You know what some of my favourite books are? Ones that fall under the horror or thriller genre. I can’t get enough of them!! Give me anything dark, creepy, & filled with gore & I’ll prolly love it. Or at least gravitate towards it, even if I dislike it in the end. Because this is what I was raised on. Horror & books. It only makes sense that it would hold a special place in my reading life.
Today I thought I would go ahead & put together a little list of some of my favourite novels under the darker genres. Some are straight horror, some are psychological thrillers, all of them are awesome! At least to me.
So go ahead, take a look! Maybe you’ll find your own new favourite spoopy book!
note: these are in no particular order, mostly just listed as they came to mind
I would like to start this list out with a couple of my favourite horror comic series!
Hack/Slash created by Tim Seeley
This one was recommended to me by one of my great friends & has turned into an absolute love of mine. A comic in the style of the slasher movies that we all know & love! Following Cassie Hack as she, you guessed it, hacks & slashes those movie slashers into oblivion! It really is a fun series. I highly recommend it.
Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse by Ben Templesmith
I absolutely ADORE Templesmith & his wonderfully creepy art style. This series is as funny as it is kinda gross. I always have a hard time explaining this one, so here’s the basics straight from Wikipedia: “The stories … revolve around the adventures of Wormwood, a trans-dimensional demigod worm, who frequently saves the world from supernatural threats. Although he repeatedly has made claims of godhood, he usually saves the world through cunning or otherwise underhanded means rather than force, such as paying off the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.“
Pet Shop of Horrors by Akino Matsuri
A Japanese horror ICON!! At least in my opinion. I first watched the anime as a kid (renting the first volume on VHS from Blockbuster, if that tells you anything) & finally read the manga in my late teens (about 10 years ago now……I have just seriously dated myself, omg). It follows the people that buy pets from Count D’s pet shop & the HORRORS that occur! And boy, are some worse than others. Such a good, creepy, horrifying series.
Let the Right One in by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Right out of the gate, I feel the need to put a serious trigger/content warning on this one. Yes, it’s a horror, so certain things are expected. But this book has (& it might be a tad spoilery, but it needs to be said): Genital Mutilation (nothing is super detailed, but it is mentioned/alluded to in regards to a certain characters backstory)
Implied/kind of mentioned pedophilia (again, nothing explicit happens between the two characters that I can currently recall, but their relationship dynamics are…..questionable at best)
That’s all I can remember at the top of my head to tag, but these are things that I believe should be mentioned beforehand. I don’t want anyone to jump into this & end up in a bad place because of it. This book has a few very uncomfortable moments, and most certainly needs to be read with the utmost discretion.
Taking place in a Swedish suburb during 1981, Let the Right One in follows bullied 12 year old Oskar as he befriends the new, strange girl that moves into his apartment complex while bloodless bodies start to pile up in his neighbourhood. Quickly it becomes obvious that something about this girl just isn’t right.
Seriously one of my all time favourite vampire novels. It’s oddly sweet, utterly horrifying, and very uncomfortable to read. I love this book. It even spawned two movies in Sweden & the US, respectively.
Married with Zombies series by Jesse Petersen
This has to be the funniest zombie apocalypse series I have ever read in my life. Sarah & David were having some series marriage issues when they walked into counseling & right into the end of the world! We get to watch them kick butt, take names, & learn to love each other all over again. If you like zombies, sarcastic characters, & some end of the world madness, then you need to pick these up! I’m sure you won’t regret it.
Goth by Otsuichi
This one comes in both novel & manga format. They even made a movie! I personally read the manga first & then found out it was based off a regular novel. It’s a collection of individual stories with a framing device that follows two high school students who become obsessed with a local serial killer, but they have no intention of stopping him. The novel has an extra story that’s left out of the manga & movie, but when you read it, it becomes extremely obvious why that really was the best way to go. The shock of the end just doesn’t have the same effect if seen instead of imagined in your own mind. Trust me.
Otsuichi is one of my favourite horror novelists. He also wrote another short story collection titled Zoo that I also enjoyed & Summer, Fireworks, & My Corpse that I own but have not read yet. Japanese horror at its absolute finest.
You by Caroline Kepnes
I read this one last year & it quickly became a fave. Nobody should like the main character, Joe, because he’s a stalker with a twisted, psychotic mind, but I couldn’t help loving him anyway. He becomes obsessed with this girl Guinevere when she walks into the bookstore he works at. This whole novel is in first person, right in the point of view of Joe. Which is a disturbing point to be viewing!! It’s not every day you get to read a book in the POV of the bad guy, that’s for sure!
The Wayward Pines trilogy by Blake Crouch
Another series I read much more recently that quickly went up the ranks for me. I blazed through all three books. They’re weird, twisty as hell, & full of pure awesomeness. Ethan Burke goes on a mission to find two missing secret service agents when he finds himself waking up after an accident in a hospital with weird things going on. Nobody believes who he is, he can’t get in touch with anyone outside the town, & everything just seems….off. The electric fence surrounding the town certainly doesn’t help ease his mind.
As the truth unfolds, things about the town & the people in it just get weirder & weirder & it is absolutely binge-worthy. I read all three books in the same week! It spawned a tv show but, in my opinion, it really isn’t nearly as good. They focus more on one thing that’s just mentioned in passing in the books & it ruined the whole thing for me. But it doesn’t ruin the books at all, so it’s cool! You should prolly read these too, if I’m honest. Especially if you watched & enjoyed the show. You won’t be disappointed!!
The Asylum Series by Madeleine Roux
Done in a similar photo-novel style as Miss Peregrine’s by Ransom Riggs, the Asylum books follow Dan Crawford & his friends from a summer program where they uncover an asylum’s creepy past, through a road trip to New Orleans where the past continues to haunt them. There’s even a prequel novel that focuses on Ricky Desmond as he’s committed to the asylum from the first novel & attempts to find a way out for good. And of COURSE weird creepy things happen, a nice back story for all that happens in Asylum with Dan.
I really like what Roux does with her characters & her writing style is fabulous. I personally even feel like she implemented the found photography aspect much better than Riggs did. It felt a lot more to me like they were there to add to the story, where I felt that in Peregrine’s the story was awkwardly put together to fit to the photos. Others may disagree, but I still think that if you like horror & the style that Peregrine’s was written in that you should at least give Asylum a chance.
No horror list is complete without some King
And, of course, I have my favourite Stephen King novels! Like every other horror fan out there, it’s hard not to read at least one of his books at some point. He has a tendency to over explain & be a little too wordy in his writing, but I’ll be damned if I don’t still enjoy his work.
Misery – An author gets in an accident, kidnapped by an obsessed fan, must escape!!
Everything’s Eventual – My fave SK short story collection. Fourteen stories. Autopsies, lunch gone bad, a haunted hotel room, AND MORE!
‘Salem’s Lot – A town haunted by vampires; people are SICK OF IT
It – Creepy alien clown torments the kids of a small town. REVENGE!
Carrie – I am a sucker for bullies getting their comeuppance by the very people they bullied. I especially love when it’s through a girl who develops telekinesis powers. You go, Carrie!
I’ve read plenty of weird, creepy novels in my life, but these one are right at the top of the dark mountain for me.
Have you read any of these?
Did you enjoy them as much as I did or did you LOATHE THEM?
Tell me, what are some of YOUR favourite works of dark fiction?