What to Read if You Love American Horror Story

That Isn't by Stephen King

There is a rule in my family… you don’t watch any TV show or movie my youngest brother recommends. He is one of those people who knows, not only, every movie made in the last 20 years but every word to every movie.  Because he loves media so much it take something unusual to get him into a story line.  That could be unusually weird, or an unusual amount of violence or an unusual story line.  Regardless, we have learned if it’s intriguing to him, it is too intense for us mere mortals.

But one day in September I found I’d watched everything in my Netflix queue, so I took his advice and started watching American Horror Story (AHS), and found, while he might be sending me down a deep dark trail of suspense and horror… I was enjoying the ride.

If you haven’t watched this show each season focuses on a different horror story of the bizarre, creepy, and gross.

  •  Murder House – A semi-classic haunted house story
  • Asylum –  Ain’t nothing scarier than a creepy mental institution.
  • Coven – Probably the scariest season for me.  A coven of witches in a New Orléans school… but the voodoo and slavery aspect freaked me the hell out.
  • Freak Show – The least supernatural, follows an insane clown and a freak show in the 1950s
  • Hotel – Still waiting for this one to make a Netflix appearance, I assume it’ll come out next month but revolves around a haunted hotel with bad karma and a nest of serial killers.
  • Roanoke – Current season, at the time of this writing it’s still too early to tell what it is shaping up to be.

If you’re looking for something spooky and bizarre to keep your attention this fall here are ten books that will remind you of AHS.

As always, if you like what you see click through to view it on Amazon.  It helps this website out and helps me pay for my therapy after spending so many hours with these books.


If You Love Murder House (Season 1)

  • The Secret of Crickley Hall by James Herbert
    • Part of what makes Murder House so great is it is a classic ghost story.  Unhappy, struggling couple move into house that has a past.  Past comes back to…er… haunt them.  This book has the feel of AHS in that it spooky without being terrifying and the spirits interact with the family in strange ways.  The plot can drag, but not miserably so.  If you liked this season it is worth a read.   (Bonus, there is BBC miniseries of the same name)
  • House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski
    • If you like how twisty turvy American Horror Story is you’ll love this book.  The book in its on right has somewhat of a cult following and involves the reader in this deep dark story of an evil home.  You won’t read in a night… or even a week.  It takes times to move through the book, collect clues and read all the “gathered” pages.
  • Bonus Books


If You Love Asylum (Season 2)


If You Love Coven (Season 3)


If You Love Freak Show  (Season 4)

  • Geek Love: A Novel by Katherine Dunn
    • A book about a carnival family who breed their own “freaks.”  This book follows the family as they travel through rural America and encounter devotion and hatred.  It’s pretty obscene, disturbing and graphic in some spots.
  • The Horrific Suffering of the Mind-Reading Monster Hercules Barefoot: His Wonderful Love and His Terrible Hatred by Carl-Johan Vallgren
    • Anytime I hear the word “Swedish writer” I know I’m probably in on reading the book.  In form with his countrymen Vallren writes a books that is quirky, slightly confusing, bizarre, and fun.  If you loved the freak love stories of this season’s AHS this will be a fun book for you. Tough to get through is some spots it ends up being worth it as you follow the story of Hercules as he moves through a bordello, an asylum, a monastery, and finally a freak show.
  • Bonus Book
    • Killer Clown by Terri Sullivan and Peter Maiken (also very appropriate for Hotel).


If You Love Hotel (Seasons 5)




About Kaitey Moore 40 Articles
Kaitlin Moore Morley is passionate about storytelling, the kind of our imagination and the kind of our experiences. She works as a hospital chaplain where she collects love stories and as a pastor where she collect biblical narrative. She holds an undergraduate in Social Anthropology from the University of Manchester in England and a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky. She lives in Evansville, Indiana in an old (very cold) Victorian house with her husband, Darren and their dog Olga.

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