The best books that will make you afraid of the dark

Who am I?

I grew up in a small town in Northern Florida. My family’s property was bordered by a stretch of forest which served as an adventure playground for my friends and me during the day. However, after dark, it turned into the foreboding landscape of the unknown. Many backyard camping attempts were abandoned with hysteria because of the noises we heard coming from inside those woods. For me, this led to a lifetime fascination with forests and the mysteries they hold. Though I’ve written fiction on a variety of topics, I was most excited about trying my hand at horror, inspired by my childhood proximity to the woods. 


I wrote...

What Happened at Sisters Creek: A Horror Novel

By Lee Anderson,

Book cover of What Happened at Sisters Creek: A Horror Novel

What is my book about?

An unknown horror stalks a Florida National Park. Charlie Sparks is a small-town sheriff, his career derailed by rampant scandal and corruption. When faced with solving the gruesome campsite murder of a young family, Sparks suspects two recent escape convicts. He also sees a chance to redeem himself. The sheriff and his search party set out into the woods to find the convicts. What they discover instead is an unthinkable terror, driven by a voracious hunger for human flesh.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Cujo

Lee Anderson Why did I love this book?

Of all the Stephen King books I’ve read (and I’ve read over half) this one connects with me the most because the monster is something typically beloved: the family pet. King has this special talent for making something ordinary and loveable seem terrifying. The rabid Saint Bernard dog of the title serves as a metaphor for the existential assault made on the family of an advertising exec  

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times bestseller, Cujo “hits the jugular” (The New York Times) with the story of a friendly Saint Bernard that is bitten by a bat. Get ready to meet the most hideous menace ever to terrorize the town of Castle Rock, Maine.

Outside a peaceful town in central Maine, a monster is waiting. Cujo is a two-hundred-pound Saint Bernard, the best friend Brett Camber has ever had. One day, Cujo chases a rabbit into a cave inhabited by sick bats and emerges as something new altogether.

Meanwhile, Vic and Donna Trenton, and their young son Tad, move…


Book cover of The Wolfen

Lee Anderson Why did I love this book?

This is the first novel I ever read that made me into a lifelong fan of horror fiction. It’s a werewolf story but set in New York City, which no one had ever done before. Not to my knowledge anyway. Here Streib frequently writes from the werewolves’ point of view which makes the book that much more chilling. I admire a book that can take horror tropes and create something fresh and different from them.    

By Whitley Strieber,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the dark, they are watching...
They are waiting for you.

No one has ever lived to tell the horrifying truth about them. Yet even now the Wolfen are gathered in the night-dark alleys ... unseen, poised ... ready to destroy their helpless human prey. Only one man and one woman, trained cops, willing to risk their lives, stand in the way.


Book cover of The Exorcist

Lee Anderson Why did I love this book?

As monumentally terrifying as the film version is, the novel has some moments which easily rival the creepiness and revulsion of its cinematic counterpart. Actually, since reading a book requires extracting the image from the thought (whereas the film does the opposite), this makes The Exorcist novel just about as disturbing of an experience as can be had from reading.  

By William Peter Blatty,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Exorcist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Father Damien Karras: 'Where is Regan?'
Regan MacNeil: 'In here. With us.'

The terror begins unobtrusively. Noises in the attic. In the child's room, an odd smell, the displacement of furniture, an icy chill. At first, easy explanations are offered. Then frightening changes begin to appear in eleven-year-old Regan. Medical tests fail to shed any light on her symptoms, but it is as if a different personality has invaded her body.

Father Damien Karras, a Jesuit priest, is called in. Is it possible that a demonic presence has possessed the child? Exorcism seems to be the only answer...

First published…


Book cover of The Island of Doctor Moreau

Lee Anderson Why did I love this book?

The reader is introduced to a collection of monsters, half-man/half-animal, who are abominations of nature created by the titular Dr. Moreau. He’s a demented scientist who wishes to exert his dominance over nature by perverting it. Wells makes us feel empathy for the monsters who suffer greatly at the hands of their creator. The book eventually makes us question who the true monster is—man or beast? 

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Island of Doctor Moreau as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Island of Doctor Moreau has inspired countless homages in literature, film and television.


Book cover of Dracula

Lee Anderson Why did I love this book?

An unquestionable classic! Stoker’s narrative technique of telling the legendary vampire’s story through the diary and journal entries of its characters creates a realism rarely felt in horror fiction. The reader feels as though they are an investigator learning details of a supernatural phenomenon that can’t be reasonably explained in any other way. It makes for literature gripping enough to spawn decades of imitators. 

By Bram Stoker,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked Dracula as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 17.

What is this book about?

'The very best story of diablerie which I have read for many years' Arthur Conan Doyle

A masterpiece of the horror genre, Dracula also probes identity, sanity and the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire. It begins when Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula purchase a London house, and makes horrifying discoveries in his client's castle. Soon afterwards, disturbing incidents unfold in England - an unmanned ship is wrecked; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman's neck; a lunatic asylum inmate raves about the imminent arrival of his 'Master' - and a determined group of adversaries…


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Lethal Legacy

By H R Kemp,

Book cover of Lethal Legacy

H R Kemp

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Buried Secrets. A web of deceit, betrayal, and danger. Can she survive her fight for justice and truth? Laura thought she knew everything about her late husband before he died. Now, her life and the lives of those she loves are in danger. As Laura delves into his previous role in Iraq, she unravels a web of lies and deceit that goes far beyond anything she could have imagined. What was he researching? And why are people willing to kill for it?

Laura turns amateur sleuth. At fifty-nine, she must summon every ounce of strength to expose the truth and navigate a treacherous landscape where the lines between trust and betrayal blur. Every step she takes brings her closer to the truth, but also deeper into the dangerous realm of those who wish to silence her forever.

Can she triumph over the shadows of corruption and finally bring justice to light? Or will she succumb to the deadly grip of those who will stop at nothing to protect their dark legacies?

Lethal Legacy

By H R Kemp,

What is this book about?

Buried Secrets. A web of deceit, betrayal, and danger. Can she survive her fight for justice and truth?

Laura thought she knew everything about her late husband before he died. Now, her life and the lives of those she loves are in danger.

As Laura delves into his previous role in Iraq, she begins to unravel a web of lies and deceit that goes far beyond anything she could have imagined. What was he researching? And why are people willing to kill for it?

Laura turns amateur sleuth. At fifty-nine, she must summon every ounce of strength and relentless determination…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in exorcisms, islands, and Count Dracula?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about exorcisms, islands, and Count Dracula.

Exorcisms Explore 8 books about exorcisms
Islands Explore 67 books about islands
Count Dracula Explore 15 books about Count Dracula