Recommended horror books
Please find below a list of horror books that we recommend.
- John Cleaver series by Dan Wells
I Am Not A Serial Killer is the story of John Cleaver, a 15-year-old sociopath who works in a mortuary, dreams about death, and thinks he might be turning into a serial killer. He sets strict rules to keep himself “good” and “normal,” but when a real monster shows up in his town he has to let his dark side out in order to stop it–but without his rules to keep him in check, he might be more dangerous than the monster he’s trying to kill. John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it. Obsessed with serial killers, he never wants to be one. Yet terrible impulses constantly tempt him. Having grown up helping his mom at the family mortuary, dead bodies are no big deal to John. He likes them, actually. They don’t ask for the empathy he’s unable to offer. Perhaps that’s what gives him the clarity to recognize that something is frighteningly different about the freshest body on the slab. For the first time, John must confront a danger outside his own mind, a threat he cannot control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.
"I Am Not A Serial Killer is a book that just works on so many levels. I was unprepared by how deeply engrossed I would become with the book, with only hard taps on my shoulder able to bring me out of this immersion. John is one of the most complex characters I have had the opportunity to explore and I can't wait to read the last two books in the series and get back into his head again." Ryan Lawler, Fantasy Book Review
- Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
I found this book really throws you into the deep end, leaving you guessing at the full extent of the how the world Lauren Beukes creates is different from our own. Zoo City, set in Johannesburg, invites us into the lives of the undesirables that the majority of the population like to pretend do not exist. But if they have to acknowledge them they will do so to blame them for all the world’s problems. At the same time, although you are thrown into the deep end it doesn’t mean that you’re frustrated as you’re given just enough information to keep you intrigued. Which gives you enough time to connect with the lead character Zinzi December, the so-called heroine of the novel. Zinzi is a survivor who has a talent for finding lost items for people and she ends up getting dragged into a hunt for a missing person, and that’s where her troubles begin…
"Of course – being a fantasy review site – this isn’t a gritty crime novel. Although you will not find wizards or goblins here, what you will find is an intriguing “what if?” urban fantasy story that gives a twist to the contemporary world we live in. If I forgot to mention before, this story involves animals and magic, that fits into the world of Zoo City. As well as inviting questions as to why people who are different from the norm are treated in different circumstances." Fantasy Book Review
- NOS4R2 by Joe Hill
Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn’t tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself. Charles Talent Manx has a gift of his own. He likes to take children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the vanity plate NOS4R2. In the Wraith, he and his innocent guests can slip out of the everyday world and onto hidden roads that lead to an astonishing playground of amusements he calls Christmasland. Mile by mile, the journey across the highway of Charlie’s twisted imagination transforms his precious passengers, leaving them as terrifying and unstoppable as their benefactor. And then comes the day when Vic goes looking for trouble… and finds her way, inevitably, to Charlie. That was a lifetime ago. Now, the only kid ever to escape Charlie’s unmitigated evil is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx hasn’t stopped thinking about the exceptional Victoria McQueen. On the road again, he won’t slow down until he’s taken his revenge. He’s after something very special —something Vic can never replace. As a life-and-death battle of wills builds — her magic pitted against his — Vic McQueen prepares to destroy Charlie once and for all… or die trying…
"NOS4R2 reads like a thriller at times, it is a totally gripping and satisfying read, expertly constructed and brilliantly executed. This one is a triumph." Fantasy Book Review
- Fellside by MR Carey
Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire moors. It's not the kind of place you'd want to end up. But it's where Jess Moulson could be spending the rest of her life. It's a place where even the walls whisper. And one voice belongs to a little boy with a message for Jess. Will she listen?
"M. R. Carey has written a thought-provoking novel that crosses between the rational day to day running of a maximum security prison and gives some thoughts to how well these privatised prisons are run; to the unimaginable concept of the human mind and how it is linked to The Other Place."
- The Seven by Peter Newman
- Apartment 16 by Adam Nevill
Some doors are better left closed... In Barrington House, an upmarket block in London, there is an empty apartment. No one goes in, no one comes out. And it’s been that way for fifty years. Until the night watchman hears a disturbance after midnight and investigates. What he experiences is enough to change his life forever. A young American woman, Apryl, arrives at Barrington House. She's been left an apartment by her mysterious Great Aunt Lillian who died in strange circumstances. Rumours claim Lillian was mad. But her diary suggests she was implicated in a horrific and inexplicable event decades ago. Determined to learn something of this eccentric woman, Apryl begins to unravel the hidden story of Barrington House. She discovers that a transforming, evil force still inhabits the building. And the doorway to Apartment 16 is a gateway to something altogether more terrifying...
"You just can’t beat a damn good horror book, particularly one that manages to scare and disturb you late at night, even though you are safe and sound in your own home. Adam Nevill’s Apartment 16 is one such book. The titular apartment is located within Barrington House, an upmarket block in London. It has been empty for fifty years - no one goes in, no one comes out. When Seth - an aspiring artist working as a night watchman - investigates a disturbance after midnight, his experiences change his life forever." Floresiensis
- Cinema of Shadows by Michael West
Welcome to the Woodfield Movie Palace. The night the Titanic sank, it opened for business... and its builder died in his chair. In the 1950s, there was a fire; a balcony full of people burned to death. And years later, when it became the scene of one of Harmony, Indiana's most notorious murders, it closed for good. Abandoned, sealed, locked up tight... until now. Tonight, Professor Geoffrey Burke and his Parapsychology students have come to the Woodfield in search of evidence, hoping to find irrefutable proof of a haunting. Instead, they will discover that, in this theatre, the terrors are not confined to the screen.
"Cinema of Shadows is an excellently crafted and constructed tale where something monstrous and unworldly exists in quiet rural Indiana. West has proved he is an extremely accomplished horror author and I very much look forward to his next project." Daniel Cann
- The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott
You have two days to pass your audition. You better pass it, feller. You’re joining the circus. Ain’t that the best news you ever got? Delivered by a trio of psychotic clowns, this ultimatum plunges Jamie into the horrific alternate universe that is the centuries-old Pilo Family Circus, a borderline world between Hell and Earth from which humankind’s greatest tragedies have been perpetrated. Yet in this place—peopled by the gruesome, grotesque, and monstrous—where violence and savagery are the norm, Jamie finds that his worst enemy is himself. When he applies the white face paint, he is transformed into JJ, the most vicious clown of all. And JJ wants Jamie dead!
"The Pilo Family Circus is a bizarre exploration of a fantastical world full of killer clowns, highly strung acrobats, and morbidly depressed people who have been sculpted into freaks. I highly recommend this to horror fans, but also to fantasy fans who are looking for something outside of the box." Fantasy Book Review
- Floating Dragon by Peter Straub
The terrors afflicting the sleepy town of Hampstead, Connecticut, were beyond imagination. Sparrows dropping dead from the trees like rotten fruit, disfiguring diseases spreading like wildfire, inexplicable murders and child drownings shattering the lives of the citizens - never can such a list of horrors have afflicted one town. But the evil madness had a long history. A catastrophe had struck Hampstead every thirty years since its foundation 300 years before - yet only Graham Williams, a writer and descendant of one of the original founders, had looked into the 'black summers' and their mysterious origins. When he discovers that descendants of the three other original settlers are back living in the town, he knows it will be the blackest summer yet!
"Despite a ropy opening and a slight lack of context, you can be assured that once this dragon starts flying the ride will be a truly epic one."
- The Ritual by Adam Nevill
Four old university friends reunite for a hiking trip in the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle. No longer young men, they have little left in common and tensions rise as they struggle to connect. Frustrated and tired they take a shortcut that turns their hike into a nightmare that could cost them their lives. Lost, hungry and surrounded by forest untouched for millennia, they stumble across an isolated old house. Inside, they find the macabre remains of old rites and pagan sacrifices; ancient artefacts and unidentifiable bones. A place of dark ritual and home to a bestial presence that is still present in the ancient forest, and now they’re the prey. As the four friends struggle toward salvation they discover that death doesn’t come easy among these ancient trees…
"When four old university friends set out into the Scandinavian wilderness, they aim to escape the problems of their lives and reconnect. But finding they have little left in common with one another, tensions soon rise." Floresiensis
- Poseidon's Children by Michael West
After the ruins of a vast, ancient civilization are discovered on the ocean floor, Coast Guard officers find a series of derelict ships drifting in the current-high-priced yachts and leaking fishing boats, all ransacked, splattered in blood, their crews missing and presumed dead. And that's just the beginning. Vacationing artist Larry Neuhaus has just witnessed a gruesome shark attack, a young couple torn apart right before his eyes… at least, he thinks it was a shark. And when one of these victims turns out to be the only son of Roger Hays, the most powerful man in the country, things go from bad to worse. Now, to stop the carnage, Larry and his new-found friends must work together to unravel a mystery as old as time, and face an enemy as dark as the ocean depths.
"With its compelling cast of characters, gripping plot, twists, gore and a showdown between New York mobsters and sea monsters you cannot accuse this one of being pedestrian! The tone here is a knowing one, amused, mischievous almost saying I know this is all far-fetched but hey let’s have a great time together! Conspiracy theorists, fans of science fiction and horror will all love this and the “Legacy of Gods” series is off to the strongest of starts." Daniel Cann
- Last Days by Adam Nevill
The Temple of the Last Days. The brutal cult with a history of murder, sex and occult dealings destroyed itself during one night of ritualistic violence decades ago. Or so they thought… Kyle Freeman is an indie film-maker with no money and few options, so when he lands a commission to make a documentary about The Temple of the Last Days he jumps at the chance. Little does he know that his investigation into the cult’s bloody history will lead him into the darkest places he’s ever been. As they travel from the London and France to Arizona tracing the path of the cult, uncanny events, out-of-body experiences, ghastly artefacts and visits by the merciless ‘old friends’ plague Kyle and his one-man crew. They soon discover the power of the cult’s terrible legacy, and that it may be too late for them to escape…
"I love Adam Nevill's work and will happily read everything he publishes. I feel like I'm guaranteed a well-structured, creepy and unsettling tale replete with people I can relate to. And I'm a simple man, it's all I ask for. I recommend Last Days highly, as I did Apartment 16 and The Ritual before it. Perfect for readers who like to be unsettled rather than grossed out." Floresiensis
- Inside Out by Will Elliott
Inside Out is the story of Denton, a down-and-out no-hoper who lives with his mother and hits rock bottom one day during a road-rage incident. What should be the lowest moment of his life turns into a moment of revelation when he is rescued by members of the Sect of Bliss. Denton is quickly drawn into their world, mostly thanks to the attractive qualities of Sister Sarah and the persuasive power of the Sect's leader, Daniel Mason. Mason and his sidekick Coolan are initially less than impressed with their new recruit, until they discover Denton has just inherited an enormous amount of money, and doesn't even know about it yet... They have no qualms about getting the money, even if it means getting rid of Denton permanently. But Inside Out is also the story of another group of characters - the people in charge of Denton's mind. Mr Scott, the brisk and orderly man who runs the logic department; DM, the calm enigma creating Denton's dreams; Len, who enjoys inventing nightmares; and Wetpatch, who runs amok with Denton's libido. While the outside Denton is being lured into the cult, those inside Denton are well-aware that something is very wrong ... and they will do whatever it takes to save him.
"Inside Out by Will Elliott is stand-alone novel where a man's brain provides the canvas for a trippy adventure through the world of cults and brainwashing. It is similar in style to his previous release Nightfall, and while it may not have the same emotional impact, the story is more comedic and, in my opinion, far more accessible." Ryan Lawler
- Devourer of Souls by Kevin Lucia
Welcome to Clifton Heights, an average Adirondack town. It's nice enough, really. Except after dark. Or on cold winter days when you're all alone... Sophan. An ancient game of chance and Fate. One boy's smoldering hate, another boy's need to make things right, and a father's ghosts of Vietnam past. The Man in Yellow. Tahawus is a small, isolated Adirondack town just north of Clifton Heights. A quiet place filled with simple people of an ardent faith, nothing much ever happens there... until the man in yellow comes calling. He knows your worst nightmares, and he can offer your fondest wish. All you need is faith... and a mouth from which to scream.
"Devourer of Souls by Kevin Lucia is supernatural horror very much in the vein of Stephen King. It is made up of two novella length stories set in the same town, with a frame story that loosely connects the two novellas. While I don't think the horror in this book will make you wet your pants, it does establish an atmosphere that I think will make you feel uncomfortable and, for a horror story, that is a very good thing." Ryan Lawler, Fantasy Book Review
- Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
Detective Gabi Versado has hunted down many monsters during her eight years in Homicide. She’s seen stupidity, corruption and just plain badness. But she’s never seen anything like this. Clayton Broom is a failed artist, and a broken man. Life destroyed his plans, so he’s found new dreams – of flesh and bone made disturbingly, beautifully real. Detroit is the decaying corpse of the American Dream. Motor-city. Murder-city. And home to a killer opening doors into the dark heart of humanity. A killer who wants to make you whole again…
"If you’re a stickler for a novel to only be written in one genre, then this isn’t the book for you, for everyone else welcome to a truly intelligent story. Lauren Beukes goes from strength to strength with each book she writes." Michelle Herbert
- Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth by Stephen Jones
Respected horror anthologist Stephen Jones edits this collection of 17 stories inspired by the 20th century’s master of horror, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth, in which a young man goes to an isolated, desolate fishing village in Massachusetts, and finds that the entire village has interbred with strange creatures that live beneath the sea, and worship ancient gods.
"Editor Stephen Jones has chosen some of the best writers out there to compliment the third volume in the series and I am so glad that Titan published them again as they are a treasure to those who want to read more Lovecraftian horror."
- The Silence by Tim Lebbon
In the darkness of an underground cave system, blind creatures hunt by sound. Then there is light, there are voices, and they feed... Swarming from their prison, the creatures thrive and destroy. To scream, even to whisper, is to summon death. As the hordes lay waste to Europe, a girl watches to see if they will cross the sea. Deaf for many years, she knows how to live in silence; now, it is her family's only chance of survival: To leave their home, to shun others, to find a remote haven where they can sit out the plague. But will it ever end? And what kind of world will be left?
"The Silence is a dark, foreboding tale of what can happen when curiosity gets the better of us. It takes some real guts to read this novel all the way through as Ally and her family might not reach their destination."
- Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay until death. Whoever comes to stay, never leaves. Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth-century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Blind and silenced, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children's beds for nights on end. So accustomed to her have the townsfolk become that they often forget she's there. Or what a threat she poses. Because if the stitches are ever cut open, the story goes, the whole town will die. The curse must not be allowed to spread. The elders of Black Spring have used high-tech surveillance to quarantine the town. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers decide to break the strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into a dark nightmare.
"I do not believe that there has been anything lost in the translation by Nancy Forest-Flier from the Dutch original. Olde Heuvelt has written a compelling story rich in imagination and history which is undeniably haunting. Hex is truly absorbing with an easy style of writing that leads you into the world of Black Spring and keeps you locked into the horrifying events as they unfold."
- The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
A missing God. A library with the secrets to the universe. A woman too busy to notice her heart slipping away.
Carolyn's not so different from the other people around her. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. Clothes are a bit tricky, but everyone says nice things about her outfit with the Christmas sweater over the gold bicycle shorts.
After all, she was a normal American herself once. That was a long time ago, of course. Before her parents died. Before she and the others were taken in by the man they called Father.
In the years since then, Carolyn hasn't had a chance to get out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient customs. They've studied the books in his Library and learned some of the secrets of his power. And sometimes, they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.
Now, Father is missing perhaps even dead and the Library that holds his secrets stands unguarded. And with it, control over all of creation.
As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her, all of them with powers that far exceed her own.
But Carolyn has accounted for this. And Carolyn has a plan. The only trouble is that in the war to make a new God, she's forgotten to protect the things that make her human.
"There’s no doubt Hawkins has created something truly exceptional here. A book that incorporates so much and yet still just dips the surface of a fantastic world with horror, surrealism and gallows humour and even a few moments of pathos, and is there for one I’d most heartily recommend."
- Black Wings of Cthulhu 4 by ST Joshi
Through his collaborations with today's most talented and acclaimed practitioners of Lovecraftian fiction, editor S. T. Joshi has made the Black Wings of Cthulhu series essential for every library of horror and the macabre. Volume four offers up seventeen new masterpieces, each exploring the roots of fear employed so famously by the master himself, H. P. Lovecraft.
"For those who are well acquainted with the Cthulhu mythos, and of Lovecraft's monsters, Nyarlathotep features in quite a lot of them, and while others are only based around the thought of the old ones, they are still strange, eerie and need the light on to be read."
- Under the Dome by Stephen King
On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as 'the dome' comes down on it, people running errands in the neighbouring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. Dale Barbara, Iraq vet, teams up with a few intrepid citizens against the town's corrupt politician. But time, under the dome, is running out...
"Under the Dome will appeal greatly to fans of King’s The Stand and there is no doubting that it is a compelling read and a significant improvement on some of the work he has released recently." Floresiensis
- The Wickford Doom by Chris Priestley
When Harry and his mother inherit a house from a mysterious relative of his father's following his death in the War, they travel across the country to discover the bequeathing was a cruel trick - the house has fallen into the sea. But it seems there's even more afoot at Wickford Hall than they first imagined, as tales of lost children and evil paintings soon capture Harry's imagination. Is there something evil lurking in the land? And can Harry defeat it before it swallows him up too?
"Chris Priestley knows how to keep a reader interested as he twists and turns each chapter along with the amazing ending I wasn't expecting. Chris Priestley also knows how to create atmosphere and keep the reader on the edge."
- Weaveworld by Clive Barker
This is a true epic of a story – a whirlwind of base instincts and heights of imagination that brings together fantasy and horror, whilst grounding the fantastical in a recognisable, mundane, suburban England.
- It by Stephen King
It is the children who see - and feel - what makes the town so horribly different. In the storm drains and sewers "It" lurks, taking the shape of every nightmare, each one's deepest dread. As the children grow up and move away, the horror of "It" is buried deep - until they are called back.
"As an exploration of childhood, growing up, friendship and facing both real and supernatural fears I still hold It up as a great book. But the ending, and the book’s length in general, will be unpalatable to many readers."
- Desperation by Stephen King
Welcome to Desperation. Once a thriving copper mining town in the middle of the Nevada desert, Desperation is now eerily abandoned. It's the last place that travellers like the Carver family, bound for vacation, and writer Johnny Marinville, astride his Harley, would expect to be stopped and charged. But Desperation still has a local cop - a unique regulator who patrols the wilderness highway. The secrets buried in Desperation are as terrifying as the forces summoned to encounter them. A terrifying transformation is taking place and the travellers will soon discover the true meaning of desperation...
"Despite a minor disappointment with one of King’s more likable female characters, one particularly egregious arsehole, and a slightly slower last third, Desperation is still vintage King at his best with a nicely theological undertone, and definitely one I’d recommend."
- Breaking Chaos by Ben Galley
- House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill
Catherine’s last job ended badly. Corporate bullying at a top television production company saw her fired and forced to leave London, but she was determined to get her life back. A new job and now things look much brighter. Especially when a challenging new project presents itself – to catalogue the late M H Mason’s wildly eccentric cache of antique dolls and puppets. Rarest of all, she’ll get to examine his elaborate displays of posed, costumed and preserved animals, depicting scenes from World War I. When Mason’s elderly niece invites her to stay at the Red House itself, where she maintains the collection, Catherine can’t believe her luck. Until his niece exposes her to the dark message behind her uncle’s ‘Art’. Catherine tries to concentrate on the job, but M H Mason’s damaged visions raise dark shadows from her own past. Shadows she’d hoped had finally been erased. Soon the barriers between reality, sanity and memory start to merge. And some truths seem too terrible to be real.
"I really enjoyed reading House of Small Shadows and highly recommend it, as the story kept a good balance between suspense and fright, and had an unexpected ending. I will be looking out for Nevill’s other works from now on." Ceimone Kercher
- Residue by Steve Diamond
Residue follows 17-year-old Jack Bishop after his father is abducted and a monster is let loose in his small town. As he looks for his father, he begins to notice that he can see the psychic residue left behind by monsters and murder victims. Along with the mind-reading Alexandra (Alex) Courtney, Jack uses his growing ESP abilities to stop the deaths in the town, and find out why his father was taken.
"I found myself completely invested in their story and abilities and wanting more. It was the first book in a while that I have not been able to put down. It has an original premise, engaging characters and a sense that this is just the first instalment of an on-going series that I can only hope is delivered as perfectly as this one was."
- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
One of literature's most gripping ghost stories depicts the sinister transformation of 2 innocent children into flagrant liars and hypocrites. Elegantly told tale of unspoken horror and psychological terror creates what few stories in literature have been able to do — a complete feeling of dread and uncertainty.
"The phrase used in the title, ‘the turn of the screw’, is used at the beginning during the ghost story telling to allude that a ghost story is even more horrible when a child is involved, and this I think works to a certain extent, but more because they’re really quite sinister. Overall, it’s a dark, claustrophobic, and ultimately quite simple ghost story in an old house where characters many believe one thing, but whether you do is another." Cat Fitzpatrick
- Broken by AE Rought
A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry's boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell. She and Daniel had been made for each other. When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she's intrigued despite herself. He is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely...familiar. The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there's something very wrong. And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks' estate, she knows...
"Broken is very much Twilight meets Frankenstein, and I don't mean that in a negative way whatsoever. It is simultaneously a heart-warming and heart-breaking love story that sometimes, but not often, ventures into eye-rolling stereotype territory. I feel like there is plenty in this book for most fantasy readers to appreciate, and that the YA / Twi-hard audience will love it." Ryan Lawler
- The Quorum by Kim Newman
In 1961, Derek Leech emerges fully formed from the polluted Thames, destined to found a global media empire. In 1978, three ambitious young men strike a deal with Leech. They are offered wealth, glamour, and success, but a price must be paid. In 1994, Leech's purpose moves to its conclusion, and as the men struggle, they realize the truth of the ultimate price.
"This is a cautionary tale, told with the usual wit and creative flair of one of horror’s best contemporary writers. For Newman fans this is a must read. It’s not his best, but it exhibits all the ingredients that make a Newman novel so enjoyable and memorable." Daniel Cann
- The Mourning House by Ronald Malfi
Devastated by tragedy, Dr. Sam Hatch is a shadow of his former self. He travels the byroads of America, running away from a past he cannot escape. There is no salvation for him. And then he sees the house. Like a siren, it calls to him. Yet the house is not what it appears to be. Is it a blessing, a gift...or a curse?
"With The Mourning House, Malfi shows that Horror is definitely suited to shorter length stories which readers can consume in single sittings or just a few sittings. Malfi maintains so much emotion, suspense and dread throughout the whole 150 pages, and then he ends it, and you are left with the task of calming yourself down. There is more to horror than violence and scares, and I would have no trouble recommending this powerful story to people who say they don't read horror." Ryan Lawler
- The Night Mayor by Kim Newman
Truro Daine, a dangerous criminal who has been confined to imprisonment, escapes his incarceration by inventing a computer-generated dream world, which he rules as the Night Mayor.
"The Night Mayor is everything I would expect from Kim Newman, decidedly noir, funny and deliciously twisted. Fantastic!"
- Styx by Bavo Dhooge
A serial killer is on the loose in Ostend, Belgium. Nicknamed The Stuffer, the mysterious killer fills his victims full of sand and poses them as public art installations - and the once idyllic beach town is in a panic. The fact that Rafael Styx is on the case is no comfort. The corrupt, middle-aged cop has a bum hip, a bad marriage, and ties to the Belgian underworld, but no leads. And if he wants to catch the killer before he's replaced by the young, ambitious, and flamboyant new cop, Detective Delacroix, he'll have to take matters into his own hands. When a chance encounter puts him face to face with The Stuffer, Rafael's life is cut short by a gun to the chest. But the afterlife has only just begun: Styx wakes up a zombie. Gradually he realizes his unique position. Not only is his body in decay, now that he exists between life and death, he can enter a "different" Ostend, of the Belle Epoque in all its grandeur. There he meets the surrealist painter, Paul Delvaux, who gives Styx his first clue about the killer. With a fresh lead and a fresh start, the dirty cop decides to change his ways, catch The Stuffer, and restore his honor. But as his new hunger for human flesh impedes his progress, he'll need his old rival, Detective Delacroix to help him out. Only one thing is for sure, even death can't stop Styx from catching his own murderer.
"With dark horror, despair and detection, Bavo Dhooge's Styx has to get used to his new afterlife by allying with Detective Joachim Delacroix, where he discovers an Ostend that never existed. With him in tow, he might find the Stuffer and be able to bring him to justice. Styx is a story that deals with a man learning what it is to be human and try to be a better man even if he is a zombie."
- Medusa's Web by Tim Powers
In the wake of their Aunt Amity’s suicide, Scott and Madeline Madden are summoned to Caveat, the eerie, decaying mansion in the Hollywood hills in which they were raised. But their decadent and reclusive cousins, the malicious wheelchair-bound Claimayne and his sister, Ariel, do not welcome Scott and Madeline’s return to the childhood home they once shared… Decorated by bits salvaged from old hotels and movie sets, Caveat hides a dark family secret that stretches back to the golden days of Rudolph Valentino and the silent film stars… As Madeline falls more completely under Caveat’s spell, Scott discovers that to protect her, he must unravel the mystery of the Madden family’s past and finally free them...
"The story concerns itself more with mystery and intrigue than out and out horror, but I really enjoyed reading as Scott and Madeline unravel more layers of Caveat's history. Fans of Powers will be thrilled. He is definitely on top of his game for this one. My only criticism is it could have been trimmed down a little here and there, but this is once again proof that Powers deserves his place at the top of fantasy authors today."
- The Feast of All Souls by Simon Bestwick
Alice has returned to her old home town to put her life back in order. 378 Collarmill Road looks like an ordinary house. But sometimes, the world outside the windows isn’t the one you expect to see; sometimes you’ll turn around and find you’re not alone. An old flame of Alice’s – John Revell – reluctantly comes to her aid when the house begins to reveal its secrets. The hill on which it sits is a place of legends – of Old Harry, the Beast of Crawbeck; of the Virgin of the Height and the mysterious Red Man – and home to the secrets of the shadowy Arodias Thorne. Thorne’s influence seeps up through the ground, infiltrating Alice’s new home, and only she and John stand between Arodias and the rest of our world.
"The Feast for All Souls is a cleverly written and perfectly paced haunted house tale by British author Simon Bestwick, author of previous works Tide of Souls and Hell’s Ditch."
- Still Water by Chris Priestley
Evacuated from London at the outbreak of war, Rosie is taken in by kind Mrs Taylor and her daughter Mary. But all is not as it seems. Mary resents and bullies Rosie, and Mrs Taylor is hiding a dark secret. When Rosie comes across a strange girl swimming in a local pond, she hopes they will become friends. But instead her appearance leads to a horrifying revelation that will have terrifying consequences... Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers 8+
"Chris Priestley's Halloween novel is eerie enough from the get go with a normal enough setting turning bad when Rosie discovers the truth surrounding her new family. This is essential Halloween reading for October."
- Phantoms by Dean Koontz
Yesterday Snowfield, California, was a charming little town basking in the golden afternoon sun. Today it is a place of nightmare. An ancient, awesome force has spirited away almost the entire population of the town and left the bodies of those remaining bizarrely disfigured. What hope can there be for the few still left alive..?
"The at times somewhat broad characterizations never spoil the expertly paced nastiness, and over all I finished Phantoms both fully satisfied, and with a definitely higher opinion of Koontz as a horror writer."
- We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory
- Chimera by Rob Thurman
Ten years ago, Stefan Korsak's younger brother was kidnapped. Not a day has passed that Stefan hasn't thought about him. As a rising figure in the Russian mafia, he has finally found him. But when he rescues Lukas, he must confront a terrible truth - his brother is no longer his brother. He is a trained, genetically-altered killer. Now, those who created him will do anything to reclaim him. And the closer Stefan grows to his brother, the more he realizes that saving Lukas may be easier than surviving him...
"I enjoyed this story enormously, finishing it off in one compulsively focused day. Another fast-paced, action filled, dark and gritty story about two brothers having to struggle against big odds. I loved it!" David Stoit
- The Association by Bentley Little
Barry and Maureen found the house of their dreams in Utah's beautiful Bonita Vista. It didn't bother them that they had to join a homeowner's association. They just never realized the Association would invade every aspect of their lives and that the penalty for bending the rules could be the death of them...
"The Association was a lot of fun. With a far more likeable protagonist and tighter structure than the last Bentley Little book I read, as well as some truly loathsome villains, I’ll definitely be returning to Little in the future when I’m next feeling horrific."
- The Concrete Grove by Gary McMahon
Imagine a place where all your nightmares become real. Think of dark urban streets where crime, debt and violence are not the only things to fear. Picture a housing project that is a gateway to somewhere else, a realm where ghosts and monsters stir hungrily in the shadows. Welcome to the Concrete Grove. It knows where you live...
"All in all, this book is an excellent read which tends to give you at least a couple of disturbed dreams. Perhaps it is the emotional involvement, perhaps it are the unanswered questions? Perhaps it is the battle between the horror and the fantasy aspect of this story in which two worlds, one painfully realistic and one horrifying fictive slowly merge into a constantly unpredictable mesh." David Stoit
- The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker
In a quiet house on a quiet street Frank and Julia are having an affair. Not your ordinary affair. For Frank it began with his own insatiable sexual appetite, a mysterious lacquered box- and then an unhinged voyage through a netherworld of imaginable pleasures and unimaginable horror… Now Frank - or what is left of Frank - waits in an empty room. All he wants is to live as he was before. All julia can do is bring him her unfulfilled passions…and a little flesh and blood…
"A simple, yet eloquent novella, which spawned one of Barker's best known creations: Pinhead and the world of hellraiser. The story follows, Frank, who longs for pleasure. Tired of the thrills women and drugs have to offer him, Frank turns to Lemmarchand's box. A simple looking wooden puzzle, which once solved summons the Cenobites. The Cenobites are creatures from another dimension in search of pleasures of the flesh, however their definition of pleasure is quite different form ours." Bindi Lavelle
- Blood Water by Dean Vincent Carter
They're all dead now. I am the last one. Dr Morrow can't identify the 'thing' he found living in the lake but he knows it's dangerous ...then it goes missing ...Caught in the flood that is devastating the town, brothers Sean and James stumble across Morrow and the carnage left at his lab. The missing specimen is some kind of deadly parasite that moves from person to person, destroying its hosts in disgusting, gory ways. The death toll will rise along with the waters unless the brothers can track down the homicidal specimen and find a way to destroy it.
"Blood Water is a fast-paced horror novel aimed mainly at teens but written in a style which makes it accessible to adults. It does not bring anything too original to the genre but is unquestionably a worthy and enjoyable addition to a rather ignored niche. I was instantly reminded of a book I once read by renowned horror writer Shaun Hutson, called Slugs, but while Blood Water undoubtedly has its moments of gore they are not excessive and will be unlikely to cause any sleepless nights. Shaun Hutson’s book on the other hand…" Floresiensis
- Swallowed By The Cracks by Thomas McMahon Browne and Smith
Swallowed By The Cracks is the latest (7th) compilation of four Dark Fantasy / Horror writers by John Everson and Bill Breedlove. They are the producers of the yearly ‘Dark Arts Books’ anthologies. The latest four authors that contributed to their anthology were Lee Thomas, Gary McMahon, S. G. Browne and Michael Marshall Smith. Each of these writers submitted four short stories in the Dark Fantasy / Horror genre, resulting in a compilation of 16 stories.
"These short stories vary widely, both in the way you experience the story and in topics. The writers even manage to create a new mood and way of writing for all their stories. Since these stories only span some tenfold of pages, they always have to keep in mind the balance between getting to know the character(s) and getting to experience the ‘mystery’. Therefore the characters and topics show a huge variety." Koen Peters
- The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart by Jesse Bullington
In the plague-wracked and devil-haunted darkness of Medieval Europe, an elite few enjoy opulent lives while the majority eke out a miserable existence in abject poverty. Hungry creatures stalk the deep woods and desolate mountains, and both sea and sky teem with unspeakable horrors. For those ill-fated masses not born into wealth, life is but a vicious trial to be endured before the end of days. Hegel and Manfried Grossbart could give a toss. Being of low birth means little, after all, when the riches of the mighty wait just inside the next crypt. The grave-robbing twins know enough about crusading to realise that if one is to make a living from the dead, what better destination than the fabled tomb-cities of Egypt? But the Brothers Grossbart are about to discover that all legends have their truths, and worse fates than death await those who would take the red road of villainy...
"If you enjoy your fantasy off the beaten path, something that is different and something you haven’t seen before The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart will definitely interest you. If you have read Joe Abercrombie then you are prepared for the brutality but if not I will warn you that this is a blood and guts book at its most basic." Preita Salyer
- Ash by James Herbert
David Ash - detective of the paranormal is sent to the mysterious Comraich Castle, secluded deep in the Scottish countryside, to investigate a strange, high-profile case: a man has been found crucified - in a room that was locked. The reports suggest that the cliff-top castle is being haunted… Who - or what - is the reclusive hooded figure that Ash has seen from the window walking across the courtyard in the dead of night? What are the strange, animal-like sounds that come from the surrounding woods? And why are the castle’s inhabitants so reluctant to talk about what they have seen?
"There are very clever elements to this book and I think whilst Herbert fans will love it, it will also appeal to readers who may have never read his works before but just enjoy a good scary book. There is no denying there are themes and characters in the book that have been explored before, but Herbert has twisted new angles for every one and ventures down new avenues, some extremely surprising, to keep the book fresh." Amanda White
The year is 2033. The world has been reduced to rubble. Humanity is nearly extinct. The half-destroyed cities have become uninhabitable through radiation. Beyond their boundaries, they say, lie endless burned-out deserts and the remains of splintered forests. Survivors still remember the past greatness of humankind. But the last remains of civil...
Recommended reads by sub-genre
Select a sub-genre below to see which books we highly recommend.
Fantasy set in an alternative, fictional world
Fantasy with epic characters, themes, and plot
Heroic / Sword and Sorcery
Fantasy with heroic adventures
Fantasy narrative with an urban setting
Historical fantasy / fiction
Historical fiction with fantasy elements
Fantasy set in parallel worlds
Science / Speculative
Draws elements from both science fiction and fantasy
Fantasy for ages up to 12
Fantasy for ages 12+
Fantasy for ages 18+
Dystopian / Post-Apocalyptic
Fiction set in dark, nightmarish worlds
Monarchy / Empire
Fantasy books with empires at their core
Fiction with elements of fear, horror, death, gloom and romance
Fiction with vampiric characters
Fiction with werewolf characters
Fiction with steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology
Fiction with the legendary, scaled, fire-breathing creatures
Wizards / Magicians
Fantasy with wizards, witches, magicians, sorceresses...
Lore, Legend and Mythology
Inspired by ancient folklore and mythology
Fantasy books focusing on mailtary life
Roman historical fiction
Explore the ancient Roman Empire
Books exploring the galaxy of the ever-popular franchise
Animal fantasy books
Fantasy with sentient animals
The Thief / Assassin
Fantasy books starring the thief or the assassin
Fiction exploring beyond the laws of nature
Japanese comic books and graphic novels
Liked to be scared? These books will do that...
For the reader who loves to laugh
Inspired by Tolkien
Love Lord of the Rings? Now try these...
The best science fiction and fantasy anthlogies