According to literary experts and critics, literature was born in the form of a horror story. It was the way in which ancient civilizations entertained themselves and left a legacy for the younger generations. Honoring this tradition, we have chosen the best horror books on the market, so that you can easily access them.
The literature of this genre has a long history and will never cease to be one of the favorites among the public of all ages. The most unforgettable works have been created from horror and we want you to be a part of their plots.
Achieving mastery in horror is not an easy thing, fortunately, we have had experts who have left us the best works of the genre, and today we can enjoy them as if they had been written yesterday.
Good literature is timeless, its themes will always be current, and there is no better example than the horror genre to illustrate it. That is why in our selection we have created a space for the best classic horror books in PDF.
And not only will you have access to the classics, but you will also be able to enjoy the reviews of the best current horror books if you are one of those who prefer to innovate in your reading.
Take a look through the best 25 horror books and choose the one or ones you like the most and live intense emotions with the best plots of the genre.
Best Current Horror Books
Nowadays we have a great variety of horror books that can transport us to a world of nightmares through their exciting stories full of mystery, but also other elements of our temporal context.
Great writers have risen in this field leaving their mark, and some of their novels we have been able to see on the big screen due to their excellent quality.
Each title presents a new plot, it is not just a scary scene, it is a deep development that captivates the reader’s mind, a reason why we have created a selection of the best current horror books that you will enjoy.
1) The Shining
Author: Stephen King
When children, our children, or the little ones at home are concerned with something it is better to pay attention to them in detail because they may be showing something important; this is the message of Stephen King, the famous horror novelist in this work.
The Shining is about a young boy of 5 years old, who without an adult or clear notion of reality notices some words written on the mirror “REDRUM” is the word, which is inverted because of the reflection of the mirror, but really says murder (Murder).
The boy, even without knowing what it means, is sure of one thing, that his fantasies with the glare of the mirror and this word had something in common and would end up being fulfilled. When he learns that his father is leaving for 6 months to work in a hotel far from the city is when the real terror begins.
Author: Stephen King
The book It by Stephen King, like all his published books, is one more bestseller of this incredible author, so much so that it has been taken to the movie theaters twice, part 1 and part 2.
It is about a killer clown who sows terror in a small region of a North American town, where even his victims are children.
The survivors, after 27 years of tranquility and remoteness, have to return to this horrible place because of a promise they made as children, in order to try to solve the clown’s enigma.
3) Interview with the Vampire
Author: Anne Rice
Interview with the Vampire is a book that has been considered the best reference to these nocturnal beings, where critics do nothing but praise, and readers show their entire satisfaction in various media.
Here is an excerpt from the book: “But how much do you have? ” asked the vampire, and turned around so that the boy could see the profile, enough for a life story. He continued, to which the boy replied: “Certainly if it’s a good life.
Sometimes I interview as many as three or four people in one night if I’m lucky. Very well replied the vampire, “I would like to tell you the story of my life, I would like that very much.”
The acclaimed vampire, his name is Louis, who in life was a young man tormented by the death of his brother, and because of that, he became an eternal inhabitant of darkness.
4) The Exorcist
Author: William Peter Blatty
What can we say about the exorcist that you don’t know? Its story has been told over and over again, in many ways and in many versions, so it is a very well-known subject, however, we must emphasize that the book always presents details that are not seen in the film adaptations, so it is worth reading.
It is a novel based on the real life of a young woman in the 1940s, who lived intense suffering because of a supernatural entity that took possession of her body; so much so that doctors could not do anything, and neither psychologists nor scientists, in the end, they had to resort to the figure of an exorcist to free the young woman.
The author did an investigation on the matter and questioned those involved in order to obtain their best version of the facts.
5) World War Z
Author: Max Brooks
World War Z is a bestseller, recognized worldwide, and even taken to the cinematic sphere with a famous cast where the protagonist is Brad Pitt himself; it is a masterpiece that everyone should read.
Its quality in terms of survival is such that it has been taken as a reference even for the creators of video games and Japanese anime.
When zombies are involved, it generates a theme that catches everyone’s attention, how to defeat the dead and escape from them is always something striking.
What will you do if the one next to you gets infected, if he is your family, will you be able to save him, or will you have to kill him? Scenarios like this are found in this magnificent book that captivates readers from the first page to the last.
Author: Koji Suzuki
Ring (Ringu in Japanese) is a series of horror books written by Koji Suzuki. The novels were initially a trilogy, consisting of Ring, Spiral, and Loop. A collection of short stories called Birthday was published shortly thereafter, introducing additional stories that interconnected the trilogy. Two other books, S and Tide, were published in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
The plot revolves around a curse, captured on videotape, unleashed by Sadako Yamamura, the ghost of a psychic who was raped and murdered before being thrown down a well. Although the curse was initially presented as a supernatural force, it is eventually revealed to be a cataclysmic virus that Sadako uses for her own ends against humanity.
The success of the novels led to the release of numerous film adaptations in Japan, South Korea, and the United States. If you have the courage to read a series that will make your blood run cold with fear… you can’t pass up these books!
7) The Hunger
Author: Alma Katsu
The Hunger is a haunting and thrilling look at the volatility of human nature, taken to its breaking point. It is a terrifying story that effortlessly blends the supernatural and the historical.
With a supernatural twist, the plot tells the infamous story of the Donner party, a group of pioneers traveling westward toward California who became trapped in what became known as Donner Pass in the winter of 1846.
Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a child have driven the isolated travelers to the brink of madness. Though they dream of what awaits them in the West, long-buried secrets begin to come to light, and disagreements among them escalate to the point of murder and mayhem.
As members of the group begin to disappear, the survivors begin to wonder if there really is something unsettling, and hungry, waiting for them in the mountains. What if the evil that has been unfolding around them has actually been growing inside them all along?
8) Something Wicked This Way Comes
Author: Ray Bradbury
Something Wicked This Way Comes is a 1962 dark fantasy novel written by Ray Bradbury. It is about two 13-year-old best friends, Jim Nightshade and William Halloway, and their nightmarish experience with a traveling carnival that arrives at their Midwestern home, Green Town, Illinois. Confronted by the creepy figures of this carnival, the boys learn to fight fear.
The leader of the carnival is the mysterious “Mr. Dark,” who apparently has the power to grant the secret wishes of the townspeople. In reality, Dark is a malevolent being who, like the carnival, lives off the life force of those he enslaves.
The novel combines elements of fantasy and horror, analyzing the conflicting natures of good and evil that exist in all individuals. Unlike Bradbury’s other novels, such as Dandelion Wine and The Martian Chronicles, which are corrections, Something Wicked This Way Comes is a single, complete narrative.
9) The Haunting of Hill House
Author: Shirley Jackson
The Haunting of Hill House is a novel by American writer Shirley Jackson, published in 1959. Considered one of the best literary ghost stories published during the 20th century, it has been made into a film twice and is the basis for the television series of the same title.
The novel uses supernatural terror to provoke emotion in the reader, presenting complex relationships between the mysterious events in the house and the psyche of the characters.
Hill House is a mansion in a location that is never specified, built by the late Hugh Crain. The story features four main characters, Dr. John Montague, an investigator of the supernatural; Eleanor Vance, a shy young woman who resents having lived as a recluse caring for her invalid and demanding mother; Theodora, a flamboyant bohemian artist; and Luke Sanderson, the young Hill House heir.
Upon finding themselves in the house, each of its inhabitants will begin to experience strange supernatural occurrences that will trigger tragic circumstances.
10) The Other
Author: Thomas Tryon
The Other is a psychological horror novel by American writer Thomas Tryon, published in 1971. It was his first novel. Set in 1935, the novel centers on the sadistic relationship between two 13-year-old identical twin boys, one of whom is well-behaved; the other is a sociopath who wreaks havoc on his family’s rural New England farm.
Brothers Holland and Niles Perry are close, close enough to almost read each other’s thoughts, but they couldn’t be more different. Holland is brash and mischievous, a bad influence, while Niles is kind and eager to please, the kind of boy who makes his parents proud.
The plot takes a terrifying turn as the summer progresses and Holland’s pranks become increasingly sinister, and Niles can no longer excuse his brother’s actions.
Thomas Tryon’s bestseller about a monster-in-progress is a creepy example of the darkness that dwells inside everyone.
11) The Ballad of Black Tom
Author: Victor LaValle
The Ballad of Black Tom is a fantasy horror novel written by Victor LaValle and published in 2016. The story retells H. P. Lovecraft’s story “The Horror at Red Hook” from the point of view of a black man.
The plot follows Charles Thomas Tester, a 20-something young man who turns to prostitution and amateur music, as life drags him into the realistic horrors of police brutality in 1920s Harlem and the cosmic horror of strange alphabets, sinister gods, and a cult of Cthulhu worship.
12) Bird Box
Author: Josh Malerman
A work worthy of a movie is the one written by the famous Josh Malerman with his book “Bird Box“, a title that will make your hair stand on end while you read, and at the same time accelerate your pulse for the tremendous suspense that shows its story.
It tells the plot of a town cursed with something unknown that is killing them as soon as they leave their homes. The point is that the person who observes this entity goes crazy and ends up taking his own life.
Faced with such a situation, the inhabitants live locked up without outside light, but when they go out for obvious reasons they must do it with their eyes closed if they want to survive, they have no other choice.
13) The Only Good Indians
Author: Stephen Graham Jones
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones is a haunting horror novel about revenge and grief that harbors at its core a narrative about identity and the price of breaking with tradition.
Moreover, the horror is unlike anything you’ve read before. It ranges from eerie flashes of things that may or may not be there to explosions of blood and violence tinged with supernatural elements.
The plot follows the lives of four Native Americans and their families, all haunted by a disturbing and deadly event that took place in their youth. Years later, they find themselves besieged by an entity bent on revenge, utterly helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind to catch up with them in a violent and vengeful manner.
This is a remarkable horror story that will give you nightmares. It is also a novel that contains equal parts psychological terror and social commentary on identity politics.
Best Classic Horror Books
The classic is usually worth gold, and in the world of literature this rule is no exception, there are books that have transcended time, and today remain as valid as if they were newly written.
The best classic horror books are usually a step above the rest, in them, their authors have captured a story so captivating that it has not been and can never be forgotten.
In infobooks, we think how nice it is to read this kind of supernatural book, and that makes your hair stand on end, which is why we invite you to enjoy a good read through them.
Author: Bram Stoker
Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by the Irish author. It introduced the character of Count Dracula and established many conventions of later vampire fantasy.
The novel tells the story of Dracula’s attempt to move from Transylvania to England in order to find new blood and spread the curse of the undead, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of people led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.
Dracula has been assigned to many literary genres, including vampire literature, horror fiction, gothic fiction, and invasion literature. The novel has spawned numerous theatrical, film, and television interpretations.
15) The Call of Cthulhu
Author: H.P. Lovecraft
The Call of Cthulhu is a short story by the American writer written in the summer of 1926, it was first published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales in February 1928.
The first seed of the first chapter of the story, “The Horror in Clay,” comes from one of Lovecraft’s dreams he had in 1919, which he briefly described in two different letters sent to his friend Rheinhart Kleiner on May 21 and December 14, 1920.
In the dream, Lovecraft is visiting an antiquities museum in Providence, trying to convince the elderly curator that he bought a strange bas-relief that Lovecraft himself had carved, who initially mocks him for trying to sell something recently made to a museum of ancient objects.
Author: Mary Shelley
Relive the wonderful story of Frankenstein through the pen of the author Mary Shelley, who transfers to our times the incredible teachings of this old novel, but this time she does it in the form of a fable without leaving aside the main part of this story.
Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus can be considered a literary adaptation, hence its title, the author’s idea is that we can see from a different point of view a story that many of us already know.
Frankenstein is the main character, an aberration of human invention, the product of the evil ambition of a scientist, who after having created him immediately rejects him.
But beyond the story, the book touches on important themes such as life, love, and freedom.
17) The Turn of the Screw
Author: Henry James
The Turn of the Screw was published in 1898 and is about a young governess who takes care of two orphaned children in an old Victorian mansion; what at first seems a pleasant task will turn into a nightmarish situation.
The children are shocked by an immediate past in which the previous governess, Miss Jessel, and Peter Quint, the master’s servant and valet (the children’s uncle), had a murky relationship. It could be assumed that certain abuses took place.
Life with the former governess and her subsequent death has left an indelible mark on them. In trying to help them, the protagonist of the story begins to hear voices, and songs, and to see the image of the previous governess, dead in strange circumstances, and that of the servant, in what, apparently, would be ghostly apparitions.
18) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a gothic novel by the Scottish author, first published in 1886. The work is also known as The Strange Case of Jekyll Hyde, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or simply Jekyll & Hyde.
It is about a London lawyer named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange goings-on between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and the evil Edward Hyde.
The novel’s impact is such that it has become part of the language, with the phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” entering the vernacular to refer to people with an unpredictable dual nature: seemingly good, but sometimes surprisingly evil.
19) The Picture of Dorian Gray
Author: Oscar Wilde
The Portrait of Dorian Gray tells the story of a full-length oil portrait by Basil Hallward, an artist impressed and enamored of Dorian’s beauty; he believes that Dorian’s beauty is responsible for his new state of mind as a painter.
Through Basil, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton and is soon captivated by the aristocrat’s hedonistic worldview: that beauty and sensual fulfillment are the only things worth pursuing in life.
Conscious that his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses the desire to sell his soul to ensure that the image, instead of him, will grow old and fade.
The wish is granted, and Dorian pursues a debauched life of varied amoral experiences while remaining young and beautiful; all the while, his portrait ages and records every sin.
20) The Masque of the Red Death
Author: Edgar Allan Poe
The master of terror, Edgar Allan Poe, gives us a glimpse of a spectacular novel called: The Masque of the Red Death, a literary work full of suspense, drama, pain, agony, and above all, a lot of terror within its pages.
The main plot is how the selfishness of a person can lead him to live without caring about the pain of others. The story tells the life of a Prince who tried to do everything possible so that the plague would not reach them.
For this purpose, this character built himself an earthly fortress where only he and a large number of privileged people could live.
However, one night the unthinkable happened, an infected person arrived at the “supposed” fortress, unleashing terror on all the inhabitants, now it will be their turn to live in the hell that those outside have been living for several years.
21) The Monk
Author: Matthew Lewis
When you look at the cover of this book the first thing you will notice is a “depraved religious”, something that the author wanted to highlight through this writing.
The Monk is a novel that delves into the depths of Roman Catholicism to bring to light the demonic pacts, rapes, incest, and sexual abuses that take place there.
The story is precisely about that, and takes us into the life of a monk who, trapped by lustful desires, begins to make pacts with entities to satisfy his darkest desires, no matter what those involved feel.
22) The Phantom of The Opera
Author: Gaston Leroux
The Phantom of the Opera is one of those literary classics that are worth reading over and over again because of its richness of writing and depth of story, its success has been such that it has been adapted into musicals, movies, and much more.
The Phantom of the Opera tells the story of Erik, a totally disfigured man who yearns for revenge, however, he falls in love with a beautiful woman and that causes divided thoughts in his mind.
This gothic novel takes the reader through a beautiful and at the same time painful plot, where romanticism, mystery, and unbridled passion greatly adorn each of its pages.
23) The Pit and The Pendulum
Author: Edgar Allan Poe
The narrator/protagonist begins the story, already exhausted, in a dark cell where the Spanish Inquisition locks up the people it condemns, and where the torture it applies consists of loneliness, abandonment, darkness, cold, and starvation.
The tortured protagonist is bound almost entirely and experiences the anguish of knowing his next death as a pendulum descends toward him. After measuring the size of his cell, he discovers a deep pit with water located in the center of the place.
Certain that he will be killed by the razor at the end of the pendulum, he is entertained by the trajectory of the object, but then an idea occurs to him, remembering that he has at his disposal a bit of meat and food that he shared with the rats.
Once freed, the pendulum immediately stops, and the man in question reasons that he is being watched, and that a perhaps worse death is already being prepared for him.
24) The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Author: Washingtong Irving
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a famous tale, known by many, even illustrated and taken to the cinema screens for its immense quality, it is considered a classic of horror literature.
It tells the story of a ghostly love between Ichabod Crane and a voluptuous woman, who is beautiful in every way you look at her, but at the same time full of dark, Machiavellian, and very dangerous secrets.
Ichabod, bewitched by the beauty of this woman, will discover that she is only a façade for the terror hidden in her flattery, but once discovered, there will be no way to turn back the clock.
25) The House on the Borderland
Author: W.H. Hodgson
The farther away from society, the faster the dangers run, but also supernatural events are present, something that the main characters of this novel will experience firsthand.
The House on the Borderland tells a story in the first person, and offers a feeling as if the protagonist himself is telling us what happened as we read.
It is about an unknown mystery that brings many dangers and shocking scenes, but that must be solved at all costs, because failure to do so may cost the lives of those who witness it.
So, this was our selection of the best horror books to give as a gift. We hope you liked it and you can find the book you are looking for!
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