Last year, Paste brought you our picks for the 30 best horror novels of all time, but let’s be real: not everyone wants to read the dense prose of Dracula and Frankenstein in 2016 (even if the classics are totally worth reading). And with legendary scribes including Stephen King, Clive Barker, Shirley Jackson and Richard Matheson casting their immense shadows, throwing out such a wide net often results in passing over more recent gems in favor of time-tested standards.
With that in mind, Paste is proud to present our picks for the 21 best horror novels of the 21st century, just in time for Halloween reading. It’s worth acknowledging that the list is very white and very male—while authors like Alyssa Wong and Emily Carroll are tearing up the short fiction and comic worlds, the novel-length arm of the genre appears slow to diversify. We hope that the next roundup we compile will more fully represent the genre’s passionate readership. With that in mind, click through the gallery* for the best house-haunting, serial-killing, spine-chilling horror of the new millennium.
*The books are listed in alphabetical order by title.