15 horror books for anyone who prefers to get scared with the lights on

Horror movies are a great way to scare yourself silly for two hours. But if you’re someone who craves the slow burn of an heart-racing story over the visuals, you my friend, are a reader. And just because it’s officially fall and only weeks from Halloween doesn’t mean you have to save these reads for one specific time of year. Horror stories are worth reading all year round. The suspense, the climatic endings, the pillow-gripping tension – all perfect reasons to embrace this genre as part of your nightly reading routine.

But reader beware: you may be sleeping with the lights on…

1. IT by Stephen King

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There’s something truly evil lurking in the sewers of Derry, Maine. A demon that lures away children who are never seen again, that feeds on fear and uses it to kill. It’ll take seven teenagers to get rid of it, and fight it again 30 years later.

Get it on Amazon

2. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

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Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades, and all search expeditions to find out just what lies in it’s jungles have ended with disasters and fatalities. Now, 4 female scientists are attempting a 12th expedition into the region to discover it’s secrets, but what exactly did they bring back with them?

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3. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski 

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A young family moves into a small home and soon discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. And it keeps changing…

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4. Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

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In 1952 Chicago, a black army vet discovers his father is missing. Along with his sci-fi loving uncle and a childhood friend, he embarks on a journey to find him across Jim Crowe America, where the group encounters the terrors of racism and bigotry, as well as supernatural anomalies.

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5. Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

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There’s a remote town in the Hudson Valley where the citizens simply accept that an undead witch wanders among them. When a group of teenagers attempt to break town laws to experiment on the witch and post their findings online, they set off a chain of events likened to the Dark Ages.

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6. Penpal by Dathan Auerbach

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When a man investigates a series of strange incidences from his childhood, he begins to piece together the events into a singular terrifying story that has shaped his life from that point.

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7. A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

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A typical New England family is torn apart when their 14 year old daughter starts showing signs of schizophrenia. But when doctors are unable to cure her, the family turns to the church for guidance, believing she could be possessed. With medical bills piling up, the family agrees to film the exorcism, and what they capture is the embodiment of evil.

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8. Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

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There’s a serial killer on the loose in Detroit, one whose victims are found with stranger and more disturbing mutilations as they are discovered. As the city reels, the detective assigned to the case, a journalist, a homeless man, and the detective’s young daughter find themselves linked together in an attempt to find the person behind the horrors.

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9. The Cipher by Kathe Koja

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A man and his girlfriend discover a strange, dark hole in their building. But as they begin to experiment with it’s depths, the obsession and violence that result pitch them into a spiraling terror.

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10. The Fisherman by John Langan

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Abe and Dan are two widower fisherman who find comfort in each other’s company. After hearing of a strange creek upstate that could remedy their losses, they find themselves drawn to it’s supernatural promises.

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11. The Troop by Nick Cutter

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A boy scout troop heads into the Canadian wilderness for their annual weekend trip, but the expedition takes a horrifying turn when a strange man stumbles into their campsite; a man who is voraciously hungry, and carrying an infection. This tale is described as “part Lord of the Flies, part 28 Days Later,” but promises to completely consume you.

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12. The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp

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Journalist and anti-hero Jack Sparks died while writing about his investigation of an unusual YouTube video. A video that was strangely posted to his own account. One with ties to the occult and the supernatural.

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13. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

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This classic supernatural thriller is the tale of a foursome who venture into a dilapidated home in search of evidence of a haunting. But the house has other plans for the group.

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14. Malus Domestica by S. A. Hunt

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Robin Martine kills witches for a living. One particular witch, Marilyn Cutty, has eluded her since Cutty killed her mother. But Robin has followed her to a small town in Georgia, and is determined to end Cutty and her reign over the town for good.

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15. A God in the Shed by J-F. Dubeau

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For such a small, rural town, Saint-Ferdinand has a rather large cemetery. For 20 years a serial killer eluded authorities, but only when someone is finally caught is the town’s tragic history uncovered. A town with a history of evil secrets, and in the grips of something monstrous.

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