We Value Your Privacy

This site uses cookies to improve user experience. By continuing to browse, you accept the use of cookies and other technologies.


Midnight in the Marble Orchard: 8 of the Best Horror Books Set in Cemeteries

Rest (and read) in peace.

dark photo of a cemetery

Peaceful, for the bereaved finding comfort in their natural beauty as the final resting place for a departed loved one.

Creepy, for the superstitiously minded who shiver at the thought of a mere six feet separating their living vessel from plot after plot of decomposing flesh and bone.

Even strangely romantic, for the old-fashioned goth seeking a quiet setting for a midday picnic—or even, in a move that might make Mary Shelley proud, a midnight tryst.

Cemeteries are many things to many different people, so it's no surprise that when it comes to literature, they've proven to be incredibly versatile settings for works in a range of genres.

Horror, of course, seems like the most natural fit. What setting could be more deliciously macabre than the marble orchard? Even the blandest of burying grounds boast a certain amount of built-in atmosphere, which lends itself well to any story that grapples with questions of life and death—or life after death.

So it may come as a surprise that spooky books set in cemeteries can actually be a little harder to come by than one might expect. Still, there are a number of titles scattered amongst the tombs, from the terrifying to the transcendent.

If you’re ready to rest (and read) in peace, here are eight of the best horror books set in cemeteries!

Pet Sematary by Stephen King

book cover

Pet Sematary

By Stephen King

No list of creepy cemetery-set fiction would be complete without this seminal 1983 novel.

When Louis Creed loses his son Gage in a freak accident, he resurrects the boy with the help of an ancient burial ground with the power to restore life to the dead. Unfortunately, what returns isn’t quite Gage, and the Creed family learns the hard way that, in the words of their elderly neighbor, “Sometimes dead is better.”

King himself has said that he considers this to be the scariest of his novels—a ringing endorsement if ever there was one.

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful Symmetry

By Audrey Niffenegger

Highgate Cemetery in London is renowned as one of the most beautiful in the world, with its crumbling Victorian-era headstones covered with clutching tendrils of green ivy, winding pathways, shadow-shrouded catacombs, and famous residents ranging from Karl Marx to Malcolm McLaren. 

So it’s a bit of a morbid dream come true when sheltered American twins Julia and Valentina inherit their aunt Elspeth’s Highgate-adjacent flat in London. There’s just one catch: The flat is haunted by Elspeth’s temperamental ghost—who wants to do something abominable.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book

By Neil Gaiman

For anyone who’s ever fantasized about spending a cozy night or two in a cemetery, Neil Gaiman (author of American Gods and The Sandman series) has you covered with this YA novel about a young boy called Nobody (“Bod” for short) who is adopted by sympathetic ghosts and raised in a graveyard after his family is murdered.

According to Gaiman himself, think “The Jungle Book…set in a graveyard.”

A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle

A Fine & Private Place

A Fine & Private Place

By Peter S. Beagle

If you’re in the mood for something that skews a little less toward horror while retaining the eerie cemetery setting, this 1960 fantasy novel from the author of cult favorite The Last Unicorn should fit the bill. In it, am unhoused man named Jonathan lives amongst the spirits and a talking, sandwich-supplying raven in a fictional cemetery called Yorkchester.

And that title? It refers to a poetic description of a grave.

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

Unbury Carol: A Novel

Unbury Carol: A Novel

By Josh Malerman

In this Old West-flavored take on Sleeping Beauty,  a woman named Carol Evers has a medical condition that causes her to periodically lapse into—and emerge from—deathlike comas. This condition proves extra hazardous for Carol, since she also has a conniving husband plotting to bury her alive so he can abscond with her considerable fortune.

Will Carol escape in time, or has the grave finally claimed her for good?

The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike

The Graveyard Apartment: A Novel

The Graveyard Apartment: A Novel

By Mariko Koike

 This 1986 novel from popular Japanese author Koike weaves a tale of a couple who moves into a brand new apartment building bordering a cemetery with their young daughter. As the terrors mount, their neighbors flee one by one, until the three of them are left all alone on the cursed property.

Well…not all alone; there’s also whatever is lurking in the basement.

Graveyard Love by Scott Adlerberg

diverse horror authors

Graveyard Love

By Scott Adlerberg

If you like your cemetery horror served with a side of Rear Window-esque romantic obsession and a healthy dollop of Oedipal tension, this one’s for you.

Kurt Morgan still lives with his mother at her house in upstate New York, where he’s helping her write her memoir—that is, when he’s not gazing at the graveyard across the street through his telescope, watching as a mysterious redheaded woman visits the same grave day after day.

Who is she? Whose grave is she visiting? And what will happen when Kurt, his mother, and the enigmatic stranger inevitably collide?

The Prettiest Girl in the Grave by Kristopher Triana

The Prettiest Girl in the Grave

The Prettiest Girl in the Grave

By Kristopher Triana

What could be more fun than a little innocent playtime in the graveyard?

When teenager Bella and her friends meet up at a cemetery in the woods to play a creepy game that’s been the stuff of urban legends in their small town for decades, they get more than they bargained for when a strange new friend persuades them to venture into an underground crypt.

It may be up to Bella’s mother—who nearly lost her own life playing the game as a girl—to save them from the cemetery’s sinister secrets.