The Best Horror Books Of 2018 Include Genre Masters And Newcomers

Readers who enjoy being scared can find lots of thrills and chills within this year’s most terrifying novels.

Scary girl with red eyes peering over a horror book.
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Readers who enjoy being scared can find lots of thrills and chills within this year’s most terrifying novels.

The holidays are upon us, and when we aren’t involved in Black Friday sales and festivities, many of us will want to curl up with a good book. The same is equally true for horror buffs, and the genre has never been hotter at the box office. What’s more, Bookstr reported that the trend has also translated into higher book sales.

In fact, horror is now one of the five most profitable book genres in the United States. This means that the number of horror book releases is also steadily increasing, which can make it more difficult for readers to find the best and newest scares.

To help out, here is a count down of the eight best horror books of 2018. From well-known powerhouse authors such as Stephen King to newcomers and hidden gems, these books are virtually certain to make you leave the lights on at night.

1. The Outsider by Stephen King

Stephen King has dabbled in numerous genres in recent years, but he made a triumphant return to the world of horror with one of this year’s offerings. The Outsider is a tense, horrific thriller that begins with the highly disturbing murder of a young boy. Combining the best elements of classic horror and crime noir, the novel encapsulates everything that long-time readers love about Stephen King.

2. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

The shockingly original Baby Teeth is author Zoje Stage’s debut novel. As Entertainment Weekly said, this book is “We Need to Talk About Kevin meets Gone Girl meets The Omen.” Stage lives up to the praise by deftly weaving a terrifying tale about any parent’s worst nightmare — having a child who wants to kill them.

3. The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

Paul Tremblay’s latest, The Cabin at the End of the World, earned high praise from genre-master Stephen King, who wrote on Twitter that this book is “thought-provoking and terrifying.” Four strangers interrupt a family’s vacation getaway by claiming that they need their assistance to save the world. But the family soon learns that the group’s motives may not be altogether altruistic. Paranoia ensues, and the family doesn’t know who to trust — or what to believe.

4. The Haunting of Cabin Green by April A. Taylor

Speaking of haunted cabins and paranoia, The Haunting of Cabin Green takes this standard genre template and turns it upside-down. A grieving man gets stuck in a nightmare after going to the titular Cabin Green, and the crazy whirlwind that ensues is enough to make even the biggest horror fan a bit dizzy. With a literary approach that combines modern and mid-twentieth century techniques, it’s no wonder that this unique debut novel was also featured on PopSugar‘s Best of Horror 2018 list.

5. Dracul by Dacre Stoker

When your last name is Stoker, you pretty much have to release a vampire novel at some point. Dacre Stoker, the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker, teamed up with J.D. Barker to tell a stunning prequel to Dracula. In Dracul, readers meet Bram Stoker at the age of 21. His childhood caretaker begins acting very oddly, leading Stoker to wonder if she’s involved in several unusual deaths.

6. The Hunger by Alma Katsu

NPR named The Hunger one of the 100 best horror novels, and Stephen King apparently agreed — as his cover blurb states that it’s “deeply, deeply disturbing.” Author Alma Katsu took on the real-life story of the Donner Party, and introduced a horrific new element. Is there a witch in their group? Is a monster stalking and killing them one-by-one? Or are they their own source of evil? These questions, and more, are answered in this fictional take on a fascinating historical event.

7. The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen

This genuinely creepy novel is the first part of Chris Sorensen’s Messy Man Series. In The Nightmare Room, Peter and Hannah move to Peter’s childhood town in the hopes of moving past a great personal tragedy. Instead, the couple finds a vengeful spirit that will stop at nothing in its attempts to exploit the past — and destroy them.

8. Apart in the Dark by Ania Ahlborn

Ania Ahlborn writes creepy horror fiction that often crosses the line from mainstream to extreme. Apart in the Dark is a compulsively readable collection of two Ahlborn novellas that showcase her ability to scare readers. The first novella, The Pretty Ones, is set in New York City during the Summer of Sam. The second novella, I Call Upon Thee, amps up the freakiness level with malevolent spirits that haunt Maggie Olson for decades.

Honorable Mentions

Other recent horror books that have been thrilling readers worldwide include C.J. Tudor’s debut, The Chalk Man, Riley Sager’s latest, The Last Time I Lied, and the paranormal thriller In Her Shadow by Mark Edwards. Whether you prefer psychological horror, literary horror, or historical horror, there’s plenty to choose from among 2018’s best horror books.