Literature’s Most Terrifying Book Covers

In The Fear by Charlie Higson, a horrible disease has turned all the grown-ups in London into child-eating zombies. It’s a pretty scary place to be a kid, as DogNut and his friends quickly realize. They have to band together to survive, but when danger lurks around every corner, it’s hard to know who to trust.

Right now, Hyperion is holding an awesome contest where you can design a cover for this terrifying book. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here’s a list of our picks for the scariest book covers of all time. Which of these creepy covers sends shivers down your spine? Check out the contenders and vote below!

Sick by Brett Battles

Much like The Fear, Sick is about a deadly, contagious illness. If the foreboding gas mask looming in the background doesn’t clue you in to the creepiness of this book, then the person running for their life probably should.




Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson

There’s definitely something unsettling about the half-obscured face on this cover. Who is that person peering through the fog? Since the main character mysteriously loses her memory every time she goes to sleep, we’re guessing she’s not totally sure who she is, either.



Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons

This book is about Nazi vampires. We’ll just let that horrifying image stew in your mind for a little bit. Anyway, the ghostly guy on this cover fits the plot and is more than terrifying enough to make you jump. Just imagine if you met that while walking alone in the dark.



American Fantastic Tales edited by Peter Straub

There aren’t any monsters or zombies on this cover, but it has its own brand of eeriness. We don’t know what’s in that ominously glowing hole, but we know instinctively that that child should NOT go near it.




The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier

At first glance, this one doesn’t look too bad. Come on, there’s nothing creepy about an overcoat on a hanger—oh wait! It has hands! The novel is about people in a city located halfway between life and death, so the part human, part ghost on this cover is chillingly fitting.



Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

Sure, the giant-eyed girl is a little creepy, but the really frightening thing about this cover is that you can’t see what she’s looking at. What could be beyond the edge of the book that’s making her stare and scream like that? We’re sure to get some chilling answers in these scary stories.



Don’t Look Behind You by Lois Duncan

We thought this book sounded pretty scary when we heard the title. With a title written in dripping, uneven letters and accompanied by a sinister shadow, it’s enough to make us never want to look over our shoulders again.




Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

This is another cover that doesn’t frighten us if we look at it quickly. But on closer examination, that child has kind of an evil look on her face. Oh, and she’s floating a few inches off the ground. We definitely don’t want to visit the abandoned orphanage where this story takes place.



So, which of these covers creeps you out the most? Vote below, and let us know in the comments if there’s an even scarier cover that we left out!

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16 thoughts on “Literature’s Most Terrifying Book Covers

    • I agree. These aren’t very scary. Except for the last one, it’s kind of creepy. Also, the cover of “Before I Go To Sleep” is not the one I am used to; mine features a large eye. Is this a different version?

  1. Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark – Considered children’s books, scare me way more horrifying than any of these.

  2. Ha ha. I own Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children! I saw it in the store, just the cover and thought to myself “I must get that!”

  3. Not all that creepy, but that Carrion Comfort thing is kind of freakin’ me out.

    I mean, just think about it. You’re walking along a dark place and then all the sudden you see this thing glaring at you or breathing down your neck.


  4. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. Where is the dark cover with blood all over it? Hmmm? You forgot it, that’s where it is.

  5. I don’t think whoever wrote this page has read ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’. The picture is spooky as hell, sure. But on meeting the girl photographed she is just as pleasant and interesting as all the other peculiar children. And I definitely want to live in that orphanage.

  6. I read Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children and A Brief History Of The Dead, and neither books were scary. Both very good books that I’m going to remember for a while!

  7. Some of those sound a bit creepy, but they don’t look very creepy. I like the Miss. Peregrines one, I think it’s the only one that’s even a little bit scary.
    (btw, the book is very interesting, if you want something creepy and interesting.)

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