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Immerse Yourself in the Macabre Worlds of These Horror Book Trilogies

Dark worlds so good you'll never want to leave.

horror trilogies featured image

A horror trilogy: a story so good, so in-depth, and impossible to tell in one novel-length book, it must be told in three parts.

For those of us who have read a favorite trilogy, we’re well aware of what they have to offer. Each novel is a complete book that may or may not be enjoyed as a standalone story. If it is a standalone, the books can be read in any order, but typically there are crossover storylines and recurring characters so it’s usually recommended to know what has previously happened. 

Some trilogies, however, are more like an ongoing story told in three acts. In this case, the author assumes the reader will read the books in order. 

I love reading trilogies simply because sometimes, I’m not ready to leave the "storyverse" an author has created. Maybe specific stories are so intricately plotted, more time is needed to make sure the reader will be satisfied with the pace—sometimes, novels feel hurried. There’s nothing more frustrating than a perfectly plotted story with a rushed or abrupt ending.

The following are horror trilogies I’m recommending, and while some trilogies might have standalone novels you can read in any order, I have only done that once and it was not the best experience. I found that there were aspects to the ongoing narrative that I was missing out on having not read the book prior to the one I was currently reading, so I decided to quit and read the first book before continuing on in the trilogy. So it’s my personal recommendation to read each of these in order to have the best possible reading experience.

Stephen Graham Jones: The Indian Lake Trilogy

This series is so much fun! Reading these books is like escaping life to go to the cinema to watch slasher movies and cheer for the final girl. Jade Daniels is a memorable protagonist whose love for horror movies sees her through her small town’s real-life terror. Note: Book three is still to-be-released!

Recommended for: Fans of Horror Cinema, Slashers, Final Girls, Strong Female Protagonists, Violence & Mayhem. 


My Heart Is a Chainsaw

By Stephen Graham Jones

don't fear the reaper

Don't Fear the Reaper

By Stephen Graham Jones

Alma Katsu: The Immortals Trilogy

I haven’t read this trilogy yet but I am a huge fan of Alma Katsu’s storytelling style. She has well-developed characters with authentic dialogue and intricately plotted stories. I’m excited to check this one out.

Recommended for: Fans of Character-Driven Storytelling, Romance, Dark Fantasy, Supernatural & Paranormal elements, Magic, Villains & Heroes, Historical Fiction

The Taker

The Taker

By Alma Katsu

The Reckoning

The Reckoning

By Alma Katsu

The Descent by Alma Katsu

The Descent

By Alma Katsu

Justin Cronin: The Passage Trilogy 

Buyer beware, these books will consume your life! They’re highly compelling so be prepared to carve out extra time to allow for sinking into Cronin’s immersive world-building. Plus these books are THICK!

Recommended For: Epic Apocalyptic Landscape, Science-Fiction, Vampires, Character-Driven Storytelling, Futuristic, Dystopian, Survival Horror, Dark vs. Light/Good vs. Evil

The Passage

The Passage

By Justin Cronin

the twelve justin cronin

The Twelve

By Justin Cronin

the city of mirrors

The City of Mirrors

By Justin Cronin

Stephen King: Bill Hodges Trilogy 

This trilogy is the best of both worlds: King’s impeccable thriller storytelling pace combined with his horror elements and strong character development. Don’t get too attached!

Recommended For: Fans of Crime Investigations, Murder Mysteries, Mind of a Killer, Suspense, Reads Like A Thriller, Character-Driven, Hardboiled Detective, Telekinesis, Mystery/Detective, Psychological

mr mercedes

Mr. Mercedes

By Stephen King

finders keepers

Finders Keepers

By Stephen King

terrifying stephen king novels

End of Watch

By Stephen King

Stephen King & Richard Chizmar: The Button Box Trilogy

I wish these books were around when I was first cutting my teeth of King’s brand of horror. They would have made a great companion trilogy to the rest King’s dark fantasy novels like The Eyes of the Dragon

Recommended For: Fans of Castle Rock/Dark Tower connected universe, Strong Female Protagonists, Coming-of-Age stories, Chosen One Tales/Fate, Dark Fantasy, Supernatural, Magical Realism, Thrillers, Epic Adventure

gwendy's button box

Gwendy’s Button Box

By Stephen King & Richard Chizmar

gwendy's magic feather

Gwendy’s Magic Feather

By Richard Chizmar

gwendy's final task

Gwendy's Final Task

By Stephen King & Richard Chizmar

Hailey Piper: The Worm and His Kings Trilogy

I have only read book one so far but I absolutely loved it and I recommend it to everyone. Hailey Piper is a new, exciting voice in horror and I think this is the book that will give the best introduction to her work.  Note: Book three is still to-be-released!

Recommended For: Fans of Cosmic Horror, Romance, Missing Person Mysteries, Queer Representation, Character-Driven storytelling, Cults, Human Monsters

The Worm and His Kings, a cosmic horror novella by horror author Hailey Piper

The Worm and His Kings

By Hailey Piper

even the worm will turn

Every Worm Will Turn

By Hailey Piper

Mary SanGiovanni: The Hallower Series

This is definitely on my reading list! I think the monster-building sounds totally unique and scary. I also love that there are returning characters in all three books.

Recommended For: Fans of Psychological Horror, Supernatural, Character-Driven storytelling, Fighting evil, Boogeyman vibes, Small-Town Horror

the hollower

The Hallower

By Mary SanGiovanni

found you

Found You

By Mary SanGiovanni

the triumvirate

The Triumvirate

By Mary SanGiovanni

Chris Sorensen: The Messy Man Trilogy 

I’ve read the first two books and I always recommend them to readers who enjoy binge-reading back-to-back books in a connected universe. Some seriously creepy moments too!

Recommended For: Small-Town Horror, Home Fixer-Uppers, Haunted House, Suspense, Missing Person Mysteries, Paranormal, Supernatural

the nightmare room

The Nightmare Room

By Chris Sorensen

the hungry ones

The Hungry Ones

By Chris Sorensen

the messy man

The Messy Man

By Chris Sorensen

Michael Clark: The Patience of a Dead Man Trilogy

Once you finish book one in this series, you’ll need to know what happens next. I highly recommend buying the compendium.

Recommended For: Fans of, Home Fixer-Uppers, Paranormal, Haunted House, Mystery & Suspense, Revenge, Missing Person, Character-Driven, Romance

the patience of a dead man

The Patience of a Dead Man

By Michael Clark

dead woman scorned

Dead Woman Scorned

By Michael Clark

anger is an acid

Anger is an Acid

By Michael Clark

Jeff VanderMeer: The Southern Reach Trilogy (Area X)

I have only read book one in this trilogy but I own the others and I have every intention of reading them. One of my all-time favorite “man vs. alien-nature” horror books.

Recommended For: Fans of, Science-Fiction, Eco-Thrillers, Suspense, Horror, Man vs. Nature, Strong female protagonists, Mystery, Mind-Benders, Secret Government Agencies



By Jeff Vandermeer

Authority cover


By Jeff Vandermeer

Acceptance cover


By Jeff Vandermeer

Tade Thompson: Molly Southbourne Trilogy

I have yet to read this trilogy but I do own the first two. They are quick reads judging by their size and I’ve heard nothing but good things.

Recommended For: Fans of, Isolation horror, Dystopian, Pandemic, Urban Fantasy, Horror, Suspense, Dark Fairytale, Science-Fiction, Historical

The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson

The Murders of Molly Southbourne

By Tade Thompson

the survival of molly southbourne

The Survival of Molly Southbourne

By Tade Thompson

the legacy of molly southbourne

The Legacy of Molly Southbourne

By Tade Thompson

Craig Wallwork: Tom Nolan Trilogy 

Books 1 and 2 are so gripping! I love the detailed police work and the detective, Tom Nolan. Wallwork does not shy away from the horror of the crimes or the powerful nemesis Nolan is investigating.

Recommended For: Fans of, Cults, Horror, Crime Investigations, Hardboiled Detectives, Police Procedural, Serial Killers, Missing Person Mystery

best horror books of 2020

Bad People

By Craig Wallwork

labyrinth of the dolls

Labyrinth of Dolls

By Craig Wallwork

the ghost of stormer hill

The Ghost of Stormer Hill

By Craig Wallwork

C. S. Humble: That Light Sublime Trilogy 

Cemetery Dance recently re-released The Massacre at Yellow Hill and the reviews are glowing! You don’t have to take my word for it but if you want to, this is my favorite serial story next to The Dark Tower series by Stephen King and The Miriam Black series by Chuck Wendig

That Light Sublime trilogy was originally self-published as The Survivors Trilogy. The first two books were available but now, Cemetery Dance has acquired the trilogy for a re-release edited by Marissa Van Uden, rebranded covers, and the third book, never before published, coming this winter!

Recommended For: Character-Driven, Adventure Horror, Westerns, Cosmic, Occult, Creature-Feature, Strong female protagonists, and Romance

the massacre at yellow hill

The Massacre at Yellow Hill

By C. S. Humble