The best horror books about dread-inducing homes

Who am I?

I grew up in a house filled with books as a son of educated, well-read parents. My mother was an English/French/Spanish teacher, and my father was an encyclopedia editor. Among all the books in our downstairs, there was a custom-built coffin bookcase my father kept stocked with his favorite horror novels. He died when I was eleven and in an effort to get to know him better, I started reading the books in that coffin. I was very quickly turned into a horror fan, and a few years later started writing horror stories myself. Every time I start writing another horror story, I know I’m my father’s son.


I wrote...

Dead End

By Chris DiLeo,

Book cover of Dead End

What is my book about?

The Exorcist meets Pet Sematary on a dead end road where Mike Munacy uncovers the terrible truths his parents have kept hidden from him his entire life. Was his father’s death really a suicide? How were his parents connected to the death of a child years earlier? What secrets are the neighbors not sharing? And why is Mike’s fiancee acting bizarrely and sleepwalking into the woods? Mike must uncover the truths, confront the past, and take unthinkable action to save his fiancee and himself. Mike is about to learn that home can be a place of death…and death can be welcome.

The books I picked & why

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A Head Full of Ghosts

By Paul Tremblay,

Book cover of A Head Full of Ghosts

Why this book?

I still recall quite vividly how reading this book made my skin prickle with gooseflesh. Tremblay does a masterful job conveying a tale of possession through a varied narrative approach that overtly wears its horror influences on its sleeves. The exorcism sequence is so damn unnerving, it continues to haunt me when the hour is late and I’m home alone.

A Head Full of Ghosts

By Paul Tremblay,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked A Head Full of Ghosts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The lives of the Barretts, a suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. To her parents' despair, the doctors are unable to halt Marjorie's descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show.Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie's younger sister, Merry. As she recalls the terrifying events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets…


Lost Boy, Lost Girl

By Peter Straub,

Book cover of Lost Boy, Lost Girl

Why this book?

Straub is a master, but this title is often overlooked. It’s compact, completely engaging, and features some of the best dread-inducing moments I’ve ever read in a horror novel. His writing is a masterclass in dread, and as a writer I return to it often. Much as Tremblay uses the gimmick of reality TV in A Head Full of Ghosts to horrifying effect, Straub employs email in a creepy and sinister fashion.    

Lost Boy, Lost Girl

By Peter Straub,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lost Boy, Lost Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A woman commits suicide for no apparent reason. A week later, her son—beautiful, troubled fifteen-year-old Mark Underhill—vanishes from the face of the earth. To his uncle, horror novelist Timothy Underhill, Mark’s inexplicable absence feels like a second death. After his sister-in-law’s funeral, Tim searches his hometown of Millhaven for clues that might help him unravel this mystery of death and disappearance. He soon learns that a pedophilic murderer is on the loose in the vicinity, and that shortly before his mother’s suicide Mark had become obsessed with an abandoned house where he imagined the killer might have taken refuge. No…


The Ridge

By Michael Koryta,

Book cover of The Ridge

Why this book?

Not a dread-inducing house this time but a lighthouse—in the middle of the woods. This book is so original in its elements—a haunted lighthouse, a sheriff in love with the woman who shot him, and a big-cat sanctuary—that it is completely awe-inspiring how Koryta is able to weave together a complex, creepy ghost narrative. Koryta (and his pseudonym, Scott Carson) is always a guaranteed purchase when a new book publishes.

The Ridge

By Michael Koryta,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ridge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover a brilliant thriller set in a remote big-cat sanctuary: "one of the scariest and most touching horror tales in years" (James Patterson).

In an isolated stretch of eastern Kentucky, on a hilltop known as Blade Ridge, stands a lighthouse that illuminates nothing but the surrounding woods. For years the lighthouse has been considered no more than an eccentric local landmark -- until its builder is found dead at the top of the light, and his belongings reveal a troubling local history.

For deputy sheriff Kevin Kimble, the lighthouse-keeper's death is disturbing and personal. Years ago, Kimble was shot while…


NOS4A2

By Joe Hill,

Book cover of NOS4A2

Why this book?

This is, hands down, one of the coolest books I’ve ever read. Here’s how it was described when it appeared on The New York Times Bestseller List: “In a creepy battle between real and imaginary worlds, a brave biker chick is pitted against a ghoulish villain who lures children to a place where it is always Christmas.” The creepy house in this one is known as Sleigh House, as in Slay House, where terrible things happen. You’ll never think of Christmas, or your imagination, quite the same way again.

NOS4A2

By Joe Hill,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked NOS4A2 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Summer. Massachusetts.

An old Silver Wraith with a frightening history. A story about one serial killer and his lingering, unfinished business.

Anyone could be next.

We're going to Christmasland ...

NOS4R2 is an old-fashioned horror novel in the best sense. Claustrophobic, gripping and terrifying, this is a story that will have you on the edge of the seat while you read, and leaving the lights on while you sleep. With the horrific tale of Charles Manx and his Silver Wraith, Joe Hill has established himself as the premiere horror and supernatural thriller writer of his generation.


Bag of Bones

By Stephen King,

Book cover of Bag of Bones

Why this book?

A widowed writer in a haunted lake house in Maine. It’s so utterly Stephen King it might sound like a cliche. Even so, I love this book. I first read it when it was published in September 1999 and I was a senior in high school. I bought it with my own money and carried it around with me like it was a holy text. In some ways it was—it fueled my fire to become a writer myself and for that reason, if not for all the creepiness and dread throughout, this book will always be very special to me.  

Bag of Bones

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bag of Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Mike Noonan's wife dies unexpectedly, the bestselling author suffers from writer's block. Until he is drawn to his summer home, the beautiful lakeside retreat called Sara Laughs.

Here Mike finds the once familiar town in the tyrannical grip of millionaire Max Devore. Devore is hell-bent on getting custody of his deceased son's daughter and is twisting the fabric of the community to this purpose.

Three year old Kyra and her young mother turn to Mike for help. And Mike finds them increasingly irresistible.

But there are other more sinister forces at Sara Laughs - and Kyra can feel them…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in suicide, paranoia, and Kentucky?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about suicide, paranoia, and Kentucky.

Suicide Explore 107 books about suicide
Paranoia Explore 27 books about paranoia
Kentucky Explore 45 books about Kentucky

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