The best books on bad neighbors

Who am I?

Neighbors. We’ve all got ‘em, right? We believe we’re the good ones, and we pray we don’t live next door to the bad ones… but sometimes it’s inevitable that we share our property lines with those ill-suited for neighborly behavior. Horror books about bad neighbors are the perfect window into our own communities. We can peer into the lives of others without worry of getting caught. We can tiptoe through their rooms and rummage through their drawers… Who knows what we might find. Are they witches? Serial killers? Devil worshippers? Only their dirty laundry will tell. 


I wrote...

Whisper Down the Lane

By Clay McLeod Chapman,

Book cover of Whisper Down the Lane

What is my book about?

Richard doesn’t have a past. For him, there is only the present: a new marriage, a first chance at fatherhood, and a quiet life as an art teacher in Virginia. Then the body of a ritualistically murdered rabbit appears on his school’s playground, along with a birthday card for him. But Richard hasn’t celebrated his birthday since he was known as Sean . . .In the 1980s, Sean was five years old when his mother unwittingly led him to tell a lie about his teacher. When school administrators, cops, and therapists questioned him, he told another. And another. And another. Each was more outlandish than the last—and fueled a moral panic that engulfed the nation and destroyed the lives of everyone around him.

Now, thirty years later, someone is here to tell Richard that they know what Sean did. Whisper Down the Lane is a tense and compulsively readable exploration of a world primed by paranoia to believe the unbelievable.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Good Neighbors

Clay McLeod Chapman Why did I love this book?

Quite honestly one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year. There’s a literal sinkhole at the center of the story, but the novel itself serves as its own metaphorical quicksand. Once I ambled into its narrative, I could not crawl back out. I just had to keep reading and reading… A perfect example of modern-day witch hunts, and how we are only one rumor away from a full-on suburban lynch mob. 

By Sarah Langan,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Good Neighbors as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named by Goodreads as One of the Most Anticipated Mysteries and Thrillers of 2021

"A modern-day Crucible....Beneath the surface of a suburban utopia, madness lurks." -Liv Constantine, bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish

"A sinkhole opens on Maple Street, and gossip turns the suburban utopia toxic. A taut teachable moment about neighbors turning on neighbors." -People

"One of the creepiest, most unnerving deconstructions of American suburbia I've ever read. Langan cuts to the heart of upper middle class lives like a skilled surgeon." -NPR

Celeste Ng's enthralling dissection of suburbia meets Shirley Jackson's creeping dread in this propulsive literary…


Book cover of Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?

Clay McLeod Chapman Why did I love this book?

So few books give me chills, but I could feel my temperature downright drop the deeper into this graphic novel I went. Certainly not for the weak-hearted, or stomached for that matter, Powell and Schechter plunge into one of the most depraved characters of the Midwest… none other than Ed Gein himself. There is an odd beauty to the madness at display here. It just goes to show you never know what’s going on behind the closed doors of your next-door neighbors.

By Harold Schechter, Eric Powell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 16, and 17.

What is this book about?



“It is fantastic! Not only is Eric Powell's art on point, but Harold Schechter introduces some new ideas about Ed Gein that have never been heard.” - THE LAST PODCAST ON THE LEFT

“A natural choice for true-crime fans.”―BOOKLIST

“As extensively researched as the Alan Moore/Eddie Campbell Jack the Ripper graphic novel From Hell, ”Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?” is a masterpiece of the form, standing as the best possible dramatization of Ed Gein's tale in any medium.”―BLOODY DISGUSTING

“This is a new true crime comics essential.”―SYFY WIRE

One of the greats in the field of true crime…


Book cover of The Auctioneer

Clay McLeod Chapman Why did I love this book?

Samson’s one and only novel, The Auctioneer is a wonderfully unnerving tale of how a community can find itself completely hollowed out in a matter of a single devil’s bargain. Predating Stephen King’s Needful Things, this book is a literary garotte that slowly closes around the reader’s throat. The paranoia is palpable in these pages, believe me. 

By Joan Samson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Auctioneer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the finest and best-selling horror novels of the 1970s returns at last to chill a new generation of readers

In the isolated farming community of Harlowe, New Hampshire, where life has changed little over the past several decades, John Moore and his wife Mim work the land that has been in his family for generations. But from the moment the charismatic Perly Dunsmore arrives in town and starts soliciting donations for his auctions, things begin slowly and insidiously to change in Harlowe. As the auctioneer carries out his terrible, inscrutable plan, the Moores and their neighbors will find…


Book cover of The Last House on Needless Street

Clay McLeod Chapman Why did I love this book?

The less I say about Ward’s mind-bending book, the better… This is one of those novels that you have to take on faith as a must-read. Trust me: You’ll thank yourself for knowing as little as humanly possible. That said, this thrilling book pokes and prods around the mental dividing line between neighbors, asking where does one character’s property end and the other begin. We all remember a house like the one at the center of this book. As kids, we’re told never to snoop around… and for good, good reason.

By Catriona Ward,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Last House on Needless Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The buzz...is real. I've read it and was blown away. It's a true nerve-shredder that keeps its mind-blowing secrets to the very end." ―Stephen King

Winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Horror Novel!
A World Fantasy Award Finalist!
An Indie Next Pick! A LibraryReads Top 10 Pick!
A Library Journal Editors' Pick! STARRED reviews from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly!
Named one of the "50 Best Horror Books of All Time" by Esquire!

"Brilliant....[a] deeply frightening deconstruction of the illusion of the self." ―The New York Times

Catriona Ward's The Last House on Needless Street is a shocking…


Book cover of Cackle

Clay McLeod Chapman Why did I love this book?

A bewitching book from beginning to end. Harrison knows how to blend her horror with humor, along with an added dash of pathos to make her characters feel achingly real and relatable. What would you do if you moved to a new town, only to discover your neighbor just-so-happened to be a witch? Fair warning to those afraid of spiders: This book is crawling with the little homewreckers.

By Rachel Harrison,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Cackle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A darkly funny, frightening novel about a young woman learning how to take what she wants from a witch who may be too good to be true, from the author of The Return.
 
All her life, Annie has played it nice and safe. After being unceremoniously dumped by her longtime boyfriend, Annie seeks a fresh start. She accepts a teaching position that moves her from Manhattan to a small village upstate. She’s stunned by how perfect and picturesque the town is. The people are all friendly and warm. Her new apartment is dreamy too, minus the oddly persistent spider infestation.…


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A Long Way from Iowa: From the Heartland to the Heart of France

By Janet Hulstrand,

Book cover of A Long Way from Iowa: From the Heartland to the Heart of France

Janet Hulstrand Author Of A Long Way from Iowa: From the Heartland to the Heart of France

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Reader Editor Francophile Minnesotan Once and forever Brooklynite

Janet's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

This memoir chronicles the lives of three generations of women with a passion for reading, writing, and travel. The story begins in 1992 in an unfinished attic in Brooklyn as the author reads a notebook written by her grandmother nearly 100 years earlier. This sets her on a 30-year search to find her grandmother’s journals and uncover the hidden interior lives of her mother and grandmother.

Her adventures take her to a variety of locations, from a small town in Iowa to New York, Washington, London, and Paris—and finally to a little village in France, where she is finally able to write the book that will tell her own story, intertwined with the stories of her mother and grandmother.

A Long Way from Iowa: From the Heartland to the Heart of France

By Janet Hulstrand,

What is this book about?

This story, about three generations of women with a passion for reading, writing, and travel, begins in 1992, in an unfinished attic in Brooklyn, as a young writer reads journals written by her grandmother as a schoolgirl nearly 100 years earlier. This sets her on a 30-year quest to uncover the hidden lives and unfulfilled dreams of her mother and grandmother. In this coming-of-middle-age memoir, the author comes to realize that the passion for travel and for literature that has fueled her life's journey is a gift that was passed down to her by the very role models she was…


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