Dracula by Bram Stoker
Though Stoker did not invent vampires - and in fact based his character's life-in-death on extensive research into European folklore - his novel elevated the nocturnal monster to iconic stature, spawning a genre of stories and movies which flourishes to this day. A century of imitation has done nothing to diminish its power. As the suave and chilling Count stalks his prey from a crumbling castle in the Carpathians to a lunatic asylum in Purfleet and the bedrooms of his swooning female victims, the drama builds to a fever pitch of sensuality and suspense.
Dracula is not only a classic of Gothic horror and a wellspring of modern mythology: it is also irresistible entertainment.