Recommendations from My Favorites Shelf: For the Horror “Newbies”

I’ve recently had some friends who are new to horror ask me where to start. This thrills me to no end, because I’ve been telling people that the horror genre is more than what it seems for some time. Many people assume that horror is one-dimensional, and nothing but blood and gore. Some people tell me it’s all “too scary”. While there are stories that do contain these elements, those of us who love the genre know that there’s so much more. I believe that there’s a horror story out there for everyone and that people just need to find the right fit.

My excitement at being asked this question led me to writing this post. I’m sure it’s been done before, but my list is likely to be different from others. I decided to go to my “Favorites” shelf to get started, which leads me to this disclaimer: This list is only based on books that I have read. It’s mostly books from my favorite authors, so this is not an all-inclusive list showcasing the full range of diverse authors and topics across the genre. It’s just a start. What I’ve done here is to try and showcase a range of horror among books that I personally love– books that I think would be a good introduction to horror. Whether you’re looking for horror with heart, or something a bit more intense, I hope you find it here and develop a new love for the genre.

Without further ado, here are 20 novels/collections/anthologies and 5 novellas (in no particular order) that I highly recommend:

  1. THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER by Jonathan Janz
  2. BIRD BOX by Josh Malerman
  3. CLICKERS by J.F. Gonzalez & Mark Williams
  4. A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS by Paul Tremblay
  5. WALK THE DARKNESS DOWN by John Boden (technically a novella, but I’m leaving it on this list)
  6. INNER DEMONS by Robert Ford *
  7. BRAIN DEAD BLUES by Matt Hayward *
  8. REMAINS by Andrew Cull
  9. A VOICE SO SOFT by Patrick Lacey
  10. KIN by Kealan Patrick Burke
  11. CHILDREN OF THE DARK by Jonathan Janz
  12. THE GOD BENEATH MY GARDEN by Robert Ford *
  13. THE EXORCIST by William Peter Blatty
  14. WHAT DO MONSTERS FEAR? by Matt Hayward
  15. THE DEMONOLOGIST by Andrew Pyper
  16. CONSEQUENCES by John Quick
  17. BLOOD CRAZY by Simon Clark
  18. WELCOME TO THE SHOW (Various Authors) Edited by Matt Hayward and Doug Murano *
  19. LULLABIES FOR SUFFERING (Various Authors) Edited by Mark Matthews *

*indicates an anthology or collection of short fiction



Looking for a quick read to get your feet wet? Try these:

  1. A HOUSE AT THE BOTTOM OF A LAKE by Josh Malerman
  2. OUT BEHIND THE BARN by John Boden and Chad Lutzke
  3. SOUR CANDY by Kealan Patrick Burke
  4. IN THE SCRAPE by James Newman and Mark Steensland
  5. STIRRING THE SHEETS by Chad Lutzke

If you’re new to the genre, I hope that you find something you enjoy from this list, and I’d love to hear your thoughts once you’re done reading.


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