Dig into a classic horror title or try an essential newer offering. These books were specially chosen by Denver Public Library staff to highlight the wide array of books available in the horror genre today! You'll find everything from vampires to haunted houses to ghost stories here. Recently updated.
A humorous thriller follows the exploits and adventures of ex-soldier-turned-vampire Felix Gomez, who confronts shadowy government agents, Eastern European vampire hunters, and lustful women when he investigates an outbreak of nymphomania at a secret government facility in Rocky Flats. (Novelist)
A piercingly raw debut story collection from a young writer with an explosive voice; a treacherously surreal, and, at times, heartbreakingly satirical look at what it’s like to be young and black in America. (Novelist)
Twelve-year-old Oskar is obsessed by the murder that's taken place in his neighborhood. Then he meets the new girl from next door. She's a bit weird, though. And she only comes out at night. (Novelist)
Ballingrud is back with another terrifying collection of horror stories. Fans will recognize and appreciate the careful, deliberate treatment of pain and fear. Framed as “six stories from the border of hell,” the collection leads the reader into New Orleans swampland, follows a traveling show staffed by ghouls, and visits a pirate ship straight out of a nightmare. Also included is previously published novella “The Visible Filth”... Ballingrud's rich and terrifying worlds look very much like reality, which only enhances the terror. A must-read for horror aficionados. (Booklist)
Originally published in an anthology collection called "Night Visions", this long novella was the basis for the film "Hellraiser". Considered by many Barker fans to be among his best, the story introduces Pinhead, the leader of a group of hell-spawned demons called Cenobites, as he (it?) tries to secure the soul of Uncle Frank, who foolishly thought that he could arrive at the gateway to ultimate pleasure without traveling a path of grisly torture and pain.
Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans--though no one calls them that anymore. Then one day he's given a gift: a live specimen of the finest quality. Though he's aware that any form of personal contact is forbidden on pain of death, little by little he starts to treat her like a human being. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost--and what might still be saved. (Novelist)
A Jesuit priest, unable to find plausible explanations for an eleven-year-old's strange behavior, begins to suspect demonic possession when a young girl causes several violent deaths.
A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope's shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two inquisitive boys standing precariously on the brink of adulthood will soon discover the secret of the satanic raree-show's smoke, mazes, and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes -- and the stuff of nightmare.
Escaping from prison and joining forces with a playboy murderer, serial killer Andrew Compton targets a young runaway boy as an ideal victim in his quest to perfect the art of creative killing. (Novelist)
White brings with it dreams of respect, of wealth, of simply being treated as a human being. It's the one thing Walter will never be. But what if he could play white, the way so many others seem to do? Would it bring him privilege or simply deny the pain? The title story in this collection asks those questions, and then moves on to challenge notions of race, privilege, personal choice, and even life and death with equal vigor. (Goodreads)
A story of a young, amnesiac girl whose alarmingly un-human needs and abilities lead her to a startling conclusion: she is in fact a genetically modified, 53-year-old vampire. Forced to discover what she can about her stolen former life, she must at the same time learn who wanted--and still wants--to destroy her and those she cares for, and how she can save herself. (Novelist)
With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem, Meddling Kids subverts teen detective archetypes like the Hardy Boys, and Famous Five, and Scooby-Doo, and delivers an exuberant and wickedly entertaining celebration of horror, love, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimentional demon spawn. "1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in Oregon's Zoinx River Valley) solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster--another low-life fortune hunter trying to get his dirty hands on the legendary riches hidden in Deboën Mansion. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling kids. 1990. The former detectives have grown up and apart, each haunted by disturbing memories of their final night in the old haunted house. There are too many strange, half-remembered encounters and events that cannot be dismissed or explained away by a guy in a mask. And Andy, the once intrepid tomboy now wanted in two states, is tired of running from her demons"--Dust jacket flap.
Journey through the woods in this sinister, compellingly spooky collection that features four brand-new stories and one phenomenally popular tale in print for the first time. Emily Carroll brings you tales of old-school folklore and horror, presented in an illustrated style that's both unsettling and deceptively soothing. (Novelist)
n her masterpiece, The Bloody Chamber, Carter spins subversively dark and sensual versions of familiar fairy tales and legends like “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Bluebeard,” “Puss in Boots,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” giving them exhilarating new life in a style steeped in the romantic trappings of the gothic tradition.
A family relocates to a small house on Ash Tree Lane and discovers that the inside of their new home seems to be without boundaries. (Novelist)
In modern-day Kolkata, college professor Alok Mukherjee meets a mysterious stranger who claims to be part wolf. The stranger spins a captivating saga of magic and monsters in Mughal India, and then asks Alok to translate an ancient manuscript that turns out to be much more than a legend. Fans of Glen Duncan's The Last Werewolf may enjoy this lush, lyrical debut, in which shapeshifting storytellers weave elements of folklore and mythology into their violent and haunting autobiographical narratives.
On the morning of her wedding to a Haitian man from a prominent family, Hadriana drinks a potion and collapses on the alter. She turns into a zombie and so her wedding is now her funeral.
Joan has been searching for her missing husband, Victor, for nearly a year--ever since that terrible night they'd had their first serious argument hours before he mysteriously vanished. Her Métis family has lived in their tightly knit rural community for generations, but no one keeps the old ways...until they have to. That moment has arrived for Joan. Joan turns to Ajean, an elderly foul-mouthed card shark who is one of the few among her community steeped in the traditions of her people and knowledgeable about their ancient enemies. With the help of the old Métis and her peculiar Johnny-Cash-loving, twelve-year-old nephew Zeus, Joan must find a way to uncover the truth...Her life, and those of everyone she loves, depends upon it. (Publisher)
Jessica believes she has it all -- a loving husband, a wonderful daughter and a rising career as a Miami Herald reporter. David, her husband, is a master of languages, history and jazz music. But unbeknownst to Jessica, he is also 500 years old. He belongs to the house of the Life Blood Brothers, an Ethiopian brotherhood of immortals. (Novelist)
These stunning, incandescent stories by Argentine writer Enríquez are her first to be translated into English, and each one crackles with sophisticated weirdness, illuminating everyday activities against the underbelly of the macabre. “The Dirty Kid” presents an unnerving, sympathetic portrait of life on rough city streets, in which Enríquez renders graphic details with uncanny precision, luring readers into the brutal, repellent scene. “The Inn” deftly balances small-town rumor, budding sexuality, and inexplicable hauntings when two teenage girlfriends plan to prank a local innkeeper and witness the inexplicable. “Spiderweb” takes place in an equally eerie roadside motel on the Paraguayan border, where a truculent husband goes missing without a trace. Many of these stories flirt with the supernatural or suggest strange coincidences, but others embrace literary horror with cackling glee. “End of Term” takes up the familiar trope of a possessed child and makes it new with the concise, unsettling narration by a classmate who witnesses every step of the ensuing unraveling. (Booklist)
Her marriage to Ed is challenged by odd noises, petty squabbles, and the onset of blackouts with no medical source, Amanda accidentally recieves a book on possession, the arrival of which coincides with increasingly bizarre events. (Novelist)
Before the nightmares began, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary, controlled life. But the dreams--invasive images of blood and brutality--torture her, driving Yeong-hye to purge her mind and renounce eating meat altogether. It's a small act of independence, but it interrupts her marriage and sets into motion an increasingly grotesque chain of events at home. As her husband, her brother-in-law, and her sister each fight to reassert their control, Yeong-hye obsessively defends the choice that's become sacred to her. Soon their attempts turn desperate, subjecting first her mind, then her body, to ever more intrusive and perverse violations, sending Yeong-hye spiraling into a dangerous, bizarre estrangement, not only from those closest to her but also from herself. (Publisher)
Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjërring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes ... To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of night, they'll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination. (Publisher)
Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. Home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all... (Goodreads)
Mr. Splitfoot tracks two women in two times as they march toward a mysterious reckoning. Ruth and Nat are orphans, packed into a house full of abandoned children run by a religious fanatic. To entertain their siblings, they channel the dead. Decades later, Ruth's niece, Cora, finds herself accidentally pregnant. After years of absence, Aunt Ruth appears, mute and full of intention. She is on a mysterious mission, leading Cora on an odyssey across the entire state of New York on foot. Where is Ruth taking them? Where has she been? And who -- or what -- has she hidden in the woods at the end of the road? In an ingeniously structured dual narrative, two separate timelines move toward the same point of crisis. Their merging will upend and reinvent the whole. (Publisher)
A man tasked with shuttling children over the border believes the Virgin Mary is guiding him towards final justice. A woman offers colonizer blood to the mother of chaos. A boy joins corpse destroyers to seek vengeance for the death of his father. (Publisher)
Kurōzu-cho, a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. But the spirit that haunts it does not have a name or a body, only a shape: uzumaki, the spiral, the hypnotic secret shape of the world. It possessed the father of teenage Kirie's withdrawn boyfriend Shuichi, compelling him to end his life by remaking himself in its image. It grows in ferns, in seashells, in curls of hair, and in the twisting folds of the human brain. As events unfold, giant snails are sighted near the high school, an eerie glow shines from the abandoned lighthouse, mosquitoes seeking blood fly in drowsy circles, and babies seek to return to the womb. People become obsessed with swirl shapes and kill themselves in gruesome ways. The very smoke from the crematorium hangs in an ominous spiral over the town, reminding everyone that even in death there is no escape from the insane swirls! As the madness spreads, the inhabitants of Kurôzu-cho are pulled ever deeper into a whirlpool from which there is no return! (Publisher)
The four visitors at Hill House-- some there for knowledge, others for adventure-- are unaware that the old mansion will soon choose one of them to make its own.
An American Indian horror story of revenge on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Four American Indian men from the Blackfeet Nation, who were childhood friends, find themselves in a desperate struggle for their lives, against an entity that wants to exact revenge upon them for what they did during an elk hunt ten years earlier by killing them, their families, and friends (Publisher)
A screenwriter, his wife, and their four-year old daughter rent a house in the mountains of Germany, but something isn't right. As he toils on a sequel to his most successful movie, the screenwriter notices that rooms aren't where he remembers them and finds in his notebook words that are not his own. (Publisher)
Slowly being tortured to death by their aunt, whose madness is infecting the entire neighborhood, Meg and her crippled sister, Susan, find themselves at the mercy of a troubled boy who can either end their misery or be their salvation. (Publisher)
John Persons is a private investigator with a distasteful job from an unlikely client. He's been hired by a ten-year-old to kill the kid's stepdad, McKinsey. The man in question is abusive, abrasive, and abominable. He's also a monster, which makes Persons the perfect thing to hunt him. Over the course of his ancient, arcane existence, he's hunted gods and demons, and broken them in his teeth. As Persons investigates the horrible McKinsey, he realizes that he carries something far darker. He's infected with an alien presence, and he's spreading that monstrosity far and wide. Luckily Persons is no stranger to the occult, being an ancient and magical intelligence himself. The question is whether the private dick can take down the abusive stepdad without releasing the holds on his own horrifying potential (Publisher)
Using lovely, reflective, and funny prose, Kiernan explore a young girl’s deviation from reality as she struggles with mental illness. Indian Morgan Phelps, Imp to her friends, is schizophrenic and attempting to write a factual story of the night a drowned girl appeared to her. A self-described unreliable narrator, Imp’s fragmented mind fights her memory, which produces multiple realities. Imp knows the drowned girl is Eva Canning and that she suddenly appeared on the road Imp was driving, but was Eva in the form of mermaid, siren, or wolf, and was it July or November? Attempting to write down the factual events of an ever-shifting story drags Imp into the murky waters of insanity, which threaten her life. The result is an excellent piece of fiction, both startlingly original and suspenseful. (Booklist)
The Overlook Hotel, high in the mountains of Colorado, has in the past played host to a colorful selection of visitors, from gangsters to presidents. But a few even more extraordinary guests are in residence when Jack Torrance comes to the Overlook with his wife, Wendy, and son, Danny, to be winter caretaker. Danny is precognitive and telepathic, a condition that allows him to outmaneuver the hotel's spirits of the dead that attempt to lay claim to the entire Torrance family (Booklist)
Originally published in Japan in 1986, Koike's novel is the suspenseful tale of a young family that believes it has found the perfect home to grow into, only to realize that the apartment's idyllic setting harbors the specter of evil and that longer they stay, the more trapped they become. This tale of a young married couple who harbor a dark secret is packed with dread and terror, as they and their daughter move into a brand new apartment building built next to a graveyard. As strange and terrifying occurrences begin to pile up, people in the building start to move out one by one, until the young family is left alone with someone ... or something ... lurking in the basement. The psychological horror builds moment after moment, scene after scene, culminating with a conclusion that will make you think twice before ever going into a basement again. (Publisher)
"Black. Pure black and the sense of pulsation, especially when you look at it too closely, the sense of something not living but alive." When a strange hole materializes in a storage room, would-be poet Nicholas and his feral lover Nakota allow their curiosity to lead them into the depths of terror. "Wouldn't it be wild to go down there?" says Nakota. Nicholas says, "We're not." But no one is in control, and their experiments lead to obsession, violence, and a very final transformation for everyone who gets too close to the Funhole. (Goodreads)
People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn't there. Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father's head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult page to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping. (Novelist)
Levin...grounds his saturnalia in the everyday--actually an old apartment house in New York city where Rosemary Woodhouse and Guy, an actor, move, not knowing that the Bramford has quite a history--a recent infanticide in the cellar, and longer ago, the Trench sisters lived there and conducted strange nutritive experiments. Then there's the little old couple who live next door to Guy and Rosemary and who may be responsible for Guy's becoming distrait and distant just when Rosemary becomes pregnant and has terrible pain's in her stomach and a craving for raw meat and- and- and- .... (Booklist)
Women and their bodies, and the violence done to them, both by themselves and others, occupy the center of Machado’s inventive, sensual, and eerie debut horror collection. These stories use situations at once familiar and completely strange to reveal what it is like to inhabit the female body. We see, for example, a woman listing an inventory of her sexual encounters as humanity is being destroyed by a plague; a shop clerk who realizes that the dresses she is selling absorb the women who wear them; and a woman dealing with a surprise side effect after her gastric-bypass surgery. In the most ambitious of the lot, “Especially Heinous,” all 12 seasons of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit are reimagined as a single and coherent, if satisfyingly creepy and surreal, tale. The writing is always lyrical, the narration refreshingly direct, and the sex abundant, and although the supernatural elements are not overt, every story is terrifying. These weird tales present a slightly askew version of the world as we know it and force us, no matter our gender, to reconsider our current life choices and relationships. (Booklist)
Brilliantly imaginative debut author Josh Malerman captures an apocalyptic near-future world, where a mother and her two small children must make their way down a river, blindfolded. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them -- but is it man, animal, or monster? Within these tracks, Malerman, a professional musician, discusses his love of horror and invokes an ethereal and atmospheric experience in an homage to Orson Welles à la War of the Worlds.
Neville is essentially the last man on earth, and the loneliness of his situation is the central part of the story. Matheson is able to communicate Neville's emotional feelings vividly, making him very real. We gradually acquire the story of the deaths of Neville's wife and daughter, essentially experiencing the pain he goes through when these memories overcome him. We watch him drink himself into a stupor as each night finds him besieged in his fortified house, surrounded by vampires, including his old friend and neighbor, calling for him to come out. We watch him slowly lose his grip on sanity and come very close to giving up.
A reimagining of the classic gothic suspense novel follows the experiences of a courageous socialite in 1950s Mexico who is drawn into the treacherous secrets of an isolated mansion. (Novelist)
Sethe, an escaped slave living in post-Civil War Ohio with her daughter and mother-in-law, is persistently haunted by the ghost of her dead baby girl. (Novelist)
Ogawa is imaginative, seductive, and disconcerting in this piquant sequence of 11 “dark tales” chained together in unexpected ways. Things start out gently, if spookily, with a grief-addled woman waiting to be served in a bakery. Later we learn who was crying in the backroom and why. A schoolgirl whose mother is dying meets her father, a “relatively well-known politician,” for the first time, then breaks into an abandoned post office that is filled with kiwis. A young writer is startled when her strange landlady presents her with a hand-shaped carrot. A man who makes custom handbags slips into madness after taking on a bizarre commission. Anger, mayhem, and murder are in the air, yet Ogawa lulls us with psychological tenderness and evocative details until the macabre bursts forth full strength. These are delectably fantastic, endlessly intriguing tales of obsession, revenge, and unforeseen interconnections. (Booklist)
There's something strange about the Silver family house in the closed-off town of Dover, England. Grand and cavernous with hidden passages and buried secrets, it's been home to four generations of Silver women--Anna, Jennifer, Lily, and now Miranda, who has lived in the house with her twin brother, Eliot, ever since their father converted it to a bed-and-breakfast. The Silver women have always had a strong connection, a pull over one another that reaches across time and space, and when Lily, Miranda's mother, passes away suddenly while on a trip abroad, Miranda begins suffering strange ailments. An eating disorder starves her. She begins hearing voices. When she brings a friend home, Dover's hostility toward outsiders physically manifests within the four walls of the Silver house, and the lives of everyone inside are irrevocably changed. (Booklist)
In pale-hands-I-loved-beside-the-Shalimar prose (vampires do have pale and languid hands and this whole book is doused in fragrances, floral or otherwise) this tells the story of a gentle vampire, Louis. But a gentle vampire is a little like Ferdinand the Bull. No Bela Lugosi, Louis is lonely and melancholy after he becomes one at the age of 25, following the death of his brother. He is taken in hand (white but not so languid) by a much awfuller vampire Lestat who is vengeful by nature and unquenchably bloodthirsty. This all takes place in the moss and magnolia New Orleans of 1791 but then follows Louis' experiences for 200 years as one of the "living dead." In particular his love for Claudia, the youngster they vampirize. (Booklist)
After he constructs a corpse from body parts found on the street, Hadi wants the government to prepare a proper burial, but when the corpse goes missing, a series of strange murders occur and Hadi realizes he has created a monster.
Obsessed by creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life by electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear. (Novelist)
After discovering the double identity of the wealthy Transylvanian nobleman, Count Dracula, a small group of people vow to rid the world of the evil vampire. (Novelist)
What was the worst thing you've ever done? In the sleepy town of Milburn, New York, four old men gather to tell each other stories--some true, some made-up, all of them frightening. A simple pastime to divert themselves from their quiet lives. But one story is coming back to haunt them and their small town. A tale of something they did long ago. A wicked mistake. A horrifying accident. And they are about to learn that no one can bury the past forever ... (Publisher)
Narrator Daniels chronicles her love of food, men, and the development of a cannibalistic urge that earns her the names “MILF Killer” and “Butcher Food Critic” in the tabloids. Written from prison, Daniels’s story gradually unfolds in flashbacks as she acknowledges she has both “intimidating intelligence” and “a dearth of conscience,” and that her “fondness for gratification” brought on her downfall. Watching the hypocrisy of her parents’ supposedly perfect Connecticut domestic bliss, Daniels learns early on that “femininity was junk” and traditional roles of wife and mother are not for her. After college in the 1980s, she moves to Boston and writes for the Boston Phoenix. She soon leaves for New York City, where she launches a successful career writing for lifestyle magazines. Her work brings her to Italy, where she takes on a series of lovers and, after accidentally killing one with her Fiat, decides to cook his liver. The result: “delectable.” (Booklist)
For as long as Molly Southbourne can remember, she's been watching herself die. Whenever she bleeds, another molly is born, identical to her in every way and intent on her destruction. Molly knows every way to kill herself, but she also knows that as long as she survives she'll be hunted. No matter how well she follows the rules, eventually the mollys will find her. Can Molly find a way to stop the tide of blood, or will she meet her end at the hand of a girl who looks just like her?
Wen is almost eight years old, on vacation with her two dads, Andrew and Eric, on an isolated lake in New Hampshire. While catching grasshoppers on the front lawn, she encounters Leonard, a large man in a white button-down shirt, who asks for help convincing her dads to let him and his friends into their home. They have come to this secluded place with their menacing and crude weapons to stop the world from ending, and Wen and her dads are the key to humanity’s survival. What follows is an extremely intense, anxiety-inducing thriller that puts the family in mortal danger while forcing them to tackle a universal dilemma—is one life worth that of seven billion others? Alternating between unreliable narrators, Tremblay captures the intense emotional struggle, especially in flashbacks into the lives of the odds-defying family of Wen, Andrew, and Eric, while dread and terror permeate every sentence. (Booklist)
The heroines, Selina Dawes and Margaret Prior, both embody and transcend their era's ideal of femininity. Selina is a trance medium and a con artist who has been imprisoned at Millbank jail after a scandal involving a young, impressionable follower. Margaret, a sensitive woman of scholarly bent, outrages her family by falling in love with a woman, then, after her father's death, she attempts suicide. As a remedy for her melancholy, Margaret is sent out to do social work, visiting with women convicts at Millbank, where she becomes fascinated with Selina. Through Margaret's efforts to reconstruct Selina's past, Waters illuminates the social issues surrounding spiritualism, as well as the double standards applied to women and the prevailing attitudes toward lesbianism. When the jail's matrons become aware of the unusual relationship between the two women, Margaret is forced to choose between her taboo love for the scheming Selina and the strict morality with which she was raised. (Booklist)
In a post-apocalyptic world decimated by zombies, the U.S. government has retreated to Buffalo, New York, and survivor efforts to rebuild are focused on lower Manhattan. With several others, Mark Spitz works as a "sweeper" -- eliminating zombie stragglers as he struggles with PASD (Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder) and recalls humanity before the apocalypse. (Novelist)