The best books that will creep you out

Elissa Grossell Dickey Author Of Iris in the Dark
By Elissa Grossell Dickey

Who am I?

I’ve always been captivated by dark stories—from my teen years watching my favorite creepy show, The X-Files, to now as an adult writing my own thrilling stories. What really draws me to these stories of darkness are the flickers of light they inevitably contain—the love between characters; the growth when characters find their strength after enduring difficult times; and ultimately, the hope they can find even when all seems lost. To me, finding your way through the darkness and into the light—and getting creeped out along the way—makes for the best kind of story, and it’s the kind I strive to write as an author.

I wrote...

Iris in the Dark

By Elissa Grossell Dickey,

Book cover of Iris in the Dark

What is my book about?

Iris in the Dark is the story of an overprotective single mother who must face her worst fear—the past. When Iris is entrusted to house-sit at a lodge on the South Dakota prairie, she thinks she’s prepared for anything. But late one night, she hears a chilling cry for help coming from a walkie-talkie buried in a box of toys. As the calls get more desperate, personal, and menacing, Iris realizes the person on the other end isn’t reaching out for help. They’re reaching out to terrorize her. Now the only way for Iris to move forward in life is to confront the past she’s been running from…a threat that has now followed her into the dark.

The books I picked & why

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The Turn of the Key

By Ruth Ware,

Book cover of The Turn of the Key

Why this book?

I’m a huge Ruth Ware fan—I’ve read and loved all of her books—but this one sticks out to me as one of the best, and part of it is because of the creepiness factor. When I read this book, I truly felt like I was in that house with the main character Rowan, hearing those terrifying noises, discovering the hidden room, and exploring the treacherous garden—and it made for an incredibly thrilling reading experience.

Mexican Gothic

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia,

Book cover of Mexican Gothic

Why this book?

Speaking of immersive reading experiences, this book swept me up and made me feel like part of the story—and better yet, it made me truly care about the characters. I was rooting for Noemi, a strong, resilient main character, for the entire book. And I was equally riveted and terrified as she fought against the nightmarish pull of the gloom, as well as the untrustworthy inhabitants of High House. 

Parting the Veil

By Paulette Kennedy,

Book cover of Parting the Veil

Why this book?

Have you ever felt like a book was written just for you, with all of the story elements you enjoy? That’s how I felt when reading this book. Parting the Veil had beautiful prose, a strong sisterhood, swoony romance—and it was deliciously creepy. I loved following along with main character Eliza as she bravely attempted to solve the supernatural mystery in a house that she was becoming increasingly certain was haunted.

Lies We Bury

By Elle Marr,

Book cover of Lies We Bury

Why this book?

Elle Marr is known for her fast-paced thrillers, but what set this one apart for me was the flashback timeline, which is narrated by the main character Marissa when she was a child. As a reader, you know what’s going on—she’s trapped with her mother, along with other women and children, by the man who abducted them. But reading it from the childlike perspective adds a chilling, heart-breaking element of terror to this captivating story.

Dark Places

By Gillian Flynn,

Book cover of Dark Places

Why this book?

Speaking of characters going through traumatic experiences as a child, Dark Places follows main character Libby, who has grown up knowing that her brother murdered her family—except, of course, the story quickly challenges what she thinks she knows. What made me love this creepy story was that it started out as arguably Flynn’s darkest story, and yet as you follow Libby along on this thrilling journey toward the truth, you get to see her grow as a character, and even see some warmth, healing, and hope—which, to me, is the best part.

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