This is the perfect time of year to cosy up with a scary book. While the rain lashes the windows and the wind howls down the chimney, wrap yourself in a blanket and prepare to be frightened.

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Young solicitor Arthur Kipps travels to the isolated village of Crythin Gifford to attend the funeral of his client, Mrs Alice Drablow. He travels to her home, Eel Marsh House, which house lies at the end of a causeway which can only be crossed at low tide, in order to sort through her papers. But once there, he discovers a malevolent presence who will stop at nothing to cause pain and anguish.

This is a classic ghost story, with an old isolated house, frightened villagers and things that go bump in the night. The perfect short read to curl up with on a cold, dark winter’s night, this story is truly chilling and will stay with you for a long time. (If you get a chance, go see the West End stage show, but stay clear of the film).

Dark Matter by Michelle Paver

It is 1937, and young Jack is desperate for something which will bring meaning to his life. So, when he is offered the opportunity to join an Arctic expedition, he jumps at the chance. He and his fellow explorers travel to Gruhuken, the remote bay where they will spend the next year. The Arctic winter is coming, ice begins to cover the bay, and one by one Jack’s companions are forced to leave until he is the only one that remains. But he is not alone. Something walks in the dark.

Another brilliant ghost story, this book features almost unbearable levels of tension and fantastic use of setting. The bleak Arctic landscape is the perfect place for such a story. Read at night at your own peril, for you’ll be afraid to glance out of the window for fear of seeing something staring back at you.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

With a similar premise to the first book on this list, young solicitor Jonathan Harker is sent to Transylvania to deal with the accounts of a client, Count Dracula. The Count lives in a huge, isolated castle in the Carpathian Mountains, and there Harker encounters things that will drive him to the edge of his sanity, and reveal a threat to England that must be stopped at all costs.

If you’ve only ever seen TV or film adaptations of this book, now is the time to read it. Despite the old-fashioned language, the story strongly resonates with people today just as it did with Victorians. Genuinely scary at times (if a bit over the top), this is a great classic to enjoy at this time of year.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Family tragedy sets Jacob on a peculiar path. He travels to a remote island off the coast of Wales with his father, and there he encounters an abandoned orphanage. But it seems the building may not be abandoned at all. Children live there still, children with rather peculiar powers.

This book’s unique combination of story and photographs will surely grab you out of a slump if everything you read seems a bit repetitive. It is entirely original, and a brilliantly tense mystery. Perhaps not as scary as some of the other books on this list, as it is YA novel, this is a book to enjoy if you like your books a little more light-hearted.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Libby Day was seven years old when her mother and sisters were murdered, and she was the one to point the finger at her older brother, Ben. But, twenty years later, she is forced to confront the fact that what she remembers from that night may not be what actually happened. Could Ben be innocent after all?

This book needs no ghosts or supernatural creatures to be frightening. It shows that sometimes the scariest thing of all is cruel human nature. This book will grab you and refuse to let go. Scenes from the novel still haunt me today, and I’m sure I will remember them for a very long time. Pick it up, and prepare to be frightened and uneasy.

Kelly Pells is an English with Creative Writing graduate and runs the book review blog