Read Till You Scream

Posted by Jessica on October 16, 2012

A good book keeps you reading through the night, but you'll be cowering under the covers with our spooky reading list. We combed through the top-rated horror books of 2012 to gather a grisly collection of ghost- and monster-themed books. Test your nerves against these paranormal fiction finds guaranteed to deliver the creepy crawly, goose-bump Halloween terror we love. Maybe you'll be leaving the light on after one of these.

By Scott Sigler (Goodreads Author)
San Francisco homicide detective Bryan Clauser is having prescient dreams about a series of murders as his investigation leads him closer to the subterranean killers that lurk beneath the city streets and only come out at night. Goodreads member Mitch calls it "a terrifying descent into a nightmarish world along with some of the most incredible action scenes put to paper."

The Haunting of Maddy Clare
By Simone St. James (Goodreads Author)
Penniless temp worker Sarah Piper gets an unexpected assignment: assisting the dashing Alistair Gellis, a professional ghost hunter and shell-shocked World War I veteran. He requires a female assistant to rid a haunted barn in North England of an enraged, man-hating spirit. Goodreads member Jess says, "I have not been so scared by a ghost story in a very long time...truly chilling."

By Peter Clines
Nate's run-down Hollywood apartment building may have mutant cockroaches, but the dirt cheap price is right. When he keeps noticing more eccentricities—hidden rooms, weird noises, and blocked staircases—the creeped-out tenants soon band together to discover the building's secret. Goodreads member Nick calls it "a near-flawless mystery-thriller-horror...a treasury of mind-bogglery."

I, Zombie
By Hugh Howey (Goodreads Author)
The breakout author of the dystopian hit Wool reanimates the trope of the zombie apocalypse in this gory horror novel, told from the point of view of the decaying, ravenous corpses themselves. Goodreads member Melissa says, "...there is something trapped within the monstrously disgusting outer shell of this narrative. Something alive, something true, something real."

Story by Scott Snyder (Goodreads Author) & Scott Tuft (Goodreads Author), art by Attila Futaki
If Freddy Krueger haunted your childhood, this graphic novel's for you. When 12-year-old Jack runs away from home in search of his dad, his cross-country journey through rural 1916 America is tracked by the sinister "Salesman" with a disarming smile. Goodreads member Tristan says, "A classic style of horror, one written like an old child's warning tale. The story is gripping, with gorgeous artwork that leaves you cringing."

What's the scariest book you've ever read?

Comments Showing 1-45 of 45 (45 new)

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message 1: by David (new)

David This list doesn't have enough "Turn of the Screw"

message 2: by Angelica (new)

Angelica Taggart The scariest book I ever read was The Exorcist ... I can remember laying on the couch reading it on a weekend afternoon and realizing it had gotten dark out -- I had to put the book down -- I actually thought of trying to hide it!!

message 3: by Gordana (new)

Gordana Knezevic Superb :)

message 4: by Deb (new)

Deb Korch More please!

message 5: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey Stephen King's IT isn't on this list?????

message 6: by Keith (new)

Keith William Hjortsberg Falling Angel. A movie, Angel Heart, with Mickey Rourke and Robert De Niro, eventually appeared and scary as it was, it paled in comparison with the book. If you haven't seen the movie this would be an even more horrific treat.

message 7: by Ellen (new)

Ellen I love horror fiction but the one book that made me afraid to turn out the light was Joe Hill's "The Heart-Shaped Box."

message 8: by Christy (new)

Christy Van Dam Adding all of these to my "to-read" list!

message 9: by Allen (new)

Allen Dusk May I please humbly suggest Shady Palms. Every reviewer & critic has said it makes their skin crawl. A few have even listed it as a must read for Halloween. Don't take my word for it...check out their reviews at

message 10: by Janice (new)

Janice Palko Salem's Lot made get out of bed and get my rosary beads to hang on my headboard so I could sleep.

message 11: by Benje (new)

Benje Ammityville Horror.

message 12: by Rachel (new)

Rachel House of Leaves had me freaked out for weeks.

message 13: by Alison (new)

Alison Blake Velocity by Dean Koontz. It took me 3 days to read it because I could only read it in bits and pieces. Had to get my courage back in between reads.

message 14: by Laureen (new)

Laureen Hume I remember reading Stephen King's "Pet Sematary" in bed in the early morning hours...wishing I wasn't alone but unable to put it down...

message 15: by Trisha (new)

Trisha My old classic scare...The Shining by Stephen King. Newest scare...Shadow Man (Smoky Barrett #1) by Cody McFadyen. The Mephisto club by Tess Gerritsen was pretty creepy as well.

message 16: by Grace (new)

Grace Rutledge Hands down, The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty. Started reading it early evening in my student apartment with my door closed. By midnight or so, my roommate was in bed asleep, door closed, all lights were out in the apartment. I was so freaked out, I LOUDLY demanded my roommate get up and help me turn on lights. Then I read her a really scary part, and now our combined fear forced her to stay up all night with me, taking turns reading the book till we finished in the morning. I HAD to get some kind of a resolution. Don't make me re-live the night we went to see the movie...!

message 17: by Donna (new)

Donna Repsher My top 3 scary reads:

1) Hell House by Richard Matheson
2) The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
3) The Amityville Horror

message 18: by Crystal (new)

Crystal Mine would be Ammityville Horror, I read it within a day and had nightmares about it lol. Neither movie did the book justice but that's how it always goes, there are very few book adaptations to movies that I like.

message 19: by Noel (new)

Noel Yale A scary book?
None. I know they're just books, so they don't scare me.

message 20: by Donna (new)

Donna Repsher I also realize I should have also mentioned Thomas Tryon's amazing novel, Harvest Home.

message 21: by Georgie (new)

Georgie "The Exorcist" was my number one most frightening book. I had to make sure someone was in the room while I read it. And, I absolutely could night read it at night. Truly terrifying!

message 22: by Kara (new)

Kara Grace "The Stepford Wives." Not entirely scary, but truly disturbing.

message 23: by Donna (new)

Donna Repsher And now I realize, I was also pretty creeped out by Rosemary's Baby.

message 24: by Scott (new)

Scott Sigler Wow, thanks for putting my novel NOCTURNAL on your list! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it. The comments have a ton of scary books as well.

message 25: by Ancestral (new)

Ancestral Gaidheal Lindsey wrote: "Stephen King's IT isn't on this list?????"

Yup. Scared the [bleep] out of me when I was a teenager and I've not read, listened horror/scary books since. I stay away from films of that genre, too. Stephen King's "It" proved to me that I just didn't have the stomach for such stories.

message 26: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Stephen King's "It" caused me to sleep with the lights on.

message 27: by Midori (new)

Midori And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie Collection) by Agatha Christie
Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie

message 28: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Rachel wrote: "House of Leaves had me freaked out for weeks."

That has to be really scary!!!

message 29: by Amanda (new)

message 30: by PinkPanthress (last edited Oct 17, 2012 03:43AM) (new)

PinkPanthress Amanda wrote: "The Duggars 20 and Counting! Raising One of America's Largest Families—How They Do It by Michelle Duggar"
WT* is that?

P.S.: People, stop asking for this or that book to be included in this List, it clearly says ...We combed through the top-rated horror books of 2012 to... With 2012 being the operative word here!

message 31: by Don (new)

Don "Pet Sematary" by Stephen King

message 32: by Joyce (new)

Joyce The Stand, by Stephen King. First book that made me see evil can take all kind of form.

message 33: by Georgesear (new)

Georgesear Scariest I remember: The Omen and Amityville Horror. Also, At the Mountains of Madness by Lovecraft.

message 34: by Terry (new)

Terry Foster The most frightening book I've read so far is "Serpentine".

message 35: by Kim (new)

Kim McGee What about the classic The Haunting of Hill House or Stephen King's It?

message 36: by Cyndy (new)

Cyndy Reading the bathroom scene in The Shining at 2:30 a.m. was truly scarey!

message 37: by Ancestral (new)

Ancestral Gaidheal Ɲėṩṛīȵ wrote: "P.S.: People, stop asking for this or that book to be included in this List, it clearly says ...We combed through the top-rated horror books of 2012 to... With 2012 being the operative word here! "

But, the question in the last sentence of the blog/original post asks: "What's the scariest book you've ever read?", and that is what everyone is responding to, with only one responder mentioning the list.

message 38: by Julissa (new)

Julissa Donna wrote: "I also realize I should have also mentioned Thomas Tryon's amazing novel, Harvest Home."

This one is listed for $180.90 on Amazon! I guess if my library doesn't have a copy, I won't be reading this one LOL

message 39: by Char (new)

Char Julissa, his book The Other recently became available for Kindle, so I would keep a look out for HH to be released for Kindle soon.

I would recommend 'Salem's Lot,
Ghost Story and Seed.

message 40: by Mai (new)

Mai Zahn Cyndy wrote: "Reading the bathroom scene in The Shining at 2:30 a.m. was truly scarey!"

I was scared mostly at the animal garden part. Maybe my imagination made it worse than it is.

Ƥαʋℓα Я. ♏❥ Perfume, by Patrick Süskind!

message 42: by Lori (new)

Lori Don wrote: ""Pet Sematary" by Stephen King"

That book was SO much scarier than the movie!

message 43: by Fiona (new)

Fiona Ingram Bram Stoker's Dracula. It was so scary I read it again just to check I had read it properly.Dracula

message 44: by Sue (new)

Sue Perry Haunting of Hill House. So subtle and so disturbing. I haven't read it for decades and I'm still wary of certain doorways.

message 45: by Bedava (new)

Bedava Filmler Thanks for sharing this post. Keep updating more and more.. sohbet

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