The best books to feed your horror habit

Who am I?

I’m a writer who writes across genres, but everything has a dark edge. As a reader, I want to be able to relate, engage, and connect in some way to the characters and story, but as I come from an abusive childhood, that means they can’t be light and fluffy; there has to be something off-kilter and warped because that reflects how my life has been. In my own writing, I try to do the same and create something that is emotive and real while still allowing the reader to escape. I originate from Surrey, in the south of England, but I have lived in the Netherlands since 2002.

I wrote...

Dead Lake

By Miranda Kate,

Book cover of Dead Lake

What is my book about?

A new-age witch called Tricky has her obsidian stolen while being evicted from her home. To get it back, she comes up against the head of the district, Randolf Carter, and his nasty secrets. Adept at working with energy and time, as well as communicating with trees, Tricky is lured into something bigger than ownership of a gemstone.

Dead Lake is a dark paranormal fantasy novel set a few hundred years from now in a post-apocalyptic world. After a massive shift of the tectonic plates decimated the world and its population, life on the remaining landmass has returned to simple living, with money, rulers, and religion no longer tolerated.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Talisman

Miranda Kate Why did I love this book?

Although this was not the first Stephen King book I fell in love with, it was the first that crossed fantasy, parallel universes, and horror, which put it at the top of my list.

I like things dark, but I also like things to be turned on their head, as Jack’s world is when he ‘flips’ into another time to a place called ‘the territories.’ King does this a lot in his writing, as well as developing his characters so fully you feel like you‘re really there with them, as I did with Jack and his companion, Wolf, a talking wolf who comes from the alternate world.

Through the character of Wolf, the darker side of our own world is exposed, allowing us to see things from multiple perspectives. I often find that through darker fiction, we get to see sides of life we wouldn’t otherwise notice. 

By Stephen King, Peter Straub,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Twelve-year-old Jack Sawyer braves the mysterious dangers of the Territories, a surreal parallel world, in his quest--across the United States-for the Talisman, the only hope for his dying mother and for his own survival.

Book cover of Nobody True

Miranda Kate Why did I love this book?

This book was like a comeback for James Herbert as a horror author.

I’d always been an avid reader of his, but at some point, his writing seemed to lose its way; the endings didn’t quite deliver anymore, and his style chopped and changed. But this book had everything that worked for me as a reader: dark, gruesome horror with a paranormal twist.

The concept of astral projection and the ‘what if’’ should your body be murdered while you were away; I loved the exploration of this through the character's eyes – and what he found when he hunted down his murderer. It’s chilling and horrific, yet also in some ways heartbreaking, not only for the main character but for the murderer too. I was gripped all the way through.

By James Herbert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nobody True as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What happens when you lose your body?

Jim True knows. He has returned from an out-of-body experience to find he has been brutally murdered and his body mutilated. No one can see him, no one can hear him, no one, except his killer, knows he still exists. Freed from his body, True embarks on a quest to find his killer and discover why and how he has managed to survive.

As he closes in on his murderer, True discovers that even the very people he loved and trusted have betrayed him. He meets his killer, a strange and sinister figure…

Book cover of Weaveworld

Miranda Kate Why did I love this book?

Just the very thought of this book makes me excited. Clive Barker loves to go beyond horror, reaching into what I call ‘the fantastic’, and Weaveworld offers the best of that. I always recommend this book to those new to his writing.

Barker uses crude, brutal words in his horror, giving it a hard edge, but in this book, although there is still plenty of horror, it’s wrapped up in a world of enchantment with fairies and demons. Initially, this enchanted world had been weaved into a carpet to preserve it, rolled up and hidden in an attic, but of course, someone unrolls it and unleashes what is within.

This book is the ultimate escapism, and Barker's descriptive, imaginative style gives it so much depth. Opening this book and following him into other dimensions, where he combines the perfect mix of fantasy and horror, is like my very own world of enchantment.

By Clive Barker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1988. Set in contemporary England, two friends discover a secret magical world and are drawn into a battle between good and evil. From the author of EVERVILLE.

Book cover of The Shadow Fabric

Miranda Kate Why did I love this book?

As an indie author, I’m always interested in what other fellow authors are writing, so when I befriended Mark Cassell, I wanted to read his work. The Shadow Fabric made me a fan of his writing, and now I read everything he publishes.

With this book, Mark has established what he calls the Shadow Fabric Mythos, which means he’s written more novellas and short stories along the same theme: an ethereal darkness that takes over people, sucking the life out of them and giving a whole new meaning to the term ‘getting stitched’.

Again we have paranormal darkness, which I enjoy as a reader. And with Mark’s writing, he gives a chilly and yet urgent feel to it. You know what is coming, but you can’t look away. My kind of horror.

By Mark Cassell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Leo remembers little of his past. Desperate for a new life, he snatches up the first job to come along. On his second day, he witnesses a murder, and the Shadow Fabric – a malevolent force that controls the darkness – takes the body and vanishes with it.

Determined to get answers, Leo has no idea where to turn. Revelations come in the most unlikely places, and secrets of witchcraft and ancient artefacts unfold. In particular, a device used in the 17th century to extract evil from witches proves key to his discoveries. With these truths long hidden from humankind,…

Book cover of Fear Nothing

Miranda Kate Why did I love this book?

This book was my introduction to this famous horror author, and though occasionally Koontz gets repetitive with his characters and storylines, this was something out of the ordinary.

We have a character that can only go out at night, and we have non-human escapees from a military research institute. A perfect mix for a gripping read, although for me, I was sold on the friendships and relationships in this book.

The lead character’s pet dog and his rich surfer dude friend and how they all interact with each other adds humour and lightness to a truly scary story that involves genetically modified animals who can understand humans. Again a supernatural and out-of-the-box story idea that kept me enthralled and made it stand out.

By Dean Koontz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fear Nothing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you delight in the suspense of Stephen King and The Stranger by Harlan Coben chilled you to the bone (in the best possible way), you'll love Fear Nothing - the classic thriller by Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz. 'Not just a master of our darkest dreams but also a literary juggler' - The Times.

I have been one acquainted with the night.

Christopher Snow is athletic, handsome enough, intelligent, romantic, funny. But his whole life has been affected by xeroderma pigmentosum, a rare genetic disorder that means his skin and eyes cannot be exposed…

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Book cover of Aggressor

F.X. Holden

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What is my book about?

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