15 Best Horror Novels

Strictly speaking, these aren’t all horror, but they are all scary.  You’ll notice a lot of repeat authors on this list.  I’m a loyal reader and I tend to like a certain style of writing.  I tried to mix it up a little.  I thought I should confess that I could do a top 10 list of just Dean Koontz novels.  In my opinion, he’s the best author ever, and if I were half as good a writer as him, I could die happy.  His books don’t fit well in any one genre, so that made it easier for him not to be the only author on the list.  Here goes:

15.  When Rabbit Howls– Trudy Chase:  You may be familiar with multiple personality disorder or dissociative identity disorder as it’s called now from Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber or I’m Eve by Chris Costner Sizemore.  All good books (and true stories) but in my opinion, this one is the best of the bunch.  I don’t normally read nonfiction, but this is worth your time.

14.  Stealing Shadows– Kay Hooper:  Okay, she’s not really a “horror” novelist, but it’s a scary book.  Psychics, serial killers, and a small town… what more could you want?  If you read this book and fall in love, it’s a series.

13.  Shutter Island– Dennis Lehane:  This follows the plot of the movie pretty closely, but its much creepier in the book.  It’s definitely worth reading.  If you’re looking for outright horror, this isn’t it.  But if you’re looking for a psychological thriller, this may be for you.

12. Primal Fear – William Diehl:  There’s blood and gore along with psychological horror.  It’s a great read and if you haven’t seen the movie, it will keep you guessing.

11.  Presumed Innocent– Scott Turow:  Great book about an average guy whose life gets turned upside down.  Even the ending is a kick in the teeth.

10.  I Am Legend– Richard Matheson:  This is so much better than the movie.  The movies is loosely… let me say it again… loosely based on the novella.  It is a vampire novel about what happens when the last man on earth isn’t one.

9.  The Silence of the Lambs/ Hannibal– Thomas Harris: Again, the movie was great, but the book was better.  I highly recommend reading the books back to back.  They’re wonderful.  Ignore that Hannibal Rising exists.  I couldn’t even get through it.

8.  Watchers– Dean Koontz:  In my opinion, this one isn’t strictly horror, but many places classify it as such, and since it’s my all time favorite book, I’ll go with it.  It is scary on many levels and just an all around great read.

7.   A Whisper in the Dark– Louisa May Alcott:  Yes, that Louisa May Alcott.  This is an anthology of her short stories, and they’re wonderful horror fiction.  She also has a book called A Marble Woman (also an anthology) and A Long and Fatal Love Chase.  If you like her writing style and love horror, read them as soon as possible.

6.  Red Dragon– Thomas Harris: Scary, moving, fast paced, creepy.  Everything a book like this should be.

5.   The Bad Place– Dean Koontz: All around creep factor is off the charts.  There’s just nothing else quite like this book out there.

4.  Velocity– Dean Koontz: Fast paced, this novel keeps escalating until you get to the end.  It’s hard to put down and hard to forget.

3.  The Blackstone Chronicles- John Saul:  This is a series of stories about ordinary objects that are distributed in a town and cause people to go crazy and do extraordinary things.  It had an ending that will stick with you long after you’re done reading.

2.  Stir of Echoes– Richard Matheson:  This is a great book and one of my all time favorite horror books.  It’s a chilling look at human nature, with a touch of paranormal and the feeling that this could happen to anyone.

1.  Salem’s Lot– Stephen King:  As far as I’m concerned, this is the best vampire novel out there.  These vampires are not sexy.  They are scary and even Buffy would have a hard time going up against them.

Happy reading!  Please let me know if there’s something you feel I’ve left off the list, or if you have opinions on any of these you’d like to share.

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