Updated in October 2021 

There are some great things about horror short story collections. They can be devoured one at a time and ingested easily when the reader’s lifestyle does not allow much time for reading. Ideal for someone riding the night train, or working the graveyard shift. Short story collections are typically like boxes of candy. You open up, pick one, you either like the taste or you don’t, and you move on to the next.

All the horror short stories in the following list are of in normal length, and includes short stories, novelettes, and a novella, so you can select a story depending on the battery status of your reading lamp.


Cackle, by Rachel Harrison (2021)

This is a well-written and darkly funny take on how one woman deals with a supernatural invasion in her new home in the country. The story starts with her unexpected breakup and then moves on to the new job and apartment. It’s a very well-paced novel that keeps you guessing and turning the pages.


The Other: Encounters With The Cthulhu Mythos Trilogy, by Troy Young (2020, 2021)

This book is a collection of short stories based on the Cthulhu Mythos. Each story builds on the previous one and leads up to the final story where the characters (who started out as strangers) join forces to defeat Cthulhu. The stories are well written and the characters are complex. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes horror and Lovecraft.


Touch, by Steven Jenkins (2021)

I've read many zombie books in the past, but this one was different. I liked how it wasn't in the typical style, and was more about survival and cringe moments in this case. I liked the way the story was told, and the characters were well done. I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of short zombie horror stories.


Salt Slow, by Julia Armfield (2019)

Julia Armfield is a great storyteller. The characters are interesting, the stories are paced well and the endings are satisfying at least in most cases . Without doubt these are some of the best horror stories I've read in the recent years. They are creepy, but also funny at least in the darkish sense. I highly recommend this collection to anyone who likes dark fiction.


Ghost Stories: Scary Ghosts & Paranormal Horror Short Stories Anthology by Ron Riple Et al. (2016)

Let's start  with a classic formation, but thanks to the multiple authors this is a really good mix of horror stories. The book consists of 8 terrifying stories. We will find crows, dogs, shelters and ghost hunters in these shorts. Every short story holds a unique event or element within the story.

I strongly recommend this scary short book for ghost story lovers.


The Kentucky Cannibal, by Ryan Green (2016)

A well-researched and gory tale that will keep you on your toes and leave you wondering what will happen next. The story is very vivid and extremely chilling. The author did an excellent job describing the feelings of the main character. I enjoyed the plot and the pacing, and really liked the ending.


Wearing Skin: 12 Devilishly Dark Horror Short Stories by Simon Paul Woodward (2020)

This new well-edited horror book consists of 12 short stories including “The Angel of Loughborough Junctions”, “The Galilean Manoeuvre” and “American Sexual Lobster”.

The core story “Wearing Skin” is about a tale of body swapping touching the mythic question of immortality and sex. The author presents the scenes in their raw form, that shocks the readers and keep them in fear.

Hence most of the stories are standalone, patterns like sexuality and bizarreness surrounds these dark tales. The book is an excellent read if you are fan of Joe Hill.


Dark Halloween: A Flash Fiction Anthology by Eleanor Merry, Cassandra Angler (2020)

What could be a better read for Halloween than a skeleton and ghosts stuffed story? The authors of these short stories want to pull us from the real world to a terrifying place. These stories are filled with twists and terror, so let them scare you!


Full Throttle: Stories by Joe Hill (2020)

The author's first success was Heart-Shaped Box, brought genuine scares for readers. This book is a collection of short stories, that have been written over last five-ten years.

In this short horror collection, not all stories have a happy ending. It's not in the author's nature to give the ending we want. He writes the ending that is the truth as he sees it.


Places Where The Moon Never Shines: 8 Twisted Tales by Leon Thornton (2020)

This bunch of British horror stories lures the reader into a fog of both real and unworldly situations that is sure to bind them long into the night hours, while everyone else sleeps…

Ever feel like you just want to get away for a short while? Disappear from this intolerable, human infested lump of space rock and find a quiet little corner in the shadows? Perhaps, like a spider you seek to spin your web in a cool dark place where you can forget about the manic world and chew quietly on bite-sized chunks of horror fiction. If this is the case, then ‘Places Where The Moon Never Shines’ might be worth considering as your next snack.

The setting of these stories suggests inspiration comes from pre 90’s style horror. If you are old enough to remember those times when cellular phones were a thing of the future, computers were basic and kids played with toys, then you may feel a twinge of nostalgia for the good old days.


Don't Scream: 60 Tales to Terrify by Blair Daniels (2019)

Don't Scream is a well crafted book with full of scary stories written in first person point of view. Some of them happened in the past some are happening in the present, and some of them feels like a first hand experience of the author.

If you're looking for some stories that will have you jumping at darkness, based on everyday things it could be a good choice.


The Complete Fiction of H. P. Lovecraft: At the Mountains of Madness, The Call of Cthulhu, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H. P. Lovecraft (2021)

Maybe you have seen the name H. P. Lovecraft mentioned in a lot of articles about his unusual or weird fiction, but you had never read anything of his writings? Hence this isn't a complete collection of author's stories, it is a great start who are not familiar with Lovecraft's life work.

H.P. Lovecraft is the most verbose writer in horror genre, his sentences run on for half a page at times, but the imigiary world he created is unique and scary as hell.


Short Horror Stories Vol. 12: Scary Ghosts, Monsters, Demons, and Hauntings (Supernatural Suspense Collection) by Scare Street, Ron Ripley, David Longhorn (2020)

The last episode of the “Supernatural Suspense Collection” contains two short creepy stories. Maybe the last part of the series isn't the best one, but the whole series deserves the readers attention.


The Horror Zine's Book of Ghost Stories by Bentley Little, Graham Masterton, Dawn Harris, Joe Lansdale (2020)

If you are looking for afterlife and ghosts stories from various authors, this is a good book to read. I loved the chilling atmosphere of this anthology. Do you feel that ghost stories became boring lately? These authors won't disappoint you! Fresh ideas and twists everywhere and there is no simple way to die anymore. So be aware of the long-dead fingers upon your ankle!

Conclusion

Naturally there is huge competition in the genre of horror short story collections. There are countless anthologies by the likes of Steven King and Dean Koonts, and countless more written by unpublished, unheard of authors. From the grassroots to the top you will find exceptional and talented writers in this category, making it very hard for those aspiring authors to rise up from the quagmire and be noticed. Occasionally after sifting through piles of books, the reader will find a gem that stands out from the rest and take a chance on it. Maybe you have just discovered one.