1. The Master and Margarita –Mikhail Bulgakov
Not strictly a horror story, this novel is set in Moscow in the Thirties, but as it features the Devil taking human form, I’m going to stick it in. It is by turns hilarious, poignant, sad and fantastically (literally) imaginative.
2. The Ritual – Adam Neville
This one combines literary skill with good old-fashioned guts and gore. A group of hikers end up lost, deep within an ancient unmapped forest where they stumble upon an old house that contains hundreds of human bones. What could possibly go wrong?
3. The Winged Bull – Dion Fortune
Published in 1935, this is definitely a book of its time. The story is really a romance, but with lashings of magic and esoteric law incorporated into it. Interesting.
4. Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You My Lad – MR James
Any horror top ten would not be complete without this classic from a writer regarded as the father of the modern ghost story.
5. The Shining Girls – Lauren Buekes
This came out last year and raced up the charts into the Sunday Times’ top five. I read it in two days. All about serial killers and time travel. Who could ask for more?
6. Grave Sight – Charlaine Harris
Harris wrote the Sookie Stackhouse novels that the TV vampire series True Blood was based on. Grave Sight is the first in another set of books featuring heroine, Harper Connelly, who has the strange ability to find dead people and sense their last memories.
7. Harbour – John Ajvide Lindqvist
A great writer who is doing some exciting things within the horror genre. Lindqvist’s Harbour spans several decades on a mysterious island in Sweden and features magicians, elemental beings and Smiths fans.
8. Natural Causes – James Oswald
Hailed by many as the Next Big Thing in British crime, Oswald writes like Ian Rankin, but peppers his prose with demons. At times tender, at other points downright scary.
9. Echoes from the Macabre – Daphne du Maurier
I love Daphne du Maurier’s writing. She wrote lots of creepy stories, including the Birds that Hitchcock famously turned into a film. This collection of short stories features the utterly spine-tingling Don’t Look Now, which also went on to become an equally chilling film featuring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie.
10. Dark Matter–Michelle Paver
A ghost story set on a Twenties Arctic expedition. Spare, slow and cold, Dark Matter won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I like it a lot. Very, very moody! Like me.