The Best Horror Novels
Will Keep You Up At Night

Werewolf in the woods following a young girl.

The best horror novels create a mood that gives you the willies. In your everyday lives, your emotions may not often run the gamut of emotions. But extreme emotions, such as that of horror, make you realize you’re still alive.

Not everyone can appreciate horror, though. Many cannot read or watch it, citing that their lives are already one big horror scenario. Instead, plenty of people whose lives are too quiet for them and who would relish reading a great horror novel.

Remember when we were children and there were monsters under our bed? But when our dad shined a light under there, there was not one monster to be found. Today, the monsters are between the pages of the best horror novels.

They opt for other genres, such as romance or comedy. Nonetheless, there are many people to love the horror genre.

The Best Horror Novels are Evergreen


It is said that horror is evergreen. This means that it never goes out of fashion. There’s always a bone-chilling book that someone is ready to snuggle up with and read – with all the lights on in the house, of course.

Horror novels include ghosts, serial killers, monsters, malevolent spirits, and other scary entities. Some people prefer one type over the other. Some like them all.

Let’s look at what is considered some of the best horror novels, which are evergreen. These are in no particular order and in no way represent an exhaustive list.

Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897). This is a Victorian Gothic horror story. It is a classic because his characters are chilling and not easily erasable from the mind. Count Dracula is mysterious and smooth.

Dracula opens “with a solicitor Jonathan Harker taking a business trip to stay at the castle of a Transylvanian nobleman, Count Dracula. Harker escapes the castle after discovering that Dracula is a vampire, and the Count moves to England and plagues the seaside town of Whitby” (Wikipedia).

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818). Frankenstein is a mix of Gothic Horror and Science Fiction. Who has not heard of Frankenstein? This slow-moving, slow-witted lab-created creature is the epitome of a horror read.

Frankenstein is the story of “gifted scientist Victor Frankenstein who succeeds in giving life to a being of his own creation. However, this is not the perfect specimen he imagines that it will be, but rather a hideous creature who is rejected by Victor and mankind in general. The Monster seeks its revenge through murder and terror” (BBC Bitesize).

Pet Sematary by Stephen King (1983). Oooh, this novel keeps you wringing your hands. A child monster is not easy to find in a book, but here it is in King’s book.

This horror novel is “about a family that moves to a small town in Maine. The father, Louis Creed, discovers an ancient burial ground hidden deep in the woods behind his new home. When tragedy strikes, and the family suffers a devastating loss, Louis discovers the mysterious powers of the graveyard and its ability to bring the dead back to life. However, with each attempt to revive the past, something sinister is awakened” (Emma Baldwin). 

 Take a Deep Breath.
Here are More Examples of the Best Horror Novels


The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (1971). This chilling story is inspired by real events. This makes it even more chilling, knowing that this was actually experienced by a child. Just the thought of demonic possession might want us to put this book back on the shelf. And yet . . . and yet.

This horror novel details “the demonic possession of eleven-year-old Regan MacNeil, the daughter of a famous actress, and the two priests who attempt to exorcise the demon” (Wikipedia).

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (1988).

Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a sociopath and serial killer, is asked by an FBI trainee, Clarice Starling, to help him in finding another serial killer. But she must first allow Lecter to get into her head, a place where her supervisor warned her not to let him in. But luckily, he likes Starling and gives her clues to find Buffalo Bill, the killer she’s hunting.  Oh, and of course you know that Dr. Lecter is a cannibal. Don’t you?

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (1938). The main character lives in an isolated gray-stone mansion. She unsuspectingly walks into a nightmare.

This is a Gothic novel that “depicts an unnamed young woman who impetuously marries a wealthy widower, before discovering that both he and his household are haunted by the memory of his late first wife, the title character” (Wikipedia).

 Some of the Best Horror Novels Include
Tales of Cannibalism


The Hunger by Alma Katsu (2018). This novel is based on a true story of the Donner Party who were American pioneers migrating to California via wagon train. They took the wrong route, became snowbound, ran out of provisions, and resorted to cannibalism.

Katsu’s story adds more to the Donner Party story, including a supernatural twist. The characters experience “bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the isolated travelers to the brink of madness . . . [L]ong-buried secrets begin to emerge, and dissent among them escalates to the point of murder and chaos . . . [T]he Donner Party are heading into one of the deadliest and most disastrous Western adventures in American history” (“Bio”).

Horror novels let us enjoy creepy moments in the safety of our homes. But we must be sure to look over our shoulders now and again.

Of course, these are just a handful of the best horror novels. There are many, many more for us to explore perhaps in another article. Why do we love horror? Is it because the best horror novels instill in us fear and shock? They make us gasp. They give us something to talk about while letting us escape from our mundane world. 

Dracula. (2023, June 30). In Wikipedia.

“Frankenstein - Plot Summary - Plot Summary - AQA - GCSE English Literature Revision - AQA - BBC Bitesize.” BBC News, Accessed 26 July 2023.

Rebecca. (2023, June 12). In Wikipedia.

About  Emma BaldwinEmma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, and About. “Pet Sematary Summary.” Book Analysis, 2 May 2023,

The Exorcist. (2023, July 9). In Wikipedia.

“Bio.” Alma Katsu, Accessed 26 July 2023.

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