlikely of circumstances.

  18. 18. Nos4 A2 by Joe Hill

    In this chilling novel, a sinister and immortal being named Charlie Manx kidnaps children and takes them to a twisted Christmasland, a place where every day is Christmas and unhappiness is forbidden. But when a resourceful young girl named Victoria escapes his clutches, she grows up haunted by the memories of her ordeal. Years later, she must confront Manx once again to protect her own son from falling victim to his malevolent plans. With a blend of horror, fantasy, and suspense, this gripping tale explores the darkness that lurks within the human soul and the power of love and resilience to overcome it.

  19. 19. Penpal by Dathan Kahn Auerbach

    "Penpal" by Dathan Kahn Auerbach is a chilling and suspenseful novel that follows a man's investigation into a series of unsettling events from his childhood. As he delves into his past, he uncovers a dark and disturbing secret that connects him to a mysterious figure who has been stalking him throughout his life. With each revelation, the protagonist becomes increasingly haunted by his past, leading to a gripping and unnerving climax.

  20. 20. The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

    "The Jumbies" is a captivating and enchanting tale that follows the adventures of Corinne La Mer, a brave and curious young girl living on the island of Trinidad. When a mysterious and powerful jumbie threatens her village, Corinne must use her wit and courage to protect her family and friends. With its rich Caribbean folklore and vivid descriptions, this book takes readers on a thrilling journey filled with magic, friendship, and the triumph of good over evil.

  21. 21. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

    "The Little Stranger" is a gothic novel set in post-World War II Britain, where a country doctor becomes involved with an aristocratic family living in a crumbling mansion. The doctor becomes increasingly entangled with the family as he attempts to unravel the mystery of a malevolent presence that seems to be causing accidents and illness. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the haunting may be more psychological than supernatural, reflecting the decline of the British class system and the trauma of war.

  22. 22. There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbour’s Baby by Ludmila Petrushevskaya

    In this collection of dark and haunting tales set in Soviet Russia, Ludmila Petrushevskaya explores the depths of human desperation and the complexities of human relationships. Through her vivid and evocative storytelling, she delves into the lives of ordinary individuals who are trapped in a web of loneliness, despair, and unfulfilled desires. With a blend of realism and the supernatural, Petrushevskaya crafts a mesmerizing narrative that exposes the raw emotions and hidden secrets that lie within the human heart.

  23. 23. The Ruins by Scott Smith

    "The Ruins" is a gripping horror novel about a group of friends who, while vacationing in Mexico, decide to embark on a journey into the jungle to find a missing brother. The group soon stumbles upon an ancient Mayan ruin, and quickly realize they are trapped by a malevolent, sentient plant that begins to slowly pick them off one by one. As their situation grows increasingly dire, the friends struggle to maintain their sanity and survive in the face of a seemingly impossible escape.

  24. 24. 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.

  25. 25. Marked (House Of Night) by Unknown

    In this young adult fantasy novel, a teenage girl is thrust into a world of vampyres when she is marked with a symbol that signifies her transformation into one of these mystical beings. She must leave her old life behind and attend a special boarding school for fledgling vampyres, known as the House of Night. There, she navigates a complex social hierarchy, hones her newfound powers, and grapples with the challenges of her metamorphosis. As she tries to fit in and understand her place in this new reality, she uncovers a web of secrets and realizes that her destiny is entwined with the fate of both the vampyre world and the human one.

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.