The best books for making you lose sleep

Why am I passionate about this?

I love books that keep me up at night. I'm constantly trying to get into a good, healthy bedtime routine—but I am also constantly sabotaging that effort by finding books that I simply can’t put down. The feeling of being drawn so deep into a story that the hours slip away is easily one of my favorite feelings in the world. I also love books that make me wake up in the middle of the night, books that slide into my brain and plant new ideas there. As an author, I am always striving to write those books. I can think of no higher compliment than “I stayed up all night reading it.”


I wrote...

Book cover of Just Like Home

What is my book about?

“Come home.” Vera’s mother called and Vera obeyed. In spite of their long estrangement, in spite of the memories—she's come back to the home of a serial killer. Back to face the love she had for her father and the bodies he buried there, beneath the house he'd built for his family.

Coming home is hard enough for Vera, and to make things worse, she and her mother aren’t alone. A parasitic artist has moved into the guest house out back and is slowly stripping Vera’s childhood for spare parts. He insists that he isn’t the one leaving notes around the house in her father’s handwriting… but who else could it possibly be? Vera must face the secrets of the notorious Crowder House and find out just how deep the rot goes.
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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Violence

Sarah Gailey Why did I love this book?

This book delivers truly striking insight into the nature of fear, the cost of survival, and cycles of violence. Dawson’s writing shines here, grounded and visceral, and deeply honest. Between the propulsive and tense plot, the exquisitely rendered characters, and the unflinching examination of the world we live in, this one kept me up late and woke me up early.

By Delilah S. Dawson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How far would you go to be free? Three generations of women forge a new path through an America torn by a mysterious wave of violence in this “chilling [and] dizzyingly effective” (The New York Times Book Review) novel of revenge, liberation, and triumph.

“A compulsively readable fusion of domestic thriller and modern horror.”—Kameron Hurley, author of The Light Brigade

“A novel that defines this era.”—Stephen Graham Jones, New York Times bestselling author of The Only Good Indians

They call it The Violence: a strange epidemic that causes the infected to experience sudden bursts of animalistic rage, with no provocation…


Book cover of Feed Them Silence

Sarah Gailey Why did I love this book?

When I was a kid I was very excited about wolves. Not in the sense that I knew a lot about wolves—I didn’t study them and learn about them—so much as I felt certain, in my heart of hearts, that if I met a wolf, we would understand each other in a way no two creatures ever have. Feed Them Silence is a book that returned me to that sense of certainty, but with a more fundamentally realistic understanding of the nature of animals as existing outside of human understanding. I couldn’t put it down, and the hours slipped right past me.

By Lee Mandelo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Feed Them Silence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lee Mandelo dives into the minds of wolves in Feed Them Silence, a novella of the near future.

What does it mean to "be-in-kind" with a nonhuman animal? Or in Dr. Sean Kell-Luddon’s case, to be in-kind with one of the last remaining wild wolves? Using a neurological interface to translate her animal subject’s perception through her own mind, Sean intends to chase both her scientific curiosity and her secret, lifelong desire to experience the intimacy and freedom of wolfishness. To see the world through animal eyes; smell the forest, thick with olfactory messages; even taste the blood and viscera…


Book cover of Hide

Sarah Gailey Why did I love this book?

Hide feels like a book tailor-made to pull me in and refuse to let go. The pitch—a high-stakes game of hide-and-seek in an abandoned amusement park—is solid gold, and the book delivers so much more than it promises. With relentless, cutting-class commentary and a truly ferocious sense of clarity, Hide excoriates systems of exploitation with incredible efficiency. I found myself sneaking chapters wherever I could.

By Kiersten White,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A high-stakes hide-and-seek competition turns deadly in this dark supernatural thriller from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White, perfect for fans of Stephen King and SQUID GAME.

The challenge: spend a week hiding in an abandoned amusement park and don't get caught.

The prize: enough money to change everything.

Even though everyone is desperate to win - to seize their dream futures or escape their haunting pasts - Mack feels sure that she can beat her competitors. All she has to do is hide, and she's an expert at that.

It's the reason she's alive, and her family isn't.…


Book cover of House of Hollow

Sarah Gailey Why did I love this book?

This one took me to places I never could have imagined. The Hollow Sisters are exquisite: monstrous, tender, unknowable, and obsessed with each other. Reading this book felt like sitting down to a sumptuous meal and knowing that some of the dishes being served are cooked with human flesh. Nothing in this book is as it seems, nothing is predictable, and yet everything fits together seamlessly. Dark and lush as a night-blooming garden.

By Krystal Sutherland,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked House of Hollow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

'A gorgeous, grisly modern fairy tale.'
- THE GUARDIAN

'Dark and delicious. House of Hollow hums with malice and mystery. I devoured it whole.'
- KIRAN MILLWOOD HARGRAVE

** SHORTLISTED FOR THE YA BOOK PRIZE 2022 **

The Hollow sisters - Vivi, Grey and Iris - are as seductively glamorous as they are mysterious. They have black eyes and hair as white as milk. The Hollow sisters don't have friends - they don't need them. They move through the corridors like sharks, the other little fish parting around them, whispering behind their backs.

And everyone knows who the Hollow sisters…


Book cover of Number One Fan

Sarah Gailey Why did I love this book?

Elison is a master of her craft. With Number One Fan she constructs a multilayered horror story that has given me many sleepless nights. This book explores terror from every conceivable angle, from the physical to the existential, while delivering profound insight into the nature of creativity, fandom, and obsession. There’s a scene in this one that made me clench up into a ball and I’m not sure I’ll ever fully relax again. 

By Meg Elison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Number One Fan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Elison’s brutal, incisive novel cuts to the heart of what makes public figures vulnerable and asks us to question our voyeurism." —New York Times Book Review

She created a beautiful world. Now he wants it all.

On her way to a speaking engagement, bestselling novelist Eli Grey gets into a cab and accepts a drink from the driver, trusting that everything is fine. She wakes up chained in the stranger’s basement. With no close family or friends expecting her to check in, Eli knows she needs to save herself. She soon realizes that her abduction wasn’t random, and though she…


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Empire in the Sand

By Shane Joseph,

Book cover of Empire in the Sand

Shane Joseph Author Of Empire in the Sand

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a writer for more than twenty years and have favored pursuing “truth in fiction” rather than “money in formula.” I also spent over thirty years in the corporate world and was exposed to many situations reminiscent of those described in my fiction and in these recommended books. While I support enterprise, “enlightened capitalism” is preferable to the bare-knuckle type we have today, and which seems to resurface whenever regulation weakens. I also find writing novels closer to my lived experience connects me intimately with readers who are looking for socio-political, realist literature.

Shane's book list on exposing corporate, political, and personal corruption

What is my book about?

Avery Mann, a retired pharmaceuticals executive, is in crisis.

His wife dies of cancer, his son’s marriage is on the rocks, his grandson is having a meltdown, and his good friend is a victim of the robocalls scandal that invades the Canadian federal election. Throw in a reckless fling with a former colleague, a fire that destroys his retirement property, and a rumour emerging that the drug he helped bring to market years ago may have been responsible for the death of his wife, and Avery’s life goes into freefall.

Does an octogenarian beekeeper living on Vancouver Island hold the key to Avery’s recovery, a man holding secrets that put lives in jeopardy? Avery races across the country to find out, with crooked bosses, politicians, and assassins on his tail. Joseph spins a cautionary tale of corporate and political greed that is endemic to our times.

Empire in the Sand

By Shane Joseph,

What is this book about?

Avery Mann, a retired pharmaceuticals executive, is in crisis. His wife dies of cancer, his son’s marriage is on the rocks, his grandson is having a meltdown, and his good friend is a victim of the robocalls scandal that invades the Canadian federal election.

Throw in a reckless fling with a former colleague, a fire that destroys his retirement property, and a rumour emerging that the drug he helped bring to market years ago may have been responsible for the death of his wife, and Avery’s life goes into freefall.

Does an octogenarian bee keeper living on Vancouver Island hold…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in violence, New York State, and wolves?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about violence, New York State, and wolves.

Violence Explore 90 books about violence
New York State Explore 740 books about New York State
Wolves Explore 108 books about wolves