The Top 12 Best Horror Books (Not Written by Stephen King)

If you're a die-hard horror fan like us, you know that just watching horror films doesn't always cut it. You want to steep your imagination in a rich world full of detailed characters, mounting suspense, and expertly constructed plot twists. Well, we're right there with you. And while we love Stephen King, the undisputed mastermind of horror fiction, we decided to change it up a bit and recommend some amazing horror novels from some other authors. So shut off that TV and crack open one of these 12 spooky reads!

1. The Road

The Road is, in our humble opinion, one of the most unsettling explorations of a post-apocalyptic world to date. In this Pulitzer-winning novel, a father must protect his son in a bleak, desolate and cannibal-filled landscape, and lead him to safety. Will The Road lead this desperate duo out of harm's way? Does this supposed sanctuary even exist? Horror heads and suspense-junkies must read this book!

Available on Amazon here.

2. The Silence of the Lambs

We know you're probably thinking "I've seen the movie, I get it. I'll give this one a miss." Well, we're here to tell you that the book is 100% more frightening than the film, and you should definitely not skip this one. Hannibal Lecter's psychopathic behavior is way more fleshed out (pun intended) and disturbing than the film's depiction. As genius as Anthony Hopkins was in the Academy Award-winning movie rendition, the book forces you to confront this demented man's darkness in a much more visceral way.

Available on Amazon here.

3. House of Leaves

This unusual cult classic features a story within a story, in which a family comes home to find a new closet has sprouted up out of nowhere. As the story continues, the house inexplicably grows more rooms and hallways, slowly driving the residing family insane. This read is as addictive as it is unsettling!

Available on Amazon here.

4. American Psycho

If you've seen the film starring Christian Bale, you're familiar with Patrick Bateman's psychopathic antics. The book, however, paints an even bleaker picture of 1980s materialism, vapidity and ruthlessness. Be sure not to miss this classic!

Available on Amazon here.

5. The Exorcist

We wanted to include this iconic novel because A: It's terrifying, and B: Willaim Peter Blatty sadly left this Earth in January of this year. His legacy explores the forces of good and evil in ways that are both intelligent and horrifying. RIP, Peter Blatty! And readers beware: If you couldn't handle the 1973 film adaptation, you definitely won't be able to stomach this book. 

Available on Amazon here.

6. Hell House

This book has everything a horror fan might desire. Sex, blood and ghosts! Matheson's spooky masterpiece follow's a group of paranormal investigators living in a super haunted house. Definitely worth a read!

Available on Amazon here.

7. The Haunting of Hill House

Widely regarded as the best ghost story of the 20th century, Shirley Jackson's 1959 novel tells the tale of 4 people, led by a paranormal investigator, who spend the summer in a sinister mansion called Hill House. A great many tragedies have taken place in this old house and, eventually, a spirit possesses one of the new guests- a quiet woman named Eleanor. It's bad news bears, as we're sure you've guessed. 

Available on Amazon here.

8. Amityville Horror


In this controversial true story, the Lutz's move into the house at 112 Ocean Ave. in the South Shore of Long Island just 13 months after the infamous DeFeo family murders took place in that exact house. After only 28 days in the house, the Lutz's bailed. Why? Might have had something to do with the glowing red eyes, cloven footprints, or green slime oozing out of the walls. Though critics still debate the complete validity of the Lutz's experience, the book is a fascinating and and spine-tingling look into what is now a horror legend. Trust us, you won't sleep after reading this one!

Available on Amazon here.

9. The Turn of the Screw

Want to kick it old school? Try out this incredibly famous gothic novella written by Henry James in 1898. While slightly more academic in its approach to ghost stories, the confusion and suspense within the pages of this classic are still quite potent. A fascinating look into the dark side of the human psyche, this is the perfect read for those who want to feel simultaneously spooked and cultured.

Available on Amazon here.

10. Something Wicked this Way Comes

Ray Bradbury's poetic and allegorical style has been widely lauded and even inspired the works of Neil Gaiman and Stephen King himself. In this dark fantasy, a spooky carnival tricks people into captivity by exploiting their desires and fears. Read this book and you'll probably lose all desire to go to the circus or see a carousel ever again... Read it and you'll understand.

Available on Amazon here.

11. The Hellbound Heart

There's just no arguing that Clive Barker is one of the world's foremost masters of horror. The Hellbound Heart became the precursor for the Hellraiser film franchise. Like the films, the book features terrifying cenobites that derive sick pleasure in torture, pain, and all that good stuff. But the book also adds a layer of emotional turmoil and complexity that is, frankly, completely absent in the films. Do yourself a favor and read it!

Available on Amazon here.

12. Ghost Story

When Stephen King is fan, you know it's going to be good! In this now-famous horror novel, a group of friends come together to tell each other scary stories. Unfortunately, one of them turns out to be terrifyingly true. 

Available on Amazon here.

Author: Nate Morgan