15 Horror Books That Will Give You & Your Book Club Major Nightmares

If the sudden popularity of murder-mystery novels has your book club selection feeling a little stale, check out these 15 horror novels to introduce your book club to the scary genre. No matter if you like books with lots of terror, gore, or even a little bit of magic, this list has just what you need to bring a spooky read to your book club's discussion table.

Some book clubs only tackle horror novels in September and October, when pumpkins and witchery are in the air. Scary books have a place on your nightstand year-round, however, and you might even find it more enjoyable to read a horror novel when you aren't inundated with scary movies and TV shows. After all, who wants to have creeps and crawlies popping out at every corner?

The good news, of course, is that once you get your book club reading horror novels, you can make your selections increasingly terrifying as the months roll on. So if you're a horror-novel buff who really wants to enjoy reading and discussing scary stories with a group, the books on the list below can help you ease your friends into the genre.

Check out the 15 horror novels that I think are perfect for book-club reading below, and share your favorite suggestions with me on Twitter!

'The Silent Companions' by Laura Purcell

Elsie is a pregnant newlywed when her husband dies, and she finds herself living with his strange cousin in the family estate, where no one else seems to like her. But inside the estate is a locked room that contains a 200-year-old diary and a life-size wooden figure, known as a Silent Companion, that looks eerily like Elsie.

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'The Grip of It' by Jac Jemc

In need of a clean slate, James and Julie move away from the city, to a house situated between a forest and the ocean. As they try to relax into small-town life, the house begins to change before them, leaving mysterious bruises on Julie's flesh that correspond exactly to the moving stains on the walls...

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'Lovecraft Country' by Matt Ruff

Set in 1954, Lovecraft Country follows Atticus Turner, a 22-year-old veteran, as he travels from Chicago to New England in search of his missing father. But Montrose Turner has gone to the home of the Braithwaites, cultists whose ancestors owned Atticus' great-grandmother during the century before, and even though he's the one in chains, the person they really want... is Atticus.

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'Ring' by Koji Suzuki

The novel on which the horror movie franchises were based, Ring centers on Asakawa, a journalist whose niece has just died with a string of other young people, all of whom suffered from sudden heart failure. Believing that their deaths are somehow connected to a mysterious VHS tape, Asakawa chases leads from Tokyo to the countryside, but is he prepared to learn the truth of the story he pursues?

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'Fledgling' by Octavia E. Butler

Shori can't remember who she is or what her life was like before she woke up injured in a cave. She looks to be about 10 or 11 years old, but Shori is much older, decades older, in fact. She's not even a human, but she can help them, if only they help her first.

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'Zone One' by Colson Whitehead

In the wake of a catastrophic illness that left the infected unable to re-assimilate, humanity begins a coordinated effort to reclaim Manhattan, clearing it of the sick skels and stragglers. Mark Spitz is part of the cleanup project, and he's doing OK, all things considered. Then, somehow, things go wrong once more.

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'Parasite Eve' by Hideaki Sena

After a woman dies in a car crash, her scientifically minded husband fixates on the idea that he can bring her back. Toshiaki Nagashima keeps a sample of his dead wife's liver in his laboratory, and when the excised cells begin to replicate, the tissue sets the scene for a new life: Eve.

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'White Is for Witching' by Helen Oyeyemi

After Lily Silver's death leaves a void in her family home, it responds with new levels of strangeness. The trees in the garden bear fruit in winter, and Lily's teenage daughter Miranda's cravings for the taste of chalk intensify. When the spirits of the house finally come for Miranda, nothing will ever be the same.

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'The Orange Eats Creeps' by Grace Krilanovich

Set in the Pacific Northwest of the grunge era, The Orange Eats Creeps follows a drug-using clairvoyant who sets out in search of her missing sister along a treacherous "Highway That Eats People," and who is herself pursued by an evil entity known as Dactyl.

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'My Soul to Keep' by Tananarive Due

The first novel in Tananarive Due's African Immortals series centers on Jessica, a mother who learns that her husband David is a member of an Ethiopian family who can never die. His sect has summoned him back home from Miami, but David has a plan to bring Jessica and their daughter into the fold.

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'In a Dark, Dark Wood' by Ruth Ware

This 2015 debut novel from The Woman in Cabin 10 author Ruth Ware centers on Nora, drawn out of her shell for a getaway in the country to celebrate an old friend's upcoming nuptials. After she wakes up in the hospital with no memory of what has taken place, Nora must revisit the events of that fateful trip in order to uncover the truth.

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'The Devil in Silver' by Victor LaValle

Accused of a crime he cannot remember committing and relegated to a mental hospital, Pepper is terrorized on his first, institutionalized night by a devil with the body of a man and the head of a bison. With fellow inmates Dorry, Coffee, and Loochie, Pepper sets out to rid the hospital of its most dangerous resident.

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'The Girl With All the Gifts' by M.R. Carey

Melanie is a smart, funny, and loving little girl, so why does the sergeant who escorts her to school keep a gun trained on her until she has been secured in her wheelchair? And why does she go to sleep each night in a cell, instead of a room? What makes Melanie dangerous may be the very thing that saves humanity, but everything comes at a hefty price.

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'In the Woods' by Tana French

Twenty years after he was found with bloody sneakers and a severe case of amnesia, the Dublin Murder Squad's Rob Ryan finds himself working the case of a 12-year-old girl whose murder in the forest echoes the crime he survived all those years ago.

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'The Shining' by Stephen King

This classic horror novel from Stephen King follows the Torrances — Jack, Wendy, and Danny — as they move to care for a resort during the off-season, when snows block the roads in and out, and where Jack hopes to revive his writing career. But the Overlook Hotel has plans for Jack and Danny, both of whom contain a spark, a shining, that the resort's old ghosts crave.

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