The Best Horror Books to Scare the Bejesus Out of You in 2023

A girl screaming at a monster
A girl screaming at a monster

Looking for a good scare? You’ve come to the right place.

Not everyone loves them, but horror novels can offer readers a chance to escape from the everyday world and experience something different. They provide an opportunity — thankfully fictional — to explore the dark side of human nature and our psyches.

Horror novels can be frightening, and exhilarating, and often have surprise endings that leave readers feeling satisfied (or scared sh*tless).

So continue below to find some of the best horror books and novels to read in 2022. From spine-tingling thrillers to dark, disturbing tales, these books are sure to send chills down your spine.

So curl up on the couch with a blanket, grab a weapon, and prepare to be scared (and perhaps not sleep for days)!


The Best Horror Books to Read in 2022

#1. Pet Sematary

by Stephen King

The book cover of the book called “Pet Sematary”
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Book Summary:

Stephen King’s classic novel Pet Sematary follows the story of the Creed family, who move to a small town in Maine and discover an ancient burial ground just beyond their backyard that has the power to bring the dead back to life. When tragedy befalls the family, they must decide how far they are willing to go in order to bring back their lost loved ones. An eerie and chilling story, Pet Sematary brings the horrors of death to the forefront and will leave readers with a lingering feeling of dread.

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#2. The Dunwich Horror: H. P. Lovecraft’s Best Classic Horror Thrillers

by H. P. Lovecraft

The book cover of the book called “The Dunwich Horror”
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Book Summary:

Set in the small town of Dunwich, Massachusetts, the story follows Wilbur Whately, a strange child born to an aloof family in the town of Dunwich. As Wilbur grows older, he begins to display supernatural powers, which the townspeople deem unnatural. As the story progresses, Wilbur unleashes a horrific creature from another realm, and it is up to the townsfolk to confront the evil before it is too late.

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#3. Dracula

by Bram Stoker

The book cover of the book called “Dracula” by Bram Stoker
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Book Summary:

Dracula is a classic gothic horror novel following the story of Jonathan Harker as he travels to Transylvania to help the mysterious Count Dracula purchase a home in London. On his journey, Harker soon discovers the Count’s dark secrets and his plan to move to England and spread his vampire curse.

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#4. We Have Always Lived in the Castle

by Shirley Jackson

The book cover of the book called “We Have Always Lived in the Castle”
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Book Summary:

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson is a thrilling mystery-horror novel following the lives of the Blackwood family, who live in a large, isolated house. When an unwelcome visitor arrives, the family must confront their past and the secrets they have been hiding, while being threatened by the hostile villagers who view them with suspicion. With dark and supernatural elements, this book is a captivating and suspenseful read.

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#5. Something Wicked This Way Comes

by Ray Bradbury

The book cover of the book called “Something Wicked This Way Comes”
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Book Summary:

Something Wicked This Way Comes tells the story of two 13-year-old boys, Jim Nightshade and William Halloway, who, while living in a small Midwestern town, battle a sinister carnival that has rolled into town. The leader of the carnival, Mr. Dark, is a menacing figure who has the power to make people’s darkest desires come true, and it is up to Jim and William to protect the town and its inhabitants from the carnival’s evil. It’s a thrilling narrative that is sure to keep readers hooked until the very end.

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#6. The Hellbound Heart

by Clive Barker

The book cover of the book called “The Hellbound Heart”
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Book Summary:

The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker is a horror novel about Frank Cotton, a man obsessed with unlocking the secrets of the Cenobites, a group of creatures from another realm. After he solves the puzzle, he unleashes a demonic force that seeks revenge and terrorizes the people of his town.

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#7. Frankenstein

by Mary Shelley

The book cover of the book called “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley
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Book Summary:

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a classic horror novel that follows the story of Dr. Victor Frankenstein, a scientist who creates a creature from spare parts. Despite his initial pride in his creation, Dr. Frankenstein soon discovers that his monster is far more powerful and violent than he had anticipated. Unable to control the creature, the doctor spends the rest of the novel trying to undo the damage he has caused while the creature is on a mission of revenge.

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#8. The Best of Richard Matheson

by Richard Matheson

The book cover of the book called “The Best of Richard Matheson”
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Book Summary:

The Best of Richard Matheson is a collection of some of the writer’s most beloved short stories from across his long and prolific career. It features tales of horror, science fiction, fantasy, and suspense, with a focus on exploring the human condition. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the works of this incredible author.

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#9. Psycho

by Robert Bloch

The book cover of the book called “Psycho”
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Book Summary:

Psycho is a suspenseful novel by Robert Bloch that follows Norman Bates, a motel owner with a dark past. When young Marion Crane comes to stay at the motel, Norman’s dark secrets come to light, leading to a thrilling, spine-tingling climax. With a captivating and suspenseful plot, Psycho is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

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#10. Boy’s Life

by Robert R. McCammon

The book cover of the book called “Boy’s Life”
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Book Summary:

In Robert R. McCammon’s Boy’s Life, readers are taken on a journey through the life of 12-year-old Cory Mackenson, who lives in the small town of Zephyr Alabama in the 1960s. As Cory comes of age, he faces a series of strange and mysterious events that teach him important lessons about life, love, and friendship. This coming-of-age story is a captivating read with an exciting plot and engaging characters.

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#11. Ghost Story

by Peter Straub

The book cover of the book called “Ghost Story”
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Book Summary:

A group of elderly men, known as the Chowder Society, reunite to tell each other ghost stories. However, when one of the members dies, the group is forced to confront a true supernatural horror that has been plaguing them for years. With their memories fading and time running out, the group must fight to uncover the truth before the ancient evil consumes them all.

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#12. The Exorcist

by William Peter Blatty

The book cover of the book called “The Exorcist”
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Book Summary:

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty tells the story of a young girl named Regan who is possessed by a demon. As her mother desperately tries to save her daughter from the evil forces, two priests are called in to perform a difficult and dangerous exorcism. With the battle between good and evil underway, the priests must summon all their faith and courage to save Regan from the powers of darkness.

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#13. Red Dragon

by Thomas Harris

The book cover of the book called “Red Dragon”
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Book Summary:

The novel follows FBI agent Will Graham as he attempts to hunt down a serial killer known as the Red Dragon. With the help of another cannibalistic serial killer, the notorious Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Will must use all his skills to capture the Red Dragon before he strikes again.

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#14. Phantoms

by Dean Koontz

The book cover of the book called “Phantoms” by Dean Koontz
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Book Summary:

Phantoms by Dean Koontz follows the story of Lea and her brother, who are sent to the small mountain town of Snowfield, California, to investigate a series of mysterious disappearances. Upon arriving, they soon discover an ancient, supernatural force is behind the disappearances and they must team up with a small group of survivors to try and escape the town before it’s too late.

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#15. The Boys from Brazil

by Ira Levine

The book cover of the book called “The Boys from Brazil”
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Book Summary:

The Boys from Brazil is a thrilling novel by Ira Levine that follows Nazi hunter Ezra Lieberman as he investigates a strange plot spearheaded by a mysterious figure. After discovering a plan to clone Hitler, Lieberman must travel the world to stop the plan and find the mysterious figure behind it all.

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#16. Interview with the Vampire

by Anne Rice

The book cover of the book called “Interview With the Vampire”
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Book Summary:

Interview with the Vampire follows the story of Louis de Pointe du Lac, a vampire who tells his life story to a reporter. After being turned into a vampire by Lestat, Louis struggles with his newfound identity and seeks out companionship in the form of the vampire Claudia. Together they experience the highs and lows of life as immortals. This iconic novel delves into the complexities of the human condition, exploring themes of love, loss, and identity.

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#17. Ghost Road Blues

by Jonathan Maberry

The book cover of the book called “Ghost Road Blues”
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Book Summary:

In Jonathan Maberry’s Ghost Road Blues, the sleepy town of Pine Deep is shaken when a series of violent attacks begin to take place. When the local sheriff is unable to pinpoint the cause of the violence, he calls in an old friend from the FBI to investigate. Together, they must battle against an ancient evil that has been unleashed in the town in order to save it from destruction.

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#18. The Raping of Ava DeSantis: A Horror Novel

by Mylo Carbia

The book cover of the book called “The Raping of Ava DeSantis”
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Book Summary:

The Raping of Ava DeSantis tells the story of a young woman dealing with the psychological trauma of a sexual assault committed by three wealthy frat bros. She faces a crossroads — either go to the police or accept money to keep quiet. Carbia takes readers on a journey of suspense, fear, and self-discovery as Ava struggles to gain control over her life and reclaim her sense of identity.

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#19. Seed

by Ania Ahlborn

The book cover of the book called “Seed”
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Book Summary:

Seed by Ania Ahlborn tells the story of Jack, a young man haunted by his past, including a traumatic event in his childhood. He moves to a small town in the Deep South to start a new life and quickly discovers that something sinister lurks beneath the surface. As he delves deeper, he finds out that the townspeople are hiding a dark secret and must confront the evil to survive.

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#20. The Parasite

by Ramsey Campbell

The book cover of the book called “The Parasite”
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Book Summary:

The Parasite by Ramsey Campbell is a horror novel about a family who moves into an old Victorian house in England. As they begin to settle in, strange and unsettling events begin to plague them. The family soon discovers that the house is inhabited by an ancient and powerful evil force known as the Parasite, which has been dormant for centuries. As the family struggles to survive and protect themselves, they must uncover the secrets of the Parasite before it’s too late.

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J.J. Pryor

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