We love scary stories, from literary chillers to nightmares of the silver screen. And if your appetite for fright is as insatiable as ours, then pick up one of these books that delivers the chills just like your favorite scary movie.
11 Books That Scary Movie Fans Will Love
Dim the lights…
The Whisper Man
By Alex North
For fans of The Silence of the Lambs, Seven, and Psycho
Expertly crafted and endlessly creepy, Alex North’s New York Times bestselling novel is perfect for fans of horror thrillers with a murderer on the prowl. At its dark heart is a killer with a chilling method of luring his victims to their doom: whispering at their windows at night. Twenty years ago, the so-called Whisper Man claimed multiple lives in Featherbank before finally being caught. Today the convicted murderer is behind bars. But when a boy goes missing and the details of his disappearance seem all too familiar, rumors swirl that the evil has returned. As locals grapple with the reawakened nightmare, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis are determined to find the missing child — even if it means coming face-to-face with the Whisper Man himself.
By Alex North
For fans of Fallen, Copycat, and It
If you love atmospheric thrillers where the nightmares of the past refuse to stay buried, then you’re sure to disappear into The Shadows, Alex North’s bestselling novel after The Whisper Man. Paul Adams is haunted by a shocking episode from his childhood. Twenty-five years ago, Charlie Crabtree, a classmate of Paul’s, murdered Paul’s best friend and then vanished without a trace. Paul moved away as soon as he could, but now he must return to take care of his ailing mother. It isn’t long before things turn creepy back home. Paul’s mother senses a sinister presence lurking inside her house. A copycat attacker inspired by Crabtree’s abominable crime strikes a nearby town. And then Paul gets the skin-crawling suspicion that someone — or something — is following him…
By Colson Whitehead
For fans of Zombieland, Cargo, and 28 Days Later
Colson Whitehead’s bestseller may hit too close to home for some, as it deals with a pandemic-ravaged Earth. Yet for those who like dark humor and zombie stories, this is a fantastic read. A pandemic has laid waste to human civilization, creating two groups of people: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead, the survivors and the zombie hordes. But there are signs of hope; slowly the pandemic is receding and humans are reclaiming the life they once knew. Mark Spitz, a member of a civilian squad in New York City, is tasked with clearing out the few infected that remain in Lower Manhattan. It’s a mission that seems simple enough, until things go terribly wrong.
The Silent Patient
By Alex Michaelides
For fans of Unsane, Shutter Island, and Stonehearst Asylum
Alex Michaelides’ sophisticated debut is sure to thrill fans of dark psychological thrillers that feature mysterious patients, foreboding psychiatric hospitals, and jaw-dropping twists. The bestselling novel centers on Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist who takes on the baffling case of Alicia Berenson. Berenson was a world-famous artist who lived in a posh London home with her fashion-photographer husband. So why did she shoot her spouse five times in the face — and why does she refuse to speak now? As Faber struggles to break through to his silent patient in the ominous facility that houses her, he’s drawn deeper into a mystery that threatens to swallow him whole.
By Alex Michaelides
For fans of The Blackcoat’s Daughter, The Woods, and Suspiria
Fans of dark academia and campus thrillers steeped in the occult won’t be able to put down Alex Michaelides’ new tale of murder, obsession, and mythology. A pall hangs over the campus of Cambridge University: A student has been murdered, and the victim was a member of an all-female secret campus society known as The Maidens. Mariana Andros, a brilliant but troubled group therapist and a Cambridge alumna, becomes fixated on the case. She’s convinced Edward Fosca, Cambridge’s charismatic professor of Greek tragedy, is to blame — but how far is she willing to go to unmask the killer?
By Alma Katsu
For fans of Ravenous, The Witch, and The Wind
Fans of historical horror suffused with supernatural dread will eat up this nightmarish reimagining of America’s past. Celebrated author Alma Katsu chose the doomed Donner Party as the basis for her novel. The wagon train’s grisly fate is already chilling, but here Katsu transforms the dark chapter into an unforgettable tale about secrets, sorcery, desperation, and monstrous hunger on the American frontier.
By Victor LaValle
For fans of Get Out, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Babadook
In his American Book Award–winning novel, Victor LaValle weaves a phantasmagoric tale of dark folklore and modern-day nightmare — perfect for fans of scary stories that possess a deeper message about human nature. The tale centers on a man named Apollo who has just become a dad and is plagued by strange dreams. When Apollo’s wife, Emma, begins acting strangely, all signs point to postpartum depression and the exhaustion of being a new parent. But then Emma commits a dreadful act and vanishes without a trace, propelling Apollo on a bewitching odyssey across New York City that touches on love, loss, parenthood, race, and so much more.
By Thomas Olde Heuvelt
For fans of The Village, The Woman in Black, and Silent Hill
Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s bone-chilling novel invites you into the cursed town of Black Spring, where an ancient witch appears in your home and looms over you while you sleep. Oh, did we mention that the witch’s eyes and mouth are sewn shut? And that the witch’s curse is so powerful that no one can leave Black Spring without losing their mind? Sleep tight, horror fans. This twisted tale of an isolated small-town community cursed by an evil force will bewitch you in the best way possible.
The Last Final Girl
By Stephen Graham Jones
For fans of Halloween, Scream, and Happy Death Day
Fans of smart slasher flicks that feature a rising body count and winking nods to the genre will love this killer tale by horror maestro Stephen Graham Jones. The novel opens on a suburban town in Texas, where a sadistic murderer in a mask — a Michael Jackson disguise! — squares off against homecoming queen and ultimate “final girl” Lindsay Baker. In addition to being an award-winning storyteller, Jones is also a horror fanatic, and The Last Final Girl boasts plenty of Easter eggs for discerning genre fans. The book is even written in the style of a screenplay, making it as close to a movie as a book can get.
By Nick Cutter
For fans of Night of the Creeps and A Nightmare on Elm Street
Okay, so it’s dark to be drawn to stories of children battling against an inhumanly evil force. And yet, some of horror’s best narratives feature youngsters in life-or-death situations… Isn’t everything just plain scarier when you’re a kid? In this award-winning sci-fi horror novel by Nick Cutter, Scoutmaster Tim Riggs assembles his troop for a camping trip in the Canadian wilderness. Not long into their excursion, however, a ghastly intruder invades their campground and drags the group into a nightmare fight for survival.
The Graveyard Apartment
By Mariko Koike
For fans of Under the Shadow, Paranormal Activity, and The Conjuring
Mariko Koike’s menacing novel centers on a young family that moves into a lovely apartment building situated next to a cemetery. What could go wrong, right? The paranormal book is as twisted as it is terrifying, and it’s perfect for fans of supernatural horror where people are plagued by a mysterious force in their home. As their neighbors flee, the young couple are left alone in the building with their daughter, their dark secret, and something living in the basement.
The Twisted Ones
By T. Kingfisher
For fans of The Blair Witch Project, The Ritual, and The Evil Dead
Devotees of occult horror set in remote places are sure to get a kick out of this award-winning horror tale by T. Kingfisher. A young woman named Mouse ventures into the woods of North Carolina to clean out her dead grandmother’s home. Soon after arriving, however, she discovers her step-grandfather’s secret journals. The writing appears ridiculous at first, describing sinister forces that haunt the surrounding woods. Then Mouse experiences the terror for herself. All alone, save for her dog, she must survive the strange evil that surrounds her. But is it too late to escape whatever lurks outside?
By Richard Matheson
For fans of The Conjuring, The Awakening, and Poltergeist
We’ll never turn down a good haunted-house tale, and Hell House is one of the best. Much like Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, Matheson’s horror classic beckons you into a looming abode where something is deeply wrong. The Belasco House has been abandoned for more than 20 years. Locals refer to it as the Hell House; those who enter are said to suffer a brutal fate. Now four intrepid souls — a physicist, his wife, and two mediums — intend to step inside Hell House in search of its dark secrets and to uncover the truth about life after death. But are they ready for what lurks on the other side?