Read if you dare...
The Shining by Stephen King
King's most iconic and frightening book — and the source material of one of the most popular movies in horror history — sees Jack Torrance, a struggling writer (and recovering alcoholic) accept a position as the off-season caretaker of the historic Overlook Hotel, bringing his wife and young son along with him. What follows next is one family's struggle against the supernatural, as dark forces possess Jack in an effort to get to his son's psychic abilities, better known as the book's titular "shining." The New York Times calls the novel "scary" and says it "serves up horrors at a brisk, unflagging pace," while Cosmopolitan says the book is "guaranteed to frighten you into fits... with a climax that is literally explosive." The Torrance's story so resonated with fans, that it inspired King to write a sequel which, in turn, has earned its own big screen adaptation. Doctor Sleep follows Danny as an adult, still grappling with his powers.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind
The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
This 2019 release tells the story of a town hit by a mysterious illness that puts people into a perpetual sleep for an undefined amount of time, and how the families of the victims respond to the crisis. With no explanation or cure, the town goes into a lockdown and victims are quickly quarantined. And while it's not as outwardly horrifying as some of the other books on this list, the all-too-familiar-sounding events of the book will quickly remind you how a microscopic contagion can cause so much terror and havoc.
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
A gothic classic, this book has been translated into different languages and adapted into several movies, series, and even a video game! This well-known tale, which revolves around a doctor who is discovered to have a secondary nature with a penchant for evil, has since coined the term "Jekyll and Hyde" to refer to people with dual, often conflicting personalities, named for two the "characters" at the centre of this novella. If you haven't read it yet, it's definitely worth adding to your literary repertoire.
Dania Droubi is the Emirates Literature Foundation Competitions Manager and an early childhood educator. She's passionate about books, a big advocate of encouraging children to read, and a fan of Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes. She enjoys doing puzzles in her spare time and her biggest accomplishment is completing a 4000-piece world map puzzle.