The Greatest "Horror, Psychological" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 313 '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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Genres

Horror

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.

Psychological

The Psychological genre of books typically explores the inner workings of the human mind and emotions, often delving into complex and sometimes disturbing psychological states. These books may focus on mental illness, trauma, relationships, or personal growth, and often challenge readers to confront their own beliefs and perceptions. Psychological books may be suspenseful, thought-provoking, and emotionally intense, offering readers a deep and often unsettling glimpse into the human psyche.

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  1. 1. 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.

    The 31st Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Beloved by Toni Morrison

    This novel tells the story of a former African-American slave woman who, after escaping to Ohio, is haunted by the ghost of her deceased daughter. The protagonist is forced to confront her repressed memories and the horrific realities of her past, including the desperate act she committed to protect her children from a life of slavery. The narrative is a poignant exploration of the physical, emotional, and psychological scars inflicted by the institution of slavery, and the struggle for identity and self-acceptance in its aftermath.

    The 47th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. 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.

    The 53rd Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

    A young woman marries a wealthy widower and moves into his large English country house. She quickly realizes that the memory of her husband's first wife, Rebecca, haunts every corner of the estate. The housekeeper's obsessive devotion to Rebecca and the mysterious circumstances of her death continue to overshadow the second wife's attempts to make a happy life with her husband. As secrets about Rebecca's life and death are revealed, the new wife must grapple with her own identity and place within the household.

    The 55th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. 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.

    The 257th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. 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 284th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. 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 376th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

    The novel is a disturbing and graphic exploration of the mind of a wealthy, young and handsome Wall Street investment banker who is also a psychopathic serial killer. He leads a double life, appearing to be a charming and sophisticated businessman by day, while indulging in horrific acts of violence and murder by night. The narrative provides a satirical critique of 1980s American consumer culture, vanity, and excess, while also delving into the dark underbelly of human nature.

    The 481st Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. 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.

    The 538th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. 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 545th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. 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 598th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. Misery by Stephen King

    A successful novelist is rescued from a car crash by a deranged fan who is upset with the death of her favorite character from his books. Trapped in her remote home, the writer is subjected to physical and psychological torture as the fan forces him to write a new novel bringing the character back to life. As he writes for his life, he must also plan his escape before his captor's rage becomes deadly.

    The 734th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille

    This novel is a provocative exploration of the dark side of human nature, featuring two teenage characters who engage in increasingly bizarre and violent sexual games. Their actions, driven by their obsession with eroticism and death, lead them into a world of perversion and madness. The narrative is filled with explicit sexual content and shocking imagery, reflecting the author's fascination with the transgressive and the taboo.

    The 743rd Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. 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 940th Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. 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 1099th Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. The Blind Owl by Ṣādiq Hidāyat

    "The Blind Owl" is a haunting narrative that delves into the psyche of a tormented artist who is grappling with love, loss, and existential dread. The protagonist is a reclusive painter of pen cases who is haunted by the image of a mysterious woman, leading him down a spiral of obsession and madness. The story unfolds in a dreamlike narrative, blurring the lines between reality and illusion, and is steeped in Persian mysticism and symbolism. The novel explores themes of alienation, death, and the fragility of the human condition.

    The 1118th Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

    "The Fall of the House of Usher" is a chilling tale of a visit to a friend's decaying mansion, where the visitor witnesses strange events and learns about the Usher family's curse. The story is filled with eerie incidents, including the illness of the lady of the house, her subsequent death and entombment in the family vault, and her terrifying reappearance. The story culminates in the literal and metaphorical crumbling of the Usher house, symbolising the end of the cursed Usher lineage.

    The 1211th Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. 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.

    The 1281st Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. 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 1350th Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. 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 1595th Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade

    The book is an explicit and controversial work that explores themes of sexual perversion and cruelty. The narrative follows four wealthy, libertine men who lock themselves in a remote castle with a harem of 46 victims, including men, women, and children. Over the course of 120 days, they engage in a series of escalating debaucheries, meticulously documented by the men. The story is a study of the darkest corners of human nature, presenting an unflinching and graphic portrayal of sexual violence.

    The 1598th Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. 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.

    The 1743rd Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. 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 1866th Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. 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.

    The 1923rd Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

    "A Rose for Emily" is a Southern Gothic short story about the life of Emily Grierson, a woman from a once prestigious family who lives in isolation in her decaying mansion in a small Southern town. Emily's life is narrated through the eyes of the townspeople, revealing her struggles with her father's controlling nature, her romantic relationship with a man beneath her social status, and her descent into madness. The story is renowned for its unexpected and shocking conclusion, which reveals a dark secret Emily has been hiding in her home.

    The 2443rd Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

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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.

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