"Horror fiction has traditionally dealt in taboo… It makes monsters of household pets and begs our affection for psychos. It shows us that the control we believe we have is purely illusory, and that every moment we teeter on chaos and oblivion."
Hear the scratching on the wall? Feel a chill run down your spine? The frightening thrills of our favorite horror novels have a way of reaching out from beyond the page—casting shadows, whispering in our ear, haunting us long after the story is done.
For Horror Week
, Goodreads set out to reveal readers' favorite scary books. The titles were chosen based on overall shelvings (i.e., the number of times each book has been marked as "read" or "want to read"), plus reader reviews and ratings.
From literal monsters to purely psychological terrors, these are tales of madness and pandemonium, retribution and absolution. Long heralded as the "Master of Horror," Stephen King
reigns supreme with five books on our list, but his son Joe Hill
is not far behind, nabbing four spots. And along with classics from Mary Shelley
and Edgar Allan Poe
, Robert Kirkman
's end-of-the-world comic, The Walking Dead
, made the cut as well as an award-winning children's
ghost story, The Graveyard Book
, from Neil Gaiman
And now, for those who dare, we present the top 50 horror books on Goodreads in alphabetical order. Proceed at your own risk—and then tell us how many you've read in the comments.
What's your favorite horror novel? Share it with us in the comments!
See the complete coverage of Horror Week including:
The Campy, Bizarre World of Paperback Horror
16 Terror-Inducing Halloween Audiobooks
Gather Around for Terrifying Ghost Stories