The most recommended books on claustrophobia

Who picked these books? Meet our 26 experts.

26 authors created a book list connected to claustrophobia, and here are their favorite claustrophobia books.
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What type of claustrophobia book?


Book cover of That Night

Sarah Clarke Author Of Every Little Secret

From my list on psychological thrillers with secrets from the past.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer of psychological thrillers. I have a keen interest in psychology and how events and experiences in our childhood shape who we become. When I work on a new book, I always build a detailed profile of my characters’ childhoods – and as I write thrillers, these are often challenging ones with issues like narcissistic parents or siblings, coping with grief, mental illness, or bullying. My plot will always be at least partly driven by the secrets my characters form in their childhood or early life, and so I also really value this depth in the psychological thrillers I read.

Sarah's book list on psychological thrillers with secrets from the past

Sarah Clarke Why did Sarah love this book?

The first thing that drew me into this book is the feeling of “I could see that happening… what would I do if it were me?” The second really enticing element comes when McAllister introduces a future timeline where the three siblings have had a falling out and their cover-up plan seems to have not worked. There is then a constant question of how did they get from here to there? The book is further enriched by the interesting relationships between the two sisters and brother. They each have their role in the family dynamic, largely set by a traumatic event in their childhood, and these have a significant impact on how they respond – individually and collectively – to this new highly stressful event.

By Gillian McAllister,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


'Incredibly tense and gripping' ADELE PARKS
'Kept me guessing and kept me fooled. Clever, pacy and so gripping that my heart raced' C.L. TAYOR
'This absolutely blew me away. Properly unputdownable' 5***** READER REVIEW
'Another unputdownable what-would-you-do thriller, rich with McAllister's trademark twists and emotional depth' ERIN KELLY

What would you do to protect your family?


During a family holiday in Italy, you get an urgent call from your sister.

There's been an accident: she hit a man with her car and he's…

Book cover of Sphere

Craig A. Falconer Author Of Not Alone

From my list on how things will change when the aliens show up.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always had a longstanding interest in space, and particularly in aliens. In researching my breakthrough novel Not Alone, I extensively read as much nonfiction content on the topic as I could find, including governmental-backed scenario analyses of how things might actually play out in a contact or invasion scenario. Naturally, I have also read widely in the sci-fi genre for my own pleasure, with most of my interest in this specific topic.

Craig's book list on how things will change when the aliens show up

Craig A. Falconer Why did Craig love this book?

I have rarely felt a compulsion to turn the pages of a book as quickly as I did while reading this book. I grew up as a huge fan of Jurassic Park and read this book many years later with little idea of what to expect.

The claustrophobic surroundings and relentless tension made this a very fast book to read, but the philosophical considerations made sure it is one that has stayed in my mind ever since.

By Michael Crichton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Ingenious and beguiling.”

“Crichton keeps us guessing at every turn in his best work since The Andromeda Strain.”
—Los Angeles Times

“Sphere may be Crichton’s best novel, but even if it ranked only second or third, it would be a must for suspense fans.”
—Miami Herald

A classic thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Crichton, Sphere is a bravura demonstration of what he does better than anyone: riveting storytelling that combines frighteningly plausible, cutting edge science and technology with pulse-pounding action and serious chills. The gripping story of a group of American scientists sent to the…

Book cover of The Institution

Marion Todd Author Of See Them Run

From my list on locked room mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a huge fan of logic puzzles and can find myself wasting hours on these. A locked room mystery is similar to a logic puzzle. We are presented with a limited number of characters and a setting where no one can arrive or leave. Thus, the killer must be one of these characters, leaving the reader to try and find the guilty person before the end of the book. As Sherlock Holmes said, "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." I love to try my hand at being Sherlock both as a reader and a writer.

Marion's book list on locked room mysteries

Marion Todd Why did Marion love this book?

The Institution is a secure unit for the criminally insane, unnerving enough but when the two main characters enter its walls under cover, one as a therapist, the other posing as a patient, the stakes are high.

A horrific crime has taken place and the remote location means the perpetrator was either a patient or a    member of staff. The two lead characters have to find the killer while keeping their real identities a secret.

Add to this a race against time to find a newborn baby and the tension is unbearable.

I wrote about an abducted baby in my second book and keeping the race against time uppermost in the reader’s mind was the most difficult part of the process.

By Helen Fields,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Brilliant! The Institution is a harrowing, nonstop story that will grab you from the first page and not let go. Helen Fields is a master of suspense. You'll consume it in one sitting.' - International bestselling sensation JEFFERY DEAVER

They're locked up for your safety.
Now, you're locked in with them.

Dr Connie Woolwine has five days to catch a killer.

On a locked ward in the world's highest-security prison hospital, a scream shatters the night. The next morning, a nurse's body is found and her daughter has been taken. A ransom must be paid, and the clock is ticking.…

Book cover of The Flatmate

Miranda Rijks Author Of The Homemaker

From Miranda's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Reader Mountain-lover

Miranda's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Miranda Rijks Why did Miranda love this book?

I love a book set in a work setting, especially as I’m a full-time author, so I no longer have dodgy colleagues! The Flatmate follows Ria, who has returned to work following an enforced sabbatical after the shocking death of her colleague and best friend, Livvy.

Enter Amanda, her new flatmate, and Livvy’s replacement. When Ria starts receiving messages and gifts from dead Livvy, her colleagues think Ria is losing her mind.

Author Gemma Rogers is great at pacing and creating believable and sometimes unpleasant characters. I loved the believability of this story and read the book in one sitting.

By Gemma Rogers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Always trust your very basic instincts or prepare for the consequences...

It was surreal returning to work after a sabbatical following the suspicious death of my best friend Livvy.

On my return to the company apartment, I was surprised to find Livvy's replacement, Amanda Dowd firmly entrenched as my new flatmate.

She'd seemingly appeared out of nowhere.

But something didn't feel right. I felt on edge.

Everyone seemed to love Amanda, even my ex-Jayden was blinded by her outgoing personality and model-like looks.Yet her desperation to become friends felt unnatural.

When I began to receive calls, photos and presents from…

Book cover of Death World

Beau Johnston Author Of Sleep with One Eye Open

From my list on casual (or non) readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I despise long-winded books with an electoral roll of characters or characters with unnecessarily complex names. Reading should be a pleasure, not a chore. High school does its best to suck the joy out of reading with its “what did the author mean here?” nonsense. If the reader has to guess what the author means, the author failed to tell their story. Symbolism and hidden meanings are a joke. I won’t read pretentious books that people only read so they can say they’ve read them. One of the reasons I started writing was to reach people who ended up as non-readers because high school ruined reading for them.

Beau's book list on casual (or non) readers

Beau Johnston Why did Beau love this book?

The story is set in the Warhammer 40’000 universe, but anyone can read it without feeling lost. I love the way the author subverts the reader’s expectation from a story of “military squad Vs. monster” to “military squad Vs. everything-on-the-planet.”

A fantastic blend of (John Carpenter’s) The Thing and Predator. An enjoyable and easy-to-read tale of claustrophobic, slow-burning tension and Hollywood 80s action hero. I loved the ever-increasing sense of paranoia they endure by gradually discovering that absolutely everything wants to kill them.

By Steve Lyons,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A squad of Catachan Jungle Fighters is sent to the deathworld of Rogar III in response to an ork incursion. But, as well as dealing with the orks, they must do battle the planet itself ¿ not to the mention the mysterious figures that stalk them across the deadly terrain.

Book cover of House

Jesse Karp Author Of Those That Wake

From my list on a world under secret control.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the 1970s, still in contention for America’s most paranoid decade (thanks, Watergate). Practically everything I watched, listened to or read (right down to my beloved superhero comics) was asking, what’s hiding behind the world around you? I don’t think of myself as a paranoid guy – I don’t, for instance, believe in a real life Deep State – but these are the sorts of stories that resonate for me. Taken less literally, they do ask worthwhile and still disturbingly relevant questions: what is beneath the world you know and see every day? What is right in front of you, both good and bad, that you aren’t seeing?

Jesse's book list on a world under secret control

Jesse Karp Why did Jesse love this book?

It’s about the simplest idea you can hang a story on: three people discover a house in the wilderness and explore it. But this short, black and white, silent graphic novel just sucked me deeper and deeper into the terror of a place that seems to grow impossibly larger, even as your pathway through it becomes narrower and narrower until...well, it’s pretty dark stuff. Simmons’s art is also inky black, but visualizes the concepts at play with beautiful power. There is a terrible force behind the scenes here, but you can never know what it is and you can never defeat it.  

By Josh Simmons,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This adventurous, silent graphic novel demonstrates the solid strength of this young cartoonist's storytelling ability. Whether plunging into the watery depths of a sinkhole that has obviously swallowed part of a town or entering the uncertain hidden corridors of the house, every turn is captured with intensity by Simmons' scratchy pen. Page composition and panel arrangements are masterfully coordinated to reflect the characters' increasingly claustrophobic panic as the story reaches its crescendo, and to cause a similar and palpable reaction in the reader. House is Josh Simmons' first full-length graphic novel after years of honing his craft on the humorous,…

Book cover of Things We Say in the Dark

Owen W. Knight Author Of Another Life

From my list on science fiction, folklore and fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I enjoy stories that bring together diverse themes, such as family life, myths and legends, quests, and cutting-edge science, in an uncomplicated way. I love hidden communities, where accepted rules do not apply, allowing the development of original storylines. The suggestion that there is something on the edge of the supernatural, yet grounded in reality, the weirdest of events retaining a rational explanation. My writing has been inspired by the films of David Lynch. I admire his ability to evoke a sense of menace and a fear that things are not as they seem, leaving much to the reader’s imagination.

Owen's book list on science fiction, folklore and fantasy

Owen W. Knight Why did Owen love this book?

One of the most daring and original voices I have read in recent years. 

I admire Kirsty Logan’s boldness in imagining and describing personal viewpoints and her unique interpretation of possible alternate realities. She shows the courage to commit to ideas and storylines that are original, innovative, and beyond the imagination of most people.

The two darkest stories are "Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by", a menacing tale of abuse, kidnapping, and violence, and "Half Sick of Shadows". The latter is profoundly moving and disturbing and almost unbelievable in its callousness.

A writer whose progress I will follow with interest.

By Kirsty Logan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Things We Say in the Dark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Gripping . . . You won't put it down' Sunday Telegraph

A shocking collection of dark stories, ranging from chilling contemporary fairytales to disturbing supernatural fiction.

Alone in a remote house in Iceland a woman is unnerved by her isolation; another can only find respite from the clinging ghost that follows her by submerging herself in an overgrown pool. Couples wrestle with a lack of connection to their children; a schoolgirl becomes obsessed with the female anatomical models in a museum; and a cheery account of child's day out is undercut by chilling footnotes.

These dark tales explore women's fears…

Book cover of Imprisoned with the Pharaohs

Stuart Knott Author Of The Summoning

From my list on horror and sci-fi with bizarre implications.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer and lover of horror and science-fiction, I’ve always been influenced by films and media and these are just some of the texts that impacted not just my writing, but my life. Each does so much with its genre; regardless of their length, the stories are full of great characters and concepts and dabble with the perception of their genre in interesting and memorable ways. My many years of academic study were always bolstered when we were given texts such as these to dive into, and I’ve even based some of my writing style and published works on the themes, messages, and presentation of these texts.

Stuart's book list on horror and sci-fi with bizarre implications

Stuart Knott Why did Stuart love this book?

While many turn to Lovecraft’s Cthulu writings as his best work, it was this short story of Houdini’s fictional encounter with an unspeakable beast beneath the Great Sphinx of Giza that had the most impact on me. Told from the perspective of Harry Houdini, the tale masterfully captures the mounting dread and claustrophobia of the famous escape artist as he unwittingly delves further underground, to say nothing of the fantastical horrors that await him. Forced to witness strange mummified creatures, under the direction of the malevolent Nitokris, give offerings to one of Lovecraft’s trademark many-tentacled monstrosities, Houdini may dismiss his encounter as a mere flight of fancy but the implication that some gruesome Old One was responsible for the creation of some of the world’s most awe-inspiring structures hits just a little differently.

By H. P. Lovecraft,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Imprisoned with the Pharaohs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

H. P. Lovecraft was one of the greatest horror writers of all time. His seminal work appeared in the pages of legendary Weird Tales and has influenced countless writer of the macabre. This is one of those stories.

Book cover of You Don't Belong Here

L.A. Fields Author Of Riot Son

From L.A.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Rogue scholar Disciplined creator

L.A.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

L.A. Fields Why did L.A. love this book?

In the grand tradition of writers who are drunks (or perhaps drunkards who write), this is a modern addition to the canon. 

It’s always a remarkable feat when all you actually do is read a book, but in closing the cover, you feel you’ve been through an ordeal. Traveling with the protagonist to an isolated small-town writer’s retreat is claustrophobic and anxiety-inducing. This book reads like a whodunnit, but in the spirit of "how bad can this get?"

If you’ve ever fancied yourself a creative type, if you’ve ever known or feared an addiction, or if you’re just in the mood to disturb yourself — let this book take you somewhere you ought not to be.

By Jonathan Harper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Don't Belong Here as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Morris came to Manderlay Colony to write, to share his truth, and create something literary. But on his last night in the quiet, small town, a series of events leave him trapped, with shrinking funds and no sure means of escape. As the hours and days pass, the beer bottles pile up on the bar counter, and as he confronts a man from his past, his sense of self is challenged. Jonathan Harper's debut novel is snarky, at times brutal, exploration of the modern man who stands at the mouth of a tunnel, knowing that what's inside will change him,…

Book cover of One Hundred Days

Amra Pajalić Author Of Sabiha's Dilemma

From my list on YA fiction that represent marginalised communities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent my adolescence reading young adult novels that featured characters who were nothing like me, and yearned to read about characters who shared my struggle in mediating my community’s cultural expectations as a first-generation Australia. This is the inspiration for writing own voices stories as these are the books I wished I’d been able to read. I draw on my Bosnian-Muslim cultural heritage to write own voices stories for young people, who like me, are searching to mediate their identity and take pride in their diverse culture. Own voices books are an opportunity to learn and celebrate culture and diversity, and to show young people that they are not alone in the world.

Amra's book list on YA fiction that represent marginalised communities

Amra Pajalić Why did Amra love this book?

A fractured fairytale recreating the Rapunzel effect with 16 y.o. Karuna trapped in the tower, in this case a high-rise-commission flat, by her mother when she discovers her pregnancy.

This is beautifully written novel about the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters, and especially the fracture of being parented by migrant parents who hold to cultural expectations with their Australian-born offspring, a story that I could relate to on so many levels.

Reading this novel, I felt slightly claustrophobic and lost with Karuna’s mother being so well characterised; the things she was going were almost cruel, but you could feel the thick love just pouring from her, while Karuna’s struggle of independence and autonomy was so poignant and understandable.

This is a novel with so many layers and so much heart. 

By Alice Pung,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From one of Australia's most celebrated authors comes a mother-daughter drama exploring the faultlines between love and control.One hundred days. It's no time at all, she tells me. But she's not the one waiting.In a heady whirlwind of independence, lust and defiance, sixteen-year-old Karuna falls pregnant. Not on purpose, but not entirely by accident, either. Incensed, Karuna's mother, already over-protective, confines her to their fourteenth-storey housing-commission flat, to keep her safe from the outside world - and make sure she can't get into any more trouble.Stuck inside for endless hours, Karuna battles her mother and herself for a sense of…