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The ReadDown

Must-Read Horror Books

Open these books, if you dare… This list has our must-read horror books for the season, from spooky classics to contemporary favorites.

  1. 1
    The Year of the Witching Book Cover Picture
    The Year of the Witching Book Cover Picture

    The Year of the Witching

    by Alexis Henderson

    In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity. But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel. Spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood. When she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.
    The Year of the Witching Book Cover Picture
    The Year of the Witching Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $26.00

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  2. 2
    The Changeling Book Cover Picture
    The Changeling Book Cover Picture

    The Changeling

    by Victor LaValle

    When Apollo Kagwa’s father disappeared, he left his son a box of books and strange recurring dreams. Now Apollo is a father himself—and as he and his wife, Emma, settle into their new lives as parents, exhaustion and anxiety start to take their toll. Apollo’s old dreams return and Emma begins acting odd. At first Emma seems to be exhibiting signs of postpartum depression. But before Apollo can do anything to help, Emma commits a horrific act and vanishes. Thus begins Apollo’s quest to find a wife and child who are nothing like he’d imagined.
    The Changeling Book Cover Picture
    The Changeling Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $18.00

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  3. 3
    Mexican Gothic Book Cover Picture
    Mexican Gothic Book Cover Picture

    Mexican Gothic

    by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

    After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
    Mexican Gothic Book Cover Picture
    Mexican Gothic Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $27.00

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  4. 4
    The Shining Book Cover Picture
    The Shining Book Cover Picture

    The Shining

    by Stephen King

    Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.
    The Shining Book Cover Picture
    The Shining Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.95

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  5. 5
    The Deep Book Cover Picture
    The Deep Book Cover Picture

    The Deep

    by Alma Katsu

    The guests of the Titanic have found themselves suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone from the moment they set sail. Several of them, including maid Annie Hebley, are convinced there’s something sinister afoot. But before they can locate the source of the danger, disaster strikes. Years later, Annie, having survived that fateful night, is working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic‘s sister ship, newly refitted as a hospital ship. She happens across an unconscious soldier fighting in World War I. At first, Annie is thrilled to learn that he too survived the sinking, but soon, Mark’s presence awakens deep-buried feelings and secrets.
    The Deep Book Cover Picture
    The Deep Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $27.00

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  6. 6
    The Return Book Cover Picture
    The Return Book Cover Picture

    The Return

    by Rachel Harrison

    Julie is missing, and no one believes she will ever return—except Elise. Elise knows Julie better than anyone, and feels it in her bones that her best friend is out there and that one day Julie will come back. She’s right. Two years to the day that Julie went missing, she reappears with no memory of where she’s been or what happened to her. Along with Molly and Mae, their two close friends from college, the women decide to reunite at a remote inn. But the second Elise sees Julie, she knows something is wrong—she’s emaciated, with sallow skin and odd appetites. And as the weekend unfurls, it becomes impossible to deny that the Julie who vanished two years ago is not the same Julie who came back. But then who—or what—is she?
    The Return Book Cover Picture
    The Return Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.00

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  7. 7
    The Winter People Book Cover Picture
    The Winter People Book Cover Picture

    The Winter People

    by Jennifer McMahon

    West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister. One day, Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished. In her search for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary. As Ruthie gets sucked into the historical mystery, she discovers that she’s not the only person looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.
    The Winter People Book Cover Picture
    The Winter People Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $15.95

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  8. 8
    The Haunting of Hill House Book Cover Picture
    The Haunting of Hill House Book Cover Picture

    The Haunting of Hill House

    by Shirley Jackson

    First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting;’ Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.
    The Haunting of Hill House Book Cover Picture
    The Haunting of Hill House Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $24.00

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  9. 9
    Burn Our Bodies Down Book Cover Picture
    Burn Our Bodies Down Book Cover Picture

    Burn Our Bodies Down

    by Rory Power

    Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother, struggling to get along. But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. And she may have just found the answer: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for. As soon as they see her face, everyone in town knows who Margot belongs to. It’s unmistakable–she’s a Nielsen. And when a mysterious girl who could be Margot’s twin is pulled from a fire, Margot realizes that her mother left Phalene for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?
    Burn Our Bodies Down Book Cover Picture
    Burn Our Bodies Down Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $18.99

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  10. 10
    The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek Book Cover Picture
    The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek Book Cover Picture

    The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek

    by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal

    It’s 1992 in Bleak Creek, North Carolina—a sleepy little place with all the trappings of an ordinary Southern town. Beneath the town’s cheerful façade, however, Bleak Creek teens live in constant fear of being sent to the Whitewood School, a local reformatory with a history of putting unruly youths back on the straight and narrow. When the shoot for their low-budget horror masterpiece, PolterDog, goes horribly awry—and their best friend, Alicia Boykins, is sent to Whitewood as punishment—Rex and Leif are forced to question everything they know about their unassuming hometown and its cherished school for delinquents.
    The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek Book Cover Picture
    The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $18.00

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  11. 11
    The Companion Book Cover Picture
    The Companion Book Cover Picture

    The Companion

    by Katie Alender

    The other orphans say Margot is lucky. Lucky to survive the horrible accident that killed her family, and lucky to be chosen by a prestigious family to live at their remote country estate. But it wasn’t luck that made the Suttons rescue Margot from her bleak existence at the group home.  Margot was handpicked to be a companion to their silent, mysterious daughter, Agatha. At first, helping with Agatha–and getting to know her handsome older brother–seems much better than the group home. But soon, the isolated, gothic house begins playing tricks on Margot’s mind, making her question everything she believes about the Suttons . . . and herself.
    The Companion Book Cover Picture
    The Companion Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $18.99

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  12. 12
    Infected Book Cover Picture
    Infected Book Cover Picture

    Infected

    by Scott Sigler

    Across America a mysterious disease is turning ordinary people into raving, paranoid murderers who inflict brutal horrors on strangers, themselves, and even their own families.  Working under the government’s shroud of secrecy, CIA operative Dew Phillips crisscrosses the country trying in vain to capture a live victim. With only decomposing corpses for clues, CDC epidemiologist Margaret Montoya races to analyze the science behind this deadly contagion. She discovers that these killers all have one thing in common—they’ve been contaminated by a bioengineered parasite, shaped by a complexity far beyond the limits of known science.
    Infected Book Cover Picture
    Infected Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.00

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  13. 13
    Perfume Book Cover Picture
    Perfume Book Cover Picture

    Perfume

    by Patrick Suskind

    In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift—an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille’s genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and fresh-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the “ultimate perfume”—the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brilliance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.
    Perfume Book Cover Picture
    Perfume Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.95

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  14. 14
    House of Leaves Book Cover Picture
    House of Leaves Book Cover Picture

    House of Leaves

    by Mark Z. Danielewski

    Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.
    House of Leaves Book Cover Picture
    House of Leaves Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $22.00

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  15. 15
    Harrow Lake Book Cover Picture
    Harrow Lake Book Cover Picture

    Harrow Lake

    by Kat Ellis

    Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker–she thinks nothing can scare her. But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s quickly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot. The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map–and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away. And there’s someone–or something–stalking her every move. The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own.
    Harrow Lake Book Cover Picture
    Harrow Lake Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $17.99

    Also available from:

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