Graveyard Shift The Greatest Horror Books of All Time  

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List Rules Scary / horror novels or other freaky works of fiction

The greatest horror books of all time are books that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up just from the rustle of turning the pages. These scary horror novels are books you don't want to read at night (or by yourself) because they're just a little too scary. Many of these scary books have been turned into the scariest movies ever made, while others are too frightening to be imagined in real life.

From Stephen King classics like "The Shining" and "It" to classic stories like Bram Stoker's "Dracula" and Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein", these scary horror novels are known for their fright factor and smart writing that makes you believe the horrific events in the books are really possible.

What are the best horror novels? What is the scariest horror book? This list of the best horror novels is here to help you find a good scare on the written page. If you don't see your favorite horror book on the list of great scary novels, make sure to add it so other people can get the same fright you did.

If you're still looking for a good scare after peeking at this greatest horror books list, check out the scarefests in the best found footage films for a good scare.
list ordered by

1
1,302 432
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King The Shining is a horror novel by American author Stephen King. Published in 1977, it is King's third published novel and first hardback bestseller, and the success of the book firmly established ...more

2
1,437 315
It is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King It is a 1986 horror novel by American author Stephen King. The story follows the exploits of seven children as they are terrorized by the eponymous being, which exploits the fears and phobias of ...more

3
840 295
Dracula is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Bram Stoker Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to move from ...more

4
740 214
Stories and Poems of Edgar All... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time

5
586 283
Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Mary Shelley Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley about the young student of science Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque but sentient creature ...more

6
985 250
'Salem's Lot is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King 'Salem's Lot is a 1975 horror fiction novel written by the American author Stephen King. It was his second published novel. The story involves a writer named Ben Mears who returns to the town ...more

7
915 223
Pet Sematary is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King Pet Sematary is a 1983 horror novel by Stephen King, nominated for a World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1984, and adapted into a 1989 film of the same name. In November 2013, PS Publishing ...more

8
823 262
The Stand is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King The Stand is a post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy novel by American author Stephen King. It expands upon the scenario of his earlier short story, "Night Surf". The novel was originally ...more

9
463 147
The Dunwich Horror and Others is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
H. P. Lovecraft The Dunwich Horror and Others is a collection of fantasy, horror and Science fiction short stories by American author H. P. Lovecraft. It was originally published in 1963 by Arkham House in an ...more

10
421 153
Rosemary's Baby is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Ira Levin Rosemary's Baby is a 1967 best-selling horror novel by Ira Levin, his second published book. It sold over 4 million copies "making it the top bestselling horror novel of the 1960s."

11
725 136
The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
William Peter Blatty The Exorcist is a 1971 novel by American writer William Peter Blatty. The book details the demonic possession of twelve-year-old Regan MacNeil, the daughter of a famous actress, and the Jesuit ...more

12
415 193
Ghost Story is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Peter Straub Ghost Story is a horror novel written by Peter Straub. It was published on January 1, 1979 by Coward, McCann and Geoghegan. The book was adapted into a film by the same name in 1981. The novel ...more

13
467 202
I Am Legend is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Richard Matheson I Am Legend is a 1954 horror fiction novel by American writer Richard Matheson. It was influential in the development of the zombie genre and in popularizing the concept of a worldwide ...more

14
591 144
Misery is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King Misery is a psychological horror novel by Stephen King. The novel was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1988, and was later made into a Hollywood film and an off-Broadway ...more

15
291 173
Phantoms is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Dean Koontz Phantoms is a novel written by best-selling author Dean Koontz, first published in 1983. The story is a version of the now-debunked urban legend involving a village mysteriously vanishing at ...more

16
438 124
Night Shift is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King Night Shift is the first collection of short stories by Stephen King, first published in 1978. In 1980, Night Shift received the Balrog Award for Best Collection, and in 1979 it was nominated as ...more

17
562 116
The Silence of the Lambs is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Thomas Harris The Silence of the Lambs is a novel by Thomas Harris. First published in 1988, it is the sequel to Harris' 1981 novel Red Dragon. Both novels feature the cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal ...more

18
405 97
The Call of Cthulhu and Other ... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
H. P. Lovecraft The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories is Penguin Classics' first omnibus edition of works by seminal 20th-century American author H. P. Lovecraft. It was released in October 1999 and is ...more

19
351 100
At the Mountains of Madness is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
H. P. Lovecraft At the Mountains of Madness is a novella by horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, written in February/March 1931 and rejected that year by Weird Tales editor Farnsworth Wright on the grounds of its ...more

20
375 132
Needful Things is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King Needful Things is a 1991 horror novel by American author Stephen King. It is the first novel King wrote after his rehabilitation from drugs and alcohol. According to the cover, it is "The ...more

21
362 81
Something Wicked This Way Come... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Ray Bradbury Something Wicked This Way Comes is a 1962 fantasy novel by Ray Bradbury. It is about 13-year-old best friends, Jim Nightshade and William Halloway, and their nightmarish experience with a ...more

22
369 69
The complete works of Edgar Al... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time

23
317 98
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Robert Bloch Psycho is a suspense novel by Robert Bloch, inspired by a bizarre murder case in Wisconsin, though not directly based on it. The story was adapted into Alfred Hitchcock's seminal 1960 film of ...more

24
317 135
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and ... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Robert Louis Stevenson Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the original title of a novella written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson that was first published in 1886. The work is commonly known ...more

25
305 97
Books of Blood is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Clive Barker Books of Blood are a series of horror fiction collections written by the British author Clive Barker. There are six books in total, each simply subtitled Volume 1 through to Volume 6, and were ...more

26
312 126
The Amityville Horror is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Jay Anson The Amityville Horror: A True Story is a book by Jay Anson, published in September 1977. It is also the basis of a series of films released between 1979 and 2013. The book is claimed to be based ...more

27
416 93
Carrie is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King Carrie is an American epistolary novel and author Stephen King's first published novel, released on April 5, 1974, with an approximate first print-run of 30,000 copies. Set in the then-future ...more

28
394 90
The Haunting of Hill House is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Shirley Jackson The Haunting of Hill House is a 1959 novel by author Shirley Jackson. Finalist for the National Book Award and considered one of the best literary ghost stories published during the twentieth ...more

29
332 185
Interview with the Vampire is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Anne Rice Interview with the Vampire is a debut gothic horror and vampire novel by American author Anne Rice, published in 1976. Based on a short story Rice wrote around 1968, the novel centers on vampire ...more

30
280 97
Skeleton Crew is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King Skeleton Crew is the second collection of short fiction by Stephen King, published by Putnam in June 1985. A limited edition of a thousand copies was published by Scream/Press in October 1985, ...more

31
247 110
The Turn of the Screw is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Henry James The Turn of the Screw, originally published in 1898, is a gothic ghost story novella written by Henry James. Due to its original content, the novella became a favourite text of academics who ...more

32
333 142
The Picture of Dorian Gray is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray is an 1891 philosophical novel by writer and playwright Oscar Wilde. First published as a complete story in the July 1890 issue of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, the ...more

33
220 106
The Fog is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
James Herbert The Fog is a horror novel by English writer James Herbert, published in 1975. It is about a deadly fog that drives its victims insane when they come into contact with it. Herbert's second book, ...more

34
182 108
The Damnation Game is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Clive Barker The Damnation Game is the first novel by best-selling horror and fantasy author Clive Barker, published in 1985. It was written just after finishing the first trilogy of Books of Blood, and ...more

35
244 97
Swan Song is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Robert R. McCammon Swan Song is a 1987 horror novel by American novelist Robert R. McCammon. It is a work of post-apocalyptic fiction describing the aftermath of a nuclear war that provokes an evolution in

36
249 77
Hell House is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Richard Matheson Hell House is a novel by American novelist Richard Matheson, published in 1971.

37
243 167
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Michael Crichton Jurassic Park is a science fiction novel written by Michael Crichton, divided into seven sections. Often considered a cautionary tale on unconsidered biological tinkering in the same spirit as ...more

38
265 82
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Washington Irving "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is a short story by American author Washington Irving, contained in his collection of 34 essays and short stories entitled The Sketch Book of Geoffrey ...more

39
270 91
Red Dragon is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Thomas Harris Red Dragon is a novel by Thomas Harris, first published in 1981. It introduced the character Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer. The novel was adapted ...more

40
210 41
The tell-tale heart and other ... is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
risa-wood added Edgar Allan Poe

41
221 98
Watchers is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Dean Koontz Watchers is a 1987 suspense novel by American author, Dean Koontz. Along with Strangers, Lightning, and Midnight, Watchers is credited with cementing Koontz's status as a best-selling author.

42
214 91
Jaws is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Peter Benchley Jaws is a 1974 novel by Peter Benchley. It tells the story of a great white shark that preys upon a small resort town and the voyage of three men trying to kill it. The novel grows out of ...more

43
269 115
Christine is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King Christine is a horror novel by Stephen King, published in 1983. It tells the story of a vintage automobile apparently possessed by supernatural forces. Later that same year, a film adaptation, ...more

44
204 77
The Island of Doctor Moreau is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
H. G. Wells The Island of Doctor Moreau is an 1896 science fiction novel by H. G. Wells, who called it "an exercise in youthful blasphemy". The text of the novel is the narration of Edward ...more

45
261 86
Lord of the Flies is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
ThomZ added William Golding Lord of the Flies is a 1954 dystopian novel by Nobel Prize-winning English author William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves with ...more

46
169 104
Carrion Comfort is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Dan Simmons Dan Simmons' 1989 horror novel.

47
94 78
They Thirst is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Robert R. McCammon They Thirst is a horror novel by Robert R. McCammon, first published in 1981 and republished in 1991 in hardback. The book details the relentless possession of Los Angeles by vampires, who ...more

48
191 97
Nightmares & Dreamscapes is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King Nightmares & Dreamscapes is a short story collection by Stephen King published in 1993.

49
189 71
The Hellbound Heart is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Clive Barker The Hellbound Heart is a horror novella by Clive Barker, first published in November 1986 by Dark Harvest in the third volume of their Night Visions anthology series, and notable for becoming ...more

50
182 91
The Bachman Books is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Stephen King The Bachman Books is a collection of short novels by Stephen King published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman between 1977 and 1982. It was a The New York Times Best Seller List when it was ...more