If you’ve clicked on this page, you’re no doubt the type of being who likes a little fright from time to time. And though you may be misunderstood by the general population, rest assured, you’re in a safe place.
Because at Urban List, there’s nothing that we like more (well, some of us, at least) than dimming the lights, curling up in bed and starting a damn good horror book. And lucky for you, we’ve gone and found the absolute scariest horror books to dig into right now.
Check out the best horror books.
The Hollow Ones
By Guillermo Del Toro, Chuck Hogan
Alright, horror fiends, we’re kicking things off with a bang because in the world of horror—that’s exactly how all the good things start. If there’s only one horror book you should read in 2020, let it be The Hollow Ones. Written by Oscar-winning director turned author Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Shape Of Water), this horror fiasco contains several gruesome murders, think X-Files meets Ben Aaronovitch. This paranormal thriller tales a horrific crime which defies all logic, a mysterious figure called John, lots of evil, much corruption and as you need any more convincing.
By David Quantick, available September 2020
David Quantick needs no introduction. The Emmy-winning author is an absolute wordsmith and his new page-turner is no exception. This science-fiction horror story starts as most eerie plots do, on a train. A woman wakes up, frightened and alone. The room is shaking, as if it’s quite literally alive. She gets up, looks around and realises—suspenseful pause—the train is full of the dead. Tell us that is not a winning opening.
By Paul Tremblay
If horror is your religion and horror books are your bible, then you already know all about Paul Tremblay. This guy, (a casual Bram Stoker award-winning author) was born to write books that scare the living bejesus out of you and has already done so with his previous read The Cabin At The End Of The World and A Head Full of Ghosts (which you should have also have read by now). In a pandemic-stricken world, Survivor Song kind of brings all your worst fears to life. There’s basically an insidious rabies-like virus which spreads through saliva but unlike rabies, the disease has a short incubation period of one hour or less. Quarantine, curfews and government’s emergency protocols are failing and honestly, this is a seriously chilling read with an undeniable element of truth.
The Only Good Indians
By Stephen Graham Jones
It’s been one of the most anticipated horror books of 2020 and word on the street is that this one delivers even more than you could imagine. He’s been likened as the “Jordan Peele” of horror fiction with The Only Good Indians sorting a tale of revenge, cultural identity and the cost of breaking from tradition. Expect a tale of four American Indian men who are ravaged by a disturbing even in their younger years and an entity that is hell-bent on haunting them.
The Haunting Of Hill House
By Shirley Jackson
You’ve no doubt binged your way through The Haunting Of Hill House on Netflix but now, trade your vice for the original story on paper. Written by Shirley Jackson back in 1959, this epic gothic horror is not for the faint of heart, it’s been dubbed one of the best literary ghost stories of the 20th Century. And why is it so dang great (and scary)? Because Jackson tells this story through several characters within the book, all exploring their own psyche inside a haunted house. Note, you should probably read this one with the lights on.
House Of Leaves
By Mark Z. Danielewski
Basically, House Of Leaves is 740-pages of full-blown heart-palpitating horror from start to finish. This horror tells, nay, eerily drips, the story of a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Treet Lane where they discover something incredibly confusing—their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. What does this mean? You’ll have to read it and find out for yourself, but we can tell you the two children go missing and something in the walls begins to consume everyone’s dreams.
Editor's note: Urban List editors independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. Urban List has affiliate partnerships, so we get revenue from your purchase.
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