6 Books with Strange Houses in Them 

Written By Rachael Conrad

Rachael Conrad is an award-winning indie bookseller with over a decade of experience in the industry. When she's not reading or writing Rachael can often be found exploring the woods and tide pools of Maine and discussing who the best Chris is (it's Pine, obviously). Her writing can be found in Tor/Reactor, Polygon, and Kirkus Reviews."

Strange houses are, and will always be, an incredibly important part of gothic and horror literature alike. They should come alive on the page, and take up just as much space in the story as its human protagonists do. Sometimes these houses are older and more dilapidated—falling apart at the seams as its occupants grapple with discerning what’s real and what’s a figment of their imagination. Other times it’s freshly built and still has that new house smell to it, despite the sinister goings-on inside. Regardless, the most important thing about these houses is that they contain some sort of malevolent entity that intends to harm the new inhabitants in some way, shape, or form. 

Below you’ll find six houses throughout modern horror and gothic literature that contain unsettling houses and, as a result, stories that are sure to keep you up late at night wondering what’s watching from the shadows. 

The House that Horror Built by Christina Henry 

The House that Horror Built is a fresh spin on a classic gothic trope. Harry Adams loves horror movies, so when the opportunity to help clean famous horror director Javier Castillo’s house arises, she jumps at the opportunity. The house, called Bright Horses, is absolutely jam packed with horror related paraphernalia ranging from costumes to set design pieces. Harry does her best to keep the house in top shape, but when she starts to hear noises from behind locked doors—noises that sound alarmingly like people calling for help—she begins to question her employer and the house itself. 

Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey

Don’t let the delicate pink cover and endearing title of Just Like Home fool you. Sarah Gailey’s latest novel has one of the most malevolent houses to be put to page in all of horror literature. 

When Vera’s mother calls to tell her that she’s dying, Vera feels she has no choice but to return to her childhood home to spend what time remains with her mother. Returning dredges up old memories of her father, a serial killer who was caught and arrested when she was a young girl. Worse still, an artist claiming to have a vested interest in Vera and her family history is now living on the property. When Vera discovers a note written in her father’s handwriting, she believes that the artist might be trying to get under her skin. The truth, however, is much more sinister. 

White Is for Witching by Helen Oyemi 

Like a haunted Tardis, many of the houses—the deeply messed up ones in particular—in gothic literature appear to be much bigger on the inside than they are on the outside. This can be a trick of the mind or, more often, the trick of some malevolent spirit hiding in the walls. Perched on the desolate cliffs near Dover, the house in White Is for Witching is a perfect example of this. 

The Silver family, still reeling from a recent tragedy, find themselves mourning their loss in the seemingly endless halls of their family home. But the house isn’t doing well either. With each passing day it becomes more clear that there is something not entirely of this world that lives within its walls. 

A Haunting on the Hill by Elizabeth Hand 

It takes a very special and gifted author to get the approval needed to write the first authorized companion to The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, arguably one of the best and most influential terrifying house books to ever exist. Elizabeth Hand is that author and A Haunting on the Hill is that book.

Holly Sherwin is a struggling playwright. She has been for years, but when she receives a grant for her latest work it might just be the spark she needs to get her creative juices flowing again. When she stumbles on the dilapidated but undeniably entrancing Hill House on her getaway, Holly becomes determined to spend her time there. But, in classic fashion, the gothic mansion isn’t at all what it seems and Holly soon finds that she is as much at war with the strange old building as she is with herself. 

Incidents Around the House by Josh Malerman 

From the best selling author of Bird Box comes another terrifying tale that will keep you up at night (this time listening to all of the ambient sounds that your home makes while you’re trying to sleep). 

Incidents Around the House tells the story of Bela, a young girl who struggles to keep a spirit that she calls “Other Mommy” from tearing her family—her mother, father, and grandmother—apart (metaphorically and, potentially, physically as well). When “other mommy” asks Bela if she can go inside her heart and Bela refuses, violent incidents begin to occur around her home that threaten everyone’s well being. The result will have a white knuckle grip on your heart and your psyche as Bela struggles to face off against something that is much stronger, and more clever, than she is. 

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix 

While most people might think of his recent novel, How to Sell A Haunted House, Grady Hendrix has another book that features a sinister home in it. Or, more accurately, a deeply sinister furniture store where one might buy an unnecessarily complicated bookshelf or bedside table to furnish their home with. 

Horrorstör is about Osk, a IKEA-like furniture super-store in Cleveland, Ohio that has been experiencing increasingly strange goings on. Bookshelves have been broken and wardrobes shattered, but security cameras have failed to pick up the perpetrators and sales are down as a result. In a last ditch effort to find out what is happening, three employees agree to stay at Osk overnight to find out who—or what—is unleashing its wrath upon the store.