While you are getting ready for Halloween this October, don’t forget to dive into a Horror book or two to help you get into that “spooktacular” mood and maybe get you to slow down and take a little time for yourself for just a few moments of your busy life.
Pumpkin picking and hay rides with your family are not the only things to do this month!
Here is a list of horror books I have put together that will give you a few spine-chilling moments this October. I have put newer, less heard-of books instead of the classics and well-known books in this list. There is no book listed here written before 2018. Current literature needs love, too!
All links will open in a new window to the book’s page on the Author’s official website. If I cannot find the book page, the link will take you to the Author’s home page or, as a last resort, the book’s page on Good Reads.
I am making 0 money from this post.
Top 10 Spine-Chilling Horror Books to Dive into Halloween 2023
1. "The House Across the Lake" by Riley Sager
Be careful what you watch for . . .
Casey Fletcher, a recently widowed actress trying to escape a streak of bad press, has retreated to the peace and quiet of her family’s lake house in Vermont.
Armed with a pair of binoculars and several bottles of bourbon, she passes the time watching Tom and Katherine Royce, the glamorous couple living in the house across the lake. They make for good viewing—a tech innovator, Tom is powerful; and a former model, Katherine is gorgeous.
One day, on the lake, Casey saves Katherine from drowning, and the two strike up a budding friendship. But the more they get to know each other—and the longer Casey watches—it becomes clear that Katherine and Tom’s marriage isn’t as perfect as it appears.
When Katherine suddenly vanishes, Casey immediately suspects Tom of foul play. What she doesn’t realize is that there’s more to the story than meets the eye—and that shocking secrets can lurk beneath the most placid of surfaces.
Packed with sharp characters, psychological suspense, and gasp-worthy plot twists, Riley Sager’s The House Across the Lake is the ultimate escapist read . . . no lake house required.
2. "The Children on the Hill" by Jennifer McMahon
Inspired by Mary Shelley’s masterpiece Frankenstein, that brilliantly explores the eerie mysteries of childhood and the evils perpetrated by the monsters among us.
The year 1978: At her renowned treatment center in picturesque Vermont, the brilliant psychiatrist Dr. Helen Hildreth is acclaimed for her compassionate work with the mentally ill.
But when’s she home with her cherished grandchildren, Vi and Eric, she’s just Gran—teaching them how to take care of their pets, preparing them home-cooked meals, providing them with care and attention and love.
Then one day Gran brings home a child to stay with the family. Iris—silent, hollow-eyed, skittish, and feral—does not behave like a normal girl.
Still, Violet is thrilled to have a new playmate. She and Eric invite Iris to join their Monster Club, where they catalogue all kinds of monsters and dream up ways to defeat them.
Before long, Iris begins to come out of her shell. She and Vi and Eric do everything together: ride their bicycles, go to the drive-in, meet at their clubhouse in secret to hunt monsters. Because, as Vi explains, monsters are everywhere.
The year 2019: Lizzy Shelley, the host of the popular podcast Monsters Among Us, is traveling to Vermont, where a young girl has been abducted, and a monster sighting has the town in an uproar.
She’s determined to hunt it down, because Lizzy knows better than anyone that monsters are real—and one of them is her very own sister.
A haunting, vividly suspenseful thriller from the “literary descendant of Shirley Jackson” (Chris Bohjalian, author of The Flight Attendant), The Children on the Hill takes us on a breathless journey to face the primal fears that lurk within us all.
3. The Resting Place by Camilla Sten
Crimson Peak meets The Sanatorium in The Resting Place, a heart-thumping, unforgettable novel of horror and suspense by international sensation Camilla Sten.
Deep rooted secrets.
A twisted family history.
And a house that will never let go.
Eleanor lives with prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize a familiar person's face. It causes stress. Acute anxiety.
It can make you question what you think you know.
When Eleanor walked in on the scene of her capriciously cruel grandmother, Vivianne’s, murder, she came face to face with the killer—a maddening expression that means nothing to someone like her.
With each passing day, the horror of having come so close to a murderer—and not knowing if they’d be back—overtakes both her dreams and her waking moments, thwarting her perception of reality.
Then a lawyer calls. Vivianne has left her a house—a looming estate tucked away in the Swedish woods. The place her grandfather died, suddenly. A place that has housed a chilling past for over fifty years.
Eleanor. Her steadfast boyfriend, Sebastian. Her reckless aunt, Veronika. The lawyer. All will go to this house of secrets, looking for answers. But as they get closer to uncovering the truth, they’ll wish they had never come to disturb what rests there.
4. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the '90s about a women's book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a real monster.
Patricia Campbell's life has never felt smaller. Her ambitious husband is too busy to give her a goodbye kiss in the morning, her kids have their own lives, her senile mother-in-law needs constant care, and she's always a step behind on thank-you notes and her endless list of chores.
The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a close-knit group of Charleston women united by their love of true crime and paperback fiction. At these meetings they're as likely to talk about the Manson family as they are marriage, motherhood, and neighborhood gossip.
This predictable pattern is upended when Patricia meets James Harris, a handsome stranger who moves into the neighborhood to take care of his elderly aunt and ends up joining the book club. James is sensitive and well-read, and he makes Patricia feel things she hasn't felt in 20 years.
But there's something off about him. He doesn't have a bank account, he doesn't like going out during the day, and Patricia's mother-in-law insists that she knew him when she was a girl, an impossibility.
When local children go missing, Patricia and the book club members start to suspect James is more of a Bundy than a Beatnik, but no one outside of the book club believes them. Have they read too many true crime books, or have they invited a real monster into their homes?
5. The Handyman Method by Nick Cutter & Andrew F. Sullivan
A chilling domestic story of terror for fans of Black Mirror and The Amityville Horror.
When a young family moves into an unfinished development community, cracks begin to emerge in both their new residence and their lives, as a mysterious online DIY instructor delivers dark subliminal suggestions about how to handle any problem around the house.
The trials of home improvement, destructive insecurities, and haunted house horror all collide in this thrilling story perfect for fans of Nick Cutter’s bestsellers The Troop and The Deep.
6. The Last Girls Standing by Jennifer Dugan
Yep, it's a YA book. Still not apologizing for my love of a good YA novel!
In this queer YA psychological thriller from the author of Some Girls Do, perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, the sole surviving counselors of a summer camp massacre search to uncover the truth of what happened that fateful night, but what they find out might just get them killed.
“Shocking, captivating, and utterly chilling. A delicious thriller that will have you tearing through pages to get to the end, where you won’t be disappointed.” —Jessica Goodman, bestselling author of They Wish They Were Us
Sloan and Cherry. Cherry and Sloan. They met only a few days before masked men with machetes attacked the summer camp where they worked, a massacre that left the rest of their fellow counselors dead.
Now, months later, the two are inseparable, their traumatic experience bonding them in ways no one else can understand.
But as new evidence comes to light and Sloan learns more about the motives behind the ritual killing that brought them together, she begins to suspect that her girlfriend may be more than just a survivor—she may actually have been a part of it.
Cherry tries to reassure her, but Sloan only becomes more distraught. Is this gaslighting or reality?
Is Cherry a victim or a perpetrator? Is Sloan confused, or is she seeing things clearly for the very first time? Against all odds, Sloan survived that hot summer night. But will she survive what comes next?
7. If It Bleeds by Stephen King
It would be wrong to create a reading list of horror stories without including one by Stephen King.
From the legendary storyteller and master of short fiction Stephen King comes an extraordinary collection of four new “exceptionally compelling novellas that reaffirm [King’s] mastery of the form” (The Washington Post).
Readers adore Stephen King’s novels, and his novellas are their own dark treat, briefer but just as impactful and enduring as his longer fiction. Many of his novellas have been made into iconic films, including The Body (Stand by Me) and Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption (Shawshank Redemption).
Four brilliant new tales in If It Bleeds are sure to prove as iconic as their predecessors. Once again, King’s remarkable range is on full display. In the title story, fan-favorite Holly Gibney (from the Mr. Mercedes trilogy and The Outsider) must face her fears and possibly another outsider - this time on her own.
In Mr. Harrigan’s Phone an intergenerational friendship has a disturbing afterlife. The Life of Chuck explores, beautifully, how each of us contains multitudes. And in Rat, a struggling writer must contend with the darker side of ambition.
If these novellas show King’s range, they also prove that certain themes endure. One of King’s great concerns is evil, and in If It Bleeds, there’s plenty of it. There is also evil’s opposite, which in King’s fiction often manifests as friendship.
Holly is reminded that friendship is not only life-affirming but can be life-saving. Young Craig befriends Mr. Harrigan, and the sweetness of this late-in-life connection is its own reward.
8. The Hunger by Alma Katsu
"Deeply, deeply disturbing, hard to put down, not recommended reading after dark." --Stephen King
A tense and gripping reimagining of one of America's most haunting human disasters: the Donner Party with a supernatural twist.
Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere. That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party.
Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the isolated travelers to the brink of madness.
Though they dream of what awaits them in the West, long-buried secrets begin to emerge, and dissent among them escalates to the point of murder and chaos, unknowingly propelling them into one of the deadliest and most disastrous Western adventures in American history.
As members of the group begin to disappear, the survivors start to wonder if there really is something disturbing, and hungry, waiting for them in the mountains...and whether the evil that has unfolded around them may have in fact been growing within them all along.
Effortlessly combining the supernatural and the historical, The Hunger is an eerie, thrilling look at the volatility of human nature, pushed to its breaking point.
9. The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix
Another book by Grady Hendrix on this list!
In horror movies, the final girls are the ones left standing when the credits roll. They made it through the worst night of their lives...but what happens after?
Like his best-selling novel The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, Grady Hendrix’s latest is a fast-paced, frightening, and wickedly humorous thriller. From chain saws to summer camp slayers, The Final Girl Support Group pays tribute to and slyly subverts our most popular horror films - movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream.
Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre. For more than a decade, she’s been meeting with five other final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, working to put their lives back together.
Then one woman misses a meeting, and their worst fears are realized - someone knows about the group and is determined to rip their lives apart again, piece by piece.
But the thing about final girls is that no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.
10. The Woods Are Always Watching by Stephanie Perkins (2021)
Bears aren’t the only predators in these woods.
Best friends Neena and Josie spent high school as outsiders, but at least they had each other. Now, with college and a two-thousand-mile separation looming on the horizon, they have one last chance to be together—a three-day hike deep into the woods of the Pisgah National Forest.
Simmering tensions lead to a detour off the trail and straight into a waking nightmare … and then into something far worse. Something that will test them in horrifying ways.
Stephanie Perkins, the bestselling author of There’s Someone Inside Your House, returns with a heart-stopping, gut-wrenching novel about friendship, survival, and navigating unmarked paths even as evil watches from the shadows.
Over to you!
What spine-chilling horror books are you reading this Halloween season? Have you read any of the books on this list? Let me know in the comments below, and feel free to share your favorite books for the season!