Can't wait for the new It movie to hit theaters this fall? Help the time go by a little bit faster by reading these books that will scare you senseless all summer long. Stephen King may be the Master of Horror, but that doesn't mean he is the only one out there who knows how to tell a terrifying tale.
Not everyone likes scary stories, but for those people who do, nothing beats a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat, can barely turn the page kind of read. Whether it's a suspenseful murder mystery, a tense gothic horror, or a creepy psychological thriller, a scary book not only entertains, but it shocks and excites in all the right ways. Not for the weak of heart or stomach, reading one is a full-on visceral experience that leaves your heart racing, palms sweating, and hairs standing on edge.
Luckily for those who can live up to the challenge, there are plenty of books in 2017 that can do all that and more.
Are you ready to spend all summer scared silly? Then check out these 13 new books that will terrify you more than any campfire story. But be warned: you may need to sleep with the lights on after reading them.
1'The Marsh King's Daughter' by Karen Dionne
Helena thought she had a happy childhood, secluded in the woods with her father — that is, until she learned she was the product of the kidnapping, rape, and imprisonment of her mother. When, a husband, two children, a successful business, and over 20 years later, Helena learns her father has escaped prison, she knows there is only one person who can find him hidden in the wilderness: her. An intensely emotional thriller, The Marsh King's Daughter is the kind of novel you won't want to read after dark.
2'Gwendy's Button Box' by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar
Can you really have a horror round-up list without mentioning Stephen King? In this creepy novella co-written by Richard Chizmar, readers return to the infamous town of Castle Rock, where one young girl treads the dangerous line between good and evil, light and darkness, as she learns the dangerous balance of power and responsibility. A short but ultimately eerie book filled with mysterious characters, disturbing nightmares, and one powerful, potentially evil, button box you will want to try out yourself, Gwendy's Button Box will remind you that horror comes in all different shapes and sizes.
3'The Changeling' by Victor Lavalle
Is there anything scarier than losing your family? In Victor Lavalle's dark, twisted fairy tale, one man goes on a harrowing journey into the unknown to track down his wife and young child who vanished in a unspeakable act of violence. Along the way, Victor must not only face witches, trolls, and changelings, but a past he has struggled so desperately to leave behind. A hair-raising fable about parenthood that takes readers to another hellish world and back, it will leave you shaken.
4'Black Mad Wheel' by Josh Malerman
Journey to the heart of the African desert in search of the most eerie sound in the world, and quite possibly, the most disturbing conspiracy in Josh Malerman's Black Mad Wheel. In this literary horror novel, a burnt out band and are tapped by the U.S. government to find the source of a evil sound on one side of the world, and on the other, a nurse tries to uncover the truth behind a patient's near-fatal accident and his remarkably speedy recovery. What ties these two stories together? A tale of horror you'll have to read to believe.
5'The River at Night' by Erica Ferencik
The wilderness can be a scary place, but the people you meet in it can be even scarier. At least, that's what one group of friends find out in The River at Night, a spine-tingling thriller about a white water rafting accident that leads four women to seek help and shelter from a dilapidated camp on the mountainside. The only problem is, their saviors just very well be more dangerous than the woods they were running from.
6'Universal Harvester' by John Darnielle
Small town live in Nevada, Iowa can be pretty boring — that is, until mysterious and disturbing footage starts showing up on the video tapes at the local rental store. When Jeremy, an employee of store, decides to investigate matters on his own, he begins to see his quaint, peaceful hometown in a whole new dark and sinister light. Dark, twisty, and utterly unnerving, Universal Harvester will chill you to the bone.
7'The White Road' by Sarah Lotz
Bundle up, because Sarah Lotz's thriller about an adrenaline junkie seeking fame in the snow capped mountain peaks of Everest will leave you frozen in fear. In The White Road, Simon Newman attempts to salvage his career by filming and posting footage of his journey to the Cwm Pot caves, an off-limits area with a tragic history. After a successful trip with the help of a less-than-stable guide, Simon decides to build on his success and plan another trip, this time, to Everest. But above the treeline and trapped in the Death Zone, danger is lurking around every corner as Simon is threatened by more than just the elements of nature. A terrifying tale of unparalleled danger, both physical and mental, The White Road will keep you guessing (and scared) until the very end.
8'Fever Dream' by Samantha Schweblin
Translated into English for the first time, Samanta Schweblin's strange and electrifying novel Fever Dream brings horrible nightmares to life. In it, a woman lays dying in a hospital bed next to a son who is not hers, but who is desperately trying to get her to remember how she got there and what happened to the child she did have. Expertly paced, flawlessly structured, and exquisitely written, The Fever Dream is an unsettling book that will stay with you long after you've finished the short read.
9'The Silent Corner' by Dean Koontz
Though he is better known for his action thrillers, Dean Koontz gives readers a serious scare with the first novel in his latest series, The Silent Corner. In it, widow Jane Hawk struggles to find out the truth about her husband's eerie suicide, a tragedy that appeared out of the blue and left only one clue: a note claiming, "I very much needed to die." When her investigation reveals her husband was far from the only wealthy, successful, and powerful person to turn up dead from suicide, Jane's future — and life — is threatened, unless she can get to the bottom of what is really going on. A terrifying novel filled with suspense and terror, The Silent Corner will leave you with goosebumps, but more importantly, it will leave you wanting more.
10'Ill Will' by Dan Chaon
One of the year's most talked about crime novels, Dan Chaon's Ill Will is a must-read for anyone looking for a summer scare. In it, suburban psychologist Dustin is sleepwalking through his adult life in a daze — that is, until he learns that the adoptive brother he helped but in jain 30 years ago is being released after new evidence helped overturn his conviction. As if he doesn't have enough on his plate, on of Dustin's patients convinces him there is a serial killer in their midst, and the two embark on a dangerous, paranoia-fueled journey to uncover the truth. Creepy to the core, Ill Will is a marvelous work of suspense that will leave you sleeping with the lights on.
11'Mapping the Interior' by Stephen Graham Jones (June 20)
In Mapping the Interior, Blackfoot author Stephen Graham combines family conflict, Native American culture, and good-old-fashioned horror to create a rich and disturbing ghost story. In it, a young boy explores the depths of his house after seeing someone — possibly his long lost dead father — step through the front door. But like with any ghost story, things are never quite what they seem, and soon enough, the young man finds there's more darkness and danger lurking at home than he could have ever imagined.
12'Final Girls' by Riley Sager (July 11)
We all know what happens to the victims in horror stories, but what about the survivors? In The Final Girls, Quincy — who was the only one of her friends to live through a tragic and deadly event that claimed four lives — reluctantly finds herself part of a group of survivors known as the Final Girls, the only living victims of several horrific crimes. Although she tries to distance herself from the group and her own heartbreaking past, Quincy is sucked back into the danger, suspense, and deadly violence when one of the other survivors turns up dead, and a third insists on recruiting Quincy to help uncover the truth. Hailed by Stephen King himself as the "first great thriller of 2017," The Final Girls is a twisty horror novel that will keep you perched, terrified, at the edge of your seat until the very last page.
13'Fierce Kingdom' by Gin Phillips (July 11)
In Fierce Kingdom, a mother and son's perfect day out goes from idyllic to deadly when they hear shots fired outside of the zoo. Over the course of the next three breathlessly terrifying hours, they must race, hide, and ultimately fight for a chance to survive. A hair raising novel about the powers of maternal love, Fierce Kingdom will make the zoo seem like the scariest place in the world.