20 Must-Read Stories of Eerie Cabins and Haunted Homes

Emily Martin

Contributing Editor

Emily has a PhD in English from the University of Southern Mississippi, MS, and she has an MFA in Creative Writing from GCSU in Milledgeville, GA, home of Flannery O’Connor. She spends her free time reading, watching horror movies and musicals, cuddling cats, Instagramming pictures of cats, and blogging/podcasting about books with the ladies over at #BookSquadGoals (www.booksquadgoals.com). She can be reached at emily.ecm@gmail.com.

Ross Victory of Books & Bangers

Award-winning author and music artist Ross Victory announces a multi-media literary adventure, Grandpa’s Cabin. The celebrated creator is known for intersectional, educational, and entertaining fiction. The first of an exciting trilogy available September 13, 2023, Grandpa’s Cabin tells the story of eighty-four-year-old geneticist Bernie, who leaves a mysterious property to his eighteen-year-old grandson, Nova. The only condition is that the boy never sells it, as the place is home to some dark family secrets. Years later, Nova and his friends celebrate his 21st birthday. They come face-to-face with those secrets, and Nova must choose between friends and family legacy.

Were you expecting a cozy night in a secluded cabin? Or a chill evening at home away from the bustling city streets? Think again. These 20 must-read books about eerie cabins and haunted homes prove one thing: nowhere is safe. And there is no place for you to turn to hide from the demons that haunt you.

Maybe that’s why haunted house stories and horror set in spooky cabins are the scariest horror genre. If you’re not secure with the doors locked, hidden in the comforting warmth of your own home, where could you possibly ever be safe again? No amount of comfort can shield you.

The books included in this list are some of the best in the genre. Whether it’s set in a cabin in the middle of nowhere or a suburban family home, horrifying things happen in these places, things that will haunt your nightmares. Things you will not be able to get out of your head any time soon. Get ready to read some of the scariest books you’ve ever gotten your hands on, including some classics and some new titles just released this year (and everything in between).

And don’t forget to lock your doors — not that it will protect you in the end.

Book cover of In the House in the Dark of the Woods

In the House in the Dark of the Woods by Laird Hunt

This atmospheric and horrifyingly disorienting folk tale-like horror story follows a Puritan woman who gets lost in the woods and finds herself stumbling into a strange cabin in the middle of the forest. From there, the woman meets strange characters and goes on a haunting journey of self-discovery that will upend her life and change how she sees the world. If you love witchy horror stories like The Witch, then Laird Hunt’s In the House in the Dark of the Woods will be perfect for you.

Kill Creek book cover

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas

Kill Creek is a great self-referential horror story for the reader who has read all of the greats of the horror genre and wants more. For the first time in decades, the Finch House is welcoming new visitors. Four best-selling horror authors have been invited to stay the night in the reportedly haunted house on Halloween. It was just supposed to be a publicity stunt. But the house’s new inhabitants soon learn that the whispers of hauntings were not just whispers.

cover of Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey

Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey

Are you fascinated by true crime stories, and do you also want to read a haunted house story? Why not a little of both? Vera has been estranged from her mother for years, but when her mother becomes ill, she returns to the family home. But there’s more awaiting Vera in that home than just her sick mother. Vera is haunted by the violence that happened there and the bodies her father buried. When Vera starts receiving strange notes, she assumes it’s the new tenant just messing with her. But could these be notes from her father from beyond the grave?

cover of The Spite House by Johnny Compton

The Spite House by Johnny Compton

Why would a father agree to stay in a haunted home with his two daughters? For Eric Ross in The Spite House, it’s out of desperation for money and for a place to hide. On the run from a mysterious past, the Ross family sees the spite house as the answer to their prayers. All they have to do is stay in the home and witness the hauntings there, and they will be paid out generously. But nothing could prepare Eric and his two girls for just how terrifying the spite house truly is.

cover of White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi, featuring silhouette of three faces in a pinwheel pattern

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

White is for Witching is a chilling gothic horror novel set in a mysterious house on the cliffs of Dover. Here, Luc runs a bed and breakfast with his two children, twins Miranda and Eliot. The family is mourning the death of Lily, the matriarch. And they also grapple with the generations of women who still haunt the halls of their home. Miranda is especially attuned to the spirits in the house. And the more she connects with them, the more she starts to disconnect from her own brother and father.

The Grip of It by Jac Jemc book cover

The Grip of It by Jac Jemc

When Julie and James buy a new home in the small town right outside the city where they met, what could possibly go wrong? The beautiful home positioned between the ocean and the forest at first seems like a dream come true for the young couple. But the longer the couple stays there, the more the house seems to take on a life of its own: transforming and decaying before their very eyes, becoming unrecognizable.

cover of The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

The cabin in Paul Tremblay’s The Cabin at the End of the World might just be the eeriest forest getaway in literature, but it’s not because it’s haunted. This story follows couple Eric and Andrew and their 7-year-old daughter, Wen, on a vacation that will forever change their lives — and perhaps the fate of the world. It all begins one lazy afternoon while Wen is catching grasshoppers in the forest outside of their vacation cabin. There, Wen encounters a stranger named Leonard, who claims he needs their help preventing the end of the world.

Book cover of Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

It’s easy to feel lost and disoriented in a strange new place. But what happens when your own home and the inhabitants inside it become unrecognizable? That’s what happens in Stephen Graham Jones’s Mapping the Interior. One night, a 15-year-old boy sees a strange figure walking through his house, someone who resembles the father he lost before they moved from the reservation. As he follows the man through their home over the next few nights, the boy attempts to map out his house…endangering his family in the process.

White Smoke by Tiffany D Jackson book cover

White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

White Smoke starts the way most haunted house stories start: a family moving to a new place in the hopes of starting over. But from there, this novel is full of surprises. When Marigold and her family move to the picture-perfect house on Maple Street, it seems too good to be true. But Marigold can’t help but overhear the whispers about her neighborhood at her new school. And then there’s the house itself, where things keep disappearing, and the family feels strange presences watching them around every corner.

Cover of The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

In this historical horror novel, a country physician named Dr. Faraday is called to assist a patient at Hundreds Hall, the crumbling old home of the Ayres family. The house used to be a stately and impressive Georgian estate, but now the family is struggling with the house’s upkeep. Of course, that’s not the only thing about the house the Ayreses are struggling to deal with. As Dr. Faraday discovers when he enters the home’s storied halls, something supernatural is haunting this family — something that refuses to let them go.

cover of The Hacienda by Isabel Canas

The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

Here’s another historical horror novel that’s unmissable. The Hacienda, set during the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence, is like Rebecca meets haunted house story. When Beatriz accepts a proposal from the strikingly handsome and overwhelmingly wealthy Don Rodolfo Solórzano, she tries to ignore the rumors about his previous wife. But when she arrives at the hacienda, Don Rodolfo leaves her to roam the grounds alone, and she starts hearing voices in her head.

Nothing but Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw book cover

Nothing but Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw

Nothing But Blackened Teeth features a haunted house so notorious that a group of friends travels across the world to see it. What’s the occasion? A wedding. While a haunted house might not sound like the dream location for a wedding to you, the characters in this novel beg to differ. But what starts off as a fun celebration turns into something much more terrifying. The hauntings are not just rumors. The ghosts are very, very real.

Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand cover

Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand

Wydling Hall is a beautiful old home that seems like the perfect place to spark creativity and record an album. At least, that’s what the acid-folk band in Elizabeth Hand’s Wylding Hall seems to think. Not long after their arrival at the house, the lead singer of the band disappears. And the band is ultimately forced to leave without any answers to what happened. Years later, they all return to Wylding Hall in the hopes of making sense of what happened all those years ago. Joining them is a documentary filmmaker who hopes to get to the bottom of this haunting mystery.

Book cover of The Good House by Tananarive Due

The Good House by Tananarive Due

So many haunted house stories (including many on this list) are triggered by traumatic events and feelings of grief and loss. But none of them are quite as intensely traumatic as Tananarive Due’s The Good House. Angela Toussant loses her son to suicide. Now, she’s returning to the same home where her son took his own life. When it comes to death by suicide, there really are no satisfying answers to make the grief any easier. And yet Angela is hoping to find closure. Instead, she finds a sinister presence that drives people to acts of violence.

cover of A House With Good Bones by T. Kingfisher; illustration of the shadow of a buzzard on the wall in the hallway of a house

A House with Good Bones by T. Kingfisher

Sam Montgomery is really worried about her mother. Out of nowhere, Sam’s mom is acting jumpy and nervous, and she’s starting to make strange changes to the family home on Lammergeier Lane. Sam wonders if her mother’s behavior has anything to do with her late grandmother. And as shocking family secrets are revealed, Sam will discover that she’s not wrong. Now, Sam struggles to uncover the truths behind their family home before Lammergeier Lane completely consumes her.

Book cover of Maynard's House by Herman Raucher

Maynard’s House by Herman Raucher

Maynard’s House is a classic gothic thriller set in a cabin in the woods. Austin Fletcher is a Vietnam Vet who is gifted the small house in Maine from a fellow soldier, Maynard Whittier, who was killed in combat. At first, Austin sees the house as the perfect escape from his past. But the more time he spends there, the more Austin feels influenced by the strange presence there. And the more time he spends there, the more he starts to lose his grip on reality.

She is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran book cover

She is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran

Trang Thanh Tran’s eerie haunted house novel is also a scathing takedown of imperialism in Vietnam. Jade Nguyen’s father has one goal: to restore a French colonial house in Vietnam to its former glory. But the house has goals all its own. At night, Jade wakes up feeling entirely paralyzed, and she hears the voice of a woman telling her not to eat. Neither her father nor her sister believe Jade when she tells them there’s something strange about the house. But Jade knows the house will not rest until it destroys them all.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson book cover

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House likely needs no introduction. After all, it’s one of the most famous haunted house stories of all time. This 1959 gothic horror novel follows four visitors who arrive at Hill House with different goals. Dr. Montague is a scholar of the occult looking for proof of a haunting. Theodora is his assistant. Luke is the future heir of Hill House. And Eleanor is a sensitive soul with a mind and a heart open to the hauntings of spirits. The longer the group stays at Hill House, the stronger the house’s powers become.

Book cover of How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix

How to Sell A Haunted House by Grady Hendrix

Think haunted houses are scary? What about a haunted house filled with haunted dolls? Louise and Mark Joyner are two estranged siblings with nothing in common. But when their parents die at the end of the coronavirus pandemic, the siblings are forced to work together to put their home on the market. But something is off about the house. Before their parents died, they taped newspaper over the mirrors and nailed the attic door shut. And things only get weirder from there.

Book cover of Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

All I can say about this last book without giving anything away? This is a haunted house story, but it’s not what you think. After Noemí Taboada receives a letter from her cousin claiming her new English husband, Virgil Doyle, is trying to murder her, Noemí answers her cousin’s call and heads to the Doyles’ isolated mansion to investigate. High Place is a strange home with many secrets, and while rumors fly in the nearby village, nothing can come close to the horrifying truth behind the Doyles and their estate.

Horror fans really can’t get enough of creepy houses. That’s why we also put together this list of 30 haunted house books that will give you the creeps. And if you want a horror story specifically tailored to your tastes, try building a haunted house of your own to get a haunted house book recommendation.