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13 Bloody Vampire Horror Books with Bite

These sharp vampire tales are frightening enough to turn your blood cold.

Certain Dark Things, vampire horror book by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Many monsters roam the horror landscape, but none have been more enduring than the vampire. From skulking creatures who stalk the night to seductive figures who wish to induct you into their blood-drenched world, vampires encompass the full range of human desires and terror. Perhaps that's what makes them so terrifying; they are much too similar to humans to think them monsters, but much too monstruous not to live in fear at the thought of them walking among us. 

While the true origins of the vampire lore have been endlessly debated, the one thing we know for sure is that they've been around for a long time. We also don't know whether or not they glitter in the sunlight, get weak in the knees at the sight of a wooden stake, or are actually allergic to garlic, but we do know that they're just as horrifying as they are seductive, and that's why there are so many stories about naive humans ending up in their clutches. 

However you think vampires roam the earth, there's a novel in this list that shares your same theories. Read on for a list of 19 vampire horror books that, no matter the lore, are sure to make your heart stop. 

Blood and Other Cravings

Blood and Other Cravings

By Ellen Datlow

Multi-award-winning author Ellen Datlow has curated a collection of 17 vampire stories from the most terrifyingly dark voices in contemporary horror and put them all in one book.

This anthology is much more than the familiar examples of vampirism we've come to know; it's a showcase of the predation, exploitation, infestation, evisceration, and manipulation that comes as a result of true, horrifying vampirism, whether literal or metaphorical.

You will know what it feels like to have your soul drained. 

Cold Kiss

Cold Kiss

By Rachel Caine

Michael Bowman, once a successful surgeon with a somewhat happy marriage to a homicide detective, now works the night shift at a Dallas convenience store and sometimes kills innocents to satiate his thirst for blood.

His friend Adam turned him four months ago and he has been struggling with his hunger and his life as a slave to his bloodthirsty master ever since. 

Desperate to save whatever is left of his marriage, life, and humanity, Mike joins the Society, a group of vegan vampires who promise a vampiric life without killing.

Though they promise to save Mike and his family from Adam's destruction, he quickly realizes the Society is not exactly as it seems, and the refuge he thought he was seeking turns out to be something else entirely…

Dracula Unbound

Dracula Unbound

By Brian W. Aldiss

A brilliant retelling of Bram Stoker's classic, Dracula Unbound is a horrifying tale that eludes space and time.

In it, we meet Joe Bodenland, a man who has figured out how to manipulate time, and finds himself in Utah at the foot of a 65 million-year-old human gravesite. It is then that he discovers the existence of ancient, undead predators who use a time-traveling train to go back and forth between their time and a horrifying far future in which humans are enslaved cattle. 

In an attempt to save humanity from the terrifying future he knows will one day come, Joe commandeers their train and travels to Victorian England to seek aid from vampiric author Bram Stoker.

But in order to save the world from the horrifying apocalyptic nightmare, they must defeat Lord Dracula; the most cunning and vengeful immortal vampire known to man (and beyond). 

Seize the Night

Seize the Night

By Christopher Golden

Another short story collection—this time edited by bestselling author Christopher Golden—Seize the Night pulls original, blood-curdling vampiric tales from some of the biggest names in horror and dark fiction.

The stories of vegan vampires and heartfelt love stories between monsters and mortals will be long-forgotten following these sinister tales of figures evoking true horror. 



By A. P.

Taking vampire lore in a different direction, Sabine is a Gothic, campy, cult-classic-like exploration of sexual awakening, in multiple forms.

In the 1950's French countryside, Viola's life is flourishing within the gray chateau of her elite boarding school. As would anyone, the school waits in anticipation for their next bout of suitable distraction; and it's then that a new teacher arrives. 

Tanned, long-legged Sabine with golden hair encourages her students to see the world from a different perspective. Viola finds herself overcome with the passion that Sabine seems to live her life by.

But something sinister lurks, and when Sabine becomes ill with a blood disorder, Viola discovers a dangerous secret…

NOS4A2 Joe Hill


By Joe Hill

Victoria McQueen isn't like other kids; she has a knack for finding things, like missing items or answers to seemingly unanswerable questions. She also knows of a bridge, one that magically transports her wherever she wants to go as soon as she rides up to it on her bike. 

Charles Talent Manx has a way with kids. He takes them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. Similarly to Vic's bridge, Manx's car transports him to the terrifying amusement park he calls “Christmasland.” 

One day, a long time ago now, Vic met Manx. And she became the only child to ever escape his unmitigated evil.

She's grown up and is desperate to forget the events of that day, but Manx has never stopped thinking about her. And in revenge, he's started driving kids around again, starting with her son.



By Bram Stoker

No list of vampire horror novels would be complete without the most famous of bloodsuckers. Originally published in 1897, Dracula has inspired countless short stories, novels, movies, and comics

 Stoker's novel may not have been the first fictional depiction of a vampire, but it is certainly the most famous and often the one that comes to mind when you mention “vampire book.”

Told in epistolary format, Dracula presents the story of a mysterious count who travels to London and the group of people who seek to stop him from spreading his vampiric curse.

Related: 11 Gothic Horror Books That Will Make Your Blood Run Cold

Necroscope: Invaders

Necroscope: Invaders

By Brian Lumley

A team of people with special abilities has been collected by the government to form the E-branch, a group of psychics and spies whose task is to investigate paranormal phenomena and protect the public.

It appeared as if the world was finally rid of paranormal phenomena, but suddenly vampires appear to be planning their domination of Earth. These vampires are powerful and grotesque and must be stopped at all costs.

Can the newly chosen Necroscope save humankind, or will his fixation on revenge thwart his efforts?



By J. Sheridan Le Fanu

Predating Stoker's novel by a quarter of a century, Le Fanu's gothic novella features a seductive female vampire and her relationship with a young woman.

Considered by many to be the prototypical lesbian vampire, Carmilla would go on to influence modern depictions of female vampires, whether they have sapphic inclinations or not.

Like her more famous counterpart, Dracula, she'd also inspire many adaptations in the centuries since.

scariest stephen king books salems lot

Salem's Lot

By Stephen King

Salem's Lot features many elements familiar to Stephen King fans: a protagonist who's a writer, a small New England town, and a return to a childhood home and the disturbing memories it may contain.

It begins when Ben Mears returns to Jerusalem's Lot, the town where he grew up, in the hopes of writing his next novel. His writerly pursuits go off the rails, however, when the town's residents begin turning into vampires.

I Am Legend

I Am Legend

By Richard Matheson

Thanks to multiple feature film adaptations, people often think of mutants wandering through a post-apocalyptic landscape in relation to Matheson's novel. In reality, the monsters of I Am Legend are vampires.Initially a tale of one man's struggle to survive as the last human on earth, the ending packs a punch as it reveals what that singular status actually means in context.

They Thirst

They Thirst

By Robert McCammon

One of McCammon's earlier novels, They Thirst features his trademark set-up of people from different backgrounds coming together to face an all-consuming evil.

In this case, the evil comes in the form of a vampire seeking world domination and his quest begins in Los Angeles. If you're tired of the suave, charming vampires along the lines of Dracula and Carmilla, look no further.

McCammon's vampires are savage, brutal monsters.

books for fans of the lodge

Let Me In

By John Ajvide Lindqvist

The feature film adaptations of this Swedish horror novel took the movie world by storm during the late aughts. It introduces us to Oskar, a bullied boy and the friendship he forms with the new girl next door, Eli.

Make no mistake, though. This isn't a story of innocent childhood friendship and love. Eli is a vampire, and her arrival heralds trouble.

The Passage

The Passage

By Justin Cronin

The first installment of Cronin's trilogy begins as many vampire apocalypse novels do. The government conducts experiments to prolong human life.

But the virus that serves as the vehicle for this transformation escapes their control, and the world is nearly destroyed as a result.

Decades later, a group of people hope to bring the remnants of humanity back from the brink and the key may rest in the hands of a young girl.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

Interview with the Vampire

By Anne Rice

Anne Rice's modern classic has cemented the familiar pop culture archetype of brooding, angsty vampires that pervade many of today's most memorable depictions.

This first novel in the long-running series introduces us to Louis, who regales his life to a journalist. Not a book for the action lovers, Interview with the Vampire instead delves into how relationships shift and changes as people become and grow accustomed to being immortal.



By Octavia E. Butler

Vampires represent all that is uncomfortable about sex, desire, and life. While some depictions like to soften that relationship, there's no denying it exists. Butler's last novel confronts that discomfort head-on.

It follows a seemingly young girl named Shiori who wakes up severely injured and with no memories of her life. But it soon becomes apparent to Shiori and the people around her that she is no normal human girl.

In fact, she's a genetically modified vampire who's over 50 years old.

Lost Souls vampire horror book by Poppy Z. Brite

Lost Souls

By Poppy Z. Brite

If there was a novel that captures the feeling of the 1990s goth scene, Lost Souls is it. Unlike classic Dracula vampires who turn humans or apocalyptic vampires who transform as the result of a virus, Brite's vampires are an entirely different species and, most crucially, feel and act like it.

As for the story, it's a collision course between a trio of destructive vampires, a young man who discovers he isn't very human at all, and an indie band that features a psychic lead singer with a haunting voice of gold.

the southern book club's guide to slaying vampire grady hendrix next horror book zodiac sign

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

By Grady Hendrix

For many people, book clubs serve as a social outlet in addition to a place to discuss their latest reads. Patricia falls into this category; her book club provides a welcome escape from the stresses of her daily life.

Then, one night, she meets her elderly neighbor's handsome and charming nephew, James. But thanks to her book club's focus on true crime, Patricia begins to suspect that James might have some criminal tendencies.

Unfortunately, she's only partly right.

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno Garcia

Certain Dark Things

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Much of modern vampire fiction draws upon European folklore for its depictions, but there's an entire world out there and bloodsuckers transcend geographical boundaries. Set in the future, a human street kid named Domingo goes on the run with a vampire girl named Atl. What are they running from? The vampire clan that slaughtered Atl's family, but their pursuers soon include cops and crime bosses. If you want a read that's atmospheric and dark, this is the one for you.