5. A Dark Matter, by Peter Straub (2010)

Just as experienced as good buddy Stephen King but nowhere near as universally recognized, Peter Straub has been penning some of the best novels and short stories in the horror since the early 1970s; for his all-around greatest work, check out his 1979 monster of a novel, Ghost Story, an undisputed classic in the literary genre.

Straub is still churning out great work today, and his top page-turner in recent years is 2010’s A Dark Matter. And it’s a devastating knockout. Structured much like Akira Kurosawa’s terrifically complicated film Rashomon, A Dark Matter provides the individual, conflicting accounts of four longtime friends’ run-in with an occultist wanderer back during their high school days.

The most impressive thing about A Dark Matter is that Straub is basically telling the same story five times, yet he manages to make each version interesting, and unsettling in its own right. And, fortunately, he finds a way to bring them all together in one hell of a payoff.