Can anyone recommend a horror/scary book that is actually scary or at least creepy?

Can anyone recommend a horror/scary book that is actually scary or at least creepy?? I want to read something that will make me sleep with the lights on. I can’t even find a movie to scare me that much. (Yes, I’m a weirdo)

158 Answers

  • You by Caroline Kepnes is creepy in a realistic ‘could happen to anyone’ kind of way

  • Woman in Black. I couldn’t sleep with light off for ages and wasn’t helped by living in ground floor flat in middle of nowhere

  • The Shining. Scariest book I ever read. Apparently Stephen King is THE GUY!

    • I have a lot of his books. They’re great just not scary for me. Creepy, yes. I cannot wait to read “Dr. Sleep”, the sequel to The Shining! I didn’t even know about it until about a month ago!

    • ohhhh! I didn’t know about it either. No other Stephen King book has scared me except the shining actually, it’s just that one?!

    • So the sequel is about Danny’s life after the Shining… It came out in 2013, so not too old.

    • Me too. Someone in the group told me about it, I was in awe!

  • I’m a huge Stephen King fan, so of course there are several of his books that come to mind. But if you want something a little less known, try The Elementals by Michael McDowell. Super creepy!!

  • House of Leaves. I locked it in the trunk of my car. Twice.

    • This is the only book that’s given me nightmares! But, I loved it and think about reading it again sometime in the future haha

    • Oh! Wait! Is that the one with the weird maps/writings in it? Oh dear God….it scared the crap out of me!

    • I was going to suggest this as well. Creepy and amazing. There’s no other book like it

  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. And for well written, creepy short stories – I loved Black Horse and Other Strange Stories by Jason Wyckoff (Tartarus Press – ebook is a bargain)

  • It sounds like you have a pretty high tolerance to scary stuff, so I’m not sure if this is creepy enough, but try Bird House by Josh Malerman. It freaked me right out!!

  • Bentley Little writes a series of horror stories. I’ve read a few but they’re not my thing. The ones I read came from the library.

  • It by Stephen King scared me. The Troop and The Deep by Nick Cutter also creepy and scary.

    • I liked both The Troop and The Deep. The Deep was really creepy.

  • The Colour Out of Space, H.P. Lovecraft. It’s a short story.

  • I found this the most frightening short story:

    “Gramma” by Stephen King.

    Scared me stiff.

  • Also, one that made me physically sick: Gerald’s Game (Stephen King)

  • the scariest book I ever read was Red Dragon by Thomas Harris – it was the prequel to Silence of the Lambs…

  • The scariest book I ever read was Penpal by Dathan Auerbach. I read lots of scary stuff too

  • Bird Box by Josh Malerman or A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay.

  • Michelle Paver writes a good ghost story. Dark Matter and Thin Ice are very atmospheric.

  • Single scariest scene I ever read was in Unwind. The book wasn’t that scary though, just good.

    • I remember the scene you’re talking about. Omg, the dread and helplessness.

    • I still get shivers when I think about that scene. It’s horrific.

    • I decided maybe it is a horror story–I woke up at 4:00 am this morning and couldn’t stop thinking about it. There are two other scenes I just couldn’t get out of my mind. It is really one of the most distubing dystopias that I’ve read, but I think it get’s overlooked because it is more subtle. The premises on which the society is built are truely frightening.

  • Stephen King’s earlier books: Misery, Carrie, Dead Zone. My fave of his is The Stand.

    • His early short story book with the monkey toy, the mist and worst that black spot in the lake that got the people on the swimming dock (always bad when you get paranoid about doing something fun in real life)

  • Bird Box by Josh Malerman, you won’t be able to close your eyes 👀…

  • I still think that Salem’s Lot is the creepiest thing that King ever wrote. I couldn’t look out the window for a really long time.

    • Still have trouble looking out at night. I’m sure the boys will be looking in.

  • I’m like you , in that I don’t get scared easily. I haven’t read a book that really scared me in a while. That being said, I’ve recently been on the hunt as well and while Bird Box wasn’t as scary as I’d hoped (to me) it was still really good. The book Hex by Thomas Heuvelt also gave it a really good try.

    • I didn’t find Bird Box scary as much as suspenseful. .

    • Bird Box was so ominous. And since the characters couldn’t look at the “monster”, and therefore, couldn’t describe it, that made it way creepier to me. I don’t get scared from books, but that’s one that definitely creeped me out.

  • Dan Chaon has a new one out. Ill Will. Haven’t read it, probably won’t. He’s such a good writer and I don’t like to be scared. I’ve read some of his short stories and wound up curled up in a fetal position in a state of terror. So yeah, I can recommend him.

  • Stephen King’s IT. The remake of the movie is about to come out but I doubt it’ll be as scary as the book.

    • The whole clown thing doesn’t scare me at all. I wish it would

    • Have you read it? I was never scared of clowns but this is much different.

    • I have the original book and movie, read some of the book, but I know what it’s about basically.

  • Heart-shaped Box by Joe Hill is the scariest book I have ever read.

    I find, however, that I don’t really get scared by horror much as a middle-aged adult.

  • Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Also My Soul to Keep series or The Good House by Tananarive Due.

  • I read a lot of horror. Naomi’s Room made it hard to use the rest room in the middle of the night. Endless Night gave me nightmares. Now, that’s what I call a good book!

  • have you seen the movie “creep”? thats one of the only ones to scare me..

    • OMG THAT IS SUCH A GREAT MOVIE. I hardly ever rewatch movies because I feel like there’s so many for me to see, but I’ve rewatched that a few times. An underrated gem.

  • Y’all, I have added so many books to my Goodreads list… thank you!

    • I bit, just read it and yes thrilling – BUT – a cliff hanger. No entry after 5/19/01 and no blog, no comments, I’ll forever be in suspense!

  • Daphne Du Mauriere has the classics! Try My Cousin Rachel, or Rebecca. Good ole fashion scary stuff.

    • I’m reading My cousin Rachel right now and i wouldn’t say it’s what she’s looking for, it’s a mystery book, but it’s not scary

  • For a movie, try Skeleton Key. Great plot twists, well written, the ending will freak you out!

  • NOs4A2 by Joe Hill
    Nick Cutters books are pretty scary…The Troop or The Deep. And House of Leaves.

  • I’m like you. But Peter Straub’s Ghost Story came pretty close for me. And Stephen King’s It. As for movies, Sinister got me. Not sure why, but it really creeped me out.

  • Toni Morrison’s Beloved is excellent horror; Stephen King: It and short story: The Jaunt; George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo is deeply entrenched in horror though not necessarily “scary;” Joe Hill’s short stories; Alice Sola Kim’s short story “Mothers, Lock Up Your Daughters” is maybe the best modern horror story I know; Shirley Jackson is one of the best horror writers ever lived, The Lottery, Hill House. Audiobook fans should also check out Pseudopod, which is consistently excellent.

  • I don’t know if it’s so much horror but more psychologically disturbing but “The Girl Next Door” by Jack Ketchum haunts me until this day. It was an awful story but well written. I usually don’t recommend this book just because it was so disturbing, so be warned.

  • Helter Skelter, which is based on the Manson case. Horrifying.

  • Well I don’t think they are exactly what you are looking for but I find John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series pretty creepy.

    I mean it sort of depends on what an individual is most scared of. I personally don’t like devil/evil paranormal stuff. Some might find true crime/serial killer/crazy people stuff more scary. I find violence against women/rape in movies to be traumatic vs. scary.

  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the creepiest book I’ve ever read..even better to listen if you like audiobooks. Got chills over and over, partially because it’s just so beautifully written but mostly because it’s creepy af.

  • I wish I could help but I am a very destroyed person lol I love King, Koontz and Joe Hill and neither has scared me much :/ Although King is on my top list for at least creepy lol

  • My friend is currently reading The Turn of the Screw. I’m too timid for that sort of thing myself, but hope it’s what you’re looking for. 🙂

  • I had exactly the reaction you’re looking for when I read Salem’s Lot by Stephen King.

    • Yes! That book had me up all night long holding my crucifix, I was so petrified. And I’m an atheist! LOL

    • Really? I have this book too! I’m gonna have to check it out

  • I remember reading a pretty spooky book a while back. Pretty sure it was Whispers by Dean Koontz

  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle is pretty spooky, also the excellent Let The Right One In – I saw the stage show and my heart almost stopped with shock at one point

  • Thank you for all your responses my fellow bookworms! I think I’m going to get started on Salem’s Lot tonight. Send me spooky vibes! 😉

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