Haunted houses aren’t just for Halloween. These characters live and breathe the spooky reality of hauntings, ghosts, and ghouls. From rural Idaho to sleepy Sumner Mills, spirits, monsters, and even some of the most insidious people are intent on tormenting their companions in these homes. Here are our five favorite horror books that incorporate haunted houses as a storytelling device. Will they make it out alive and at what costs?
Former marine Harry and his wife, Sasha, have packed up their life and moved to live off the land in rural Idaho. Their stunning new home is on forty acres of meadow, aspen trees, and pine forests in Teton Valley. Despite their friend’s and Family’s skepticism, they couldn’t be happier about the future they were building. However, their new neighbors, Dan and Lucy Steiner, warn the couple of a malevolent spirit that lives in the valley. They dismiss it as an old wives’ tale, but when spring arrives, so does the first evil manifestation. As each season passes, the spirit grows stronger and each encounter more dangerous. Can Harry and Sasha reclaim the future they’ve dreamt of before it’s too late?
For fans of the Netflix Show The Haunting of Hill House, Vera decides to come home after her mother calls despite their long-estranged relationship. When Vera does return, she discovers that they’re not alone: a parasitic artist has moved into the guest house and has been slowly stripping Vera’s childhood for spare parts. What’s more is that she finds notes around the notorious Crowder House in her father’s handwriting. Vera must now face the secrets that threaten to rot what’s left of her family home and relationship with her mother.
In this highly anticipated novel, aspiring artist Haven Marbury unexpectedly finds her father’s secret handwritten manuscript, Bedtime Stories for Monsters, while clearing out his remote seaside house. The stories unsettle Haven, but also compels her to illustrate them while she stays in the house, which her father had warned was haunted. She hopes this illustrated book can be the posthumous father-daughter collaboration she needs to jump start her career after her failed marriage. Everyone in town seems to want a part of the manuscript though. But when a monstrous creature appears under her bed right when reported deaths increase in the nearby woods, Haven must do everything she can to uncover her family secrets, rewriting herself in the process.
Few dare come across the Octagon House hidden deep in the woods where a man had killed his wife and two young daughters, a gruesome crime sleepy Sumner Mills tried to bury. Fourteen-year-old Clare and her best friend, Abby, ventured to the house one summer night and while they both made it out, a piece of Abby never did. Twenty years later, Clare hears about Abby’s suicide attempt at the same house and now lies in a coma. Clare decides to return to her roots and uncover the truth around Abby’s accident. This page-turner follows the trauma that follows us from childhood to adulthood. Will Clare be able to confront her old haunts?
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Emily Hoang is a writer and editor, who is obsessed with haunted houses, ghosts, and dreams. More info can be found on her website.