48 Horror Recommendations to Suit Your Reading Mood

Posted by Sharon on October 5, 2020


If you’ve ever accidentally scared yourself so badly with a book that you couldn’t sleep, you might have wished for a way to predict the type of terror you’re stumbling into before you start reading.

While we can’t quite tell you if or how much a book will scare you (after all, one person’s terrifying clown is another person’s, well, normal clown), we can tell you how some of your fellow Goodreads members classify their reads. In that vein, we’ve put together a recommendations list of horror novels to cover a variety of reading situations you might find yourself in. Whether you’re in the mood for something short and scary, YA and scary, or funny and scary, we think you’ll find a book or two here to enjoy.

Don’t forget to add any titles that send a shiver down your spine to your Want to Read shelf, and be sure to share your favorite horror recommendations in the comments below!



I want to be scared by the atmosphere...

According to fellow readers, these books are more of the quietly dread-inducing, “chilling and thrilling” variety than the “oops, now I am screaming forever” type of scary. (Your mileage may vary, of course.)
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I’m looking for scary short stories...

Looking for brief (but effective) jolts of terror? Try these short-story and novella collections that pack a majorly macabre punch.
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I like my horror with a side of humor...

It takes a truly talented writer to craft a story that is both funny and scary. Goodreads members say these books will make you laugh out loud (between all the screaming).
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I want to read retellings that subvert old tales...

The horror novel equivalent of a movie jump scare is when you think you know where the story is going...and then it veers off in a different and terrifying direction.
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Tell me about young adult horror...

Kids, they just wanna be scared! As if going through puberty isn’t petrifying enough, layer in some monsters and the teenage years have never felt stranger.
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Terrify me with some mixed-media horror...

Creepy marginalia, stories told in podcast form, scary poetry, graphic novels, even an IKEA catalog! These books tell terrifying tales in nontraditional formats, proving that horror writers have a lot of creative bones in their bodies.
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Have you picked out your next horror read? Let’s talk books in the comments below!
 

Comments Showing 1-42 of 42 (42 new)

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message 1: by *Tau* (new)

*Tau* Normally I don't read a lot of horror, but the following Irish book is on my list in the weeks to come:

The Call (The Call, #1) by Peadar Ó Guilín The Call from Peadar Ó Guilín

Officially it's YA, but apparently it's more suited for adults.

At the moment the Kindle-version is available for only $ 0,98: https://www.amazon.com/Call-Peadar-OG...
And in Belgium and the Netherlands it's now available for € 0,99: https://www.bol.com/nl/p/the-call/920...


message 2: by Helen (new)

Helen Hnin I'm so happy that Welcome to Night Vale novel is in this list!


message 4: by MovieBookNerd (new)

MovieBookNerd So glad they added a YA section. His Hideous Heart is definitely on my list.


message 5: by Raven (new)

Raven Black Any one read Dia Reeves? I found her a delightful creepy (very disturbed) author.


message 6: by Holly (new)

Holly Freeman The Girl from the Well was good, but the sequel The Suffering was incredible!


message 7: by Marie (new)

Marie I went into the actual article here and I could probably add about 100 horror books to that list. Horror fans on here you can click on the article and add your fave horror books that you like in there as there are comment boxes to post your books. :)


message 8: by Arman (new)

Arman Waggoner Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare, that's on my Want to Read


message 9: by Carola (new)

Carola So happy to see Mariana Enriquez on the list. She's great!


message 10: by T.HiggsReviews (last edited Oct 06, 2020 07:46AM) (new)

T.HiggsReviews *Tau* wrote: "Normally I don't read a lot of horror, but the following Irish book is on my list in the weeks to come:

The Call (The Call, #1) by Peadar Ó Guilín The Call from Peadar Ó Guilín..."


I read a lot of horror including The Call and it's definitely YA horror not adult.


message 11: by Matt (new)

Matt Williams *Tau* wrote: "Normally I don't read a lot of horror, but the following Irish book is on my list in the weeks to come:

The Call (The Call, #1) by Peadar Ó Guilín The Call from Peadar Ó Guilín..."


A very good book with a satisfying sequel.


message 12: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Kelley I am going to tackle the House of Leaves this October.


message 13: by Linda (new)

Linda Bloodworth Could I add my own books to this? If you're interested in two main best friend characters who don't realize the other is not human and go to Hell and back for each other.

http://amzn.to/2pvHtPx

https://amzn.to/2kjDQx1


message 14: by Dana Cordelia (new)

Dana Cordelia *Tau* wrote: "Normally I don't read a lot of horror, but the following Irish book is on my list in the weeks to come:

The Call (The Call, #1) by Peadar Ó Guilín The Call from Peadar Ó Guilín..."


I LOVED this book and its sequel. It scared me much more than I expected. I hope you enjoy!


message 15: by *Tau* (new)

*Tau* @ToniHiggsReviews, Matt & Dana Cordelia: Thanks for your reactions! Once I've finished the book, I'll let you know what I think about it 😉


message 16: by Maia (new)

Maia Alexander wrote: "I am going to tackle the House of Leaves this October."

This October, I'm going to accept the fact that I will never finish House of Leaves. Good luck!


message 17: by Erwin (new)

Erwin Wallpaper Nice recommendations


message 18: by *Tau* (new)

*Tau* Hannah wrote: "Can confirm this book is so excellent and also SO DISTURBING. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did."

You all make me even more curious than I already was, Hannah 😄


message 19: by Stefania (last edited Oct 08, 2020 07:55AM) (new)

Stefania Portaluppi If It Bleeds by Stephen King is not really an horror book. I mean, maybe the last short story is horror, but I would have mentioned other books of the author, like Pet Sematary for example, which is not just an horror novel, but still.. I still have nightmares because of that book. It is also one of my favorite books!
Interesting list, anyway.


message 20: by Harald (new)

Harald I’m still looking for the one horror novel that actually scares me. I tried a couple that people say have scared the crap out of them and i felt nothing. The closest was The Shining. But only one chapter in particular. I guess words can’t really scare me... I’m still searching.


message 21: by Guin (new)

Guin *Tau* wrote: "Normally I don't read a lot of horror, but the following Irish book is on my list in the weeks to come:

The Call (The Call, #1) by Peadar Ó Guilín The Call from Peadar Ó Guilín..."


Just borrowed from OverDriveLibrary online.


message 22: by *Tau* (new)

*Tau* Guin wrote: "Just borrowed from OverDriveLibrary online."

Have fun reading it, Guin!
I'll do the same once I've read one of the (many) other books I'm reading at the moment 😉


message 23: by Taryn (new)

Taryn I'm looking forward to introducing myself to a new author with Coyote Songs.

Coyote Songs


message 24: by Amber (new)

Amber Where was just regular scary adult horror?


message 25: by Lori (new)

Lori Mexican Gothic was so bad. Hope to find some good ones in this list.


message 26: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Reynolds *Tau* wrote: "Normally I don't read a lot of horror, but the following Irish book is on my list in the weeks to come:

The Call (The Call, #1) by Peadar Ó Guilín The Call from Peadar Ó Guilín..."


the call wasn't very good... gave it a 2 star!


message 27: by Kaethe (new)

Kaethe Douglas Harald wrote: "I’m still looking for the one horror novel that actually scares me. I tried a couple that people say have scared the crap out of them and i felt nothing. The closest was The Shining. But only one c..."

It's hard to guess what someone else might find scary, but if your preference is psychological rather than monsters, Paul Tremblay is deeply disturbing. I also recommend My Sister Rosa


message 28: by Lidia (new)

Lidia Lightwood I'm not a very fun of terror novels because when i read one of then I can't sleep. But for people like me i recomended La Profecia del Abad Negro or La Maldición de la Banshee by José María Latorre. They have a horror backgroung but no very scary.


message 29: by Susan (new)

Susan I tried reading the original "IT" book by Steven King back in the 80s. It bothered me so much I have never gone past page 10. My children were small then and so I just couldn't go there. I still have the book on my shelf, never read.


ʚϊɞ Shelley's ʚϊɞ Book Nook Stefania wrote: "If It Bleeds by Stephen King is not really an horror book. I mean, maybe the last short story is horror, but I would have mentioned other books of the author, like [book:Pet Sematar..."

Pet Cemetery by Stephen King is the only book that ever scared the Bejesus out of me.


message 31: by Alyson (last edited Oct 08, 2020 10:17PM) (new)

Alyson I finished Gods of Jade and Shadow recently and would definitely recommend it as an atmospheric read - the author Silvia Moreno-Garcia takes readers to the Mayan underworld!


message 32: by Lehar (new)

Lehar Cannot wait to read Welcome to Night Vale


message 33: by Kivrin (new)

Kivrin Alexander wrote: "I am going to tackle the House of Leaves this October."

Enjoy! It's a very bizarre book.


message 34: by Brian (new)

Brian Hebert Do Not read Penpal or Cows ever !!! These are the most disturbing books i have ever read and regreted reading !! All the books you people mentioned are Child stories compared to the unrelenting horror of the two books i mentioned !! Don't say i didn't warn you...


message 35: by Brian (new)

Brian Hebert Kivrin wrote: "Alexander wrote: "I am going to tackle the House of Leaves this October."

Enjoy! It's a very bizarre book."
I read it and have it in Quality size, it is really a bizzare book with no real ending like most books, but you really should give it a go and figure it out to your own liking. It is like a fractal kinda neverending type of book, very unique but unerving too.


message 36: by Anne (new)

Anne Simonot Amber wrote: "Where was just regular scary adult horror?"

Amber, check the other lists under this horror banner! There are several including just regular adult horror.


message 37: by Anne (new)

Anne Simonot I've read a few of these! Going to double down on recommending A Cosmology of Monsters, The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires, and The Twisted Ones. I loved all three of these books. If you're looking for something strange, dark, and disturbing that's not on these lists anywhere, A Good and Happy Child is a hugely under-rated book about a man whose long-suppressed childhood memories start to surface after he becomes a parent. Memories of having a demon in his life. Are these memories real? Was he mentally ill? Was the demon real? The exorcism/possession scene had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. Highly recommend all of these titles!


message 38: by Susan (new)

Susan I finished Mexican Gothic last night. It is a different type of scary book. I would not let my teenager read this if things spook them.


message 39: by Ruri (new)

Ruri Raven wrote: "Any one read Dia Reeves? I found her a delightful creepy (very disturbed) author."

Which book would you recommend?


message 40: by Elisha (new)

Elisha (Ellie) My new release for teens is a spooky 👻 horror short stories 🤓 book.
You can read a review on Goodreads for A Touch Eldritch 💀 paperback book by Elias AG or find it on Amazon in ebook as well.


message 41: by Maggie (new)

Maggie Surprised there was no Jennifer McMahon on here. The Winter People was super scary! I need to read the rest of her books. She's only author who has ever made hair on back of my neck stand up.

I guess I need to read more Stephen King. Everything I have read by him (a bunch of short stories and Carrie) is just....eh. I loved the movie The Shining and think it is absolutely terrifying. But everything else I've read or seen by Stephen King is just....blah in my book. (I hate to say that because he's a really awesome guy -- definitely "good people" as you say.)


message 42: by J. (new)

J. If you like retellings, take a look at my horror adaptation of "The Count of Monte Cristo":

The Mummy of Monte Cristo by J. Trevor Robinson The Mummy of Monte Cristo


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