The best books about deals with devils

Alisa M. Libby Author Of The Blood Confession
By Alisa M. Libby

The Books I Picked & Why

The Nest

By Kenneth Oppel, Jon Klassen

Book cover of The Nest

Why this book?

On my first read of Oppel’s spare masterpiece, I thought, I haven’t been this scared by a book in a long time. It’s a middle-grade novel, but don’t let that stop you from picking it up. Steve is anxious about his baby brother, who was born with severe health problems. When an otherworldly creature offers to help, he assumes he’s communicating with an angel. The creature can fix Steve’s brother—a normal baby certainly would be a huge relief for his whole family. But what does it mean to fix him? And what is “normal,” anyway? This is a haunting, beautifully constructed novel. 

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Come Closer

By Sara Gran

Book cover of Come Closer

Why this book?

A demon-possession novel told from the point of view of the possessed, Gran’s novel shows the slow unraveling of the main character’s personality as a demon takes control of her actions. What starts small—mysterious sounds in the happy couple’s apartment, a stolen lipstick in her bag—spirals to a bloody end. For me, the main character’s familiarity with the demon is part of what makes this novel so effective. 

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Little Darlings

By Melanie Golding

Book cover of Little Darlings

Why this book?

Less devils and more changeling babies, but the gothic feel of Golding’s novel makes it a must for this list. Lauren Tranter gives birth to twin boys in what, based on my personal experience, may be the worst hospital in the world. While there, a woman arrives to swap them, then disappears without a trace. Was Lauren hallucinating? The effects of postpartum depression and exhaustion make it tempting to explain away Lauren’s complaints, but that makes it no less terrifying. What happens when a mother believes that her babies are not hers? I listened to the audiobook of this title and there is a creepy voice used in one part that made me stop in my tracks and press rewind, just to listen again and indulge in the delicious horror. Highly recommended. 

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The Incendiaries

By R.O. Kwon

Book cover of The Incendiaries

Why this book?

Grieving and guilt-ridden, a college student and her reluctant boyfriend are drawn into a secretive fundamentalist cult. For Phoebe Lin, the cult is a place of healing from all that she has lost in her life. When the group commits an act of violence in the name of faith, her boyfriend must grapple with the fanaticism that has claimed his girlfriend. Kwon’s writing is luminous, and the devils in this book are very real. 

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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

By Patrick Suskind

Book cover of Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Why this book?

I think that reading this book is, in itself, a deal with a devil. In this case, a particular devil: Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a man obsessed with capturing the perfect scent. I read this in the midst of my research for The Blood Confession, and reading the cold calculation of a man murdering virgin girls in order to sap the scent from their bodies certainly informed the thoughts of my own murderer. The affection he has for his work, juxtaposed with his callous disregard for human life, is deeply chilling.

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