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
1,041 207
It is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
It 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

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2
956 284
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
The Shining 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

3
617 198
Dracula is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Dracula 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
532 140
Stories and Poems of Edgar All... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time

5
748 164
'Salem's Lot is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
'Salem's Lot 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

6
417 190
Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Frankenstein 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

7
628 174
The Stand is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
The Stand 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

8
646 153
Pet Sematary is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Pet Sematary 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

9
318 97
Rosemary's Baby is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Rosemary's Baby 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."

10
540 96
The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
The Exorcist 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

11
334 128
Ghost Story is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Ghost Story 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

12
334 91
The Dunwich Horror and Others is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
The Dunwich Horror and Others 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

13
285 51
The Call of Cthulhu and Other ... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories 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

14
327 67
Night Shift is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Night Shift 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

15
351 156
I Am Legend is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
I Am Legend 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

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16
436 91
Misery is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Misery 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

17
248 60
At the Mountains of Madness is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
At the Mountains of Madness 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

18
224 110
Phantoms is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Phantoms 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

19
250 60
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Psycho 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

20
433 75
The Silence of the Lambs is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
The Silence of the Lambs 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

21
257 48
Something Wicked This Way Come... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Something Wicked This Way Comes 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
272 77
Needful Things is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Needful Things 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

23
237 91
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and ... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 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

24
233 66
Books of Blood is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Books of Blood 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

25
256 39
The complete works of Edgar Al... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time

26
306 53
Carrie is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Carrie 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

27
259 122
Interview with the Vampire is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Interview with the Vampire 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

28
232 86
The Amityville Horror is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
The Amityville Horror 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

29
199 58
Skeleton Crew is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Skeleton Crew 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

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30
281 68
The Haunting of Hill House is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
The Haunting of Hill House 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

31
249 96
The Picture of Dorian Gray is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
The Picture of Dorian Gray 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

32
181 78
The Fog is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
The Fog 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

33
176 75
The Turn of the Screw is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
The Turn of the Screw 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

34
148 75
The Damnation Game is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
The Damnation Game 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
192 65
Swan Song is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Swan Song 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
182 51
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 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

37
191 111
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Jurassic Park 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
178 54
Hell House is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Hell House Richard Matheson Hell House is a novel by American novelist Richard Matheson, published in 1971.

39
155 56
Jaws is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Jaws 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

40
206 61
Red Dragon is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Red Dragon 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

41
182 52
Lord of the Flies is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
ThomZ added Lord of the Flies 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

42
137 35
The Lottery and Other Stories is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
The Lottery and Other Stories The Lottery and Other Stories is a 1949 short story collection by American author Shirley Jackson. Published by Farrar, Straus, it includes "The Lottery" and 24 other stories. This was ...more

43
202 73
Christine is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Christine 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

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44
140 53
The Bachman Books is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
The Bachman Books 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

45
158 63
Watchers is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Watchers 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.

46
144 45
The Island of Doctor Moreau is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
The Island of Doctor Moreau 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

47
135 73
Carrion Comfort is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Carrion Comfort Dan Simmons Dan Simmons' 1989 horror novel.

48
127 22
The tell-tale heart and other ... is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
risa-wood added The tell-tale heart and other writings Edgar Allan Poe

49
142 63
Nightmares & Dreamscapes is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
Nightmares & Dreamscapes Stephen King Nightmares & Dreamscapes is a short story collection by Stephen King published in 1993.

50
69 52
They Thirst is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Horror Books of All Time
They Thirst 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