Spook and supernatural: 10 horror books you simply cannot miss

a list of horror books written by indian authors
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Horror stories and by extension, horror books, are possibly old as storytelling itself. Death, the supernatural, the afterlife, the fear of the unknown – by nature, horror speaks to one of the most primal human emotions. Especially ancient cultures, like those in India, are replete with these stories, even if the motifs and mythologies that are considered ‘scary’ differ from place to place.

While the West has its Zombies, we have our Yakshinis and our Pretis, or Muhnochwas. It is important to remember the socio-cultural nuances, often injustices, that brand something as ‘scary’ (think about the Salem Witches).

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Their tales and stories have survived thousands of years, and continue to delight readers. If you are looking for your next horror book, here is a list of horror books you simply cannot miss considering.

Click on the book for more details. If you have read any of these, drop a comment! And remember, we are always looking to represent more diverse stories so if you know a horror book in your mother language please point us to it and we will include it in the list.

The Haunting of Delhi City : Tales of the Supernatural

Title: The Haunting of Delhi City : Tales of the Supernatural

Author: Jatin Bhasin and Suparna Chawla Bhasin

Publisher: HarperCollins India

Price: 399

Pages: 240


You know Delhi for its rich cultural tapestry, history and monuments. You love it for its food–kebabs, chole-kulche, golgappe and chaat.

But do you know about the dark shadows that lurk in its all-too-familiar haunts–the arcades of Connaught Place, the gullies of Mehrauli, the lawns of Lutyens’ Delhi, or the pillars and arches of the tombs in Hauz Khas?

The stories in the horror book The Haunting of Delhi City are set in a Delhi we think we know well, but don’t. This is a Delhi that reveals the presence of the supernatural at every corner-ghosts as real to us in stories as they are in our imagination. Exquisitely chilling, each of these tales holds a piece of the city and its people-especially the ghosts.

Oh, these are just stories, you say. But are they?

Come, have a read … if you dare.

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The Spirits Talk to Me

Title: The Spirits Talk to Me

Author: Sarbajeet Mohanty and Neil D'Silva

Publisher: Hachette India

Price: 299

Pages: 256


‘It’s something in your line of work,’ he said hurriedly. ‘It’s something…otherworldly. Please come. There is no time to lose.’A forest lures men to their doom, invisible hands smash crockery in a time-worn house, machines turn malevolent in an old factory, phantom laughter, whispers from nowhere, shadows that trail people – these are just some of the experiences that Sarbajeet Mohanty, paranormal investigator and founder of the Parapsychology and Investigations Research Society, confronts daily on the job. Tracking Sarbajeet and his team as they probe harrowing supernatural happenings across the country, these ten suspenseful tales move from a courthouse occupied by an insidious presence to a hellish riverbank where battles from the ancient Kalinga War continue to play out, to a film studio in Mumbai where a sordid past waits to be unearthed. Along the way, readers get a rare peek into the distinctive investigative methods used by the team to detect mysterious forces that exist in parallel realms. Narrated by veteran horror writer Neil D’Silva in atmospheric prose, the chilling accounts in The Spirits Talk to Me are spine-tingling and guaranteed to make you lose sleep.

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Ghosts, Monsters, and Demons of India

Title: Ghosts, Monsters, and Demons of India

Author: Rakesh Khanna and J. Furcifer Bhairav

Publisher: Blaft Publications

Price: 995

Pages: 472


An encyclopedia of evil entities and folkloric fiends from across the country, from Ladakh to Kerala, Lakshadweep to Nagaland, Naraka to Tuchenkwaka.

Inside this horror book you will find:

  • Killer robots built with stolen Roman engineering technology that once guarded the relics of the Buddha
  • The ghost of a twenty-one-year-old motorcyclist whose Enfield Bullet is venerated at a highway temple in Rajasthan
  • A Himalayan drum-playing spirit-teacher whose wife is a fearsome Yeti
  • Diabolical entities conjured into existence by the simultaneous deaths of seven tigers
  • Triple-rooted night-flying Vedic necromancers
  • Call-centre employees from beyond the grave
  • The dreaded Ngalei Ahmaw of Maraland, whose victims’ heads detach themselves from their bodies at night and go wandering in search of blood… and more, all illustrated by nine famous story illustrators of India.

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India's Most Haunted

Title: India's Most Haunted

Author: K. Hari Kumar

Publisher: HarperCollins India

Price: 399

Pages: 340


There are places where the past lingers, making shapes in the moonlight and blowing in the curtains even as the air goes suddenly still. K. Hari Kumar, bestselling author of spine-chilling horror fiction books, brings you the terrifying tales of some of India’s most haunted places — including Bhangarh Fort, Malabar Hill’s Tower of Silence and Jammu and Kashmir’s notorious Khooni Nala.Whether you read them at night or in daylight, these stories will remain with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

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Title: Darkness

Author: Ratnakar Matkari, translated by Vikrant Pandey

Publisher: HarperCollins India

Price: 299

Pages: 228


A boy who can predict the exact date a person will die… An elderly woman who knows that death is close, but learns how to cheat it… A child with a dangerous friend who happens to be invisible… A ghost who can’t stop reliving his suicide over and over again…People you’ll wish you never have to meet, and stories you’ll never forget. Skilfully translated into English for the very first time, Darkness, by storyteller Ratnakar Matkari is bound to keep readers of all ages up at night. With every page you turn, you’ll be looking over your shoulder to make sure no one’s there.

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Afterlife: Ghost Stories from Goa

Title: Afterlife: Ghost Stories from Goa

Author: Jessica Faleiro

Publisher: Rupa & Co

Price: 192

Pages: 168


Goa. The Fonseca family is gathered in Savio’s house on the eve of his seventy-fifth
birthday. It starts raining heavily, the electricity fails, and in the darkness, family
members start narrating their encounters with the supernatural.
As the night advances, many stories—deeply unsettling, for they are all connected to
the Fonseca name—come tumbling out. An ominous bird visits the family matriarch
on her deathbed, a young boy is possessed by an older man’s spirit, and a deceased
uncle sends an urgent message from beyond the grave. Startling family secrets are
revealed, as is an ancient curse that forever binds the family. A horror book worth reading.

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That Night: Four Friends, Twenty Years

Title: That Night: Four Friends, Twenty Years

Author: Nidhi Upadhyay

Publisher: Penguin Random House India

Price: 299

Pages: 288


Natasha, Riya, Anjali and Katherine were best friends in college – each different from the other yet inseparable – until that night.

It was the night that began with a bottle of whisky and a game of Ouija but ended with the death of Sania, their unlikeable hostel mate. The friends vowed never to discuss that fateful night, a pact that had kept their friendship and guilt dormant for the last twenty years.

But now, someone has begun to mess with them, threatening to reveal the truth that only Sania knew. Is it a hacker playing on their guilt or has Sania’s ghost really returned to avenge her death?

As the faceless enemy closes in on them, the friends come together once again to recount what really happened that night. But when the story is retold by each of them, the pieces don’t fit. Because none of them is telling the whole truth.

That Night is a dark, twisted horror book, a tale of friendship and betrayal that draws you in and confounds you at every turn.

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Ghost Stories of Shimla Hills

Title: Ghost Stories of Shimla Hills

Author: Minakshi Chaudhry

Publisher: Rupa Publications

Price: 249

Pages: 102


“There are enduring stories about unrequited love and the idea of spectral romance –  like the story about a young girl who died in an accident, leaving her romance unfulfilled. Or the one about the ghost of Viceregal Lodge – a Prince who haunted a local school with a red rose, looking for his lady love. Then there were stories of the Angrez Churail (English witch) – a woman on a rickshaw (a common site in Shimla during colonial days) and a Nakalchi bhoot (copycat ghost) — always trying to imitate human actions. Every story I write is an ode to the city’s nostalgia and the authentic folk tales of these hills,” said Minakshi, about her horror book, in this interview.

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Dark Tales

Title: Dark Tales

Author: Venita Coelho

Publisher: Penguin

Price: 249

Pages: 184


Two men with dangerous secrets find that they have an uninvited guest staying with them . . .
A cursed bride forced into an unlucky marriage . . .
A mysterious child with an angelic face seems to have misfortune follow him around . . .

In this collection of eleven very dark and twisted tales, Venita Coelho lays bare the underbelly of contemporary India. Get ready to gasp and cringe in horror as you have the rug pulled out from under you! This is a horror book you won’t want to read after dark.

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The Mystic Sinners

Title: The Mystic Sinners

Author: Proyashi Barua

Publisher: Readomania

Price: 335

Pages: 288


Maya and Kamakshi suffer at the behest of tantric. Their friend ranbeer, a filmmaker, starts work on an investigative documentary to expose those who misuse occult practices. Unknowingly, they embark onto a trail of the biggest undiscovered secret of ancient India’s esoteric practices. As they progress, The mystery thickens and takes them to hotbeds of occult practices – Banaras, Kamala and even Yana, where they witness eerie aghori rituals, mystical sanyasis and tantric sex. Soon, a series of uncanny threats emerge, from severed heads of endangered species to the abduction of those who help the trio, and a tsunami of trouble hits them as they run helter-skelter for cover. Will they succeed in unearthing the secret and the mystic sinners behind it? Or will they entangle themselves in an unholy Nexus?

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Amritesh Mukherjee

Amritesh Mukherjee

Amritesh doesn't know what to do with his life, so he writes. He also doesn't know what to write, so he reads. Gift him a book if you chance upon him and he'll love you forever.

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