Zombies. Chainsaws. Werewolves. Ghosts. The occult. Vampires. Dark fantasy. Monsters. Demons. Murder. Witches. Snakes. Magic. This is the stuff of horror.
Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough
Sisters Cora and Mimi are sent to stay with their old aunt Ida in an isolated village called Byers Guerdon. What starts as an unpleasant visit grows more dark and dangerous as they learn about the horrifying evil that controls the area. With two local boys they work to uncover the truth and save the village.
Ashes by Ilsa Bick
This trilogy opens with an electromagnetic pulse that surges through the world destroying all electronics, wiping out computers everywhere and killing countless people. Alex survived because she was in the woods saying goodbye to her dead parents. Now she has joined up with a young soldier and a girl whose grandfather was killed in the EMP. As this group moves through the world they need to decide who to figure out how to live through the wreckage and a big part of that is deciding who to trust and who might not be human anymore.
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Cas Lockwood is in the family business, but it's not like other families. He hunts and kills ghosts, just like his father did before being burtally murdered by one of the ghosts he hunted. Now he travels with his mother who is a witch and their cat who senses spirits as they seek out dangerous ghosts that need vanquishing. But when he finds Anna Dressed in Blood, the ghost of a young girl murdered brutally in the 50s, she is not like other kills. She is a brutal, rage-filled ghost who has killed every person to enter the Victorian home she haunts. But angry as she is, and with the curses on her, she doesn't kill Cas. This intensely creepy ghost story is followed by a sequel Girl of Nightmares.
The Diviners by Libbay Bray
1920s New York has never been so dark as in this book. Evie O'Neill is excited to be moving to the big city if only she didn't have to live with her Uncle Will who is obssessed with the occult. But she's not worried for the reasons most kids would be, she's worried he will discover that she has supernatural powers. Of course in the big city there are lots of opportunities for a girl with special gifts to be useful, such as when she joins the police in searching for a serial killer who brands his victims. This case leads to others and soon it is clear that the city is filled with dark stories and Evie is the one who can help discover the mystical horror, ghosts and demons hiding under the surface of the glittering city. If you love this one, look for Lair of Dreams, the second book in this series which will come out in July 2015.
Nightschool by Svetlana Chmakova
Nightschool is where vampires, werewolves and witches learn. Alex, a young witch has always been homeschooled but it looks like that is all going to change. As dark forces gather, she is drawn to the nightschool where she will learn how to cast spells and how to fight the evil forces in the world. This is the first in a series of four suspenseful english-language manga.
Servants of the Storm by Delilah Dawson
Hurricane Josephine sweeps through Savannah, Georgia ravaging the city and taking the life of young Carly Rae. For a year after watching Carly ripped from the attic where they were hiding and drowned under the roiling brown river of destruction, her best friend Dovey walks around in a medicated haze. Until one day when Dovey stops taking her pills and starts seeing the what is really going on in the city. And it isn't pretty. This is a horror of gothic proportiosn centered on the demons that control all of the city and feed off the misery and hopelessness of the residents. Dovey, her friend Baker and a mysterious ally named isaac work together to learn the truth about these demons and fight to save Carly's soul and the rest of the city while they are at it.
Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
Kennedy Waters didn't believe in ghosts. Until her mother is killed and identical twins Jared and Lukas tell her that her mother was part of an ancient society that protects the world from vengeful demons. Kennedy, already under attack, is forced to take her mother's place along-side two other teens, Priest and Alara, to discover the truth about the demons chasing them, find the weapon that will destroy them and battle the evil spirits. This urban fantasy story has all the suspense and paranormal activity of most horror with a fair dose of romance thrown in as well. The second book in the series Unmarked came out Fall 2014.
The Enemy by Charlie Higson
London, with its old buildings and foggy weather is a good place for a creepy book, like this one filled with zombies. A massive disease has left everyone 16 or older either dead or undead. A group of teens living in a supermarket are coming down the wire when a mysterious visitors offers them sanctuary at Buckingham Palace. Their journey across London to the palace is perilous, but when they arrive they realize the struggle has just begun. This is the first in a series that continues with The Dead, The Fear and others.
Locke & Key by Joe Hill
Most horror is about a particular character - either a hero or an anti-hero working with or against the forces of evil. But in this series of 6 comics, the main character is a New England mansion called Keyhouse that changes anyone who walks through its doors. This mansion also houses a brutal, angry monster on a quest to unleash even greater horrors. Prepare for menace and suspense.
Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino
Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu guard the secrets of Cross Academy - ordinary school by day, vampire school by night. Yuki was adopted by Cross Academy's headmaster 10 years ago after she was saved from a vampire attack, but she has no memory of her life before then. Her unique past makes her believe that vampires and human beings can coexist peacefully, but others disagree. With nearly 20 books in this manga series, you will have plenty of time to explore the complicated relationship between Yuki and Zero and the other vampires.
Carrie by Stephen King
Stephen King is a master of horror and in his first novel he wrote about an unpopular teen girl who exacts gory revenge on her classmates. Carrie has the gift of telekinesis - she can move things with her mind - and she uses this gift to terrorize her classmates at the senior prom. This classic horror book is seriously creepy and there's a reason it's been made into a movie more than once.
The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
The epic zombie franchise that is The Walking Dead includs over 20 comics. The story revolves around police officer Rick Grimes who wakes up after a month in a coma following a shooting to find that zombies have taken over the world. Grimes sts out for Atlanta with the hope of finding his family alive and safe. But along the way he encounters no small number of horrors. If you like the TV show you ought to check out these comics.
Scowler by Daniel Kraus
What would you do if your father were a monster? If you are Ry Burke, you use what you learned from him to defend yourself and your family from a controlling, savage homicidal man who comes to the world with a meteorite from another world. Using his childhood protectors, Mr. Furrington, Jesus and Scowler, Ry seeks to protect his mother and little sister on their family farm from this terrifying man in the most horrifying book of the year.
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Jazz isn't like other teens. He is likable enough, but his family history is, shall we say, unusual. His father was an infamous serial killer and used to take Jazz to the scenes of his crimes until he was caught. His father has been locked up for years, but there is another serial killer in town. Jazz decides to work with the police to catch this new serial killer. But is he really just trying to establish his good reputation separate from his dad, or does he have more in common with his father than he can let anyone know? For Jazz, the struggle between good and evil is deeply personal. This is the first in a trilogy that continues with The Gameand Blood of My Blood.
Hold Me Closer Necromancer by Lish McBride
Dropping out of college and working fast food is not a glamorous life, but Sam definitely prefers that to what he discovers is his real future: work raising the dead. Sam's powers are not obvious and it is only when another necromancer, Douglas, takes note of Sam and decides he wants to work together that he has to confront the world of satyrs, werewolves and other fantastic and horrifying beings that will help him figure out what he's going to do. Violent and clever, this book is followed by Necromancing The Stone.
Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves
Texas sisters Kit and Fancy Cordelle are learning to take after their father, Bonesaw Killer. They have a killing instinct and what begins with slicing and stitching escalates to a full scale murder spree. When they discover a door to another world, the possibilities for killing expand infinitely. Usually outsiders, they bring two others with them Ilan and Gabriel, the sons of one of their father's victims. WIth an quirky sense of humor and a truly weird and dark cast of characters, this horror story is not like others you have read.
Asylum by Madeleine Roux
What if you got accepted to a prestigious summer program for gifted students only to discover that you would be staying in a crumbling building that used to be a psychiatric hospital? That's what happens to Dan Crawford who, along with friends Abby and Jordan, begins to explore the creepy building discovering dangerous secrets about the asylum along the way. Dark, atmospheric horror accompanied by photographs from real asylums make this a really suspenseful read. And good news, it's the first book in a series. The second Sanctum came out in 2014.
Vampire Loves by Joann Sfar
This graphic novel is semi-sweet, semi-philosophical and revolves around the star of Sfar's Little Vampire books, Ferdinand. But unlike his books for younger readers, in this story Ferdinand is an adult and a romantic who is on a quest to find love. He looks in a mansion, bars, the forest and finds humanoids, a tree-being and others. It is definitely not your average vampire story.
Zom-B by Darren Shan
Set in the UK with an 11-year-old hero named B, this series begins with a zombie attack on B's school. But B is not your usual good-guy. He is a bully at school with a history of fighting, drinking, and some serious racism coming from his father. Between the intense zombie invasion (look for two violent surprises toward the end of the book) and the social commentary about what it means to be an outsider, this book is likely to hook you on the whole series. There are going to be 12 books in all and as of October 2014 9 of them are already out.
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
If you like your horror a little on the literary side you might enjoy this series by Laini Taylor. It is a little softer than some of the books on this list, but thereare definitely monsters - specifically chimaera, beings mixed from multiple animals. And there are violent battles between the chimaera and angels that start with black handprints burned into the doors of mystical portals between worlds. But there is also an ambiguous relationship between Karou, a blue-haired Prague art student and the unearthly beautiful, fire-eyed Akiva. Prague is a creepy and romantic setting for a book built around disembodied teeth, winged creatures, and celestial warfare. The first in a trilogy that concludes with Dreams of Gods and Monsters which just came out in 2014.
The Glass Casket by McCormick Templeman
Rowan Rose's life changes when her cousin is brutally murdered. Some way it was a wolf that attacked her but others say it was witches or goblins. A split in the village between those who believe in the dark forces and those looking for a rational explanation for the evil going on around them intensifies as one violent death leads to others. Through the twisting plot, Rowan, her cousin Fiona, Tom and his brother Jude are determined to understand what is happening as well as to find a way through their relationships, familiar, friendly and romantic. This book is built on folklore, but it's more Grimm's than Disney so expect some serious darkness with the magic.
Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
Some monsters have been around a while as is evident in this series set in 1888 New England. Will Henry apprentices for Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a monster-hunter. Together they discover an Anthropophagus, an extinct monster that feeds on humans. Or is it extinct? Will and Dr. Warthrop pursue these monsters in an effort to eradicate them from the earth in what is a gory hunt. This book is filled with detail and ornate language which is a nice contrast to all the mayhem in the story. If you like this combination look for the rest of the series which continues with The Curse of the Wendigo.
More authors of horror books
Claudia Gray | Stephenie Meyer | Cassandra Clare | P.C. Cast | Melissa De La Cruz | Cynthia Leitich Smith | Beth Fantaskey | Neil Gaiman | Dean Koontz |