Books

The Best Horror on Kindle Unlimited: 5 books that make KU worth it

The Kindle Unlimited program is an interesting idea.  A monthly subscription to all the books you can read.  It’s like Netflix for books!  You can read on all sorts of devices, including your PC or Mac, tablet, or Kindle eReader.  This seemed, to me at least, to be a bit too good to be true.  Would there be enough horror fiction to make it worthwhile, but more importantly would there be anything worth reading?  First, I am going to tell you about some of the ins and outs of the Kindle Unlimited program and then highlight some of the amazing horror fiction that is included with your subscription.  Frankly, I was shocked to find some of these titles included and they are all available at the time of writing.  Be advised that books become eligible and are removed from the program all the time.  So go ahead and read through what I have found out about Kindle Unlimited and if it sounds like you want to give it a try, click on our affiliate link to the right and enjoy an entire month for free.  You won’t be disappointed, especially with these 5 extremely strong horror titles at your fingertips.

Kindle Unlimited Newbie Guide

If you are brand new to Kindle Unlimited you are going to notice a few things that might turn you off.  First, when you start looking at Kindle Unlimited titles you are going to see a whole lot of, shall we say, books with covers featuring finely sculpted abs.  Yes, there is a whole lot of romance and erotica on Kindle Unlimited.  Next you will notice that there are tons and tons of self published books on Kindle Unlimited and while that isn’t necessarily bad we all know that the quality of self published titles varies widely.  Amazon doesn’t make it easy to seperate the wheat from the chaff either, if you do a search by “top rated” you are going to find 5 star books with only a hand full of reviews while really good books that float around the 4 star rating with hundreds of reviews will be buried down the list.  Next, you might start typing in your favorite authors, only to be disappointed to find out that many of them don’t have anything on Kindle Unlimited.  Frustration may start to set in, but here is a great tip: once you find something that you like and download, Amazon will start showing you similar titles.  I found that higher quality titles tend to show up here more often than in search results, but your mileage may vary.  You can check out up to ten books at a time, so spend a little bit of time and load up! 

Top Kindle Unlimited Horror Titles

At first I was dismayed with the horror selection on Kindle Unlimited, but as I dug deeper I found gem after gem.  I easily filled up my allotment of 10 books and started a list of at least 20 more that will be worth my time.  Here are 5 that I found that will easily make Kindle Unlimited worthwhile for any horror fan.

The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett

Let me just say that I was flat out shocked that this title is on Kindle Unlimited.  It has gotten tons of praise from critics and rightly so.  Very dark and nightmarish, Pagett’s work is clearly influenced by Thomas Ligotti.  In fact, Pagett has for many years run the website Thomas Ligotti Online and is currently one of the editors of Vastarien, a literary journal dedicated to Ligotti’s work and themes.  While Pagett clearly has his own powerful voice as an author, the similarities to the works of Ligotti are very strong.  Fans of Ligotti are sure to like Padgett’s work or you might find yourself like me and being introduced to Ligotti through The Secret of Ventriloquism.  Either way, this book is downright awesome and a great reason to sign up for Kindle Unlimited. 

Best New Horror Volume 28 edited by Stephen Jones

Don’t let the fun, pulpy cover fool you: this year’s best anthology from 2017 (containing works from 2016) is smart, modern horror at its finest.  With the print version boasting a stout 500 pages (by page length on your device will vary) this is an anthology that will keep you busy for quite a while.  Containing works by some of our favorite authors including Kristi DeMeester, Glen Hirshberg, Lisa Tuttle, Brian Hodge, CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan, Michael Marshall Smith, and many many others.  Again,  I was super surprised that this book was on Kindle Unlimited because it is both so new and contains so much great stuff.  Top marks go to Brian Hodge’s story “On the Blackened Shores of Time,” but everyone will find something that piques their interest in this particular volume.  Plus, these “year’s best” anthologies are a great way to discover authors that you might not be familiar with and there is no reason to skip this one because it Kindle Unlimited eligible.

Visible Filth by Nathan Ballingrud

Nathan Ballingrud got on a lot of people’s radars with his Shirley Jackson Award winning debut collection entitled North American Lake Monsters.  He is a keenly gifted and powerful writer and his novella Visible Filth is no exception.  Visible Filth is dark, twisted, and extremely effective for such a short work.  Ballingrud really knocks it out of the park with this one and Visible Filth has been adapted for film is currently being shot in New Orleans!  This is sure to be a much talked about horror film in the coming months, so make sure you have read the book!  Visible Filth is published by This is Horror, who also has Josh Malerman’s (from Birdbox fame) book A House at the Bottom of a Lake on Kindle unlimited.

Shadows and Tall Trees volume 7 edited by Michael Kelly

Shadows and Tall Trees is an anthology series that you will see repeatedly mentioned in “year’s best” horror collections.  It has become something of a crucible for weird, wonderful, avant-garde horror and volume 7 is an absolute treat.  Published by Undertow Publications, the same group that brings the yearly Year’s Best Weird Fiction collections.  Speaking of that, you can also pick up Year’s Best Weird Fiction volumes two, three, AND four on Kindle Unlimited.  Each year they are edited by a different Weird Fiction author which is a pretty cool touch.  Unfortunately, you can’t get volume one (which was edited by Laird Barron) on Kindle unlimited, but if you have an itch for some Weird Fiction Shadows and Tall Trees Volume 7 and The Year’s Best Weird Fiction will keep you scratching for a long long time!

Ride the Star Wind edited by Scott Gable and C. Dombrowski

Speaking of weird, check out the cover on this one!  Plus the title is super cool, although every time I see it I want to say it like the Big Lebowski and say “ride the star wind, man.”  Here is the super cool pitch for this one: Cthulthu and Space Opera.  Two themes that you don’t think would go together but this one really pulls it off.  If you are looking for a bit more science fiction in your horror this is a great place to start plus it has some great illustrations from a number of very good artists.  Ride the Star Wind is from publisher Broken Eye Books who just completed a successful Kickstarter for their next anthology Welcome to Miskatonic University.  One of the reasons I was so excited about their latest effort and backed the Kickstarter was because of the high quality and unique outlooks of the stories from Ride the Star Wind

Bonus: Year’s Best Body Horror Edited by C.P. Dunphey

 I found so many great titles I couldn’t just keep myself to 5.  Not everyone likes the body horror sub-genre, but if you have anything more than a passing interest in it you have to check this collection out.  With an outstanding introduction and primer to the genre written by Shane Ramirez, inside you will find a wide variety of short stories that will make your skin crawl.  Tyler talked about it on last weeks episode of The Horror Pod Class and I agree its awesome.  This one totally hooks you in from the very first story, in this case the excellent “Slobber” by Shaun Avery, and once it gets its hooks in you it doesn’t let go until the end!

OK, Time to Sign Up

There you have it, a ton of required horror reading available right now on Kindle Unlimited.  Don’t worry if you don’t have an actual Kindle eReader device either, apps are available for almost every device from tablets to desktop PCs.  Sorry Zune owners, but no app for you.  Granted, the Kindle Unlimited program can be a bit difficult to navigate, but there is an absolute ton of high quality horror to be found.  Sign up and get your first month of Kindle Unlimited for free by clicking on the link to the right.

Don’t forget, if you want to stay up to date with all of Signal Horizon’s news, reviews, and analysis of the horror and dark science fiction genres you can signup for our newsletter by entering your email below or you can follow our page on Facebook.  You can also check out our podcast, The Horror Pod Class on iTunes or the podcast delivery app of your choice.  See you there! 

Have your say