The best books about vampires ever

A top ten of the best vampire books and novels ever written. The vampire genre is a bit over flooded with mediocre books at the moment, but if you know where to look there are more than enough vampire novels to be found that are really worth reading. And at Books To Read we do not mean the various rather romantic depictions of many a vampire in the popular young adult novels of today. Those are not that interesting.

In this top 10 the focus is more on 'rea'l horror books. The undisputed number 1 here for us is Salem's Lot by Stephen King. A more frightening and bloodstifling vampire is difficult to find. But there are also many newer, good vampire books in which the genre gets a new twist. Justin Cronin's books, for example, but there are others.

Discover with us these excellent books full of terrifying vampire violence.

best books about vampires ever
Book cover from Salems Lot by Stephen King

1 Salem's Lot

Salem's Lot is the second book that Stephen King ever published and one of the greatest vampire classics out there in the genre. A real nail-biter of a horror novel where Stephen King succeeds in creating vampires that are even more frightening than they normally already are.

A real must read for horror book lovers and a guarantee for hours of tense reading on the sofa. With the obligatory priest in the story and, a story element Stephen King often uses, the young man who returns to his home town where he experienced horrors in his childhood. Horrors he now wants to confront. Other really good horror books by King are, among others, The Stand, The Shining, Misery and the excellent It about the scariest clown ever.

Book cover from Dracula by Bram Stoker

2 Dracula by Bram Stoker

Irish writer Bram Stoker is seen by many as the father of all vampire novels, and rightly so. Dracula, a novel from 1897, is an immortal story that is told by means of personal letters and diary fragments. In the story, young Jonathan Harker visits the mysterious Count Dracula in Transylvania to handle the purchase of a London country house. Over time, he finds that the creepy spokesman holds strange habits like drinking blood. He can only barely escape with his life.

Shortly afterwards, Jonathan's fiance Mina, home in London, is confronted with the strange illness of her girlfriend Lucy, who takes long walks in a cemetery at night. The Amsterdam doctor and vampire hunter Van Helsing recognizes the symptoms immediately. She is the victim of a 'vampyr'. Jonathan, Mina and three friends soon discover that it is the creature Count Dracula, who appears to have traveled to London. But the Count knows that they are on his track. He seduces Mina and abducts her, all the way back to Transylvania.

Book cover from The Passage: A Novel (Book One of The Passage Trilogy) by Justin Cronin

3 The Passage Trilogy

A brooding and original vampire trilogy of American author Justin Cronin. The Passage is an exciting literary, apocalyptic horror novel for adults which is hard to put away once you start reading. It is an original and refreshing variation on the traditional vampire genre (think of some super strong monkeys with large fangs and possessing of supernatural psychic powers), where the simmering tension and threatening atmosphere never disappear during the whole story. The series is at the same time horror, thriller, science fiction and a little fantasy. The trilogy is now complete with the addition of parts two and three The Twelve and The City of Mirrors.

Six-year-old Amy Harper Belafonte, abandoned by her mother, is the thirteenth subject in a secret project by the US government. An experiment that completely fails when the first twelve subjects - infected with a deadly virus - break out. Amy is able to escape with the help of an FBI agent and together they hide in the lush Oregon forests, far from human civilization which is being destroyed by the after effects of the experiment gone terribly wrong.

Book cover from The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro

4 The Strain Trilogy

The Strain is an original vampire trilogy by director Guillermo del Toro and writer Chuck Hogan, currently also filmed as a television series. An exciting series with an original look at the old vampire theme that is very easy to read and difficult to put away. No literature but unmatched, old-fashioned suspense in a modern jacket and a real recommendation in the genre. The books combine the best of the thriller and horror genre into a unique story that leaves a lasting impression, also because of the many mythological and historical elements that create a convincing whole. The original series which consisted of three volumes now has a sequel trilogy

When a plane from Berlin landes at JFK Airport in New York, something strange happens. The device stops in the middle of a runway, all lights are extinguished, the windows are closed and the airplane is hermetically sealed. When investigators enter the plane, alle passangers inside are found dead without apparent explanation as to whu or how this has happened.

Book cover from I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

5 I Am Legend

I Am Legend is a gloomy apocalyptic novel by author Richard Matheson (published in 1954). Without spectacular chases or extraterrestrial monsters, and so as much a psychological novel as a science fiction or horror book. Rough and strong, but not really thrillingly exciting. The American movie from the book (with Will Smith's as lead role) was released in movie theaters in December 2007.

Robert Neville is the last normal person on earth after there has been a pandemic that has changed the rest of humanity into vampire-like creatures. During the day he chases on these vampires and tries to repair his house so that he can withstand the attacks of the vampires at night ...

Book cover from Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

6 Interview with the Vampire

Anne Rice's classic Interview with the Vampire opened up a new path for the vampire genre with her Vampire Chronicles series. For good or for worse. Since then, the archetype of the affected romantic dandy vampire has become really popular, though it may not be to everyone's taste. But in this first book by Anne Rice the story has been developed in a fascinating way. Also because of the character of the six-year-old girl who is also a vampire and who cannot, as adult vampires can most of the time, control her "natural" impulses. Of course, the book has become famous because of the movie with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, but as a vampire novel, it definitely has its own merits. Still, the book main appeal is for people who love to read this kind of romanticized vampire tale.

In Interview with the Vampire, a journalist in a San Francisco hotel room interviews a pale young man who claims to be a vampire. The man, by the name of Louis, tells him a story about beauty and eternal life. He claims his death, immediately followed by his birth as an immortal, has taken place in the New Orleans of the 19th century. Louis explains how Lestat, his mentor, has taught him everything there is to know about his new gift, his weaknesses and the unwritten laws of the vampire society.

Book cover from The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

7 The Historian

The American writer Elizabeth Kostova (1964) of Slovenian origin got the idea for her debut novel The Historian from the Balkan folk tales that her father told her. The story: In 1972, a sixteen-year-old American girl lives with her father, a diplomat, in Amsterdam. Her mother died when she was still a baby. One day, the girl discovers in her father's library some disturbing letters addressed to "My Valued and Unfortunate Successor" and an old book with the image of a dragon. This is the beginning of an exciting search for her parents' background. Well written, The Historian is an atmospheric and engaging vampire novel with many different storylines. A mixture of facts and fiction, of history, vampire story, legends and fantasy.

Book cover from Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin

8 Fevre Dream

Bestselling author George R.R. Martin is, of course, most famous for his immensely popular fantasy series A Game of Thrones, but he has also written other good books which are worth reading. And among those books, yes, a very good vampire novel titled Fevre Dream, which is also very easy to read and is intended for a wide audience. The vampire story in the book takes place during the winter of 1857.

Abner Marsh has trouble finding a job as a captain of a steamboat on the Mississippi. When a rich aristocrat unexpectedly makes a lucrative offer, Abner is immediately on guard. The reason? The ghostly pale Joshua York with his cold gaze completely overlooks the fact that Abner's fleet was almost completely lost during an unusually severe winter. Only one boat remains. He is also completely indifferent to the fact that he will only get a return on his investment after ten years. Whatever his reasons to go up the dangerous Mississippi, he does not tell - and the only condition he puts forward is that Marsh accepts his abusive behavior without question, no matter how bizarre, arbitrary or alarming that behavior might be. Abner is hesitant to agree, but he does, against better judgement.

Book cover from Vampires by John Steakley

9 Vampire$

Writer John Steakley makes the vampire myth fully credible within the world he creates in his novel Vampire$. The vampires in the book do not change in bats, and certainly not vampires that are actually okay, despite the little fact that they like to drink human blood now and then. In this book, the vampires are the ultimate evil and extremely mean, killing bastards. The complete story is written as a real action adventure with a strong emphasis on the comradeship of the men and women who hunt for vampires.

In Vampire$ we follow a group of professional vampire hunters, led by Jack Crow, the head of the commercial company Vampire$ Inc. They like to drink, curse, and a whole lot more and have the approval of the Catholic Church to kill as many vampires as they possibly can. An action packed roller coaster of a novel, and a book to read for sure.

Book cover from Children of the Night: A Vampire Novel by Dan Simmons

10 Children of the Night

The American writer Dan Simmons has written excellent books in very different genres. From his amazing science fiction, four part series Hyperion to many other books in the horror or thriller genre. With Children of the Night, he also wrote an excellent vampire novel in which the vampire's phenomenon is declared "scientifically" in the most convincing way by linking it to the modern disease of AIDS. In order to be a bit in line with tradition, the main location for the action is Romania, the homeland of the original historical vampire Vlad the Impaler, who also plays a major role in the book.

In a desolate orphanage in post-communist Romania, a very sick child gets the wrong blood transfusion. The child becomes healthy remarkably fast, rather than to die as expected. For immunologist Kate Neuman, the child's immune system may be the key to curing diseases like cancer and AIDS. Kate adopts the child and takes her to her home in the United States. But because of its blood, the child is connected to an ancient clan with leader Vlad Tsepes, the original Dracula and the first of all vampires. They kidnap the child. Kate returns to Romania to get the baby back from the vampires with the help of priest Mike O'Rourke. Another excellent horror book by Dan Simmons is Carrion Comfort, this time more about 'vampires of the mind'.

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