The best books about evil houses

Who am I?

I’ve been a fan of horror books since I was old enough to read, and one of my favorite subgenres has always been the haunted/evil house. Ghosts, demons, unnamed forces – I love it. One of the first books I ever wrote was about a demonic carnival, and I’ve returned to the theme of the haunted/evil house or place many times in both my long and short fiction. Even in real life, I have a fascination for visiting so-called haunted places: abandoned asylums, murder houses, etc. So it’s no surprise that I’d create a list of my favorite evil house books. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

I wrote...

The Wakening

By JG Faherty,

Book cover of The Wakening

What is my book about?

I wrote The Wakening based on a story I heard from an actual Catholic church exorcist when I was in college. Decades later, it gave me the idea for combining three of my favorite horror subgenres: Possession, Exorcism, and Haunted Houses. In The Wakening, a group of paranormal investigators must join forces with a retired exorcist and a defrocked priest to rid a house of poltergeists and cast a demon out from a young girl. But all of these people have dark secrets in their pasts that link them to the demon, secrets which they’re only now discovering. Only it might be too late to save their souls and prevent the demon from escaping Hell.

The books I picked & why

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The Haunting of Hill House

By Shirley Jackson,

Book cover of The Haunting of Hill House

Why this book?

No list about terrifying houses would be complete without this book. Although it’s not the first novel ever written about a haunted house, it’s probably the best known, and it set the bar for all haunted house novels to come. It was the first haunted house book I ever read, back when I was just a boy, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I didn’t want to turn the lights off when I was finished! A group of people spends the night in Hill House to see if it’s haunted. And, of course, it is. Not only do ghosts roam the halls, but the house itself is evil. Jackson tells us that Hill House is insane, that it is a place without love or hope, that it is unlivable. And she backs all of that up with scenes that leave you afraid of every creaking floorboard or wall in your own home.

The Shining

By Stephen King,

Book cover of The Shining

Why this book?

Although not technically a house, the Overlook Hotel has to be one of the most terrifying places to live ever imagined and put on paper. This book has so many iconic characters: Lloyd the bartender, the evil twins, the woman in the bathtub in Room 217. And the hotel itself, which is as much a character as any of the others. Like several books on this list, the Overlook is both haunted and evil in and of itself. It gets into Jack’s head, drives him insane. It is always hungry for more souls, and glad to terrify you before it captures you for good. For the best experience, be sure to read this one on a cold, stormy winter night!

Angel Manor

By Chantal Noordeloos,

Book cover of Angel Manor

Why this book?

Although this book is only a few years old, it should be considered a classic in the genre of evil houses. A young woman inherits her mother’s childhood home and decides to convert it into a hotel. Only the place comes with some surprises: ghosts, demons, and an ancient evil that has been locked away in the dark basement. Now that evil is loose again, and the bloodshed and death are just beginning. Author Chantal Noordeloos doesn’t hold back with the frights or the blood, as person after person suffers a horrible death while poor Freya discovers her true destiny is not what she planned, and that the place they call Lucifer Falls might never let her go. 

Hell House

By Richard Matheson,

Book cover of Hell House

Why this book?

Stephen King once called Hell House the scariest haunted house novel ever written. And it would be hard for me to disagree. The Belasco House, much like Shirley Jackson’s Hill House, is a place of pure evil. Abandoned for decades after a series of terrible incidents, it’s now being opened again so that a group of scientists and mediums can spend the night in order to conduct experiments and prove that life after death really exists. Of course, it does, and in Hell House that means the kinds of things you never should wake up. 

Burnt Offerings

By Robert Marasco, Stephen Graham Jones,

Book cover of Burnt Offerings

Why this book?

This book isn’t nearly as well known as the others except to real aficionados of the genre. But it’s one of the scariest evil house novels ever written, in part because of the surprising twist at the end. A young couple decides to get out of the city for the summer and rent a house in upstate New York. Right away, there’s something odd: an elderly woman lives in the house, and she stays locked in her room all the time. As the days go by, it becomes obvious that something weird and terrifying is happening in the house, and there’s a reason the couple got it for such a cheap price. And by the time they discover the truth, it might be too late.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in haunted houses, ghosts, and ghost story?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about haunted houses, ghosts, and ghost story.

Haunted Houses Explore 31 books about haunted houses
Ghosts Explore 95 books about ghosts
Ghost Story Explore 78 books about ghost story

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like A Sudden Light, The Turn of the Screw and Other Stories, and Priory if you like this list.