13 Frighteningly Good Books to Devour Based on Your Favorite Scary Movie

By Kaitlyn Johnston
A collection of thriller and mystery novels artfully arranged with candles and a decorative element, suggesting a cozy, intriguing reading atmosphere.

We’ve got the perfect spooky read for you.

A chill is in the air, and you’re hungry for a spine-chilling tale. Perhaps your first move is to queue up a scary movie — but where do you turn after the credits roll? Whether you’re a fan of twisted thrillers, supernatural suspense, or a good old-fashioned haunted house horror, we’ve got the hair-raising novel to satisfy your creepy cravings.

For fans of mind-bending psychological thrillers like Shutter Island or Unsane…

A book cover of "the silent patient" by alex michaelides, featuring a partial face with lips sealed, hinting at the theme of silence or secrecy.

The Silent Patient

By Alex Michaelides

If you love the mind games, plot twists, and spooky asylum setting of Shutter Island or Unsane, then The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is for you. Alicia Berenson seems to lead the perfect life: She’s a successful artist, lives in a lovely home, and has a charming husband. So it comes as a shock when she shoots her partner five times in the face and then refuses to speak another word. In the wake of the killing, Alicia is sequestered in a high-security forensic facility, where her notoriety grows and the mystery of her case deepens. There, she meets criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber, who’s determined to break through to Alicia and uncover what happened. But is Theo really ready for the truth? Michaelides’ debut psychological thriller will leave you riveted with its electrifying narrative and dark, suspenseful pacing. For a double dose of thrills, keep an eye out for the author’s upcoming thriller, The Fury, set for publication in January 2024.

For fans of haunting horror movies about childhood like The Black Phone or IT…

A suspense-filled book cover for "the angel maker" by alex north, featuring a stark feather ignited at the tip against a bold red background.

The Angel Maker

By Alex North

There’s something particularly effective about horror stories that feature child protagonists facing off against an unimaginable horror — perhaps it taps into the frightened child within us all. If movies like The Black Phone or the film adaptation of Stephen King’s IT get your heart racing, then check out The Angel Maker by Alex North. From the bestselling author of The Whisper Man and The Shadows, The Angel Maker follows Katie Shaw, a woman haunted by the traumas of her past. Many years ago, a violent stranger brutally attacked Katie’s little brother, Christopher. Katie’s never forgiven herself for the attack, and Christopher has never been the same. Then Katie receives word that Christopher has gone missing, propelling her on a desperate race to save her sibling. Meanwhile, Detective Laurence Page investigates the gruesome murder of a professor of fate and free will that seems to be rooted in two old cases: the attack on young Christopher and the despicable crimes of a serial killer who — if the stories are to be believed — could see the future. As complex and thought-provoking as it is terrifying, The Angel Maker is “a delightfully bone-chilling tale” (Kirkus Reviews).

For fans of atmospheric crime thrillers like The Devil All the Time or Zodiac…

A mystical and haunting book cover for "the kingdoms of savannah" by george dawes green, featuring an ornate and regal title design superimposed over a deep green, swampy backdrop with a solitary, striking red chair partially submerged in water.

Kingdoms of Savannah

By George Dawes Green

If you love a haunting crime thriller with an unshakable sense of place — whether it’s the Southern Gothic setting of The Devil All the Time or the foggy cityscapes of Zodiac — we recommend The Kingdoms of Savannah by George Dawes Green. Set against a balmy Southern backdrop, this mystery novel follows a high-profile socialite and her exasperated adult children as they investigate the murder of a young man and the disappearance of his friend in Savannah, Georgia. Their investigation takes them deep into the dark heart of this bewitching city, and the twisted secrets they discover may turn Savannah on its head. With its vivid setting and propulsive narrative, The Kingdoms of Savannah is an immersive and enthralling read.

For fans of supernatural horror movies like The Babadook or It Follows…

Cover of "the good house," a novel by tananarive due, featuring a silhouette of a large house with an ominous tree and a moody sky in the background.

The Good House

By Tananarive Due

Spooky films like The Babadook or It Follows know how to get under your skin with their otherworldly scares, and you can get a similar dose of supernatural thrills from Tananarive Due’s The Good House. The Toussaint family home was once known as the Good House, but after Angela’s young son dies there, a dark veil hangs over the abode. Finally returning after years away, Angela must confront the buried history of the house and her family’s murky past. Could her son’s death be connected to a mysterious entity her grandmother once faced? And can Angela seize the power her grandmother was said to possess to save the town from whatever evil plagues it? Chilling and captivating, The Good House will have you double-locking your doors and reading long into the night.

For fans of Gothic horror movies like Crimson Peak or The Woman in Black…

A captivating book cover for "mexican gothic" displaying a woman in a lush, crimson dress against a backdrop of dark green foliage, hinting at a tale woven with intrigue and the mystique of gothic elements.

Mexican Gothic

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Dreary skies, crumbling estates, lavishly dressed characters with a sinister side… What’s not to love about gothic horror films like Crimson Peak or The Woman in Black? If you, too, are a fan of these sumptuous nightmares, be sure to check out Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Noemí, a young socialite, races to High Place, the Doyle family estate, after receiving a panicked letter from her newly married cousin. Upon her arrival, Noemí is drawn into the secretive history of the bizarre family and the menacing atmosphere of the house itself. With its cast of unsettling characters, ghostly intrigue, and the seductive, sprawling manor, Mexican Gothic delivers a delicious twist on the classic gothic tale.

For fans of haunted house horror movies like Amityville Horror or The Conjuring...

The cover of the novel "home before dark" by riley sager, featuring the title and author's name illuminated in neon green against a darker eerie background with what appears to be chandelier silhouettes giving a mysterious and suspenseful vibe.

Home Before Dark

By Riley Sager

A haunted house horror story is a spooky season staple. Films like Amityville Horror, The Shining, or The Conjuring are practically required viewing with their spine-chilling tales of paranormal happenings, demonic possessions, and cursed old dwellings. In Home Before Dark, acclaimed author Riley Sager conjures a similarly chilling narrative about a young woman who returns to the Amityville Horror–like home her family fled in terror many years ago. Maggie was far too young to later recall the uncanny events that her father claims happened — events that he then turned into a popular paranormal book. In fact, she’s not even sure she believes his account of otherworldly evil terrorizing them in their family home. But when she inherits the now-infamous Baneberry Hall and returns to prepare it for sale, what she encounters will have her reconsidering her father’s claims….

For fans of found footage horror movies like Paranormal Activity or The Blair Witch Project…

A solitary figure stands amidst a glowing, ethereal landscape on the cover of "experimental film" by gemma files, hinting at a story tinged with mystery and cinematic intrigue.

Experimental Film

By Gemma Files

Shaky camera footage and flashes of horror caught on video are defining characteristics of movies like Paranormal Activity or The Blair Witch Project, lending a layer of realism to the fright-filled films. Experimental Film by Gemma Files, a Shirley Jackson Award winner, delivers the same documentary-like feel of those found footage horror flicks. Present-day film historian Lois Cairns delves into a collection of silent-movie clips, footage that she hopes will prove that Mrs. Iris Dunlopp Whitcomb — a spiritualist and fairy tale collector who vanished mysteriously in 1918 — was actually the first female filmmaker from Canada. But there’s something unholy lurking within the frames of the old footage, and the longer Lois watches, the more she begins to fear for the safety of those she loves. 

For fans of zombie horror movies like 28 Days Later or Dawn of the Dead…

An illustration of a city skyline with an emphasis on a tall skyscraper is featured on the book cover of "zone one," a novel by the pulitzer prize-winning author colson whitehead, acclaimed for its depiction of a post-apocalyptic world intertwined with zombies, recognized as one of the best books of the year.

Zone One

By Colson Whitehead

The undead have a way of generating the creeps — often in droves. Zone One by Pulitzer-winning author Colson Whitehead delivers all the zombie panic of 28 Days Later plus the end-of-humanity desperation of Dawn of the Dead. In Zone One’s postapocalyptic setting, the zombie hordes grow while the uninfected cling to what remains of humanity. Mark Spitz is on “straggler removal” duty, grappling with his grim reality, when things take a twisted turn. Modern, thrilling, and suffused with zombie chills, Zone One will leave you hungry for more.

For fans of folk horror movies like Midsommar or The Wicker Man…

A misty forest with bare trees sets a chilling scene on the cover of "the ritual" by adam nevill, highlighted by an ominous animal skull atop a stake, hinting at the horror that lies within the pages.

The Ritual

By Adam Nevill

With their isolated village backdrops, menacing denizens, and ritualistic sacrifices, folk horror films like Midsommar or The Wicker Man make for a uniquely creepy viewing experience. The Ritual by Adam Nevill taps into similarly eternal fears with its terrifying tale of survival. Luke and his college buddies set out for an epic hiking trip in the Scandinavian Arctic Circle, where their interpersonal issues soon become the least of their concerns. Lost and inexperienced in the wilderness, they desperately search for a way out, only to stumble upon the remnants of pagan sacrifices, a disturbingly old settlement, and something savage prowling through the woods. Spine-tingling and atmospheric, The Ritual is “a mind-twisting journey into the dark backwoods of terror” (award-winning horror author Jonathan Maberry).

For fans of meta-horror movies like The Cabin in the Woods or Scream…

A blood-splattered folding chair, a chilling symbol of survival and horror, ominously stands as the centerpiece for grady hendrix's novel 'the final girl support group'.

The Final Girl Support Group

By Grady Hendrix

So, you’ve survived the unimaginable: An axe murderer slaughtered everyone at your summer camp; you were chased through a cornfield by a masked man with a chainsaw; you got locked in an isolated motel and everyone but you died while trying to escape. But what happens now? That’s where The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix picks up the story. In the tradition of self-aware scaries like The Cabin in the Woods or Scream, The Final Girl Support Group riffs on the final girl horror trope as it follows Lynnette, a real-life final girl who meets up with other final girls to talk through their hellish experiences. But when one member of the group goes missing, the survivors soon find themselves in the midst of a brand-new nightmare.

For fans of slasher horror movies like Halloween or Friday the 13th…

A book cover featuring a title "my heart is a chainsaw" by stephen graham jones, with a torn, jagged line across the middle, suggesting suspense or horror.

My Heart is a Chainsaw

By Graham Jones

If you’re a sucker for the blood-soaked scenes and climbing body counts of slasher flicks like Halloween or Friday the 13th, we’ve got the book for you. From bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones, My Heart Is a Chainsaw is about murder, scary movies, and a young girl just fighting to get by. A pariah in her community and abused and neglected in her home, Jade Daniels has a lot to be angry about. She finds solace in the bloody revenge plots of horror movies. But when real-life terror strikes her hometown, Jade draws on her extensive knowledge of slasher-murder flicks to anticipate the next bloody move. A Bram Stoker Award winner, My Heart Is a Chainsaw delivers an “homage to slasher films that also manages to defy and transcend genre” (Alma Katsu, bestselling author of The Hunger).  

For fans of possession horror movies like The Exorcist or Hereditary…

A haunting book cover for "come closer" by sara gran, featuring a mysterious and eerie visage with a streak of red obscuring the eyes, creating a foreboding atmosphere.

Come Closer

By Sara Gran

Come Closer by Sara Gran takes a page right out of the possession horror playbook with its disturbing visions of violence, paranoia, and all-consuming evil. Amanda is a happily married architect, yet her life is unraveling. It starts with small things — disconcerting actions, frighteningly out-of-character moments — but whatever’s happening isn’t going away. In fact, it’s only getting worse. With a strange voice in her head and a frightening woman in her dreams, Amanda begins searching for answers in a book about demon possession. She’s either possessed or having a mental break — either way, she’s losing control. Fans of films like Hereditary or The Exorcist will find Come Closer a demonically satisfying read.

For fans of witchcraft horror movies like The Witch or Suspiria…

A mystical book cover for "the lighthouse witches" by c.j. cooke, featuring an intricate design with floral patterns, a prominent lighthouse, and a moon peering through the clouds, hinting at secrets and suspense within its pages.

The Lighthouse Witches

By C.J. Cooke

If you love to be spellbound by witchy films like Suspiria or The Witch, then check out C.J. Cooke’s The Lighthouse Witches. Commissioned to paint a mural, Liv decamps with her three daughters — Luna, Sapphire, and Clover — to a lighthouse on a remote island in Scotland. The move was supposed to serve as a new beginning for her family, but then two of the girls go missing and the locals warn of wildlings — supernatural beings created by witches as revenge. Two decades later, a now-grown Luna gets a call that one of her sisters has been found. She’s elated… until she discovers that Clover is still seven years old — the same age a she was when she disappeared. If Luna wants to get to the truth about what happened to her family, she’ll have to go back to the lighthouse. 

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