The best books that read like B-horror movies

Why am I passionate about this?

My favorite books as a child were the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. This began my love of all things horror (including cheesy, campy B-horror). The movies that people love to hate (and also the books that stir up the same emotions) combine humanity's most basic instincts: fear, lust, and humor. Bringing these three together in perfect union creates a combination I can't get enough of. It's what drives my own writing and my insatiable desire to seek out more stories like this.


I wrote...

The Caverns

By Olen Crowe,

Book cover of The Caverns

What is my book about?

An ancient evil haunts Linston. The townsfolk ignore it; tourist money from the Linston Caverns is their lifeblood, and the only one who speaks the truth is a drunk named Junior. When three friends arrive to town for vacation they find out the caverns are closed for 'renovations.' Curiosity takes over and they sneak into the caverns.

Not everyone leaves alive.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Snow

Olen Crowe Why did I love this book?

It's almost Christmas, and Todd Curry wants to spend it with his son. What more noble goal could one have? After his flight is canceled due to a snowstorm, he rents a Jeep with some other stranded passengers to drive home. This was my first introduction to Malfi's work, and I picked it up at a used bookstore and went into the story blind (snowblind?). It does not disappoint. Between hitchhikers with mysterious wounds and an isolated town with problems much larger than a snowstorm, Todd quickly realizes missing a family Christmas was the least of his worries. If you like the 'poor choices made with good intentions' trope, check this book out.

By Ronald Malfi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Some 'old school' horror storytelling of the highest degree" from the award-winning author of Bone White (Bloody Disgusting).

They come in with the snow. They are the snow . . .

The blizzard begins pummeling the Midwest on Christmas Eve, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Todd Curry doesn't need another reason to disappoint his son, so he joins three other people in renting the last four-wheel drive available and they set out into the blinding snow.

Only two hours into the treacherous trip west, Todd swerves to avoid a man in the middle of the…


Book cover of Earthworm Gods

Olen Crowe Why did I love this book?

"I want to read a book like the 1990s cult classic movie Tremors; hold the (Kevin) Bacon, please." Funny you ask! Earthworm Gods (or its alternate title, Conqueror Worms) will scratch that itch while throwing in some ancient one worship à la Lovecraft. One day it starts to rain, and then the rain never stops. Monstrous earthworms terrorize the townspeople. What happens next? Probably not what you expect. There's enough quirkiness in here to keep it light, so you can chuckle while watching the world go down in flames (or...er...floods); just what you'd expect from a rainy, Saturday night B-horror film.

By Brian Keene,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE CULT CLASSIC RETURNS!!!

One day, it starts raining-and never stops. Global super-storms decimate the planet, eradicating most of mankind. Pockets of survivors gather on mountaintops, watching as the waters climb higher and higher. But as the tides rise, something else is rising, too.

Now, in the midst of an ecological nightmare, the remnants of humanity face a new menace, in a battle that stretches from the rooftops of submerged cities to the mountaintop islands jutting from the sea. What hope does an already-devastated mankind have against this new supernatural adversary.

The old gods are dead. Now is the time…


Book cover of Prey

Olen Crowe Why did I love this book?

Most Masterton recommendations start with The Manitou, which is a good choice, but to really get that 'B-horror in book form' rush, Prey is where to turn. What happens when you throw a recently divorced man and his young son into a haunted house in a quaint, seaside village? Did you guess inter-dimensional monsters? Don't turn out the lights, and don't go into the attic when reading this one.

By Graham Masterton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There's something in the attic of Fortyfoot House.

Something that rustles. Something that scampers and scratches. Something with fur, far more terrifying than a rat.

Recently divorced, David Williams takes a job restoring Fortyfoot House, a dilapidated 19th-century orphanage, hoping to find peace of mind and get to know his young son. But then he hears the scratching noises in the attic. And he sees long-dead people walking across the lawn.

Does Fortyfoot House exist in today, yesterday, or tomorrow – or all three at once? Only one thing is certain – it is a house with a dark secret…


Book cover of The Town

Olen Crowe Why did I love this book?

Fans of Bentley Little won't be surprised to find out this book begins with a family moving from southern California to a small town in Arizona, but, in typical Little fashion, this is more than a small-town horror story. Throw in the author's eccentricities and his proclivity for absolutely insane stories and add a dash of heretical, Eastern Orthodox Christians called Molokans (see, horror novels are also educational), and you have the makings of a fantastic B-horror movie sans jump scares and sound effects. Like many authors on this list, it was hard to narrow Little's novels down to just one, but this was one of my first introductions to Little, and that's why it made the list.

By Bentley Little,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bram Stoker Award-winning horror author Bentley Little proves why you should never go home again in this terrifying novel.

Welcome to McGuane, Arizona. Population: 200...199...198...197...

Gregory Tomasov has returned with his family to the quaint Arizona community of his youth. In McGuane, the air is clean, the land is unspoiled. Nothing much has changed. Except now, no one goes out after dark. And no one told Gregory that he shouldn’t have moved into the old abandoned farm on the edge of town. Once upon a time something bad happened there. Something that’s now buried in its walls. Something now reborn…


Book cover of Blood Games

Olen Crowe Why did I love this book?

This list wouldn't be complete without mentioning Laymon. The 'correct' Laymon recommendation for this list would be every book he has ever written, but alas, there can only be one. This book is full of violence, but it's more than just a slasher. The several flashbacks bring the story back to when the protagonists were in college together and highlight their antics and show how strong their bond is. Blood Games has it all: a group of friends making bad decisions, isolation from the outside world, and a bloodthirsty killer. Turns out, the Totem Pole Lodge's gruesome past bleeds into the present...

By Richard Laymon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

They meet for one week every year, five young women, best friends since college, in search of fun and thrills. Each year they choose a different place for their reunion. This year it's Helen's choice, and she chose the Totem Pole Lodge. Bad choice.

The Totem Pole Lodge is a deserted resort hotel deep in the woods with a gory, shocking past. Helen has a macabre streak and she can't wait to tell her friends all about what happened at the lodge and why it's now abandoned. But Helen and the others are in for a nasty surprise. The resort…


You might also like...

The Hunt for the Peggy C: A World War II Maritime Thriller

By John Winn Miller,

Book cover of The Hunt for the Peggy C: A World War II Maritime Thriller

John Winn Miller

New book alert!

What is my book about?

The Hunt for the Peggy C is best described as Casablanca meets Das Boot. It is about an American smuggler who struggles to rescue a Jewish family on his rusty cargo ship, outraging his mutinous crew of misfits and provoking a hair-raising chase by a brutal Nazi U-boat captain bent on revenge.

During the nerve-wracking 3,000-mile escape, Rogers falls in love with the family’s eldest daughter, Miriam, a sweet medical student with a militant streak. Everything seems hopeless when Jake is badly wounded, and Miriam must prove she’s as tough as her rhetoric to put down a mutiny by some of Jake’s fed-up crew–just as the U-boat closes in for the kill.

The Hunt for the Peggy C: A World War II Maritime Thriller

By John Winn Miller,

What is this book about?

John Winn Miller's THE HUNT FOR THE PEGGY C, a semifinalist in the Clive Cussler Adventure Writers Competition, captures the breathless suspense of early World War II in the North Atlantic. Captain Jake Rogers, experienced in running his tramp steamer through U-boat-infested waters to transport vital supplies and contraband to the highest bidder, takes on his most dangerous cargo yet after witnessing the oppression of Jews in Amsterdam: a Jewish family fleeing Nazi persecution.

The normally aloof Rogers finds himself drawn in by the family's warmth and faith, but he can't afford to let his guard down when Oberleutnant Viktor…


2 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in floods, film, and Hollywood?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about floods, film, and Hollywood.

Floods Explore 14 books about floods
Film Explore 231 books about film
Hollywood Explore 119 books about Hollywood