10 Scary Horror Novels

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10 Scary Horror Novels that kept me awake at night

I may be a horror writer, but I am a horror reader first. Every night I read for an hour or two, and I get through dozens of books every year. It’s unfortunate that many books I begin don’t grip me until the end, but here is a list of terrifying reads that I devoured happily. These books scared me, and they might scare you.

The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias

This book completely switched themes in the middle, but I stayed with it. The story starts out as a victim-tale, then quickly progresses to a revenge thriller, but it ends up in pure supernatural territory. If you like your horror to stick with one character and take you on a journey, then The Devil’s Prayer is a fantastic read that will leave you thinking long afterwards.

Scary if you worry about what comes after.


Eerie by Blake Crouch

Most people know Blake Crouch for his Wayward Pines series, but he has a handful of standalone titles which are just as great. Eerie reminded me a lot of a certain episode of Buffy, and I felt claustrophobic the whole time I was reading this. In a nutshell, the story is about a pair of siblings trapped inside a house that will not let them leave. A mystery unfolds.

Scary if you hate being trapped or lost.


Endurance by Jack Kilborn

One of the first books I read by Jack Kilborn/JA Konrath, and it terrified me. Endurance has a similar tone to Open Season by Jack Ketchum, but the characters in this books are a little more off the wall. The main character has a disability, which only makes her survival even harder.

Scary if you worry about psychopaths trying to kill you.


The Fall by Simon Clark

I absolutely loved this books. Time travel is always fascinating when done right, and Simon Clark does a magnificent job of making it relatable by setting the story against the intimate backdrop of an English village with a bunch of bewildered characters. A very imaginative horror tale with lots of new ideas.

Scary if you hate things spiralling out of control.


The Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil

If you enjoyed Broadchurch or The Missing, then this book will satisfy you. Maybe I found this to be a horror book because I am a father now and the thought of losing my children is the most terrifying thought of all. This book is a reality-based mystery and all the scares come from trying to figure out who you can trust. What kind of monster would do terrible things to a child? And how does a mother help her child after such an awful ordeal.

Scary if you have children.


Dying to Live by Kim Paffenroth

One of the best zombie books I have ever read, and woefully underaipreciatd. A great ‘group of people’ in a fortified camp trying to survive type of story, why I love this series of books is the humanity and pathos contained within. You really care for the characters, and they become real people by the time you finish book 1. One of the best, I promise you.

Scary if you worry about zombies eating your brain.


Seed by Ania Ahlborn

I tried my own hand at writing a novel about possession, so I know how hard it is to be original. Ania does a great job with Seed by giving us more than just a generic demon. The family unit are all decent human beings who we care about, which is what makes it so gut-churning when we watch them suffer. The underlying mystery involved in this novel make it a real page turner, and I enjoyed it way more than I expected.

Scary if you hate creepy kids.


Sleep Deprived by Dawn Cano

This is only a short story, and it’s by one of my readers. Despite that, I’m including it because it freaked me the heck out. If you like extreme horror, then this one is for you, but it might leave you feeling woozy. Who knew Ed Lee’s successor would be a woman! (EDIT: As in I never realised women were as sick-minded as men! Not meant to be a sexist comment.)

Scary if you have a weak stomach.


Survivor by J. F. Gonzalez

This was the book that got me hooked on Gonzalez. It’s a shame the man passed away recently because he was a real gift to horror. This book, I believe, is his best. It’s a balls to the walls, woman in trouble and having to escape, thriller that redefines the world peril. In a nutshell, a woman finds herself an unwilling participant in a snuff film. It’s frightful. Survivor is a masterpiece.

Scary if you’re a woman who secretly thinks all men are sex-obsessed lunatics.


Infected by Scott Sigler

The most cringe-inducing book I ever read, with a great protagonist. Perry is infected with something knew, something he will try to cut out, to burn out, to dig out of himself. But none of it will do any good. He is changing whether he likes it or not. This book is so much fun, and really gruesome. I love Sigler’s horror books as they are always so memorable, and this is his best.

Scary if you worry about catching something nasty.


So that was 10 scary horror novels from my own library. Have you read any of them? Let me know your own scariest reads in the comments below! Also, if you could give this article a share on social media, it will really help me find new readers 🙂


patreon_logo Iain Rob Wright



  1. Garry
    • 2nd May 2017
    • 3:41 pm
    • Reply

    Not scariest as such but James Herbert’s 48 description of cogs crushing someone stuck with me. Started with The Rats as a teen and loved his books. Still to read Ash, but one day I’ll read his final offering.

  2. Cathy
    • 8th May 2017
    • 2:08 pm
    • Reply

    The Supernaturals by David Goleman is a very creepy paranormal novel. If you haven’t already done so, you should read it!

    Great list. Survivor is one of my all time favourites too.

  3. Bob Tomkins
    • 8th May 2017
    • 8:39 pm
    • Reply

    Hi Iain, try “The Music of Bengt Karlsson, Murderer” by John Ajvide Lindqvist from A Book of Horrors edited by Stephen Jones one of the best horror stories I’ve read in a while.
    The A-Z of Horror and The Picture Frame were entertaining reads,keep up the good work.


    Bob T

  4. BookEater
    • 9th May 2017
    • 1:34 am
    • Reply

    Domain by James Herbert.
    One of my all time favourite books.
    Post apocalyptic with rats!
    He was a great writer, sorely missed.

  5. Ashley Passino
    • 22nd May 2017
    • 9:31 pm
    • Reply

    I haven’t read these yet, but your book about the ship and the virus ruined my ability to go on a cruise now lol, fyi…

  6. Ashley
    • 22nd May 2017
    • 9:34 pm
    • Reply

    “Seasick” was the title of the book.

  7. Denise
    • 5th June 2017
    • 4:40 pm
    • Reply

    Seriously?! “Who knew his successor would be a woman?” Well, that was pretty sexist

    • [email protected]
      • 6th June 2017
      • 8:29 am
      • Reply

      I only meant it in the fact that most sick-minded weirdos like Ed Lee are male.

  8. Fernando Zepeda
    • 30th August 2017
    • 3:54 am
    • Reply

    I know you “co-wrote” Origin 2. Yet the Original Origin by Konrath is AMAZING. Especially as an audiobook.

    Other suggestions –

    Demon Blood: Enlightenment by Tim Meyer

    And the scariest book I’ve ever read…the only book that had me read it only during the day and with people around me. The only audiobook I couldn’t listen to at night while driving.

    Demonologists: The Extraordinary Careers of Ed & Lorraine Warren.

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