Looking for some good horror books? Browse through our expert recommendations to find the best grisly thrillers and scary stories, including the best books on zombies. We have several competing lists for the five best horror books—Darryl Jones, Kim Newman and Ramsay Campbell have all recommended the five best horror stories. We also have an interview with best-selling novelist Sarah Perry on gothic fiction. Unsurprisingly many of our book lists include Stephen King books.
The most unnerving and disturbing novels are often those books that leave room for interpretation and uncertainty. Here, the acclaimed Irish novelist Sue Rainsford selects five frightening works of literary horror, by authors who are masters of the unsettling implication—because nothing is quite so scary as what you dream up to fill the voids.
Shirley Jackson, the 20th-century horror author, has had a remarkable resurgence in popularity in recent years, with a series of screen adaptations bringing her writing to a new audience. Joan Passey, an academic at Bristol University and co-editor of an upcoming collection of essays on the ‘mother of horror’, selects five books that offer the best introduction to Shirley Jackson’s work.
'The Same Dog' in Cold Hand in Mine
by Robert Aickman
'Home' in Dark Tales
by Shirley Jackson
'Animals' in You Should Come With Me Now
by M. John Harrison
'The Book' in The Virago Book of Ghost Stories
by Margaret Irwin
'Blind Man's Buff' in The Oxford Book of 20th-Century Ghost Stories
by H. Russell Wakefield
If you love to get scared silly then we have reading recommendations for you. Will Maclean, author of the unsettling new novel The Apparition Phase, selects the best ghost stories to read at Halloween, including writing from the queen of screams Shirley Jackson, and a four-page, pitch-black nightmare that might just be the perfect ghost story.
Whether you’re scared most by graphic body horror, the uncategorisable, or the blurring of boundaries between supernatural menace and psychological unraveling, this list will have something for you. Reflecting on the complex nature of fear, Xavier Aldana Reyes surveys the best modern horror and explores whether the genre might offer consolation as well as terror.
Zombies have returned with a vengeance in recent years, the secret to their undying popularity lying in their ability to embody many different kinds of menace, from social unrest to pandemics, financial insecurity to international terrorism. Greg Garrett, author of Living with the Living Dead, recommends five books to help you prepare for the zombie apocalypse
Why was 1897 such a great year for horror? How did Charles Darwin’s discoveries impact the genre? Trinity College, Dublin professor Darryl Jones selects some of the best of the genre—and discusses why we find these stories so fascinating.
The Gothic puts flesh on the bones of our darkest fears, novelist Sarah Perry tells Five Books. Here, she chooses five favourite novels in this ‘irresistible’ genre.
From the psychological terror of a haunted house to the spectral dread of an indescribable colour, the British horror writer recommends five disturbing tales to get you in the mood for Halloween
Which are the best horror books ever written? Novelist and horror expert Kim Newman, author of Anno Dracula, talks us through his top five and reveals which of the classics is, for him, the greatest of them all.
‘The Gothic’ can refer to ecclesiastical architecture, supernatural fiction, cult horror films and a recent subculture. Here, Nick Groom—who is professor in English at the University of Exeter and is also known as the ‘Prof. of Goth’—recommends five of the best books on the Gothic, showing how this term remains central to the way we think of our identities today.