From early nightfall, dangerous conditions, and other issues and inconveniences no matter where you live, winter is the scariest time of year. I have lived in Ohio my entire life, and we know to prepare for unpredictable weather. In addition to prepping my car, rotating my wardrobe, and stocking my pantry, I also procure a reading list of horror novels. Maybe it’s only a form of catharsis, but I love reading horror in the heart of winter. Many writers feel the same vibes from winter as I do, and many wintry horror novels exist as a result. Take a look through some of my favorite winter-based horror novels, and feel free to comment with some of your favorites I missed:
Crimson Peak by Nancy Holder
If you love Crimson Peak (2015) by Guillermo del Toro (why would you not?), you must read this novelization. With a similar style as the film with its romantic, atmospheric, and mysterious voice, this novelization will transport you to the forbidding manor of Crimson Peak…complete with ghosts and blood-red snow.
Misery by Stephen King
I tell everyone asking for my book suggestions the same thing: if you never read another Stephen King novel, at least read Misery. Most of the horrors occur inside the home of super-fan Annie Wilkes, but the winter outside pushes the trapped writer even further into his desperation and further away from salvation.
The Shining by Stephen King
When I think of winter horror, the first story to come to mind is The Shining. Trapped by several feet of Colorado snow in The Overlook Hotel, the Torrance family battle the supernatural forces surrounding them while outrunning an epic case of cabin fever. Read more about my take on The Shining here.
The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
This was the first novel I read by Jennifer McMahon, whose work should be on every horror and thriller lover’s reading list. This novel combines the desolate conditions of winter with the supernatural, carried by an intriguing story and dynamic characters.
The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
One chapter from this second installment of The Vampire Chronicles secured its place on this list: Lestat’s recollection of how he became known as “Wolfkiller.” I do not, as an animal lover, enjoy how this chapter plays out, but Anne Rice’s romantic and atmospheric writing pulls the reader into the snowy forest outside Lestat’s family’s castle as he sets out to kill a pack of wolves that have wreaked havoc on villagers and livestock. The entire novel is generally a cozy and page-turning read, and I have enjoyed it on many days when the snow fell outside.
Pine by Francine Toon
Although this novel is set closer to Halloween, it still carries that ominous winter vibe. Filled with mystery, suspense, and creepy forest scenery, this story will keep you hanging on every page while sheltering from the frigid outdoors.
Stay warm, stay safe, and do your best to enjoy this dreary season with some atmospheric horror. I am an avid re-reader, and I will be revisiting one of these books for the next blog post. Remember to follow By Night on Instagram, Goodreads, and Facebook for all updates and other fun, spooky content!
Until next time,