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The Best Horror Books by Women

Look at most lists of heavyweight horror authors and you’re bound to notice a trend – they’re mostly men. King, Straub, Campbell, Barker, Ketchum, Hill – all masters of the genre, to be sure. But women authors are writing some of the most innovative and terrifying horror fiction out there, and we’ve decided to highlight a handful of our favorites.

  1. 1
    Rebecca Book Cover Picture
    Rebecca Book Cover Picture

    Rebecca

    by Daphne du Maurier

    As chilling today as when it was first published in 1938, Rebecca remains a classic gothic thriller. A young girl impetuously decides to marry the wealthy widower Maxim de Winter and is whisked off to his house on the remote English coast. As time passes she realizes that Maxim and the house are haunted by the memory of his first wife, Rebecca, who died under mysterious circumstances. The new Mrs. de Winter is determined to uncover the secrets, even if that means dealing with the deadly consequences.
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    $28.00

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  2. 2
    Mexican Gothic Book Cover Picture
    Mexican Gothic Book Cover Picture

    Mexican Gothic

    by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

    When Noemi receives an urgent letter from her cousin begging her to come and save her from a mysterious doom, Noemi finds herself isolated in a mansion in the Mexican countryside, alongside her cousin’s new husband and his unsettling family members. There are many secrets behind the walls of the house, and Noemi must uncover the truth before it’s walls close in around her.
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    $17.00

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  3. 3
    The Hunger Book Cover Picture
    The Hunger Book Cover Picture

    The Hunger

    by Alma Katsu

    Alma Katsu’s standalone historical horror novel is a treasure. Drawing on werewolf tales, Wendigo folklore, and more, Katsu manages to create a sense of strangling claustrophobia in the doomed wagon train, even as it crosses expansive prairies. The interpersonal dynamics within the wagon party are key here too — power struggles among the travelers, suspicion cast on beautiful, quiet Tamsen Donner, and personal secrets that were meant to be left back east. Add in monstrously hungry creatures lurking just beyond the firelight, and you’ve got an absolutely gripping tale.
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    $17.00

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  4. 4
    Dark Places Book Cover Picture
    Dark Places Book Cover Picture

    Dark Places

    by Gillian Flynn

    Libby Day was just a kid when her mother and two sisters were violently murdered in their home. Libby somehow survived, and she testified that her brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, amateur investigators, who believe her brother is innocent, approach Libby to coax her into further investigating the crime. The closer she gets to the truth, the more she realizes she’s putting herself in the path of a killer.
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  5. 5
    The Woods Are Always Watching Book Cover Picture
    The Woods Are Always Watching Book Cover Picture

    The Woods Are Always Watching

    by Stephanie Perkins

    Before college starts, two best friends go on one last trip together—a three-day hike in the woods of a local National Park. As tensions build, what started off as a great adventure soon gets derailed by evil forces. Will their friendship survive the weekend? Will they survive at all?
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    $17.99

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  6. 6
    The Haunting of Hill House Book Cover Picture
    The Haunting of Hill House Book Cover Picture

    The Haunting of Hill House

    by Shirley Jackson

    Classics are classics for a reason, and nobody writes quite like Shirley Jackson. The Haunting of Hill House is a masterclass in how to walk the knife’s edge, narratively speaking, between a protagonist’s fractured psyche and actual supernatural happenings. Jackson keeps you just a little bit off-balance on every page, and by the end of the book you won’t know up from down.
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    $18.00

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  7. 7
    Little Eyes Book Cover Picture
    Little Eyes Book Cover Picture

    Little Eyes

    by Samanta Schweblin

    What makes Schweblin’s Little Eyes so scary, is that it seems like it could be happening in our world right now. In this world people can buy a device called a “kentuki,” a toy with cameras for eyes, wheels, motor, and a person who lives virtually inside. People can sign up to be either the keeper of the toy, or the dweller living inside. What starts out as a way to bring people together across the globe, turns into something so sinister, you can’t look away.
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    $16.00

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  8. 8
    The Original Frankenstein Book Cover Picture
    The Original Frankenstein Book Cover Picture

    The Original Frankenstein

    by Mary Shelley

    An interesting look at the classic of the horror genre, Charles E. Robinson presents two versions of the famous novel. The first is Mary Shelley’s earliest draft of the famed monster, and the second is Percy Shelley’s revised text with his suggestions and contributions. Not only is this a great way to see the evolution of one of the greatest works in literature, but a fascinating look into the mind of two of our greatest writers.
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    $14.95

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  9. 9
    The Silent Companions Book Cover Picture
    The Silent Companions Book Cover Picture

    The Silent Companions

    by Laura Purcell

    Laura Purcell’s novel is an atmospheric slice of Victorian Gothic goodness: Elsie, pregnant and widowed only a few weeks into her marriage, moves to her late husband’s crumbling family estate. But there’s no comfort for her there – just hostile townsfolk, recalcitrant servants, and a painted wooden figure that looks exactly like Elsie, and whose eyes have an unnerving tendency to follow her around the room.
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    $17.00

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  10. 10
    The Little Stranger (Movie Tie-In) Book Cover Picture
    The Little Stranger (Movie Tie-In) Book Cover Picture

    The Little Stranger (Movie Tie-In)

    by Sarah Waters

    In postwar England, a young country doctor makes friends with the Ayres family, an old aristocratic family that occupies Hundreds Hall, a formerly grand Georgian house that is now falling into disrepair. As they spend more time together, the doctor realizes that the family is suffering from a sinister force that is slowing taking over their lives. Can he uncover the truth before his life becomes forever linked with theirs?
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    $17.00

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  11. 11
    The Haunting of Alma Fielding Book Cover Picture
    The Haunting of Alma Fielding Book Cover Picture

    The Haunting of Alma Fielding

    by Kate Summerscale

    This haunting non-fiction selection is a page-turner that reads like the best thriller. It follows Alma Fielding, a housewife living in London in 1938, who keeps having strange things happen to her. She claims to be attacked by her own flying furniture, beetles appear from under her gloves, and more. Is she a fraud? A fool? Or is she the victim of malevolent ghosts? Kate Summerscale sets out to uncover the truth.
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    $28.00

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  12. 12
    Beloved Book Cover Picture
    Beloved Book Cover Picture

    Beloved

    by Toni Morrison

    Beloved won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988. Beloved is also a horror novel. The hallmarks of a ghost story or gothic tale are all there — mysterious hauntings, family trauma, buried secrets, tragic deaths, and discomfiting truths about the human condition. Morrison’s prose is obviously superlative, and she confronts readers with the utter agony endured by survivors of American slavery. It’s an eerie, disorienting, heartbreaking, beautiful book.
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    $28.00

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  13. 13
    The Unleashed Book Cover Picture
    The Unleashed Book Cover Picture

    The Unleashed

    by Danielle Vega

    In this sequel to The Haunted, Hendricks thinks that her missing friend Eddie is still out there. She decides to gather a group of friends together to try and summon his spirit. Soon strange things start to happen and Hendricks realizes that they might have summoned something incredibly dangerous instead.
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  14. 14
    Wilder Girls Book Cover Picture
    Wilder Girls Book Cover Picture

    Wilder Girls

    by Rory Power

    For almost two years, the students of the Raxter School for Girls have been living in quarantine after an unknown disease started infecting their teachers and classmates. They sit behind the school gates, too afraid to leave the campus, hoping for a cure that may never come. But when one girl goes missing, they venture out into the unknown only to learn the truth isn’t at all what they imagined.
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    $10.99

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  15. 15
    The Deep Book Cover Picture
    The Deep Book Cover Picture

    The Deep

    by Alma Katsu

    An eerie retelling of the sinking of the Titanic, The Deep takes readers on a supernatural journey through history. It is an exploration of fate and destiny, and how our choices may ultimately lead to our own destruction.
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    $17.00

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  16. 16
    The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Writings Book Cover Picture
    The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Writings Book Cover Picture

    The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Writings

    by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

    “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a proto-feminist landmark and an utterly terrifying story of insanity. The protagonist, confined to her room as part of a “rest cure” for depression, descends into psychosis spurred by the patterns and color of the wallpaper — she believes the pattern is mutating, moving, leaving smudges of yellow on her skin and clothes. As the weeks pass, she becomes convinced that there’s another woman behind the pattern in the wallpaper, crawling on all fours, and sets out to tear down the wallpaper, freeing her. It’s a little bit “The Ring” before “The Ring” existed, and hasn’t lost any of its power to scare since it was published in 1892.
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    Mass Market Paperback
    $6.95

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  17. 17
    Cackle Book Cover Picture
    Cackle Book Cover Picture

    Cackle

    by Rachel Harrison

    When Annie—a nice, but plain girl—is dumped by her longtime boyfriend, she looks for a fresh start in a new town. Here Annie meets Sophie, a charming girl who seems to take a special interest in Annie. Things do start to turn around for Annie, but there is something strange about Sophie that Annie can’t quite put her finger on…
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    $27.00

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  18. 18
    Build Your House Around My Body Book Cover Picture
    Build Your House Around My Body Book Cover Picture

    Build Your House Around My Body

    by Violet Kupersmith

    Violet Kupersmith has created a powerful and unsettling modern ghost story in Build Your House Around My Body. Two women have gone missing decades apart—one in 1986, the other in 2011—but their fates are undeniably linked, and they are both out for revenge. Kupersmith deftly weaves Vietnamese folklore and history together in a way that will leave you spellbound.
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    $27.00

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  19. 19
    Silk Book Cover Picture
    Silk Book Cover Picture

    Silk

    by Caitlin R. Kiernan

    Caitlín R. Kiernan’s 1998 novel is a skin-crawling examination of trauma populated by a web of messy misfits and outcasts, set against the goth underground of Birmingham, Alabama. The book is full of characters grappling with their own personal darkness, but at the center we have Spyder, whose inner demons decided they were done with the “inner” part. Kiernan writes with a strong, independent voice, and a rare sense of place. By the way, this one’s not for arachnophobes.
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    $8.99

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  20. 20
    Dark Tales Book Cover Picture
    Dark Tales Book Cover Picture

    Dark Tales

    by Shirley Jackson

    Shirley Jackson is a master at turning the familiar aspects of suburban life into something dark and sinister. With this audiobook collection you can hear all of her scariest stories. It’s as close to listening to ghost stories around the campfire as you can get on your morning commute.
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  21. 21
    Near the Bone Book Cover Picture
    Near the Bone Book Cover Picture

    Near the Bone

    by Christina Henry

    Mattie and her husband William live a life of solitude out in the mountains together. They enjoy their isolation, until they see signs of a dangerous creature in the woods, something terrible with claws that snap and teeth that bite. When three hunters appear in the mountains tracking the beast, Mattie knows that William will be upset. Perhaps the creature is even closer than Mattie imagined.
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    $17.00

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  22. 22
    The Bloody Chamber Book Cover Picture
    The Bloody Chamber Book Cover Picture

    The Bloody Chamber

    by Angela Carter

    Angela Carter’s seminal collection is so much more than a group of fairytale retellings. These tales tell the story of female rage, sexuality, violence, and body horror, and they do it by inverting every trope you expect from folklore. The title story is a standout, a reimagining of Bluebeard where the young wife is saved from her husband’s murderous tendencies by her own mother.
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    $17.00

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  23. 23
    House of Salt and Sorrows Book Cover Picture
    House of Salt and Sorrows Book Cover Picture

    House of Salt and Sorrows

    by Erin A. Craig

    On a remote island, twelve sisters are mysteriously dying one-by-one in increasingly gruesome ways. Annaleigh has started looking into her sister’s deaths and becomes more and more convinced that these are no accidents. Are the rumors from the village true, is her family cursed by the gods?
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    $10.99

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  24. 24
    The Anthill Book Cover Picture
    The Anthill Book Cover Picture

    The Anthill

    by Julianne Pachico

    Lina has been living in England for the last twenty years, sent away from Colombia following her mother’s death. But when she returns to her hometown looking for the community she lost, she is greeted only with indifference, even from her childhood friend Matty. Matty now runs a day care called The Anthill, and where strange things start taking place. Did Lina bring these disturbances with her?
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    $16.95

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  25. 25
    The Woman in Black Book Cover Picture
    The Woman in Black Book Cover Picture

    The Woman in Black

    by Susan Hill

    A pitch-perfect Victorian ghost story of a wraithlike apparition who haunts a rural English town. All the traditional markers are here: creepy kids, unexplained screams, family secrets, and a horrifying late-in-the-game shock. One of those books that proves that the classic moves still work wonders.
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    $15.00

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  26. 26
    White is for Witching Book Cover Picture
    White is for Witching Book Cover Picture

    White is for Witching

    by Helen Oyeyemi

    There is something strange about Silver House. The cavernous mansion is filled with secret passages, buried secrets, and even xenophobic tendencies. It also seems to have a stranglehold on the Silver women who have lived there for four generations…
    White is for Witching Book Cover Picture
    White is for Witching Book Cover Picture
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    $17.00

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  27. 27
    House of Hollow Book Cover Picture
    House of Hollow Book Cover Picture

    House of Hollow

    by Krystal Sutherland

    Ten years ago, three sisters disappeared only to return a month later, but with no memory of what happened to them. Now, one of the sisters has gone missing again, and as the other two go searching for her, they start to unravel the mystery of their childhood disappearance and nothing is what it seems.
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    $18.99

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