The Ten Best Horror Books of All Time

The horror genre is filled with some of the best works of fiction in the world. Any book or books that can scare the living hell out of you is a good read. You might have nightmares for a while but will be glad that you read it. That made us want to make a list of the ten best horror books of all time.

Listing out the best horror books is much more difficult than other lists because these books are judged for how good and scary they are. H.P Lovecraft’s stories have monsters in them that terrifies many people and that is part of the charm. Other authors made their own monsters and terrors over the years.

The Ten Best Horror Books of All Time
The Ten Best Horror Books of All Time

The Ten Best Horror Books of All Time

  1. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  2. The Shining by Stephen King
  3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  4. It by Stephen King
  5. Ring by Koji Suzuki
  6. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
  7. Carrie by Stephen King
  8. The Stand by Stephen King
  9. At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft
  10. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

Stephen King is the King of Horror

You may have noticed that Stephen King has four books in the top ten. He could have had a bunch more considering his bibliography is one of the best out there. There will be a debate about which of his books deserve a spot on the list and it will change from person to person.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Dracula by Bram Stoker are novels that are classics which is rare for horror books. That list is short but these two authors have created two of the most popular monsters of all time. H. P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness made the list for similar reasons. While that novel might not be known by name by the masses, it has become a part of mainstream culture over the years.


That wraps up our list of the ten best horror books of all time. These books aren’t meant for the faint of heart and will keep you up at night. But that is part of the fun., Which books should have made the list? Let us know in the comments below. Until next time, happy reading!

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30 thoughts on “The Ten Best Horror Books of All Time

  1. Robert Cubinelli says:

    Agree on all the books in the list especially Stephen King.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Great books. I think The Exorcist should have made this list.

  2. Robert Cubinelli says:

    Agree on all the books in the list esp Stephen King.

  3. Pam Ascher says:

    Can’t believe The Exorcist is not on this list‼️

    1. Peter Neall says:

      The Exorcist was the scariest book I’ve ever read!

      1. Anonymous says:

        Same. I’ve read it twice over the years and it was scary both times.

  4. Lance Dees says:

    I would just add Swan Song by Robert MaCammon to the list. And The Stand is my favorite book by any author, period.

  5. Kev says:

    I don’t think it’s horror, but “Penpal” is one of the most terrifying book I’ve read.

  6. Todd V says:

    Discography? King may have cut a few records, but I thought this was a list of books. That would be a bibliography.
    I agree with the comment on “The Exorcist”. I’d add Poe’s “Tales”, Tryon’s “The Other”, and Simmons’ “The Terror”. King himself isn’t that fond of Carrie. By the way, you have five books by King, not four. Keep “The Shining” and jettison the rest.

    1. Stephen Anson says:

      The stand is not a horror book. Stephen King himself calls it “a tale of dark Christianity.”. Watchers by Dean Koontz should take its place.

      1. Bryce says:

        Try reading older books.. and did you ignore King’s racism and use of racist words! You will see how much worse he is then the Harry potter writer

  7. Tracy Smith says:

    King has five books on your list, not four, and it’s called a bibliography, not discography.

  8. Cindy Fisher says:

    Surprised not 1 Dean Kootnz. I would say whispers.

  9. Anonymous says:

    That’s not a horror list, it’s you telling everyone you love Stephen King.

  10. DENNISE Harsh says:

    Pet Semetery by Stephen king
    The hellbound heart by Clive Barker
    The thing sorry I forgotten the author’s name
    Re-animater by h.p. Lovecraft
    Birds by Daphne DU Mauria
    Interview with the vampire Anne Rice
    Audition by Ryu Murakama
    A stir of echoes by Richard Mathewson
    Head full of ghost by Paul G trembley

  11. Christopher Fleming says:

    Can’t even count…I count 5 not 4 books by Stephen King. Yhen you call it a discography, not Bibliography.
    Do you expect me to take you seriously?
    All the books there are out there, and you give us your favorite list.
    How about best horror books of all time based on books sold?
    Perhaps that metric would be better than you personal opinion. 🤔

  12. Lissette says:

    Yes Stephen King is ok, but nothing beats Jack kilbourn. That is some real scary stuff. Afraid, Endurance wow and Trapped.

  13. Matthew says:

    This list is garbage. I can think of a dozen authors at least as good as king, with scarier books, and you pad 40% of the list with one guy? Shirley Jackson? Jack Ketchum? Skipp and Spector? Clive Barker? Brian Keene? Ed Lee? I will bet that anyone reading this comment who reads “the girl next door” by Ketchum would randomly think about it for years afterward, it’s that powerful and harrowing. Or read “the light at the end” by Skipp and Spector and tell me you don’t see its impact throughout the genre.

    King is great, but he doesn’t define the genre.

    Learn a thing or two before writing your nonsense garbage list.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This person obviously has too much a crush on Stephen King but is ignorant about the horror genre in general. It is overloaded with too much from King who I will admit is great but it is like overloading a RocknRoll Album list with too many Beatles LPs . There is his buddy Peter Straub with Ghost Story . There is The Great God Pan from the 19 th Century by Arthur Manchen . Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon . Summer of Night by Dan Simmons . Something Wicked This Comes by Ray Bradbury . The works of Robert Bloch who did more than just Psycho and writing for TV. Hill House by Shirley Jackson . There are even lesser known gems like The Mephisto Waltz by Fred Mustard Stewart and shall we not forget The Exorcist and maybe throw in there Phantoms by Dean Koontz

  15. Stephen Anson says:

    Remove the stand, and insert the exorcist. Not that I don’t like the stand it’s actually one of my favorite books of all time, but it’s not a horror book. Stephen King himself refers to it as, “a tale of dark Christianity.”.

  16. Mark Blatter says:

    I have suggested before and will do again, Dean Koontz’s earthworks are great. In particular Twightlight Eyes.

  17. Matt says:

    ‘It’ is, hands down, the worst book I’ve ever read. Sorry, but that absolutely should not be on here.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I’m a big Stephen King fan but I think even he wouldn’t be comfortable being on a Top 10 list of “All Time Horror Novels” five times. Just for shiggles I’m going to remove 4 of his books and add four others i think are good replacements. I’ll leave “The Stand” which is definitely one of the great horror novels of all time. I’ll add in no particular order “I Am Legend” Richard Matheson, “Hotel Transylvania” Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, “The Keep” F. Paul Wilson, and “Twinkle Twinkle ‘Killer’ Kane” William Peter Blatty. Let’s face it everybody’s list of all time favorites of anything won’t be all the same and there are hundreds of great horror novels.


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