The best books about deals with devils

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

Who am I?

I enjoy shadowy histories, both in my reading and writing. Having experienced anxiety and depression, I know very well the feeling of darkness entering my mind, consuming it, doling out spirals of negative thoughts. My fascination with devils is two-fold: would I have made a deal with a devil to release myself from those spirals? Or, could the spirals themselves be the devil, invading my mind? Reading books like these gives me a glimpse into dark psyches, which have helped me better understand and accept my own.


I wrote...

The Blood Confession

By Alisa M. Libby,

Book cover of The Blood Confession

What is my book about?

The only heir of a powerful Hungarian count, Erzebet Bizecka’s birth is marked by a prophecy that she will die young or live forever. Determined to survive despite the grim prediction, Erzebet becomes obsessed with preserving her youth and beauty. Only the enigmatic Sinestra understands Erzebet's mania, pulling her into a dark world of blood rituals. Luring her victims to her tower room, Erzebet is determined to thwart God's plan for her life and create her own. How far will she be willing to go to protect herself? A gothic horror exploring beauty and power, The Blood Confession is inspired by the legendary crimes of Erzebet Bathory, a seventeenth-century countess who believed that bathing in human blood would keep her forever beautiful.

The books I picked & why

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The Nest

By Kenneth Oppel, Jon Klassen (illustrator),

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. 

The Nest

By Kenneth Oppel, Jon Klassen (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The first time I saw them, I thought they were angels.' The baby is sick. Mom and Dad are sad. And all Steve has to do is say, "Yes" to fix everything. But yes is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back? Treading the thin line between dreams and reality, Steve is stuck in a nightmare he can't wake up from and that nobody else understands. And all the while, the wasps' nest is growing, and the 'angel' keeps visiting Steve in the night.

A haunting coming of…


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. 

Come Closer

By Sara Gran,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A dark, seductive cocktail of a thriller, with a splash of black humour and a twist of horror.' Francine Toon, author of Pine

There was no reason to assume anything out of the ordinary was going on.
Strange noises in the apartment.
Impulsive behaviour.
Intense dreams.
It wasn't like everything went wrong all at once.
Shoplifting.
Fighting.
Blackouts.
There must be a reasonable explanation for all this.

'It will scare the pants off you. It is a perfect horror novel.' Paul Tremblay
'A short, sharp shocker . . . Relentlessly creepy.' Sunday Times
'Deeply scary.' The Times
'Terrifying.' Daily Mail…


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. 

Little Darlings

By Melanie Golding,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Atmospheric and very creepy' The Guardian

'Goosebump-inducing...Unforgettable' Woman & Home

'Unforgettable...One suspects that the real sorceress here is Golding, whose writing has given a voice to every wronged mother' The New York Times

'Chilling story...stunning' Clare Mackintosh

'Taps into every woman's fear that she will not be believed' Mel McGrath, author of The Guilty Party

* * * *

THE TWINS ARE CRYING. THE TWINS ARE HUNGRY.
LAUREN IS CRYING. LAUREN IS EXHAUSTED.

Behind the hospital curtain, someone is waiting . . .

A terrifying encounter in the middle of the night leaves Lauren convinced someone is trying to steal…


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. 

The Incendiaries

By R.O. Kwon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'R. O. Kwon is the real deal' LAUREN GROFF

'Absolutely electric . . . Everyone should read this book' GARTH GREENWELL

'Every explosive requires a fuse. That's R. O. Kwon's novel, a straight, slow-burning fuse' VIET THANH NGUYEN

'In dazzlingly acrobatic prose, R. O. Kwon explores the lines between faith and fanaticism, passion and violence, the rational and the unknowable' CELESTE NG

'A sharp, little novel as hard to ignore as a splinter in your eye' WASHINGTON POST

'Raw and finely wrought' NEW YORK TIMES

'The Incendiaries packs a disruptive charge, and introduces R. O. Kwon as a major talent'…


Perfume

By Patrick Suskind,

Book cover of Perfume

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.

Perfume

By Patrick Suskind,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An erotic masterpiece of twentieth century fiction - a tale of sensual obsession and bloodlust in eighteenth century Paris

'An astonishing tour de force both in concept and execution' Guardian

In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, and if his name has been forgotten today.

It is certainly not because Grenouille fell short of those more famous blackguards when it came to arrogance, misanthropy, immorality, or, more succinctly, wickedness, but because his gifts…


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