The best horror fiction that provide the most fun being scared

Why am I passionate about this?

I wasn’t a fan of reading when I was young. I was a lazy reader. Subjects and genres were always chosen for me during education, until I hunted for my own. I used to write a lot more than reading in early high school. I wrote a horror journal, submitted to my English teacher every week. He told me that my writing was good but advised me that reading the genre could help develop my ideas. Funny, a young teenager couldn’t work that out? So, off I went to the local bookstore and bought my first horror novel. I devoured it within a week. I've been a reader and writer of horror ever since.

I wrote...

Beneath the Ferny Tree

By David Schembri,

Book cover of Beneath the Ferny Tree

What is my book about?

Dig into the cold earth, pull away the damp leaves and burrow deep down to uncover true darkness...

Face the horror of war-torn Germany with Edmund as he fights to rescue his family. Confront the same overwhelming dread as Cody, in the midst of a futuristic prison, is haunted by his past and desperate for a chance at redemption. Discover true monsters aboard a slaver's ship on the high seas and witness a more twisted side to Christmas. Uncover these and other bleak mysteries in Beneath the Ferny Tree.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Misery

David Schembri Why did I love this book?

First one would ask, why read horror? Why do you want to be scared? What makes horror entertaining for me is being scared when I know I’m in a safe place. I read this book before going to bed each night. I would tuck myself in and pop on my bed lamp. Whilst my lovely wife would be reading a fantasy novel or playing Farmville, I would read the terror of Paul Sheldon’s ordeal. He was in bed, terrified, and so was I! Whenever I turned the light off and settled in, I could here the winds outside, and every creak in the house would remind me of Annie Wilkes… wandering the house… You can read and admire this book anywhere. On a plane, library, in the lounge. But, take my word for it, do it the way I did.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the exciting build-up to publication of Stephen King's new mainstream novel, LISEY'S STORY, enjoy this world-famous classic novel on audio.

Book cover of Beware

David Schembri Why did I love this book?

My first horror read. It is dear to me. I picked it up off the shelf. It was neat and small in my hands, so not too overwhelming for someone who didn’t enjoy reading. However, I wanted to give the genre a try as I had been a hobby horror writer for a year or so beforehand. I liked the cover and blurb on the back, which was more of an excerpt, got me walking quickly to the counter to buy it so I could rush home to find out what was going to happen. This book opened the floodgates to the beauty of horror fiction. The excitement of the characters which had inspired my earlier experiments and still provides insights to this day. This is a wild ride, so grab on tight and let it take you as it had taken me.

By Richard Laymon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Using ancient black magic, a dangerous, vindictive maniac is made all-powerful by his ability to become invisible. Raping and murdering his way around the States, he is biding his time before fulfilling his one desire—to get even with the high school belle who rejected him years before.

Book cover of Shadows on the Wall: Dark and Weird Stories

David Schembri Why did I love this book?

I went to the book launch in support of this author and had the pleasure of meeting him in person. I had not known much of his work previously but that has never stopped me from accepting an invitation to attend. I got the book home and made a start and was hooked by his elegant writing style. This is a book of short horror stories, each beautifully crafted, and inspirational as well as enjoyable. Collected works are a hard thing to get right, and Paulsen makes it look easy. 

By Steven Paulsen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shadows on the Wall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this collection, readers will enjoy the very best of Steven Paulsen’s dark and weird tales. Included are stories such as a future where population forces families into terrible choices, the awakening of an eldritch horror in colonial British India, the steaming jungles of Vietnam alongside the spirits of the forest, and more.

Book cover of Cabal

David Schembri Why did I love this book?

A book I’d wanted to read for a long time, but it wasn’t until later in life I was able to get it. When I was just on the early stages of my writing career, my now longtime friend, Marty, said he had a spare copy of Cabal laying around and offered to send it to me. Marty was my writing mentor at the time as he’d been writing horror for many years previous, and his work is inspiring. So, knowing I was getting a book in the mail from my mentor, to whom I hadn’t met in person yet, was very exciting. The book itself was a tired secondhand copy (which I was told it was) yet this gave it more special meaning. Even the cover was a little torn and it was a pocket edition. So, I sat back with this little book, which I still have as a prized possession on my bookshelf, and dove into the frightening and exciting world of Midian. A true delight from start to finish.

By Clive Barker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A fabulous journey through the mind of the master of dark imaginative fiction, Clive Barker.

The nightmare had begun....

Boone knew that there was no place on this earth for him now; no happiness here, not even with Lori. He would let Hell claim him, let Death take him there.

But Death itself seemed to shrink from Boone. No wonder, if he had indeed been the monster who had shattered, violated and shredded so many others' lives.

And Decker had shown him the proof - the hellish photographs where the last victims were forever stilled, splayed in the last obscene…

Book cover of Behind the Midnight Blinds: with Other Devilish Things

David Schembri Why did I love this book?

An emotional and gripping collection of short stories. There is a saying that you should never meet your heroes or mentors, well, in my case it hadn’t become a nightmare, at least not personally. Behind the Midnight Blinds is a strong and perfect collection of dark horror stories. Each enrighed with the vivid imagination of the author. Funny enough, I have an honest relationship with the author, and we are never afraid to tell each other if something works or doesn’t. I walked into this book feeling very neutral, yet apprehensive about finding things I didn’t like, as I would need to point them out. It’s something we do, but if it can be avoided, all the better. Luckily, Marty made it easy for me here. Each tale just sank me deeper into his imagination, no matter how weird or disturbing, and I couldn’t help but think ‘why haven’t I thought of that.’ Read it.

By Marty Young, David Schembri (illustrator), Steve Dillon (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Behind the Midnight Blinds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the introduction by multiple award-winning author Kaaron Warren:

"Marty Young epitomizes the theory that horror writers are amongst the nicest people. He’s done enormous amounts for the Australian horror writing community and continues to do so. He represents a positive figure to me, a person who loves genre and believes in it.

All of this shines through his work. This collection is like a love story to horror, and it demonstrates his skill as an author, his great knowledge of the genre, and his abiding, deep humanity. Marty Young has a heart (and no, it doesn’t belong to that…

You might also like...

What You Do To Me: A Novel

By Rochelle B. Weinstein,

Book cover of What You Do To Me: A Novel

Rochelle B. Weinstein Author Of When We Let Go

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Not only am I the author of seven women’s fiction novels, I’m a voracious reader who believes she was raised by Judy Blume and Sidney Sheldon. In our broken home, reading was an escape, a salve for the wound, a place where I felt heard and understood. My novels touch on deep emotions—real and relatable. If I don’t capture that feeling when I’m reading through my drafts, I dig deeper. And that’s the thing about a great book, that gut punch, that slide under my skin, I get you. There’s no better read than the one that pulls the heartstrings and gives you all the feels.    

Rochelle's book list on tugging on every one of your heartstrings

What is my book about?

What You Do To Me follows Rolling Stone reporter Cecilia James on the hunt to find the muse behind a famous love song, all while managing an estranged relationship with her father and boyfriend Pete.

Inspired by Hey There Deliah, the dual timeline stretches across the sunny beaches of 1970s Miami with star-crossed lovers Eddie and Sara, to the glittery music industry of 1990s LA. For music lovers and fans of that first, unforgettable love, What You Do To Me is the story of a love song with equal parts heart and harmony.

What You Do To Me: A Novel

By Rochelle B. Weinstein,

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of This Is Not How It Ends comes a moving novel of two unfinished love stories and the music and lyrics that bring them together.

Journalist Cecilia James is a sucker for a love song. So when she stumbles across a clue to the identity of the muse for one of rock’s greatest, she devotes herself to uncovering the truth, even as her own relationship is falling apart.

While writing an article for Rolling Stone, Cecilia works to reveal the mystery that has intrigued fans and discovers a classic tale of two soulmates separated by fate and circumstance. Rock…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Canada, black magic, and presidential biography?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Canada, black magic, and presidential biography.

Canada Explore 380 books about Canada
Black Magic Explore 9 books about black magic
Presidential Biography Explore 18 books about presidential biography