When it comes to horror and mystery, people often seem intrigued about knowing more about the subject. So, it is elevating to read a spine-chilling horror book on a dark misty night in sheer silence. Throughout the year's literature has made a huge leap in the field of horror, thanks to the brilliance of writers like Stephen King, Dan Simmons, etc. Thus, making the genre more popular, which is loved by people around the globe.
This article is a one-stop solution to the problem. Here we will be listing the top 10 Best horror books to read for the Indian audience. The list is curated carefully, keeping in mind the sub-genres, the medium, and the story type so that you can find your perfect pick. Be it the gut-wrenching tales by Stephen King or the local familiar spooky stories by Neil D'Silva. This list has it all!
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Table of Contents
Before jumping straight to the list, get to know how to choose the perfect book for yourself. This brief yet precise buying guide will help zero down on your favorite one, keeping your preferences in mind. It is almost like setting the foundation right. Here we will consider crucial points like knowing the origin of the story, choosing the right sub-genre, and picking the right format.
The storyline is the most vital part of the book, but other tiny factors add to the overall flavor of the story. It is often observed that the place on which the story is based, plays a vital role in grabbing the reader's attention. To some readers, the familiar Indian locations like the haunted Havelis, rustic alleys, etc create a better impact.
If the locations are familiar, the reader can almost visualize the picture of the entire scenario while reading. This not only creates interest but almost exponentially increases the spookiness of the story. Indian authors like Anupama Ramanujan often use this to upgrade their stories.
On the other hand, when the reader gets exposed to foreign and unfamiliar surroundings, the scope of visualization decreases. If you like visualizing while reading, then the origin of the story might be the deal-breaker.
Different kinds of stories appeal to different types of readers. Some find the gut-wrenching tales of horror interesting, while some enjoy horror balanced with a little bit of humor. Some already are aware of their taste, but on the other hand, many have no clue about this area. If you fall in the latter then, this section will surely help you know your favorite sub-genre.
In most books, the story starts in a normal setting, and with time things take a sinister turn. The book Misery by Stephen King, where a seemingly harmless fan of a best-selling author kidnaps him all of a sudden, is a great example of such a storyline.
In these novels, the reader will encounter dragons, trolls, elves, maybe unicorns too. Gertrude Barrows Bennet's books are often considered to be a good start for this genre. Once familiar with the sub-genre, the readers can start moving to the India-specific writers and stories. We recommend this sub-genre to all Potterheads and the mystics.
More than books, comedy horror movies are popular. Especially in India, it is challenging to come across comedy-horror writers and books. However, the audience can always refer to international writers like Jason Pargin and his novels for a good read.
A paranormal horror novel filled with stories of souls, possession, ghosts can be an ideal companion on a dark rainy night. Fans of movies like Annabelle, Grudge, etc., will enjoy such a read. The readers will find minute details in a book, which is not possible in movies. Got an eye for details? Pick this sub-genre.
With the leap in technology, we receive several options to choose from when it comes to the type of book. These options have certainly provided us with ease and convenience. But, at the same time, with options comes the dilemma of choosing one.
If you are an old-school traditional reader, and the smell of the new books please you, go for the hardback format. Also, it can be a valuable addition to your home library stack. On the other hand, for frequent travelers ebooks, and audiobooks are ideal for frequent travelers as they occupy minimum space and are easy to carry around.
Now, imagine carrying 10 books with you while traveling. Won't it be a little too much to handle? Audiobooks can be great in horror if the narrator has a good voice; it only adds to the element of horror. Plus, they reduce eye strain while starring at the screen and reading ebooks.
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A Spine-Chilling Storyline by Stephen King
The Night Circus (Vintage Magic)
Dive Into a Dark and Mystical Adventure
The Lost Goddess
Venture in the World of Paranormal Visionary Fiction
The Guest List
Termed as Blood-Cudling - A Mind-Boggling Tale
The House Next Door
Three Chilling Stories in One Book
A Book Where Mythology Meets Horror
A Brilliant Use of Limited Characters
Ghosts of The Silent Hills: Stories based on true hauntings
India-Centric Stories of Horror
Right Behind You
A Classic Blend of Various Sub-Genres
The Haunting of Thackery School
A Riveting Haunted House Mystery Series
This masterpiece was written in 1977 by American author Stephen King. It is his third novel. This book was his first bestselling hardback. It creates a benchmark for all psychological horror stories. The master of the field, Stephen King, fills the story with unexpected thrills to make the storyline.
The Shining proved to be a huge success for Stephen King, and it pretty much made him a prominent figure in the world of literature. The story starts by starring Jack Torrance, who starts with a new job at the Old Overlook Hotel. Initially, Jack enjoyed his work and planned to spend his hours rekindling his spark for writing.
But that's when things take a spooky twist, the winter sets in, and the old hotel all of a sudden starts giving a spooky vibe. The story takes an unexpected turn after the introduction of Danny, who is a gifted 5-year-old. Traditional psychological thriller fans will love this book.
Wrote by Erin Morgensten as part of an annual writing competition called National Novel Writing Month, this book gained popularity fast and received an immense amount of love from the readers, for its dark and mystical elements. The origin of the story is in the Victorian era of London, where circuses used to be a big topic of discussion.
The story talks of a magical circus called Cirque des Rêves (The Circus of Dreams) that comes and disappears without any notice. The book is filled with fantasy-related topics like gardens of ice, ethereal enigmas, and a whole lot of magic.
The main story revolves around the rivalry between two powerful magicians, Prospero the Enchanter and the enigmatic Mr. A.H and, how they train their star pupils to establish their dominance on stage. This book is a treat for fantasy horror readers, as it is filled with a sinister and dark twist to keep the reader intrigued.
With this book, the writer Anupama Ramanujan dives into a rare side of horror known as the paranormal, visionary horror. The book is filled with mythological stories peppered by touches of horror and paranormal activity. The story being Indian makes it easy for an Indian reader to connect with. The plot revolves around Kanika, a 37-year-old who desperately tries to prove that ghosts exist.
Laced with paranormal elements like the jingling of anklets in nights, concepts of possession, this book provides a rollercoaster ride of emotions and fear. The plot goes to a point where the protagonist starts questioning her own sanity. The book is available in all formats and is a good pick for the Indian audience.
Written by Lucy Foley, this book stands as the No.1 Sunday Times bestseller. Along with that, the book has received many notable praises. The guest list dwells in the area of psychological horror. Here the author has brilliantly described the characters and has built a strong aura to give the reader a taste of being on a lonely scheduled island.
The book starts at a slow pace where the author takes time to establish each character, but once you reach half, the story changes gears, and it becomes interesting and scary. Many readers have termed this book as a blood-curdling yet mind-boggling story. Overall, the guest list has all the elements to keep a reader glued to the reading chair, and it deserves a good audience.
The house next door is a series of three chilling stories by the best thriller writer James Patterson. The stories are named The House Next Door, The Killers Wife, The Witnesses. Like most horror stories, this too starts in a mundane setting but towards the end of each story, the plot becomes gripping and intense.
The story lacks the addition of gothic elements, but the fine attention to details makes up for it. This is a great budget-friendly option and can be considered ideal for a quick read. The free version of the audiobook comes with amazon audible trials. If you enjoy murder mysteries, then these stories will intrigue you for sure.
Yakshini is an Indian-origin horror story, written by Neil D'Silva. The story overlooks a setting in the state of Maharashtra, where a couple is expecting their seventh child and is performing a special yajna to fulfill their desires. Here mythology blends with horror and adds a spine-tingling touch to the story through elaborate instances of possession.
The fast-paced storyline makes an additional plus point to the story. The characterizations in the book are a strong point that the readers enjoyed. The brilliant portrayal of the village girl and her comparison to a heavenly goddess is amazingly scripted.
The book showcases a rare and amazing display of a tussle between humans and the supernatural. The graphical cover of the books also gives it a touch of flair, an addition of Yakshini to your library can look fancy. If you are into mythology, then Yakshini will prove to be amazing.
The main story dwells around the idea where an author of the best-selling novel series gets kidnaped by an obsessive, psychotic fan. This fan later uses mental and physical methods of torture to make the author write what she wants. What makes The Misery a good book is that Stephen King weaved a story using only two characters and a limited descriptive setting.
Many readers have called the story thrilling but somewhat less scary than Stephen King's previous masterpieces like The Shining. The character descriptions can be a little long and force the reader to flip the page. However, it depends on the reader's attention span. Overall, the book can be a decent addition to one's library as it can surely send few chills down one's spine.
Ghosts of the silent hill is one of the few Indian horror novels that balance logic and the paranormal. The Writer Anita Krishnan vividly describes striking elements like dense and dark forest enveloped in deadly silence. This book contains 10 different stories based on true hauntings.
Each story has its own elements that make it unique. The writer's description of Shimla and the mountains can be familiar to the Indian audience. Thus, making it a better fit for India centric crowd.
While the book has received immense support from the public, a few have found the storyline a little predictable. But, the descriptive writing of Anita Krishnan saves the day. Ghosts of the silent hill is a decent pick if you want to read quick and short horror stories.
The writer Neil D'Silva here explores different sub-genres of horror in 13 different stories. These stories shovel out the fears buried deep inside the human mind, and that is where the horror comes in. In this collection of assorted horror stories, the reader will encounter noir horror, urban myths, fantasies, campfire tales, stories of phobias, gore.
The bonus is a story based completely on private online chats between two people and how it takes an unexpected turn. The book, however, gets a little repulsive towards the end. As a complete horror lover, one expects a series of scary jumps throughout a story, and a few stories in this book lacks that. But judging by its price, Right Behind You can be a decent addition to your horror collection.
It is a riveting haunted house mystery tale comprising 13 books. The writer Sylar Finn brilliantly describes the surroundings to give the readers the feel of a haunted house. The story focuses on Frances Teller and her new job at the prestigious Thackeray School in Vermont.
Soon after joining, Frances finds a ghostly force in the School, which has a deep connection to her past. The story uncovers the tussle between Frances and her past and what she must do to prevent a disaster. While each of the 13 books is brilliantly described, the story gets a little long, and the chances of losing interest are high.
But, if a reader can make it through the initial stages, the rest of the story becomes surprisingly gripping. Overall, the story leaves an impact on the reader and is great for a long-time reader as it is often a task to read 13 books without flinching.
The field of literature is vast, and the journey to acquire this knowledge is never-ending. While horror seems to be a promising and emerging genre, there are other interesting fields in the literature that could keep a reader glued to a book. You can start your quest to read them all by clicking on a few other review articles.
In our mundane day-to-day lives, books can always add a touch of glimmer and joy. Now, when the genre is horror things get a lot more interesting. We hope you find your perfect pick on the list. No matter what kind of reader you are, pick one of the mentioned books in the middle of the night or on a silent gloomy afternoon, we assure you that you will have a thrilling time reading them.
Author: Reet Jakharia
No. 1: Stephen King｜The Shining
No. 2: Erin Morgenstern ｜The Night Circus (Vintage Magic)
No. 3: Anupama Ramanujan｜The Lost Goddess
No. 4: Lucy Foley｜The Guest List
No. 5: James Patterson｜The House Next Door
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