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7 Terrifying Tales Where the Pet Lives


Are you a horror fan who attaches emotionally to any animal character almost immediately? Then this list is for you. It's no secret that we at Frightful love dogs (one of our editors is a dog) and a while back we covered horror movies where the dog lives. Now, we're turning that attention to books. This is a book blog, after all.


Horror as a genre has plenty of furry allies, but which books send the biggest shiver down your spine? And, most importantly, which can you also read guilt-free in front of your dog or cat? Sorry, Pet Sematary, this list is not for you.


Spoilers ahead in the sense that none of these titles murder the beloved animal companion.


The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward (Tor Nightfire, 2021)


From the publisher:


"In a boarded-up house on a dead-end street at the edge of the wild Washington woods lives a family of three.


A teenage girl who isn’t allowed outside, not after last time.

A man who drinks alone in front of his TV, trying to ignore the gaps in his memory.

And a house cat who loves napping and reading the Bible.


An unspeakable secret binds them together, but when a new neighbor moves in next door, what is buried out among the birch trees may come back to haunt them all."


Devoted by Dean Koontz (Thomas & Mercer, 2020)


From the publisher:


"Woody Bookman hasn’t spoken a word in his eleven years of life. Not when his father died in a freak accident. Not when his mother, Megan, tells him she loves him. For Megan, keeping her boy safe and happy is what matters. But Woody believes a monstrous evil was behind his father’s death and now threatens him and his mother. And he’s not alone in his thoughts. An ally unknown to him is listening.


A uniquely gifted dog with a heart as golden as his breed, Kipp is devoted beyond reason to people. When he hears the boy who communicates like he does, without speaking, Kipp knows he needs to find him before it’s too late.


Woody’s fearful suspicions are taking shape. A man driven by a malicious evil has set a depraved plan into motion. And he’s coming after Woody and his mother. The reasons are primal. His powers are growing. And he’s not alone. Only a force greater than evil can stop what’s coming next."


The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher (Gallery/Saga Press, 2019)


From the publisher:


"When Mouse’s dad asks her to clean out her dead grandmother's house, she says yes. After all, how bad could it be?


Answer: pretty bad. Grandma was a hoarder, and her house is stuffed with useless rubbish. That would be horrific enough, but there’s more—Mouse stumbles across her step-grandfather’s journal, which at first seems to be filled with nonsensical rants…until Mouse encounters some of the terrifying things he described for herself.


Alone in the woods with her dog, Mouse finds herself face to face with a series of impossible terrors—because sometimes the things that go bump in the night are real, and they’re looking for you. And if she doesn’t face them head on, she might not survive to tell the tale."


The Haunting of Ashburn House by Darcy Coates (Sourcebooks, 2016)


From the publisher:


"Everyone knows about Ashburn House. They whisper its old owner went mad, and restless ghosts still walk the halls. They say it’s the dwelling place of something cruel and sinister. But when Adrienne―desperate and in need of a place to stay―inherits the crumbling old mansion, she only sees it as a lifeline... until darkness falls.


Strange messages are etched into the walls. Furniture moves when she leaves the room. There’s something here—something powerful, angry, and hell-bent on shaking things up. Worse, a grave hidden in the depths of the forest hints at a terrible, unforgivable secret. Eventually Adrienne can’t ignore that a twisted thing lives in the house, its hungry eyes ever-watchful. Chasing the threads of a decades-old mystery, it isn't long before she realizes she's become prey to something deeply unnatural and intensely resentful.


She has no idea how to escape. She has no idea how to survive. Only one thing is certain: Ashburn's dead are not at rest."


Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (Scribner, 2013)


From the publisher:


"Years ago, the haunting of the Overlook Hotel nearly broke young Dan Torrance’s sanity, as his paranormal gift known as “the shining” opened a door straight into hell. And even though Dan is all grown up, the ghosts of the Overlook—and his father’s legacy of alcoholism and violence—kept him drifting aimlessly for most of his life. Now, Dan has finally found some order in the chaos by working in a local hospice, earning the nickname “Doctor Sleep” by secretly using his special abilities to comfort the dying and prepare them for the afterlife. But when he unexpectedly meets twelve-year-old Abra Stone—who possesses an even more powerful manifestation of the shining—the two find their lives in sudden jeopardy at the hands of the ageless and murderous nomadic tribe known as the True Knot, reigniting Dan’s own demons and summoning him to battle for this young girl’s soul and survival..."


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Crown, 2012)


From the publisher:


"On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?"


We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (Viking Press, 1962)


From the publisher:


"Merricat Blackwood lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her uncle Julian. Not long ago there were seven Blackwoods—until a fatal dose of arsenic found its way into the sugar bowl one terrible night. Acquitted of the murders, Constance has returned home, where Merricat protects her from the curiousity and hostility of the villagers. Their days pass in happy isolation until cousin Charles appears. Only Merricat can see the danger, and she must act swiftly to keep Constance from his grasp."



Who is your favorite animal in the horror sphere?




[Image Credit: photo by Pixabay via Pexels]

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