100 books like Hell House

By Richard Matheson,

Here are 100 books that Hell House fans have personally recommended if you like Hell House. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Haunting of Hill House

Anna Noyes Author Of The Blue Maiden

From my list on gothic fiction imbued with atmosphere and dread.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on a tiny peninsula in Downeast Maine, an evocative and rugged place, both lovely and haunting. As a girl, walking home late down gravel roads through an encompassing darkness I’ve found nowhere else, I sensed the world’s dangers long before I knew how to articulate them. Surrounded by woods, water, and unnerving quiet broken by the fox’s scream and rustling branches, I began to write. I sought out strange and unsettling books by Shirley Jackson and Stephen King (his home just a few towns away from mine) that left their mark. Storytelling became a way to process and explore what keeps me up at night. 

Anna's book list on gothic fiction imbued with atmosphere and dread

Anna Noyes Why did Anna love this book?

For me, this is the book that started it all. When I was 10 years old, I stole it from my Granny’s shelf, curled in her BarcaLounger, and finished in one ravenous sitting.

The world I emerged into was changed: the main character Nell’s spiraling, exuberant, increasingly unhinged interiority echoed in my mind. I remember walking afterward through the Maine woods, the green more vivid than ever before, pulsing with a new sense of menace and aliveness.

Each sentence in this masterpiece about a sentient, malevolent house is electric, and if I could only read one paragraph for the rest of my life, it would be this novel’s opening. 

By Shirley Jackson,

Why should I read it?

32 authors picked The Haunting of Hill House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part of a new six-volume series of the best in classic horror, selected by Academy Award-winning director of The Shape of Water Guillermo del Toro

Filmmaker and longtime horror literature fan Guillermo del Toro serves as the curator for the Penguin Horror series, a new collection of classic tales and poems by masters of the genre. Included here are some of del Toro's favorites, from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Ray Russell's short story "Sardonicus," considered by Stephen King to be "perhaps the finest example of the modern Gothic ever written," to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and stories…


Book cover of The Shining

Valentina Cano Repetto Author Of Sanctuary

From my list on horror books in which the setting is another character.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a fanatic of horror, especially Gothic horror since I was about eight years old when I read all of Poe’s short stories. It’s the genre I read most often and the one I’m dedicated to writing about. For me, the most effective horror novels have a setting that is as rich and fully developed as any of the characters. You can battle vampires, zombies, and all of the other delightful monsters out there, but how do you battle what’s trapped in the walls around you? How do you fight a home that hates you? Or one that loves you too much to let you go? It’s endlessly fascinating.

Valentina's book list on horror books in which the setting is another character

Valentina Cano Repetto Why did Valentina love this book?

There’s no list I can create in my head about haunting locations that doesn’t include this book. One of the most interesting aspects of horror novels that take place in a vivid setting is that they draw you in and both make you wish you could visit the location while at the same time thanking all that’s good and holy that you’re not there. That’s what The Shining did for me when I read it. 

The Overlook hotel is larger than life, treacherous, and inviting, and King does an incredible job at maintaining the high-pitched hum of tension from the moment the Torrances walk through its doors.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Before Doctor Sleep, there was The Shining, a classic of modern American horror from the undisputed master, Stephen King.

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around…


Book cover of The House Next Door

Charlotte Greene Author Of Gnarled Hollow

From my list on haunted houses to scare the bejesus out of you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer of sapphic horror and romance fiction, and a professor of nineteenth and twentieth literature and Women’s and Gender Studies. I’ve been an avid reader of ghost-focused fiction since I was a little kid. This fascination was, in part, encouraged by my horror-loving parents, but I think I’ve just always loved being scared, and for me, the scariest thing imaginable is a haunted house. I’ve read widely in the genre, by turns spooked, thrilled, and baffled, and this reading eventually encouraged me to write my own haunted house novels. If you love a chilling tale, you’re going to love the books on this list.

Charlotte's book list on haunted houses to scare the bejesus out of you

Charlotte Greene Why did Charlotte love this book?

This is a significant departure from the notion of a “haunted house” most of us are familiar with. We expect an old house, haunted by the past, far from humankind, and left to rot and fester in isolation somewhere remote. The haunted house in Siddons’s novel, however, is right in the middle of an upper-class neighborhood in Atlanta, and it’s a brand-new build. Rather than being haunted by the ghosts of the past inhabitants, the house itself is a force of evil, corrupting all who cross its threshold in terrible, terrifying, and often deadly ways.

By Anne Rivers Siddons,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The House Next Door as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An unparalleled picture of that vibrant but dark intersection where the Old and the New South collide.

Thirtysomething Colquitt and Walter Kennedy live in a charming, peaceful suburb of newly bustling Atlanta, Georgia. Life is made up of enjoyable work, long, lazy weekends, and the company of good neighbors. Then, to their shock, construction starts on the vacant lot next door, a wooded hillside they'd believed would always remain undeveloped. Disappointed by their diminished privacy, Colquitt and Walter soon realize something more is wrong with the house next door. Surely the house can’t be haunted, yet it seems to destroy…


Book cover of Angel Manor

JG Faherty Author Of The Wakening

From my list on evil houses.

Why am I passionate about this?

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.

JG's book list on evil houses

JG Faherty Why did JG love 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. 

By Chantal Noordeloos,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A beautiful house – with a dark and deadly secret.

When Freya inherits her mother's childhood home, she sees it as an opportunity. A chance for a new life with her best friends, as they convert the crumbling mansion into an exclusive hotel.

Instead, they'll be lucky to escape with their lives.

As the first hammers tear through the bricked up entrances, a dark, terrible and ancient evil stirs beneath the house. An evil that has already laid claim to Freya and her companions' souls.


Book cover of Burnt Offerings

JG Faherty Author Of The Wakening

From my list on evil houses.

Why am I passionate about this?

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.

JG's book list on evil houses

JG Faherty Why did JG love 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.

By Robert Marasco, Stephen Graham Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ben and Marian Rolfe are desperate to escape a stifling summer in their tiny Brooklyn apartment, so when they get the chance to rent a mansion in upstate New York for the entire summer for only $900, it’s an offer that’s too good to refuse. There’s only one catch: behind a strange and intricately carved door in a distant wing of the house lives elderly Mrs. Allardyce, and the Rolfes will be responsible for preparing her meals.

But Mrs. Allardyce never seems to emerge from her room, and it soon becomes clear that something weird and terrifying is happening in…


Book cover of The Elementals

Charlotte Greene Author Of Gnarled Hollow

From my list on haunted houses to scare the bejesus out of you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer of sapphic horror and romance fiction, and a professor of nineteenth and twentieth literature and Women’s and Gender Studies. I’ve been an avid reader of ghost-focused fiction since I was a little kid. This fascination was, in part, encouraged by my horror-loving parents, but I think I’ve just always loved being scared, and for me, the scariest thing imaginable is a haunted house. I’ve read widely in the genre, by turns spooked, thrilled, and baffled, and this reading eventually encouraged me to write my own haunted house novels. If you love a chilling tale, you’re going to love the books on this list.

Charlotte's book list on haunted houses to scare the bejesus out of you

Charlotte Greene Why did Charlotte love this book?

This is one of those books that creeps up on you. The setting is unusual and it uses the tropes of Southern Gothic in unexpected ways. For one thing, McDowell’s novel is set at the beach during a vacation. Most of the haunted activity takes place during the day in the oppressively sunny landscape of the vacation home for a group of visitors recovering from various ills. For another, and like a lot of Southern Gothic stories, family dynamics and history are a big part of the backstory here, but there are unpredictable elements as well, including the very nature or un-nature of the setting itself.

By Michael McDowell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"The finest writer of paperback originals in America." - Stephen King

"Surely one of the most terrifying novels ever written." - Poppy Z. Brite

"Beyond any trace of doubt, one of the best writers of horror in this or any other country." - Peter Straub

"Readers of weak constitution should beware!" - Publishers Weekly

"McDowell has a flair for the gruesome." - Washington Post

After a bizarre and disturbing incident at the funeral of matriarch Marian Savage, the McCray and Savage families look forward to a restful and relaxing summer at Beldame, on Alabama's Gulf Coast, where three Victorian houses…


Book cover of Episode Thirteen

Amanda Desiree Author Of Smithy

From my list on creepy epistolary horror novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always admired epistolary novels—stories told in the form of diaries, letters, or other mass media. They seem so real and so much more believable than plain narratives. When dealing with fantastic subjects, like paranormal phenomena, any technique that can draw the weird back into the real world helps me become more invested as a reader. It’s a quality I’ve also tried to capture as a horror writer. Moreover, the epistolary format pairs well with unreliable narrators, often filtering stories so as to make them more ambiguous and disturbing. From the many epistolary works I’ve read over the years, here are my picks for the most compelling—and creepy.

Amanda's book list on creepy epistolary horror novels

Amanda Desiree Why did Amanda love this book?

This chronicle of a doomed reality TV show taping feels the most like a modern found-footage movie of any epistolary novel with its addition of instant messages and video footage to diaries and emails. The converging of different media corroboration adds a high level of realism to the story—an impressive trait that’s often lacking in cosmic horror.

Further, I’m impressed by the breadth of subjects Di Louie covered (Hindu mythology, occult mysticism, 1960s/1970s pop-culture references) and the way he expanded the haunted house trope beyond my expectations.

This book captivated me so much that I was more interested in reading it than in sightseeing while on my vacation.

By Craig DiLouie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fade to Black is the newest hit ghost hunting reality TV show. Led by husband and wife team Matt and Claire Kirklin, it delivers weekly hauntings investigated by a dedicated team of ghost hunting experts.

Episode Thirteen takes them to every ghost hunter's holy grail: the Paranormal Research Foundation. This brooding, derelict mansion holds secrets and clues about bizarre experiments that took place there in the 1970s. It's also famously haunted, and the team hopes their scientific techniques and high tech gear will prove it. But as the house begins to reveal itself to them, proof of an afterlife might…


Book cover of City of Spells

Catherine Cavendish Author Of The After-Death of Caroline Rand

From my list on transporting you to a haunted house.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Catherine Cavendish – writer of Gothic and ghostly horror stories. I lived in a haunted house. It didn’t scare me because our ghost seemed to go out of her way to make us welcome. Elsewhere in the building was a different matter. This was occupied by a social club and in one room in particular, an entity targeted lone females, taking delight in poking and shoving them. Since we left there, I wonder about our friendly ghost. Does she continue to watch over her old home? As for the malevolent spirit – one encounter was quite enough for me! My experiences left me fascinated by the power of buildings to absorb its ghosts.

Catherine's book list on transporting you to a haunted house

Catherine Cavendish Why did Catherine love this book?

Gaby Triana excels at creating and transmitting atmosphere. She transports you into the swamps, oppressive heat, terrors, and scares of the Florida she has created in her Haunted Florida trilogy of which this is the final part.

In City of Spells, Queylin Sanchez runs a shop selling incense, charms, and all manner of items designed to appeal to those interested in the occult, but when an elderly man crosses the threshold and enlists her help in ridding his home of an unwanted ghost, she accepts the commission and sets in motion a frightening chain of events that threaten her sanity and her life in fact, much more than that is at stake as she unravels the sinister and disturbing truth.

I can assure you, the tradition of Southern Gothic is alive and well in this author’s capable hands. If you haven’t read any of Gaby’s work yet – it’s…

By Gaby Triana,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A haunted Old Florida home. A ghostly woman in white. Witchcraft from Miami's darker side.When a mysterious old gentleman enters Queylin's trendy new age shop, she hopes he'll buy incense, sage, maybe a nice rose quartz pendulum for his wife. Instead, the man enlists her help getting rid of La Dama de Blanco, a ghostly woman in bloody white dress who's been haunting his 100-year-old Palmetto Bay estate.But when Queylin's rituals and spells uncover terrifying secrets hidden in the walls of the old mansion, she realizes La Dama de Blanco is only the beginning of the haunted home's evil legacy.


Book cover of The Crying Child

Linda Griffin Author Of Stonebridge

From my list on good old-fashioned haunted house.

Why am I passionate about this?

Maybe because I grew up in San Diego, a city that boasts what ghost hunter Hans Holzer called the most haunted house in America, I’ve always loved ghost stories. I never encountered a ghost when I visited the Whaley House Museum, as Regis Philbin did when he spent the night, but I once took a photograph there that had an unexplained light streak on it. Although I conceived a passion for the printed word with my first Dick and Jane reader and wrote my first story at the age of six, it took me a few decades to fulfill my long-held desire to write a ghost story of my own.

Linda's book list on good old-fashioned haunted house

Linda Griffin Why did Linda love this book?

It started out with the hoariest of romance novel cliches—the bickering couple I knew would end up in love—but the setting alone was enough to guarantee spookier plot developments.

Barbara Michaels, better known for her mystery novels as Elizabeth Peters, never fails to entertain, and the descriptions of eerie ghostly manifestations here are top-notch.

By Barbara Michaels,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Joanne McMullen's fears for her sister's sanity have brought her to remote King's Island, Maine. Mary's grief over the loss of her child is threatening to send her over the edge—and her insistence that she has heard an eerie, childlike wailing in the woods fuels Joanne's anxiety. And now Mary's taken to disappearing at midnight in search of the source of the heartrending moans. But it's not just her sister's encroaching madness that is chilling Joanne's blood—it's her own. Because suddenly, impossibly, she also hears the crying child.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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