Spotlight On: Modern Horror Novels Guaranteed to Leave Your Spine Tingling

Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Tell-Tale Heart are usually well-known to readers as classic horror stories, but where do you turn when you’ve already read all the classics? Here is a list of some modern horror novels that are guaranteed to leave your spine tingling!

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

An easy scare is accomplished through fear of the unknown; describing the noise of a rasping breath in an empty room, the screech of fingernails across a windowpane–the descriptions are vague enough to let your mind scramble to fill in the blanks. A more difficult feat is spooking your readers while showing them exactly what it is that they should be afraid of. Carroll’s lush and evocative artwork paired with her sparing, at times poetic, and always horrifying stories does just that. Through the Woods will leave you afraid, not of a nameless bogeyman, but of the images and creatures she conjures through her pen.

John Dies At the End by David Wong

“David Wong’s freakishly inventive monsters, alternate universes, and perverted humor can’t truly be served by special effects. At first, Wong (the pen name for online humorist Jason Pargin) published various short stories about the absurd exploits of main characters David and John, two college dropouts turned overmatched paranormal hunters. Riding mentally high on a brain-scrambling drug called “Soy Sauce,” the guys do battle with giant meat monsters (yes, uncooked hamburgers and other frozen beef), penis doorknobs, and talking dogs.

Though it may not be the scariest book, John Dies At The End is certainly the funniest, not to mention one of the most creative.” – Summary from Matt Barone of

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Author of the best-selling Gone Girl (now a movie!), Gillian Flynn blindsided horror readers in 2006 with her work Sharp Objects. “Flynn’s protagonist is Camille Parker, a newspaper reporter who once lived in an asylum, due to her obsession with self-cutting. She gets assigned a story that’s happening back in her hometown, where a young girl has gone missing and a killer is on the loose. And, as the bait-and-switch ending of Sharp Objects makes abundantly clear, Camille’s reality goes from unstable to painfully undesirable.” – Summary from Matt Barone of


Horns by Joe Hill (RFPL owns the eBook, but a print copy can be obtained through SWAN)

“We’ve all been there: After a night filled with more alcoholic beverages than one’s brain can handle, you wake up with a beastly hangover and no recollection of what happened before bedtime. But how would you react if that killer headache was compounded by a pair of pointy horns sticking out of your temples? You’d probably never sip on Hennessy ever again.

For Ig Parrish, the protagonist in Joe Hill’s heartfelt and devilish character studyHorns, his new built-in head accessories turn him into the world’s greatest listener: Everyone, in the presence of Ig’s horns, tells him their most fiendish desires, such as who they want to kill, and, in some cases, who they’ve already murdered. Which leads Ig on a chase to once and for all identify the person who left his girlfriend’s corpse lying in the woods.” – Summary by Matt Barone of


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