Finding a good horror novel can be quite challenge because nowadays most books tend to be either repetitive or unoriginal. It’s also rather difficult to write a quality horror without resorting to staple techniques. My personal favourite is psychological horror that doesn’t directly reveal all of the twists and instead makes you read on with a chilling feeling in your stomach. Here are my top 8 horror novels that will keep you awake at night and still leave you wanting more:
1. Silence of the Lambs, Thomas Harris
Probably the most notable book of Thomas Harris’s Cannibal trilogy, The Silence of the Lambs is a brilliant psychological horror that really toys with your emotions. It follows the story of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a cannibalistic serial killer and forensic psychiatrist who appears to inspire other murderers. A young female FBI agent, Clarice Starling, is tasked with presenting a questionnaire to Lecter. However, she doesn’t realise the true reason for her task and soon becomes involved in a terrifying fight for survival.
2. The Diary Of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red, Ridley Pearson
Written in 2001, this gripping horror novel focuses on Ellen and John Rimbauer as they build their new mansion, Rose Red. As the title suggests, this book is written in the style of a diary that is kept by Ellen, who records all of the odd occurrences that take place during the construction of their home. Built on top of an old Indian burial ground, Rose Red appears to be haunted and full of unexplainable tragedies.
3. House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski
This horror novel is definitely one to read if you’re looking for a unique experience. House of Leaves is written in a very unusual way – its pages contain multiple footnotes and often have an odd layout. Sometimes there are only a few words that mirror the events in the book in a very uncomfortable way. This novel has been praised for its unconventional style that successfully creates unpleasant feelings of claustrophobia and confusion.
4. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Patrick Süskind
Even though the murderer in this novel only targets particular kinds of people, I’m sure that most of you will be absolutely terrified reading it. Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a lonely French orphan with an incredible sense of smell, quickly becomes interested in murder when he discovers a unique scent. Watch his story unfold as he becomes infatuated with the wondrous smell and descends into madness.
5. It, Stephen King
Forget the recent movie adaptation – it’s nothing compared to the book. Exploring the themes of memory, childhood trauma, and sacrifice, this horrifying novel will definitely make you lose sleep. I mean, clowns are terrifying enough as it is, but this one also happens to be a demon in disguise.
6. The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson
A slightly older novel, The Haunting of Hill House is considered to be one of the best ghost stories ever written. The four main characters find themselves in a haunted house that begins to have an inexplicable effect on them. Eleanor, a young and shy woman, appears to be affected more than the others and slowly begins to descend into madness.
7. Ring, Kōji Suzuki
Even if you’ve seen the film adaptations of this book you should still give it a read because it’s completely different to its other versions. The unsettling videotape that kills anyone who watches it ends up in the hands of Asakawa, who is committed to uncovering its mystery. He soon finds himself entangled in a life-threatening pursuit of the truth as he attempts to lift the devilish curse.
8. Carrion Comfort, Dan Simmons
Stephen King himself has called this book one of the greatest horror novels of the twentieth century. A small number of people who posses “The Ability”, which is a psychic power that allows them to control others, find themselves capable of altering the course of history. By forcing people to commit murder, the users of “The Ability” create a horrifying sense of insecurity and helplessness, which remains very relevant to the modern world.
Have you read any of these incredible horror novels? What are your favourite horror novels that has kept you up all night? Let us know below!
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