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The Scariest Novels of All Time

Updated 7 Oct 2019 48.3k votes 4.0k voters 72.1k views108 items

List RulesVote up your favorite scary novels, horror and otherwise.

What are the scariest novels of all time? Not surprisingly, a lot of the books listed here are from the horror genre, but there are other, just as terrifying books to read as well. Can anyone argue that Cormac McCarthy's The Road wasn't terrifying in its own way? Exactly. We're all scared by different things and subjects, and our reading choices reflect this quite often. So vote for the scariest books you've ever read (or really want to read) and vote down any you didn't like. And please, definitely add any scary novels that might be missing from the list!

Some of the scariest novels of all time involve monsters. After all, readers have been obsessed with the supernatural for hundreds of years. There is a reason that Bram Stoker's Dracula consistently winds up at or near the top of lists like this one. Ghosts also make for frightening novels: Hell House, anyone? If you haven't read it, make sure you do so - but not at night. And not if you are alone. Ever. It is without a doubt deserving of a place among the greatest horror books of all time.

Not surprisingly, a lot of the books on this list of scary novels were made into excellent horror movies. Some also have heavy elements of science fiction - I Am Legend is a great example, though nearly all of Richard Matheson's novels and stories would certainly qualify for a place on this list. Some of the best science fiction authors wrote some seriously creepy stuff.

And yes, no list of anything involving the scariest books of all time would be complete without a hefty dose of Stephen King. King is a master. In doubt? Check out this list of the greatest all-time Stephen King works. It's impressive.
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