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The Best Modern Horror Novels To Scare You Silly - 2021

The Best Modern Horror Novels To Scare You Silly - 2021 that Are Scarier and Terrifying Than Stephen King's Book

Have you been trying to find the best modern horror novel recently? It's impossible to search for recommendations on any website without seeing Stephen King's books everywhere. When we think of horror, Stephen King's book will surely come to mind, but there are so many great new writers writing their own brand of supernatural horror.

The best thing about horror fiction is that there are many different types to choose from. Whether you're looking for ghosts, crazy cults, psychopaths, or anti-utopian fears, these 10 best modern horror novels will make everyone happy. 

Many of the authors on the list have written multiple horror books, so be sure to check out their other work. 

Here are the 10 best modern horror novels you might like to read with the lights on! 

The Best Modern Horror Novels To Scare You Silly-2021

    1. Last Days 


    Book Review: Last Days by Adam Nevill

    Indie filmmaker Kyle Freeman is a man at the end of his tether. He faces bankruptcy and obscurity until he lands a commission to make an unusual documentary. The Temple of the Last Days was a notorious cult, which reached its bloody endgame in the Arizona desert in 1975. 

    Ever since, the group's rumored mystical secrets and paranormal experiences have lain concealed behind a history of murder, sexual deviancy, and imprisonment. Kyle and his one-man crew film the cult's original bases in London and France - finally visiting the desert crime scene where the cult self-destructed in a night of ritualistic violence. 

    But when Kyle interviews survivors, uncanny events plague his shoots. Frightening out-of-body experiences and nocturnal visitations follow, along with the discovery of ghastly artifacts. Until Kyle realizes, too late, that they've become entangled in the cult's hideous legacy. 

    Praise for Adam Nevill 'This novel grabs from the very first page ...Superb' Guardian'Lean, compelling, dark, at times frightening' The Herald'Horrifyingly scary ...Nevill sinuously ramps up the tension' Sunday Times. 

    Reasons for recommendation:

    You may have heard of the ceremony, which is Neville's most popular novel, but this prolific British writer has written a lot about the supernatural. The Last Days is one of his most terrifying works. 

    The novel tells the story of a journalist named Kyle who is sent to investigate a creepy cult. The last remaining members of the cult have mysteriously died, and Kyle is racing against time to get the stories from him and solve the mystery that happened between them and the cult at the time. 

    This story takes us from England to France and finally to the deserts of the United States, where we learn that cults spend their last days trying to summon something long dead. As the fear of decomposition approached, journalists began to lose their minds.

    The book will appeal to those interested in the cult, and Sister Catherine, a creepy and mysterious spiritual leader, will recall infamous characters from the past. Supernatural factors add up to a deeper level of horror. 

    Promising review: 

    I always cringe a little when I see a "the next Stephen King" blurb on the cover of a book and it actually does a disservice to this book. King hasn't written a book this good in decades! This is by far the best horror novel I've read in a very long time and it recently came to me by chance.-Joe Owens 

    2. A Head Full of Ghosts


    Book Review: A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay 

    20 years after her family was publicly destroyed by her teenage sister's mysterious affliction, a young woman tells the story in her own words, revealing a far more terrifying version of what really happened in her childhood home. 

    When 8-year-old Merry's older sister exhibits signs of an indeterminate and terrifying affliction, the Barrett family slowly tears itself apart. Now, 20 years later, Merry is confronted with her family's traumatic past when Rachel, a journalist with a similarly haunted past, delves into the case, causing Merry to relive and reconsider the devastating memories of her childhood.

    Reasons for recommendation:

    Paul Tremblay will have a few jobs on this list. Ghost, published in 2015, won the Bram Stoker Prize for Fiction.

    The story begins with an adult character named Merry who tells a journalist the strange story of his childhood. Mary's sister, Marjorie, started showing strange demonic symptoms when they were young. 

    Her parents allowed a television film crew to record her daughter's terrible transformation, and her recently Catholic father wanted to film her exorcism. History goes back and forth between the past and the present. We see the Maria family divided, confused, and frightened by the chaos that surrounds them.

    There are scenes in the novel that are reminiscent of The Exorcist, and Merri is an unreliable narrator, which leaves the reader off-balance in a terrifying way. A mind full of ghosts is more like a supernatural mystery than a large-scale feast of terror.

    Promising review:

    This was a good read --- but not a great one. The reason I begin with that assertion is that, based on the enormous amount of hype I read regarding this story, it did not come close (for me) to live up to that advanced praise.-Ray J. Palen Jr. 

    3. The Troop 


    Book Review: The Troop by Nick Cutter

    It begins like a campfire story: Five boys and a grown-up went into the woods. It ends in madness and murder. And worse ...Once a year, scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a three-day camping trip-a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story and a roaring bonfire. 

    But when an unexpected intruder stumbles upon their campsite-shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry-Tim and the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror. The human carrier of a bioengineered nightmare. An inexplicable horror that spreads faster than fear. 

    A harrowing struggle for survival that will pit the troop against the elements, the infected ... and one another. Part Lord of the Flies, part 28 Days Later-and all-consuming-this tightly written, edge-of-your-seat thriller will take listeners deep into the heart of darkness and close to the edge of sanity.

    Reasons for recommendation: 

    Fans of "Filthy Body / Hero" will love this one.

    This unit tells the story of a group of explorers trapped on an island. Their leader is infected by a terrible parasite while he tries to save an extremely thin, seriously ill, and starving stranger. The children find themselves struggling to survive, which uncovers the heroism of one man and the psychosis of another. 

    The story unfolds through a variety of retellings, from a child, letters, and transcripts, including scenes from the animal lab that may make some readers miss their lunch.

    If David Cronenberg had written "Lord of the Flies", he would have seen an army like this, but it was much worse. Don't blame me for not reminding you! 

    Promising review:

    Everyone and their mother told me to read this book. I was very hesitant, gore porn is not my thing. While you cannot deny there is a place in horror for gore, and this is definitely a horror novel, I much prefer my horror to be more subtle and psychological, and supernatural. However, you can't find new authors if you don't get out of your comfort zone.-Angie N. 

    4. The Marriage Pact 


    Book Review: The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

    What does marriage mean to us? Everyone defines her differently. In order to maintain the balance in the marriage and to comply with the rules in the marriage, is it necessary for us to enforce it like a contract organization? The book gives a clear answer at the end.

           The storyline of the whole book is relatively clear: from Jack and Alice’s curiosity about the contract organization, to later rejection, to the initial adaptation in the middle, and finally retiring firmly, using this storyline to express the author’s view of marriage: marriage We should go with the flow instead of using rules and regulations. 

    The two parties in a marriage are constantly evolving and changing. The future of the marriage is unknown, but some principles should be followed, such as honesty, mutual support in growth, devotion, and trust. And so on, and once these basic principles need to be supervised and enforced, it shows that the two parties have not reached a consensus view of marriage.

          The balance in marriage varies from person to person, but for most people, it is not a small challenge. Everyone grows up through learning and progresses through mutual support. The most important thing is to know that you are in the marriage. As for the positioning and ultimate goal, it’s okay to ask yourself more, what do you hope the other half would say about yourself? Strive to narrow the gap between the self in hope and the self in reality. 

    Reasons for recommendation: 

    Marriage Pact is a novel and a psychological thriller that takes you into the spooky world of cults but in a more modern and realistic way.

    Jack and Alice are newlyweds and they look very happy until Alice introduces them to the date. The couple joined the agreement without realizing that they were essentially a cult founded at all costs to protect the sanctity of marriage. 

    The agreement is true and anyone who breaks the rules will be severely punished. Jack and Alice soon realized that they couldn't escape the agreement, and if they wanted to live, they at least had to pretend to be a perfect match.

    If you have seen the "Game" in the movie (1997), you will know what suspense there is in a marriage contract. The feeling that someone is watching and controlling our lives from the outside is a fear that many readers will find disconcertingly familiar.

    Promising review:

    This was a thrilling intense read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The author does a great job in leaving things so uncertain pretty much the entire novel - I was left with a strong feeling of dread the whole time of reading it and yet I absolutely had to know how it ended.-Squeal  

    5. The Dead Lands


    Book Review: The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy 

    A MINNESOTA BOOK AWARDS FINALIST IN NOVEL & SHORT STORY In Benjamin Percy's new thriller, a post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark saga, the superflu and nuclear fallout have made a husk of the world we know. 

    A few humans carry on, living in outposts such as the Sanctuary-the remains of St. Louis-a shielded community that owes its survival to its militant defense and fear-mongering leaders. Then a rider comes from the wasteland beyond its walls. She reports on the outside world: west of the Cascades, rain falls, crops grow, civilization thrives. 

    But there is danger too: the rising power of an army that pillages and enslaves every community they happen upon. Against the wishes of the Sanctuary, a small group sets out in secrecy. Led by Lewis Meriwether and Mina Clark, they hope to expand their infant nation and to reunite the States. But the Sanctuary will not allow them to escape without a fight.

    Reasons for recommendation: 

    "The Land of the Dead" is a dystopian retelling of the Lewis and Clark expedition, a dangerous journey through the post-apocalyptic American wasteland. Lewis Meriwether and Mina Clark led a group of survivors out of the sanctuary and led the arrogant leaders of the sanctuary to new hope in the east. 

    Along the way, they fought monsters and mutants and found the power and true power they never knew they had. But are they moving towards a better world or a worse world? "The Land of the Dead" is a page-turning novel. With adventures, aggressive loser heroes, reformed villains, and huge albino bats, what else is not worth seeing? 

    Promising review:

    Completely entertaining, consuming, and brilliantly written novel. This is our first introduction to this Benjamin Percy and after reading this book we now have a game in my family called "say that how Benjamin Percy would" followed by our best noir voice while attempting to go into great and creative borderline eerie detail about ANY subject matter big or small.---Benjamin and Tiffany 

    6. HEX


    Book Review: HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

    Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay 'til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.

    Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth-century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to the children's bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.

    The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.

    This chilling novel heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in mainstream horror and dark fantasy.

    It seems that people are unable to fight against supernatural forces and are being backlashed. The essence is a story of human nature. The townspeople created evil witches. Even if the witches spread the gospel, the townspeople can only see the ugliness they choose to see. 

    The back and forth echoes of a few foreshadowings are very thought-provoking. The whole book looks a bit like Under The Dome; in addition, the author’s postscript writes that the English translation has a different ending than the Dutch version... It's really horrible! 

    Reasons for recommendation:

    "Hexadecimal" is about a small town called Heiquan, cursed by an ancient witch. The witch walks with the living people in the city but does not associate with the people in the city. Her eyes and mouth were sewn, and it is said that the stitches she sewed could never be removed. 

    She is an open secret in Black Spring, but her existence must be protected by the outside world. No one can leave Heiquan, newcomers must be driven away. For centuries, the people in the town kept abiding by these strange rules, until a group of young people decided to record a video of the witch, and her appearance spread and triggered a series of catastrophic events. 

    At the beginning of the spell, the witch's eyes and mouth were sewn on, making it trembling, but she randomly appeared in people's homes in the middle of the night. This story is a terrible juxtaposition of folk nightmares and modern viciousness. This novel will scare you and make you fall into heavy thinking. 

    7. Annihilation: A Novel


    Book Review: Annihilation: A Novel by Jeff VanderMeer

    Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. 

    The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.

    The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

    They expect the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it's the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.

    This is like a long introduction, only digging holes without filling them it, reminds me of Lost that I chased back then. However, the emotional line of the hero and heroine still attracts me. The feelings between husband and wife are not clearer than those between lovers. Some are like suspense novels. Do you still love me like before? Why are we getting married? Are we still more suitable for living alone? The whole expedition was because of love. 

    What impressed me more was that the hostess found her husband's notes and saw photos of leaves and ponds in them, something she only liked and realized that they were so in love with each other. So, when I saw an extramarital affair in the movie. 

    Reasons for recommendation:

    You may have heard of "Annihilation" because of this movie, but you may not know that this is the first novel in a series called "Nanda Trilogy". "Destruction" won the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel and the 2015 Nebula Award. Eleven expeditions entered Zone X, a restricted zone for 30 years. The last known team died of cancer after returning. 

    Their previous teams attacked each other and one of them committed suicide. This novel takes us into Zone X. The twelfth team consists of four women, a biologist, a psychiatrist, an anthropologist, and a surveyor. These women are not able to deal with what they might find in Zone X, and they are controlled by the hypnotic cues of psychologists. 

    They don't know when they will arrive in Zone X or whether they can leave. Even if you have seen a movie, you should read "Annihilation". This is an existential horror novel that is completely different from the movie. This book raises many suspenseful questions that will make you eager to read the next issue of the trilogy. 

    8. The Cabin at the End of the World


    Book Review: The Cabin at the End of the World: A Novel by Paul Tremblay

    Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

    One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, "None of what's going to happen is your fault". 

    Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: "Your dads won't want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world."

    Reasons for recommendation:

    "The Cabin at the End of the World" is Paul Tremblay's second novel, which won the Bram Boiler Novel Award from the Horror Writers Guild in 2019. There are few characters in the novel, and the plot seems simple: a gay couple and their daughter live in their cottage by the lake when their weekend is interrupted by a group of intimidators with homemade weapons. 

    Violence ensued, as visitors insisted that sacrifices must be made to save the world from the apocalypse. Are they telling the truth, or are they crazy? "The Doomsday Cabin" is not a typical family invasion novel. 

    The mysterious motives of the hostile forces hang you up in the air, turning the pages of the book into the middle of the night. If you like to enjoy bloody psychological horror, this is a book you don't want to miss. 

    9. Behind Closed Doors: A Novel


    Book Review: Behind Closed Doors: A Novel by B. A. Paris

    I am a little flustered so I have to write something. "After closing the door" from beginning to end, I always wondered why Grace didn't run, although it was everywhere in the book that she couldn't run because of Millie. Well, you can say so. The hero Jack, a so-called perfect man who wants to heal his childhood in his lifetime. 

    Externally, he is a perfect lawyer elite, internally, he is a severely sadistic man. I still think his dad is a problematic person and even imprisoned his wife. As a son, Jack not only didn't express his excitement about his mother, but he was excited about his mother's pitiful cry of fear. (What's wrong?) It took six months to create a perfect image of a man in front of the heroine. 

    The wedding night was revealed, and he was a perverted monster! Use your brain to imprison the heroine, and the heroine has to accompany him to perform the drama of the perfect couple. The main reason was that the heroine was afraid of Jack hurting Millie, but it was Millie's pills that saved the heroine in the end, because she wanted to kill the man who pushed him down the stairs. 

    Wow, the rhythm behind is so tight that it has been slippery. In the end, Uster lied to her and told them the reason why he was suspicious, "Milli's room is red." Thinking carefully, he was terrified. 

    Reasons for recommendation:

    Grace and Jack are a perfect pair. Jack is a handsome lawyer defending abused women. Grace is an elegant housewife and beautiful dinner hostess. Jack gave Grace a beautiful home, an exotic trip abroad, a new puppy to celebrate their engagement, and the most important thing was to give Grace's disabled sister a room at home. Jack is a violent psychopath. This doesn't tell you anything. 

    The reader knows the plot from the beginning. In the eyes of the world, a happy marriage is a prison and hell on earth, and Grace must try to escape. The author is good at catching suspense, Jack is a really mean and terrible villain. This novel is a terrible reminder that we really don't know what is behind closed doors and how to live in our neighbors. 

    10. The Library at Mount Char


    Book Review: The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

    Carolyn's not so different from the other people around her. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. Clothes are a bit tricky, but everyone says nice things about her outfit with the Christmas sweater over the gold bicycle shorts.  

    After all, she was a normal American herself once.   

    That was a long time ago, of course. Before her parents died. Before she and the others were taken in by the man they called Father. 

    In the years since then, Carolyn hasn't had a chance to get out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient customs. They've studied the books in his Library and learned some of the secrets of his power. And sometimes, they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.  

    Now, Father is missing—perhaps even dead—and the Library that holds his secrets stands unguarded. And with it, control over all of creation. 

    As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her, all of them with powers that far exceed her own. 

    But Carolyn has accounted for this. 

    And Carolyn has a plan. 

    The only trouble is that in the war to make a new God, she's forgotten to protect the things that make her human.

    Populated by an unforgettable cast of characters and propelled by a plot that will shock you again and again, The Library at Mount Char is at once horrifying and hilarious, mind-blowingly alien and heartbreakingly human, sweepingly visionary and nail-bitingly thrilling—and signals the arrival of a major new voice in fantasy.

    Reasons for recommendation:

    Caroline and her siblings were raised by their father, who took them in after killing and enslaving their parents. The father is a mysterious god-like figure, he taught his children the secrets of the universe, but also punished them in terrible ways. 

    Now that her father is missing, Caroline recruited her friend Steve to help her find him. This book is different from any horror novel outside, and there are many stories. However, this story still maintains a fast-paced and sense of humor, sometimes with dark horror.

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