15 Books that will Keep You Up All Night

By Simon McDonald, Editorial Manager |

Check our list of 15 terrifying books that will keep you up all night. Be warned, these books will give you shivers and have you checking the locks twice before bed. And as always, we welcome you to add your own choices in the comments.

Pet SemetaryPet Sematary by Stephen King

Publishers Weekly called Pet Semetary “the scariest novel Stephen King has ever written,” and it’s hard to make a case against it. The novel examines the nature of untimely death, shattering loss, and the consequences of utter desperation, climaxing in one of the most haunting final lines you’ll ever read. More >  

The ExorcistThe Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Even more terrifying than the film of the same name, The Exorcist details the demonic possession of the 12-year-old daughter of a famous actress and the Jesuit priest who attempts to exorcise the demon. More >  

Amityville Horror by Jay JansonAmityville Horror by Jay Anson

It was a house too good to pass up, despite its haunted past. Years earlier, Ronald DeFeo had murdered his parents, brothers, and sisters in the house, but in December 1975, the Lutz Family moved into the Long Island home anyway. Less than a month later, they fled in terror. Later, the entire Lutz family fled in terror. More >  

The ShiningThe Shining by Stephen King

We can’t not include Stephen King’s seminal work on this list! In The Shining, Jack Torrance is tired to care for a remote mountain resort over the winter alongside his wife and son. But the dark secrets of the Overlook Hotel are slowly unveiled, and it is soon trying to claim the souls of the family. More >


The ReplacementThe Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Mackie Doyle isn’t one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby 16 years ago, and now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world… More >  

Isolation Travish TrasherIsolation by Travis Thrasher

James Miller is a burned-out missionary whose time on the mission field in Papua New Guinea has left him exhausted and disillusioned. His wife, Stephanie, feels like she’s losing her mind. After moving to North Carolina, she begins seeing strange and frightening things: blood dripping down the walls, one of her children suffocating. Premonitions, she believes, of what’s to come. More >  

DraculaDracula by Bram Stoker

Our list would not be complete without the quintessential tale of suspense and horror. Count Dracula is a tragic, night-dwelling specter who feeds upon the blood of the living, whose diabolical passions prey upon the innocent, the helpless, and the beautiful. There is a reason why Dracula has transcended generations, language and cultures and remains one of the most popular novels ever written. More >  

White is for WitchingWhite is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

The Silver women have always had a strong connection. So when Lily, Miranda’s mother, passes away suddenly while on a trip abroad, Mranda begins suffering strange ailments. An eating disorder starves her; she begins hearing voices, then, when she brings a friend home, the closed-off town of Dover’s hostility toward outsiders physically manifests within the four walls of the Silver house. More >  

PiercingPiercing by Ryu Murakami

Murakami explores themes of child abuse and what happens to the voiceless among us, weaving a disturbing, spare tale of two people who find each other and then are forced into hurting each other deeply because of the haunting specter of their own abuse as children. More >  

The Killer Inside MeThe Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson

Everyone in the small town of Central City, Texas, loves Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford. He’s not the brightest or the most interesting man in town, but he’s the kind of officer you’re happy to have keeping your streets safe, the sort of man you might even wish your daughter would end up with someday. But behind the platitudes and glad-handing lurks a monster. More >  

Primal FearPrimal Fear by William Diehl

Martin Vail is defending Aaron Stampler, a man found holding a bloody butcher’s knife near a murdered archbishop. He is certain to lose, but Vail uses his unorthodox ways to good advantage when choosing his legal team, a group of men and women who must uncover the extraordinary truth behind the archbishop’s slaughter. They do, in a heart-stopping climax. More >  

Got his gunJohnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

The story of an American youth who survives World War I as an armless, legless, and faceless basket case with his mind intact, Johnny Got His Gun is shocking, violent, terrifying, horrible, uncompromising, brutal, remorseless and gruesome. More >  

The Girl Next DooThe Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum

Suburbia: shady, tree-lined streets, well-tended lawns and cozy homes, a nice, quiet place to grow up, unless you are teenage Meg or her crippled sister, Susan. On a dead-end street, in the dark, damp basement of the Chandler house, Meg and Susan are left captive to the savage whims and rage of a distant aunt who is rapidly descending into madness, a madness that inflects all three of her sons and finally the entire neighborhood. More>  

We Need to Talk About KevinWe Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Eva never really wanted to be a mother and certainly not the mother of a boy who ends up murdering seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his 16th birthday. More >    

Rosemary's BabyRosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

She is a young, healthy, blissfully happy housewife. He is a charismatic and ambitious actor. The spacious, sun-filled apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side is their dream home, a dream that turns into an unspeakable nightmare. More >  

Add the 15 Books that will Keep You Up All Night to your bookshelf.