11 Thriller Horror Books to Chill You to the Bone
I never thought of myself as someone who loved thriller horror books. But then, I thought about how much I love these disturbing psychological thriller books. You know the books that you don’t want to read alone? What about the books that make you look over your shoulders?
I put the best horror thriller books that I have read on this list and I hope you love them just as much as I do.
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Best Thriller Horror Books of 2023
The Angel Maker by Alex North
Katie Shaw had everything she wanted until a stranger changed the fate of the family forever. Now, with a child of her own, Katie is having a hard time differentiating between real vs imagined threats. Then, she gets a call that her estranged brother Chris, once the victim of violence has gone missing.
There are so many twists and turns in this serial killer thriller. It is one of the most disturbing psychological thriller books I have read and is completely terrifying and I have to say that I loved it. I did not know that I enjoyed scary books so much!
How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix
I am so excited to read this book from the Winter 2023 book releases and think it will go perfectly on our haunted house book list. When Louise finds out her parents have died, she does not want to pack up the house of the people who loved her the most. She also does not want to ask her brother for help with the house because the two siblings never got along.
When the will is finally read, Louise is shocked but, even more shocking are the strange things that start happening in the house. This is by far the scariest book I have ever read and one of the best horror thriller books around. Grady Hendrix does not disappoint! Every one of his books is more terrifying than the last. This thrilling horror was a pure adrenaline rush from the first page to the last.
The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes
January 2023 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick
As books with unreliable narrators go, this is the best I have ever read. Maya was days away from moving away to college when he best friend Aubrey mysteriously dropped dead in front of her. She blamed Frank, an older guy who she had been hanging out with that summer although there was nothing to prove that he had done a thing to harm Aubrey.
Now, years later, Maya is trying to overcome an addiction to the drug prescribed to help her overcome the loss of Aubrey. When she sees a video of a woman who drops dead in a cafe and Frank is sitting with her, she sets off in a spiral again and needs to prove that Frank is responsible. I love this book with a totally likable and yet, completely unreliable narrator. This a best thrillers of 2023 pick for sure.
If you have not read this pick from ultimate beach reads 2023, run, don’t walk, to get it! It needs to be top of the list of your books for summer.
Best Thriller Horror Books
When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole
Sydney Green lives in Brooklyn where she has lived for almost her whole life. Her neighborhood is quickly changing as old neighbors move away. What starts off as fiction about gentrification and neighborhood dynamics quickly becomes a fast-moving thriller.
Is Sydney being paranoid or are people out to get her? To make matters worse, Sydney’s mother is sick and she does not want to put all her burdens on her best friend. The only person Sydney can turn to is Theo but can she trust him? How far will people go to get what they want? I loved this thriller-horror book. This situation is totally plausible which makes this one of the more disturbing psychological thriller books on this list.
Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
Riley Sager is quickly becoming a must-read author for me. I absolutely loved this last book, The Last Time I Lied, so I was eager to pick this one up. The story is told via a dual timeline about 4 days apart.
Jules is hired to apartment-sit at a ridiculously wealthy building in NYC. But there are strange rules to protect the residents of The Bartholomew – no visitors, no disturbing the neighbors, and no spending nights away from the apartment. There are also some concerning urban legends surrounding the lush residence. Let’s just say I was glad I was not alone while I was reading this thriller horror book. If you love disturbing psychological thriller books, don’t miss our entire list of The Best Riley Sager Books Ranked by Super Fans!
Disturbing Psychological Thriller Books
The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward
This book is definitely one of the most disturbing psychological thriller books that I have read in a while. It took me about 1/2 of the book to figure out what in the heck was going on.
There are a few stories going on simultaneously and at times I was extremely confused but if you stick with it, all was revealed in the end.
This thriller horror book is told from multiple perspectives: a man with memory gaps, a cat who reads, a little girl who is not allowed outside, and a neighbor who moves next door. Sound crazy? It absolutely is and it will definitely creep you out!
The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling
Jane is a very practical woman. She has done her research and has found the perfect man to be her husband. She assured him that the relationship will be strictly business. But as her feelings for him grow, she starts to learn there is more to this hard-working and quiet doctor.
As a matter of fact, there is something strange going on at his house that cannot be explained and she starts to worry for her health as well as that of her husband.
I was looking forward to this gothic horror with a touch of fantasy mixed in. While I was unfortunately left disappointed, this pick from thriller horror books, is definitely creepy.
Classic Thriller Horror Books
Dracula by Bram Stoker
This is the book that started it all. Jonathan Harker is a young English solicitor who finds himself in Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania. Count Dracula has strange customs and mannerisms and things go from strange to scary to completely horrifying.
The story of Dracula is timeless and has been remade into countless movies. But, in my opinion, none have been able to capture the truly terrifying essence of this book. It is truly a disturbing thriller horror book. If you love vampire books and have not read this one, it is a must-read that will scare the pants off you!
The Shining by Steven King
Steven King has a way of finding just the right blend of reality to add to his books to make them truly terrifying. The Shining is no exception. I don’t think there is anyone who has read this book who can think of an isolated cabin as a relaxing retreat ever again.
Jack Torrence is a recovering alcoholic with anger issues. He accepts a job as a winter caretaker at the Overlook Hotel in the hopes of writing his first novel. He brings his wife and son with him in the hopes of reconnecting with them. Obviously, things go terribly wrong. This 70s book is one of the scariest thriller horror novels I’ve ever read and its perfect for our list of winter books!
YA Thriller Horror Books
Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz
Winter 2022 YA Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick
This gothic YA historical fiction is centered around Hazel, a 16-year-old woman who lives in Edinburgh Scotland with her mother and younger brother. She has always had an obsession with anatomy and wants to be a surgeon despite the fact that no women are allowed to study to become doctors.
In order to study and pass her exam, she must have dead bodies to look at. Enter Jack, who earns extra money by taking bodies from their graves at night.
This was such a quick read with amazing details to keep the story moving. There were some surprise details that really added to the story. The ending, however, felt very rushed to me- especially when compared to the rest of the book. This is such an original thriller horror book.
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily Danforth
I started Plain Bad Heroines and I did not know what to think. I was debating giving up on the book for a little while because I just wasn’t sure where the book was going. Fast forward. I loved it and I am glad I stuck with it. This YA fantasy book is unlike any other book I have ever read. It has all the makings of cult horror. It is scary, complex and so well-written.
The lines between reality and fiction are perfectly blurred. It is a book about a book and making a movie about that same book. ( follow that? Lol) The story intertwines the lives of all those that read the book and the mystery and supernatural that follows them 🐝. I don’t usually read horror but I loved this book. If you’ve read this dark academia novel, I have to talk to someone about it!!!
The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson
I really enjoyed this book with an old-school feel. It has the vibe to Stand by Me or Stranger Things in this coming-of-age story about friends who spend their summer investigating ghost stories and urban legends.
The story is not just light-hearted fun. Rather, it delves a little deeper into some issues while still maintaining the feel of the book. Even though the story takes place in the summer, the ghost stories definitely give off a creepy, Halloween vibe. I had to include it in a list of fall books.