great horror books

Great Horror Books to Freak You Out

Halloween is a time for morbid emotions, hiding beneath horrific masks of terror, death and the like. For those who are looking for extra creepy inspiration for their costumes or, better still, for those who prefer to spend the night with monstrous companions from literature, a ghostly hand has helped us to create a first-rate selection of horror books. Ranging from all time horror classics to the latest arrivals from the literary (under-)world, these are must-read books for sleepless nights.

We invite you to enjoy the perverse pleasure of reading until your blood runs cold. Whether you’re searching for creatures of the underworld, disturbing situations, cursed mansions, deathly masqueraders or monstrous transformations, our digital librarians have the perfect Halloween read for you. Here’s our secret for the best books of terror: They shake us up and no matter how unsettling the story may be, finishing the book must become a matter of life or death.

Do you dare to read them?

The latest horror books on 24symbols

1. Red

A fairy tale retelling with a surprising twist. You think you know the story of Little Red Riding Hood? Not this one! Jessie McPherson has taken it upon herself to reveal the real story of the naïve girl and the big bad wolf. Surprise yourself with a new take on the Grimm Classic.

Read online Red by Jessi McPherson

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2. Riddance

(for our US American readers)

How dead is dead? Get ready to be freaked out by this supernatural gothic novel. Highly praised for Half Live, Shelley Jackson is setting a new tone with her second novel Riddance. The Sybil Joines Vocational School for Ghost Speakers & Hearing-Mouth Children is a sanctuary for children suffering from stuttering. However, at the school they learn that through their stutters, they are able to connect with the dead. Things get out of hand when the worlds of the dead and the living merge and a child goes missing.

Read online Riddance by Shelley Jackson

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3. Halloween Nightmare

A promising start to a new terror book series, Halloween Nightmare has kept us hiding beneath our blanket the whole time. The twins Mia and Tia go back to their home town for Halloween to put an end to an incident of the past that keeps haunting them. Little did they expect that by returning to the origin of their horrors, they are doing the exact opposite…

Read online Halloween Nightmare by Skylar McKinzie

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4. Welcome to Night Vale

(for our US American Readers)

The creators of the podcast Welcome to Night Vale have written this little jewel to widen the joy of their audience. Dive into a world where ghosts, angels and aliens are regular visitors in everyday life and enjoy the scary incidents that happen in this lonesome town. Just as the podcast, the novel stands out for it’s sinister and comic tone but it’s not just funny… if you live in a small town yourself, you might want to put an extra lock on your door before starting to read this novel.

A television adaption of the podcast was announced in December 2017.

Read online Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink

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Classic Horror Books you must have read

1. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

For many the headless horseman is an embodiment of Halloween as it combines tricks and horror. If you’ve watched the movie, let yourself be surprised by Washington Irving‘s original! Set in Sleepy Hollow, a small valley whose inhabitants believe in ghosts and the supernatural. When newly arrived Ichabod and local hero Brom Bones compete for the hand of 18-year-old Katrina, Brom uses the power of the town’s ghostly imagination to outpace his rival. Just as Arthur Conan Doyle said, where there is no imagination, there is no horror…

Read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow online by Washington Irving

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2. Dracula

When published in 1897, readers appreciated Dracula as a great adventure story. It was much later in the 20th century when Bram Stoker‘s masterpiece became the iconic novel that we take it for today. Harker, a you English lawyer, visits Count Dracula in Transylvania to wrap up a real estate deal. On his way, he’s being warned of the count and given garlic and crucifixes to defend himself against the alleged vampire. Harker disregards the warning and finds Count Dracula to be extremely polite and educated but realizes after a few days that he’s visit at the castle is no longer as voluntary as he thought it to be…

Read Dracula online by Bram Stoker

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3. Frankenstein

What happens when experiments don’t go the way they were planned to go? There are plenty of examples in history and literature. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein surely narrates one of the most horrific outcomes a scientific experiment could have and serves as reminder that we are responsible for our actions. A reminder well needed with the technical possibilities we have nowadays…

Interesting fact: Did you know that Mary Shelley was only 18 when she started writing the novel?

Read Frankenstein online by Mary Shelley

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4. The Masque of the Red Death

Edgar Allan Poe at his best: When a few rich noblemen (and ladies) hide in a castle and have a costume party in order to avoid a plague that is haunting the country, it only seems fair that death comes to haunt the party guests. Warning: Better don’t read this short story if you have a costume party coming up yourself…

Read The Masque of the Red Death online by Edgar Allan Poe

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Have you not had enough? Visit our Horror bookshelf for more recommendations, it’s loaded with the best books of the eeriest genre of all time.