This season may be all about time with family and celebrating the holidays, but for some of the reads on this list, the chill in the air isn’t about the weather. If you’re looking for some holiday-themed thriller and horror books to devour during your time off (or when you need a break from the family), here are some creepy, snow-covered stories perfect for those looking for something a little scary during the holidays!
Hark! The Herald Angels Scream edited by Christopher Golden
Do you love Blumhouse films as much as I do? If you’ve enjoyed movies from The Purge to Halloween to Get Out, then this might be the one you want to dive into first! Blumhouse Books has this horrifying anthology featuring eighteen stories of Christmas terror from bestselling authors including Josh Malerman of Bird Box, Sarah Pinborough of Behind Her Eyes, and Kelley Armstrong of the Casey Duncan Series. This is the perfect anthology if you can only sneak in a short story here!
Silent Night by R.L. Stine
If you’re looking to get a quick read in one evening and YA is your thing, then perhaps getting nostalgic with R.L. Stine is just what you need! Reva Dalby is the rich girl whose father owns the Dalby Department stores and now she has a stalker who will stop at nothing to turn her holiday into a nightmare. For the first time in her life, Reva is in a situation where money can’t save her and there’s no price on surviving the holidays.
When Christmas Comes by Andrew Klavan
Looking for something cozier with a small town and a mystery element? Edgar Award-winner Andrew Klavan just may have you covered! When a young librarian in the small town of Sweet Haven is brutally murdered, her death is a mystery even after it is allegedly solved. With eye witness and a confession from her boyfriend, an Army Ranger, no one wants to believe he could be guilty. When Cameron Winter, a rugged English professor comes into the picture, he senses this crime may be more than what meets the eye and something larger could be brewing in this idyllic town.
Secret Santa by Andrew Shaffer
If horror-comedy is more your thing and you love binging The Office, then Secret Santa by Andrew Shaffer should be on your holiday TBR! Although she’s desperate to work in publishing, Lussi Meyer’s new job at Blackwood-Patterson isn’t the best fit. Taking place in the ’80s, it is Lussi’s job to find the next horror breakthrough author to compete with Anne Rice and Stephen King. As if that couldn’t be stressed enough, as soon as she arrives, she finds herself the target of pranks that escalate until she receives a demonic-looking object. Suspecting this gift might be involved in some horrific accidents involving her coworkers, Lussi recruits the help of her former author, Fabien, to help track down her Secret Santa before she’s the only one left standing at the publishing house.
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Horror books your thing? How about a vampire story around Christmas by Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill? NOS4A2 is a supernatural story that will keep you occupied for days! Victoria McQueen has the ability to find things, like possessions that have been lost and answers to questions no one would’ve thought could be answered. Charles Manx also has his own talents, taking children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce with the license plate NOS4A2 only to cross over from the world they know into Christmasland, a playground of amusements that leaves his passengers terrified. The one person who has gotten away from Charles and Christmasland is none other than Victoria, who is all grown up now. But Charles has not forgotten Victoria even though she tries to forget him, and nothing will stop in his way of reuniting with her.
White Elephant by Trish Harnetiaux
If you love domestic suspense a la Big Little Lies, White Elephant by Trish Harnetiaux is one you should add to your TBR! Every year at a real estate firm in Colorado, a competition takes place between the employees to see who can buy the best white elephant present for Christmas. When an antique cowboy statue shows up as a gift at the firm, everyone is puzzled; well, everyone except Claudine and her husband Henry who owns the firm. Henry used that statue to murder someone and Claudine helped him cover it up. Now, someone knows their deadly secret and will stop at nothing to bring them down as everyone gets trapped in the office due to a massive snowstorm.
Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen
How does a disturbing kidnapping and psychological thriller sound? If you like the darker genres, then you need to check out Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen! Jessica Gould certainly didn’t expect to meet a charming and handsome man when she is out Christmas shopping one afternoon. Jessica also didn’t expect for him to hold her captive for twelve days and force her to wear his wife’s gowns either. Every day, the man gives Jessica a gift related to his past, each day getting more disturbing than the last. But, he is the only one with secrets. But Jessica has a secret past as well and it may be her only chance to make it out alive.