If You Think Horror Movies Are Scary, Wait Until You Read These Novels

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Lucy Williams

If you've ever wondered whether or not your love of horror movies and scary stories is creepy, this should give you some peace of mind: There's actually a science behind the thrill. In a study published in the Journal of Media Psychology, Glenn D. Walters, PhD, found that the genre tends to lure us in because it delivers tension, relevance, and unrealism. In other words, the mystery, suspense, and shock factors grip and excite us, while the themes tend to tap into our deepest fears without actually making them a reality. And as thrill-seeking bookworms, we'll be the first to admit that horror novels make for the best beach reads, thanks to the entertaining plots and the promise of a heightened sensory experience.

There's also just something about the intimacy of reading a book—and the fact that they leave so much more up to the imagination, where monsters and demons are quick to rear their ugly heads—that make them freakier than the freakiest of movies (in a good way, of course). If you agree, you'll want to add all of the best horror novels from our reading list to your library. From classic Stephen King must-reads to under-the-radar discoveries, horrifying true crime reports, psychological thrillers, supernatural spooks, and everything in between, these are the best horror novels around. Get a sense of each below.