Ah, Christmas. It’s a time filled with family and friends, gingerbread houses and candy canes, and warm, toasty nights spent in front of the fireplace as you dream of having your own white Christmas.
Or… maybe not.
For those of you that enjoy the darker side of Christmas, read on for our book suggestions and recommendations. From ghosts to zombies and Krampus to serial killers, after reading these books you might not ever look at Christmas quite the same…
Want more Christmas reads? See our other holiday book lists and suggestions.
By the author of the “New York Times”-bestselling “Labyrinth,” a story of two lives touched by war and transformed by courage.
In the winter of 1928, still seeking some kind of resolution to the horrors of World War I, Freddie is traveling through the beautiful but forbidding French Pyrenees. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. Dazed, he stumbles through the woods, emerging in a tiny village, where he finds an inn to wait out the blizzard. There he meets Fabrissa, a lovely young woman also mourning a lost generation.
Over the course of one night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories. By the time dawn breaks, Freddie will have unearthed a tragic, centuries-old mystery, and discovered his own role in the life of this remote town.
From the terrors of physical danger, to characters at the edge of insanity, unsettlingly disturbed children, poignant psychological horror, and the supernatural, this collection of Christmas horror provides a unique blend of Christmas cheer and Christmas fear.
In Anne Rice’s surprising and compelling best-selling novel, the first of her strange and mythic imagining of the world of wolfen powers (“I devoured these pages . . . As solid and engaging as anything she has written since her early vampire chronicle fiction” —Alan Cheuse, The Boston Globe; “A delectable cocktail of old-fashioned lost-race adventure, shape-shifting and suspense” —Elizabeth Hand, The Washington Post), readers were spellbound as Rice imagined a daring new world set against the wild and beckoning California coast.
Now in her new novel, as lush and romantic in detail and atmosphere as it is sleek and steely in storytelling, Anne Rice brings us once again to the rugged coastline of Northern California, to the grand mansion at Nideck Point—to further explore the unearthly education of her transformed Man Wolf.
The novel opens on a cold, gray landscape. It is the beginning of December. Oak fires are burning in the stately flickering hearths of Nideck Point. It is Yuletide. For Reuben Golding, now infused with the wolf gift and under the loving tutelage of the Morphenkinder, this Christmas promises to be like no other . . . as he soon becomes aware that the Morphenkinder, steeped in their own rituals, are also celebrating the Midwinter Yuletide festival deep within Nideck forest.
From out of the shadows of the exquisite mansion comes a ghost—tormented, imploring, unable to speak yet able to embrace and desire with desperate affection . . . As Reuben finds himself caught up with the passions and yearnings of this spectral presence and the preparations for the Nideck town Christmas reach a fever pitch, astonishing secrets are revealed, secrets that tell of a strange netherworld, of spirits—centuries old—who possess their own fantastical ancient histories and taunt with their dark, magical powers . . .
The ghoulish events in the frozen workhouse …
The undead presence at the costumed ball …
The pantomime that became a massacre …
The winter goddess with the heart of ice
The thieves who awoke the darker side of the Christmas spirit
It’s Christmas Eve and Detective Alex Cross has been called out to catch someone who’s robbing his church’s poor box. That mission behind him, Alex returns home to celebrate with Bree, Nana, and his children. The tree decorating is barely underway before his phone rings again–a horrific hostage situation is quickly spiraling out of control. Away from his own family on the most precious of days, Alex calls upon every ounce of his training, creativity, and daring to save another family. Alex risks everything–and he may not make it back alive on this most sacred of family days. Alex Cross is a hero for our time, and never more so than in this story of family, action, and the deepest moral choices. MERRY CHRISTMAS, ALEX CROSS will be a holiday classic for years to come.
Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.
Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”
Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.
Todd Curry wants nothing more than to spend Christmas with his son. But when a brutal snowstorm cancels his flight from Chicago to Des Moines, Todd and a few other stranded passengers decide to rent a Jeep and make the trip on their own.
During the drive, they pick up a man wandering through the snow, who claims to be searching for his lost daughter. He is disoriented and his story seems peculiar. Strangest of all are the mysterious slashes cut into the back of the man’s coat, straight down to the flesh…
When they arrive at the nearest town, it appears deserted. Windows dark, car abandoned, fired burning unattended. But Todd and the rest of the travelers soon learn the town is far from deserted, and that they are being watched…
Will Bronson and his son Danny are on their way to Vermont to spend a quiet Christmas with a friend — until a snowstorm forces them to take refuge in an isolated country diner with a group of passengers from a disabled bus. With plenty of food, heat, and companionship, they figure everything will be fine. Then a pair of state troopers shows up, claiming there’s a murderer in their midst.
That would be bad enough. But Will Bronson and his son hunt werewolves. And sometimes the werewolves hunt them.
Santa Claus, my dear old friend, you are a thief, a traitor, a slanderer, a murderer, a liar, but worst of all you are a mockery of everything for which I stood. You have sung your last ho, ho, ho, for I am coming for your head. . . . I am coming to take back what is mine, to take back Yuletide . . .
The author and artist of The Child Thief returns with a modern fabulist tale of Krampus, the Lord of Yule and the dark enemy of Santa Claus
One Christmas Eve in a small hollow in Boone County, West Virginia, struggling songwriter Jesse Walker witnesses a strange spectacle: seven devilish figures chasing a man in a red suit toward a sleigh and eight reindeer. When the reindeer leap skyward, taking the sleigh, devil men, and Santa into the clouds, screams follow. Moments later, a large sack plummets back to earth, a magical sack that thrusts the down-on-his-luck singer into the clutches of the terrifying Yule Lord, Krampus. But the lines between good and evil become blurred as Jesse’s new master reveals many dark secrets about the cherry-cheeked Santa Claus, including how half a millennium ago the jolly old saint imprisoned Krampus and usurped his magic.
Now Santa’s time is running short, for the Yule Lord is determined to have his retribution and reclaim Yuletide. If Jesse can survive this ancient feud, he might have the chance to redeem himself in his family’s eyes, to save his own broken dreams, . . . and to help bring the magic of Yule to the impoverished folk of Boone County.
A meteor shower pelts the earth with strange debris on Christmas Eve. The US power grid fails due to the impact of a large meteorite. The dust plume causes severe illness and death as it blows east across America. As a result the government quarantines the entire northeast. Military personnel wearing gas masks patrol the edges of the affected area, preventing anyone from crossing. But when the dead start coming back to life and eating the living, the US braces itself for a full-on zombie outbreak that no military barricade can keep contained.
The Lazarus Impact is a fast paced, high intensity, peri-apocalyptic zombie action thriller that traces the stories of eight unique and diverse characters as they travel through the madness, trying to head west past the quarantine to safety… or so they think.
Wolf, an extreme survivalist television personality, is the first one on the scene when the meteors hit, filming the damage. Dr. Vogel, a former infectious disease lab rat turned physician, is on a mission to get to the CDC to give them samples of what he thinks might be the basis for a cure. Willy, an old, hardened, Vietnam War veteran suffering from PTSD, witnesses the outbreak as it ramps up in intensity at the hospital where he works as a janitor. Sheryl, a suburban housewife, learns of the dust when she gets a call from a neighbor that her boys are sick on the football field. Marcus, a reformed prison inmate with a violent past, escapes with a band of unscrupulous marauders during a riot. Michael and Amy, a bickering couple from NYC, struggle to get out of Manhattan despite the bridges and tunnels being barricaded and locked down. And Brandon, an awkward teenager with an obsession for horror comics and video games, hides out in his parents Cold War era bunker until he runs out of fuel.
When their paths intersect they must help and rely on each other for survival. The plan is to move west, past the quarantine, and make their way to a secure compound where people have been preparing for doomsday for decades. But the nightmares they face on the way west are only a shadow of the dangers they may encounter on the other side of the quarantine, where the American people have taken up arms to defend their new but porous borders. Will any survive the journey? Is it even worth it?
Readers, now it’s your turn! What are your favorite Christmas horror novels? Share them below!