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Stephen King has quite rightly said, “We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.” And while one can really hold a candle to real life horrors; bar none, some books sure do come close. We found at least 15 such books that will keep you up at night, long after you’ve turned the last pages, closed the books and tucked yourself in safely. For Hallow’s Eve might be over, alright; but, being scared knows no time, or place.
It by Stephen King
To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their hometown: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live. It was the children who saw - and felt - what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one's deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killingâ€¦ The adults, knowing better, knew nothingâ€¦
Slade House by David Mitchell
If you’re just getting into dark fiction, this one’s a great pick. It’s hard hitting, scary but not over the top technical. The short essays and stories have a lot of drama, curiosity and bone chilling facts to keep you hooked and booked!
Boo 13 Short Stories by Shinie Antony
Thirteen paranormal tales, each uniquely haunting in its own way. Boo is a collection of well-crafted spooky stories about a he-ghoul, a departed son's soul, whispers and visitations from beyond, night howls, unearthly claws that erupt from bellies and the very first ghost in the world, among others. Penned by Shashi Deshpande, Kanishk Tharoor, K.R. Meera, Jerry Pinto, Usha K.R., Jahnavi Barua, Manabendra Bandyopadhyay, Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, Jaishree Misra, Kiran Manral, Madhavi S. Mahadevan, Durjoy Datta and Shinie Antony, the tales in Boo are sure to send a chill down your spine.
A Head Full Of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. To her parents' despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie's descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession.The book follows what happens, fifteen years after the events, through the memories of Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry.
The Hidden People by Alison Littlewood
Albie receives the news that her cousin has died at the hands of her shoemaker husband in the countryside. In a search to solve this mystery he confronts the husband who adds a layer of suspense. As the novel goes deeper into the findings of Albie’s cousin’s death, the layers get more disturbing and complex. This isn’t your usual horror book, it has a classic tale-telling vibe to it that will wrack your nerves!
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
For four aging men in the terror-stricken town of Milburn, New York, an act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past - and get away with murder.
The Fireman by Joe Hill
This novel is filled with terror and wonder in equal measure without overdoing either of the two. It has an excellent mix of charactersâ€¦from a pregnant lady waiting to secure her unborn child to a Marlboro Man who likes killed people with diseases. It’s deep, it’s dark and it’s frightening AF!
The Brotherhood of the Wheel by R.S. Belcher
The author takes the history of America and its roadways as a roadmap for his novel and adds urban legends, conspiracy theories and even some of the darker bits of American history, as he unfolds the plot.This one is a page turner, especially because of the people he’s featured and their antics. Read along to get a full low down.
Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg
Murder mystery meets the occult in this book that follows a New York-based private investigator’s discoveries when looking into what should have been a simple missing-person’s case. What starts out as a routine investigation spirals into an adversary that leads to a road of voodoo, black magic and violent death. The worst bit - none of it can be explained! The book has been touted as one of the best American supernatural horror novels to have been written in the 20th century. Moreover, the masterpiece has garnered praise from Stephen King himself, remarking, “I’ve never read anything remotely like it.”
Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Another one of King’s recommendations on Bookhub, Hex is set in the Hudson Valley town of Black Spring, seemingly picturesque; but ridden with a dark past. The town is said to be haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a 17th century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut who walks the streets and enters houses at will. The witch stands by the beds of the town’s children for nights on end. And while the elders have managed to quarantine the town, the teenagers set out to break the regulations, setting the town and the inhabitants back into the horror of the past. It will leave you glued to the bed, never wanting to get out; or worse, open your eyes in the middle of the night. Promise.
Niceville by Carsten Stroud
Nick Kavanaugh is a cop with a dark side, and a wife who is a distinguished lawyer; both of whom find themselves caught up in a series of inexplicable events - ranging from a child’s shocking disappearance to a bank robbery gone horribly wrong. But, that’s not even the beginning of the problems, as Kavanaugh finds a shadow world lurking where everything is challenged, including life, itself; and evil lasts longer than men. Within the first 35 pages of the book, you will find yourself lost in the plot, deep enough to feel like you’re living out the lives and deaths of the characters.
The Girl From Rawblood by Catriona Ward
Iris Villarca is the last in her family’s line that has been haunted by the curse of “her” - a curse passed down through ancient blood that marks each Villarca for certain heartbreak, and death. When Iris breaks the promise she made to her father, of staying alone and safe from the world, and dares to fall in love, at once the consequences of her choices come back to haunt her in the form of the curse. A book that is written in the modern day; but instills the terrors and morbidity that can only come from an era that has gone by; The Girl From Rawblood will leave you mystified and feeling haunted, long after you’ve closed the book.
Hell House by Richard Matheson
Belasco House has witnessed scenes of almost unimaginable horror and depravity; and is known as the Mount Everest of haunted houses. After two failed expeditions in the past - owing to disaster, murder and insanity of all the previous participants - a new investigation sees four strangers come together for their own selfish reasons to unravel the secrets of the house and with it, a looming darkness they were never prepared for.
Strange Seed by T.M. Wright
Rachel cannot be happier, now that she’s married and moving into a new house. But, what was supposed to be a pleasantly secluded farmhouse turns out to be an isolated ramshackle farmhouse near an encroaching forest; and what was meant to be an introspective and calm life partner, turns out to be a quiet and reclusive man who has been drawn to the property because of a hidden childhood secret he never knew he had, until now. And the children in the forest may be more sinister than lost and abandoned.
The Nightwalker by Thomas Tessier
Bobby Ives was a simple man who had no history of violence, whatsoever. But, suddenly he’s caught for having attacked a man in his apartment. A blackout at Harrod’s leads his girlfriend to assume his migraines are back. But, then Bobby watches himself murder his lover, without being able to control himself. And the hunt begins - Bobby soon finds himself stalking strangers down the streets, hunting for his next prey in the middle of the night. It’s more than a migraine that’s taken over Bobby. But, will he be able to control it in time?
How many have you read yet?