Top Ten Tuesday: Scary Books!


I so enjoyed doing Top Ten Tuesday last week that I decided to do it again this week. This week’s theme is Halloween themed freebie — your choice (ie. 10 best ghost stories, 10 things that scare you in books, 10 literary Halloween costumes, 10 vampire novels, 10 books that WILL scare you, 10 non-scary books for Halloween, 10 scariest covers, etc.). I’m going with books (and short stories!) that will scare you.

  1. Dracula by Bram Stoker. This book is a classic and is seriously frightening. If you haven’t read it, you definitely should because it basically created a genre of Gothic horror plus vampires. It’s also an epistolary novel, which makes it even more awesome, in my opinion (because I love epistolary novels).
  2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Did you know Mary Shelley basically wrote this book on a dare? Percy Bysshe Shelley said they ought to write “ghost stories” and Mary Shelley wrote what she intended to be a short story, but it became the novel known as Frankenstein. If you like horror and haven’t read it, that’s a shame—because it’s another classic of the genre.
  3. House of Bathory by Linda Lafferty. Amazon suggested this book to me, so I bought it on my Kindle and loved it. It’s very dark and incorporates a lot of interesting Eastern European history with a modern-day plot. If you like history with a dark twist, I’d highly recommend it.
  4. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. This book is another dark read. It’s full of vampires (are you noticing a theme in this list?!) and has a very engaging plot that pulls you forward—and scares you, as you wait in dread for… something. I will warn you, though: the ending is a tad disappointing. If you can accept that, it’s an excellent book.
  5. Extinction Point by Paul Antony Jones. This book isn’t horror per se, but there’s something about it that kept me in mild state of terror throughout the whole reading. The premise is our brave protagonist, Emily, ends up as the last living person in New York City—and presumably on planet Earth. She has to make her way in this strange new world devoid of human life. Maybe that sounds lame, but the book is well-written and terrifying at certain points. There are also sequels that are equally as good if you like this one.
  6. The Mist by Stephen King. I couldn’t not include something by the master of horror, right? I enjoyed this book a lot. A group of people in Maine (I think—Stephen King sets way too many of his books in Maine, so that’s a pretty good guess) are trapped in a store when a mysterious mist wafts over their town—and those who try to leave die. There’s also a movie of this book, which is pretty good up to the end. The book itself has an excellent ending, just to clarify.
  7. Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King. This is a collection of short stories. I have not read them all, but the ones I did read were very good and scary.

I know that’s only seven, but that’s all I’ve got for scary books. I’m sure there are some I’ve read that I’m forgetting. So, tell me, what are your favorite scary books?


8 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Scary Books!

  1. Scary isn’t a genre I spend a lot of time with, but I have read quite a lot of your excellent list. I’m not sure I can come up with 10, but Dean Koontz’s Twilight Eyes should not be missed.

    I’ve read a lot of Stephen King over the years (not all), so won’t repeat him here.

    Robert McCammon’s Swan Song would make my list. (Reminiscent of The Stand by King)

    Andrew Klavan’s Werewolf Cop is a pretty good book too. (Reviewed by me here.

    Probably the second best I’ve read in the past few years is The Terror by Dan Simmons.

    Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury is one I’d put at the top of my list.

    On my list: Gogol’s Вий.

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  2. Twilight Eyes – Dean Koontz
    Swan Song – Robert McCammon
    The Terror – Dan Simmons
    Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury
    The Stand – Stephen King

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  3. Good list for Halloween, Natalie! 😀 Just downloaded a sample of Extinction Point.

    My top 2 scary reads with Wiki/Goodreads descriptions:

    The Descent by Jeff Long. “…describes the discovery and exploration of an extensive labyrinth of tunnels and passages stretching throughout the Earth’s upper mantle, found to be inhabited by a malicious species of alternately-evolved troglofauna hominids.”

    The Deep by Nick Cutter. “A strange plague called the ’Gets is decimating humanity on a global scale. It causes people to forget—small things at first, like where they left their keys…then the not-so-small things like how to drive, or the letters of the alphabet. Then their bodies forget how to function involuntarily…and there is no cure. But now, far below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, deep in the Marianas Trench, an heretofore unknown substance hailed as “ambrosia” has been discovered—a universal healer, from initial reports. It may just be the key to a universal cure. In order to study this phenomenon, a special research lab, the Trieste, has been built eight miles under the sea’s surface. But now the station is incommunicado, and it’s up to a brave few to descend through the lightless fathoms in hopes of unraveling the mysteries lurking at those crushing depths…and perhaps to encounter an evil blacker than anything one could possibly imagine.”

    Also kind of scary (but for totally different reasons)- Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates.

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