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10 chilling horror novels to read over Christmas

The Shining by Stephen King

The Shining Stephen King Hodder

Obviously the King’s snowed-in spookfest makes it to the top of our list. Bonus points if you read this while staying in a hotel over the holidays, but fingers crossed there are no Red Rooms or dull boys lurking around the place.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

NOS4A2 Joe Hill
© HarperLuxe

Inspire some festive nightmares with this spinetingling novel that features a child kidnapper who uses gingerbread-flavoured anaesthetic to lure kids to “Christmasland.” The story kicks off when a little girl finds she can transport herself to the location of whatever she’s seeking simply by cycling over a bridge, so this’ll be right up your alley if you liked Stranger Things.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein Mary Shelley
© Alma Classics

Written by Shelley when the weather was too cold to even leave the house, this horror classic has wintery weirdness all over it. Mad scientist Victor first becomes interested in chemistry during a terrible thunderstorm, so this is perfect reading for a night spent shut inside from the rain.

Ghost Story by Peter Straub

Ghost Story Peter Straub
© Gollancz

If you’re hoping for a seasonal blackout and a good ghost storytelling session, Peter Straub’s tale of a ghost story society whose tall tales come back to haunt them will provide perfect inspiration. The ageing members of this society resort to contacting a fictional horror writer in their efforts to absolve themselves from a shared troubled past, leading to some brilliantly twisty storytelling techniques.

Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck

Wolf Winter Cecilia Ekbäck

Wolves are blamed for the discovery of a mutilated corpse in a Lapland forest in 1717, but the people of Blackåsen mountain have some demons to face and the explanation for this murder is anything but simple. Wolf Winter shines a terrifying light on Santa’s homeland.

At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft

At the Mountain of Madness HP Lovecraft
© CreateSpace

You don’t get much more wintery than the Antarctic. This novella features a lost civilisation, snow-capped mountains and cave-dwelling aliens, all mixed with a dose of horrific murder for good measure.

The Terror by Dan Simmons

The Terror Dan Simmons
© Bantam

“The Terror” is what the characters in this novel call a polar bear-like beast that stalks them across the ice their ship is trapped in. Their expedition is doomed, stuck for over a year in harsh cold and with dwindling supplies, and an eery monster following their every move.

The Thing by Alan Dean Foster

The Thing Alan Dean Foster
© Bantam

An Antarctic outpost is wiped out, and the researchers who find them realise their deaths were the result of uncovering alien lifeforms frozen deep in the pole’s ice. Paranoia and panic set in among the second set of scientists and their fate is no better than their predecessors’.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw Henry James
© Oxford University Press

This is a story within a story, being told at a gathering in an old house on Christmas eve. Ghosts haunt a Victorian house and creepy kids come up against the supernatural in this Gothic classic.

The White Road by Sarah Lotz

The White Road Sarah Lotz

Adrenalin-junkie Simon barely survives an expedition through some notoriously dangerous Welsh caves, but after the footage of his near-death experience goes viral he sets his sights on Everest. What terror awaits at the top of the world? We publish this one in May 2017 – the perfect pre-order present for yourself after all that holiday generosity.