15 Scariest Horror Fiction Books to Read of All Time

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You know, I’ve always felt that horror in our lives is more of a necessity than intimidation or annoyance. Reason? Well, horror is that thing that always drives one cataclysmically towards fighting their worst fears and conquering them completely. It always has a nuanced sort of feel to it, incorporating multiple hues of different emotions along with fear as a driving factor.

Horror as a genre is one of my favourites, and today, I thought of sharing with you guys a list of the 15 scariest horror fiction books to read of all time:

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King (1975)

Ok, first things first this one had to be there anyhow. I mean how can anyone think of putting this one down? The story speaks of vampires overrunning a small town. As the residents mull over the strange occurrences and chilling encounters, trying to make sense of them, I bet you guys too will drop off the edge of your seats. A slow burn, and yet one of the best possible!

The Exorcist by William Blatty (1971)

Ok, no rocket science, guys, but The Exorcist is definitely one of the scariest plots ever written. Showcasing the demonic possession of an 11-year-old girl, Regan. Watching the kid’s strange behaviour on screen was terrifying, as was her screaming those obscenities. And yet, at the end of it all, hands down the book is one of the most terrifying horror fiction books.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (1959)

Well, this one has been made into a successful Netflix series. A researcher gathers a bunch of strangers in a haunted house who are supposed to record supernatural stirrings. And yet, what happens when they are actually met with nightmarish sightings and eerie sounds? I guess survival is for the bravest and strongest!

It by Stephen King (1986)

Pennywise, a strange killer clown who lives in the sewers, preys on the town’s young residents by actually shape-shifting into their deepest fears (OK, now I know where Boggarts got “inspired,” huh). When the Losers’ Club together to defeat him, then comes the chills and thrills.

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (1962)

Two young boys meet the wish-granting Mr Dark at a carnival. Ahem, think creepy halls of mirrors, dark corners, and sinister masquerading figures, you guys.

The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager (2022)

In this tale of a Vermont vacation home, dark, twisted secrets lurk below the surface, and a murderer too might be on the loose. Isolated lake houses always provide the perfect backdrop and setting for any horror novel.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman (2002)

Sort of an antithesis of a Boggart, the villain here takes the form of someone you love and trust. Although more geared towards readers aged 8 to 12, make sure to still keep this one away from those who get scared easily.

The Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon (2022)

This brilliant book is narrated in dual timelines, revolving around a Vermont psychiatric facility. A deep dive into themes of monsters and mental illnesses, this one is a fascinating read.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)

A true classic that has withstood the test of time. This is a tale of a mad doctor and his creation that will keep you gripped uncannily every time you pick it up and read it. What could go wrong when a human plays God? This Gothic-romantic, philosophical novel surely deserves a read.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954)

When a plane crash leaves a group of schoolboys stranded on a deserted island, they find themselves in a terrifying, violent war of their own making. So you want to read how our inner monsters come out?

The Shining by Stephen King (1977)

What happens when Jack, a middle-aged writer, lands up as a caretaker at the Overlook hotel, trying to find the perfect way to sit back down and write? Catastrophe in a horror format, huh? One of King’s finest works

The Hunger by Alma Katsu (2018)

A real-life re-imagining of a 19th-century mystery, this one combines psychological terror and historical fiction together. A “whodunnit” sort, this one is devilishly ravenous!

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson (1977)

When the Lutz family moves to their new house in Long Island, their experiences over the course of almost a month are too frightening to even comprehend. Plus, what makes it worse is that they have been told from multiple points of view.

Ring by Koji Suzuki (1991)

A Japanese Mystery This one will practically shred you to pieces with its suspense and thrill. I mean, this one kind of stokes my chain of thought when an enigmatic video has viewers dying within a week of watching it unless they follow instructions. 

An Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky (2019)

A person might feel like he is imagining voices in his head, but what if I told you this is actually something that is kind of “spreading” to other people in the town? Creepy to the point of infinity, right? Doomsday appears to have walked right into us, huh?

Related: The Top 5 Most Terrifying Horror Films of All Time

So there you have it: the top 15 scariest horror fiction books to read of all time. Please let me know which one piqued your interest the most in the comments. Stay tuned with us right here at Booxoul for the best in the fields of entertainment, lifestyle, food, fun, finance, fashion, tech, and gadgets, as well as all things bookish.

Adios Amigos!

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