14 of the Scariest Books Ever Written

Proceed with caution.

Scary books have immense power over their readers. They build in that slow, suspenseful way that has you sitting on the edge of your chair, furiously flipping pages to see what happens next. They produce physical sensations in the body, like impending dread in the pit of your stomach, or the hair on the back of your neck standing on end. They take your imagination along for the ride, as you can’t help but picture every gruesome detail as you read. They can make us permanently frightened of their subject matter—be it bloodthirsty dogs (Cujo, anyone?), Ebola (The Hot Zone) or even, yes, clowns. But, as readers, we love the sensation of being scared—it is adrenaline-inducing and addictive. If you’re in the mood for a fright, here are some of the scariest books ever written. And if they get to be a little too much, just do what I do: throw it in the freezer.

Shelf curated by Abbe Wright, @abbewright. Image Credit: artshock/shutterstock.com

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About Abbe Wright

Abbe Wright

ABBE WRIGHT is the Editor of Read It Forward. As a kid, she used to get in trouble at summer camp for using a flashlight to read inside her sleeping bag after lights out, but these days, she lives in Brooklyn, where nobody minds if she stays up late reading. She has written for Glamour, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Cut and tweets about books (and The Bachelor) at @abbewright.