Halloween is just around the corner! If you’re looking for something scary but well-crafted, try one of these eerie, unnerving, keep-the-lights-on-while-you-read novels.
For more books to get you in the Halloween spirit, check the Scary Stories for Adults and Hot Teen Horror shelves on cloudLibrary.
Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
If you like unnerving stories about possibly evil children, you’ll love this one! First-time mother Suzette is nervous and excited to give her daughter Hanna a good home. But after years of expulsions and strained home schooling – not to mention a husband who ignores the problems in their family – Suzette realizes her daughter may want to cause her real harm.
The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig
This horror novel is an enjoyable echo of Stephen King’s The Shining. Married couple Nate and Maddie Graves experienced troubling things in their childhoods. Now, they’ve returned to their hometown with their son, who begins to encounter the same dark forces they once knew.
The Changeling by Victor D. LaValle
Apollo is trying to settle into life as a new father when his wife vanishes into thin air after committing a horrific act. He finds himself on a journey through a creepy, enchanted world to find his wife and child – who are nothing like he imagined.
The Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon
This genre-bending novel was inspired by Frankenstein! It jumps between various perspectives: in the late 70s, a psychiatrist brings home a child to stay with her grandchildren, and asks them to treat her like a sister. The child, Iris, doesn’t speak and behaves strangely, but the children love her and let her join their Monster Club. And four decades later, a podcaster travels to a town in Vermont where a young girl was abducted and a monster has been sited.
The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix
This book is a chilling-but-cheeky look at the “final girl” trope from slasher flicks, where one woman is left standing at the end. Lynnette is a real-life “final girl” who survived a massacre and meets with five other “final girls” and a therapist in a support group. When one of the women goes missing, Lynnette realizes someone is trying to take their lives once again.
Hide: A Novel by Kiersten White
Think Squid Game, Hunger Games, or Maze Runner – but decidedly horror. A group of people spend a week hiding in an abandoned amusement park, trying not to be caught. The winner gets a life-changing amount of money. But as people begin disappearing one at a time, the narrator realizes her ability to hide might not be enough to keep her alive.
Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
When she was very young, Maggie and her family once spent three weeks in a Victorian estate before fleeing in the dead of night. Her father chronicled the ordeal in a bestselling book that described encounters with evil spirits – but Maggie doesn’t buy his story. After Maggie inherits the house they once fled and experiences some of the strange occurrences her father wrote about, she suspects he wasn’t making it up after all.
Lakewood by Megan Giddings
The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in this horror novel. Lena takes a job in the remote town of Lakewood, where she has to participate in a secret medical research program. As the true nature of Lakewood’s research becomes clear, Lena must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice to keep her job.
The Low, Low Woods by Carmen Maria Machado
Take a trip to Shudder-to-Think, Pennsylvania, in this graphic novel from the Hill House Comics series. The town is plagued by a mysterious illness that eats the memories of its victims. Two best friends, El and Octavia, experience the horror for themselves when they wake up in a movie theater with no memory of the last few hours. As they piece together the missing time, they realize their town holds more dark secrets than they ever imagined.
The Mad Woman’s Ball by Victoria Mas
This book may not give you nightmares, but it’s plenty disturbing. Paris’s Salpetriere Asylum houses women of all ages, classes, and levels of mental illness – including some who are merely inconvenient to their families. Genevieve, a senior nurse at the asylum, meets a young woman named Eugenie who claims to see spirits. Determined to escape, Eugenie turns to Genevieve for help.
Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones
All hell breaks loose after a seemingly harmless teen prank goes wrong. This novella starts out as a coming-of-age tale and quickly becomes a well-crafted slasher story. It’s suspenseful and scary from start to finish, with the perfect amount of violence.