Are you a fan of all things horror? Are you curious to find out which books will make your skin crawl and keep you up at night? Look no further! We’ve curated a list of eight truly terrifying serial killer books that are sure to haunt your dreams. From some of the most famous books of all time to a few lesser-known authors, these spine-tingling reads offer something for every kind of horror fan who loves being scared silly. So grab a flashlight and prepare yourself — you’re about to enter into some disturbingly dark territory!
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
You may have already read the book. You’ve probably already seen the film. But Silence of the Lambs is easily one of the greatest thrillers ever written. Not only does it keep you on your toes with its fantastic plot and complex characters, but it also has an incredible atmosphere that stays with you long after you’ve closed the book.
Harris doesn’t miss a beat when weaving together the intricate storyline and intense character dynamics. The movie adaptation achieved as much success as the novel itself, and this was certainly well-deserved. If you’re looking for a thrilling mystery full of suspense and horror, Silence of the Lambs should definitely be at the top of your list!
Robert Bloch’s 1959 classic, Psycho, is certainly an intense read. Bloch puts readers in the center of a shocking and suspenseful story, raising huge questions about psychological boundaries and social norms. He drives home some incredibly important themes with subtlety, turning what could be a basic gore-fest into something that’s much more interesting and meaningful.
His well-crafted characters bring life to the page, leaving readers with an entertaining yet thought-provoking journey through the twisted mind of Norman Bates. This book has withstood the test of time and is considered a genre-defining horror novel that no one should miss out on!
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
American Psycho is an iconic piece of postmodernist literature detailing the thrilling and repulsive journey of young Wall Street executive Patrick Bateman. It’s written in a casual yet sinister tone and follows Bateman’s complex mental landscape as it vacillates between mania, obsession, and nihilism.
Beyond its exploration of late 80s consumer culture, Ellis’ black comedy also offers insights into toxic masculinity, class anxiety, and modern anxieties about identity. If you’re looking for an unforgettable reading experience that mixes comedy and horror, then American Psycho is certainly one to consider. You might even learn a few things about 80s music and the importance of the right business card!
Darkwater Cove by Dan Padavona
If you are a fan of psychological thrillers, Darkwater Cove by Dan Padavona is an absolute must-read. This gripping novel follows Darcy Gellar, a former FBI agent who must risk everything to protect her family from a menacing and mysterious serial killer. As the tension builds to edge-of-your-seat levels, you won’t be able to put down this page-turner!
The writing is terrific and engaging, and the plot is just terrifying. With all that suspense and adrenaline right at your fingertips, Darkwater Cove will not disappoint fans of the serial killer genre. Dan Padavona’s skillful yet descriptive style takes readers on an emotionally intense journey as they follow along with each character’s battles. This is a highly recommended novel for any reader looking for a riveting adventure packed with mystery and suspense!
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Originally published in 2005, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson is a crime novel that’s simply dripping with a unique style that leaves readers absolutely spellbound. Set in the tense atmosphere of Sweden’s mid-90s financial and political elite, the complex web spun between a wayward journalist and computer hacker creates an intriguing and thrilling mystery.
The story follows Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander as they uncover a dark secret through numerous twists and turns. With its alluring characters, suspenseful moments, and heartstopping resolution, this one will keep you on your toes until the very last page. Larsson proves his mastery of writing with this masterpiece, one that surely deserves to be classified among the great books of its genre.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind
This is a captivating novel by Patrick Süskind that tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, an olfactory genius (which means he has an extraordinary sense of smell), born in 18th-century France. As a young man, his nose leads him on a murderous quest to capture the perfect scent. The novel offers a scary glimpse into Grenouille’s innermost thoughts and perceptions as he reflects on his identity and struggles to understand what it truly means to live.
It also tackles some timeless themes, such as good vs. evil and the limitations of perception from different perspectives. The language used to portray these elements makes for an immersive and emotionally powerful read. No matter how many times you pick up this book, you’ll come away with something new each time. All in all, Perfume is well worth the read.
The Snowman by Jo Nesbø
The Snowman is a riveting mystery novel, certain to keep you guessing until the finale. It follows Oslo-based detective Harry Hole, who begins investigating the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around an ominous snowman. In his pursuit of the killer, Hole slowly uncovers a series of twisted clues and stunning revelations.
The suspense never lags as the story twists through layers upon layers of intrigue and terror. Nesbø’s masterful storytelling keeps you flipping pages as you try to anticipate what comes next in each unpredictable chapter. Whether it be psychological thrills or surprising turns, it’s all due to Nesbø’s excellent writing and careful foreshadowing. The Snowman is sure to please thriller fans looking for an entertaining escape.
In the Woods by Tana French
Focusing on a murder investigation in rural Ireland, In the Woods follows Detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox as they dig into their own personal demons while trying to uncover a possible serial killer. With its fantastic attention to character development and a slyly subtle exploration of the human psyche, In the Woods is an excellent example of modern crime fiction.
It’s a haunting read that stays with you long after you finish and one that’ll have you guessing right until the end. If you’re looking for an intriguing novel where character and plot intersect in deep, thought-provoking ways, this book is worth your time.
The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver
Captivating characters, riveting action sequences, and an intense web of suspense — Deaver delivers them all in The Bone Collector. This critically acclaimed thriller delivers a feast of mystery, crime, and complex plots that leave you guessing until the very last page. The combination of masterful storytelling and uncanny ability to maintain suspense make Deaver’s books truly one-of-a-kind.
It is no surprise this best-selling novel was adapted into a film featuring Angelina Jolie and Denzel Washington back in 1999 (which is a pretty good adaptation). If you’re looking for a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat, The Bone Collector is worth reading!
As horror fans, we’re often fascinated by serial killers. They represent the horror of our world and our attempts to understand it. Movies and books about serial killers can be enjoyable, exciting, and thought-provoking, although they can also be clichéd, bog-standard, or just plain sensationalist. The books featured in this article are some of the most well-written, intense, and terrifying stories around, so if you’re looking for a truly chilling read, these are the right books for you.
But of course, if this list doesn’t have the fictional killer that you love best, there are plenty more out there just waiting to be discovered. So who’s your favorite fictional serial killer? Let us know! Whether in films or books, the topic of true crime never goes away, and neither does our fascination with it — and that’s something that’s unlikely to ever be extinguished completely.
Angela Spearman is a journalist at EzineMark who enjoys writing about the latest trending technology and business news.