If you're prepared to sleep with the lights on and the covers pulled up tight, you're in luck, because I've picked out 13
essential haunted house novels for your horror-reading pleasure. These books will make you think twice about every creak and groan in your home, and you're going to love every minute of that delicious, spookiness.
Haunted house stories have been around for a really long time. Horror lovers have had the pleasure of reading their sensational antics for centuries, ever since
gothic writers like Horace Walpole and Ann Radcliffe wrote them into their stories. The tradition of sticking ghosts and demons into the walls of fictional houses lives on today, and horror fiction remains just as popular now as it ever was.
Each of the 13 novels I've picked out for you below puts its own spin on the
haunted house story. Was the house the site of a grisly murder, or built on desecrated ground? Did the spirits come in with the new family, or were they always there, waiting for victims to claim? You'll have to read them to find out what's the source of the haunting — and if it can be beaten: 'Within These Walls' by Ania Ahlborn
A crime writer seizes upon the opportunity to interview a murderous cult leader who lured in runaway girls, but is forced to perform an independent investigation when the villain backs out of their agreement. Alone in the house where the cult participated in a murder-suicide, the writer begins to realize that the evil may not have left the premises when the cult departed.
Click here to buy. 'The Haunted' by Danielle Vega
In this YA novel from
Survive the Night author Danielle Vega, teenage heroine Hendricks moves to a new town, only to find that the year she had planned to spend moving quietly under the radar will actually be spent living in a house riddled with ghosts. Click here to buy. 'The Invited' by Jennifer McMahon
Suburban educators Helen and Nate think they're living the dream when they purchase 44 acres in the country, on which they plan to build the house they've always wanted. As Helen begins to gather the materials necessary to build their home, she finds herself becoming increasingly interested in the suspicious deaths that have occurred on the property.
Click here to buy. 'The Good House' by Tananarive Due
Two years after her son died in her grandmother's home, Angela Toussaint returns to the Sacajawea, Washington residence, known as "the Good House," to find out whether an ancient evil lives on within its walls.
Click here to buy. 'The Haunting of Hill House' by Shirley Jackson
A young man set to inherit a supposedly haunted house journeys inside, accompanied by an occult researcher and his two assistants, to investigate whether or not his future property is actually the home of ghosts and ghouls. Although they expect to come into contact with the unknown, the four visitors never suspect that Hill House will attempt to hold one of them forever.
Click here to buy. 'White Is for Witching' by Helen Oyeyemi
After losing her mother, 16-year-old Miranda Silver becomes the next target of a family curse in this literary haunted-house novel from
Gingerbread author Helen Oyeyemi. As her childhood eating disorder becomes more and more consuming, Miranda drifts away from her family, until she disappears entirely, leaving her father and brother alone in their family home. Click here to buy. 'The Silent Companions' by Laura Purcell
Recently widowed and heavily pregnant, Elsie travels to her husband's family estate, accompanied by his cousin, Sarah. Once there, the two women find themselves face-to-face with eerie, wooden cutouts, painted to look like living people — one of which bears a close resemblance to Elsie herself.
Click here to buy. 'The Graveyard Apartment' by Mariko Koike
Misao and her husband believe they've found a great deal, in the form of a spacious, low-rent apartment in a high-rise building. After moving in with their daughter and pets, however, the couple realize that living in a building surrounded by a graveyard may have its downsides....
Click here to buy. 'The Little Stranger' by Sarah Waters
In the mid-20th century, a country doctor travels to a once-grand estate to treat a sick housemaid. The widowed owner and her children are pleasant enough, but Hundreds Hall is haunted by the ghosts of its past, and the doctor soon finds himself bound up in the fate of the estate.
Click here to buy. 'Beloved' by Toni Morrison
Nearly 20 years after she escaped bondage, Sethe lives in a house haunted by the vengeful spirit of her daughter, whom she killed to save her from the horrors of slavery.
Click here to buy. 'The House Next Door' by Anne Rivers Siddons
A quiet and unsuspecting neighborhood is upended in this novel from the late Anne Rivers Siddons. After construction on a new home shreds the peace and quiet of their little corner of the world, the 30-something Kennedys discover that everyone who moves into the house changes for the worse.
Click here to buy. 'Haunting Bombay' by Shilpa Agarwal
Orphaned during the Partition of India and Pakistan, and raised in Bombay by her grandmother, 13-year-old Pinky has grown up without the love of her extended family. But when she accidentally frees the ghost of a child who died shortly before she came to live in Bombay, Pinky and her family must come to terms with the skeletons in their closets.
Click here to buy. 'The Grip of It' by Jac Jemc
Looking for a fresh start, a young couple purchase a house on the edge of a forest and leave the city for good. The home they have purchased has lots of hidden storage space — but the rooms and doors aren't always located in the same place as they once were, if they're there at all.
Click here to buy.