The best horror novels where the world becomes askew

Who am I?

I grew up watching the old Universal horror movies, which led me to read Frankenstein, Dracula, and other horror classics. It wasn’t until I read Stephen King’s Danse Macabre that I started asking myself what it is that I find truly frightening. Not so much monsters but rather what is unsettling – A recognizable world that suddenly turns askew. Dead Hungry grew out of that: What if there were people who simply had to eat the dead?


I wrote...

Dead Hungry

By Louis Arata,

Book cover of Dead Hungry

What is my book about?

Flesh: It’s what’s for dinner.

Ghouls are overrunning Chicago. With an appetite for the dead, it doesn’t matter if it’s road-kill, bodies from the morgue, or the recently buried. For Tucker Smith, life is now scarier than the horror novels he studies. His girlfriend is feeling peckish for raw meat. His roommate dabbles in the Ghoul Culture. And his grunge rocker brother is swept into the world of black market supplies of bodies. Tucker soon discovers that low-budget horror movies, reality TV shows, national food competitions, and cultural sensitivity collide with family secrets.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Louis Arata Why did I love this book?

All the people you love, all the people you live with—the entire population of your small-town world are methodically being replaced by exact replicas, down to the last detail. The only difference is that they are devoid of genuine emotion. This novel has spawned numerous creepy movies, but something that the novel focuses on is that the aliens destroy entire ecosystems before abandoning the used-up planet. This isn’t about world domination but rather the exploitation of resources with no thought for the indigenous populations.

By Jack Finney,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Invasion of the Body Snatchers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Celebrate one of the earliest science fiction novels by rediscovering Jack Finney’s internationally acclaimed Invasion of the Body Snatchers—which Stephen King calls a story “to be read and savored for its own satisfactions,” now repackaged with a foreword by #1 New York Times bestselling author, Dean Koontz.

On a quiet fall evening in the peaceful town of Mill Valley, California, Dr. Miles Bennell discovers an insidious, horrifying plot. Subtly, almost imperceptibly, alien life-forms are taking over the bodies and minds of his neighbors, friends, family, the woman he loves, and the entire world as he knows it.

First published in…


Book cover of Under the Dome

Louis Arata Why did I love this book?

The premise is straightforward: A dome settles over the small town of Chester’s Mill. The reason why is a bit of a McGuffin, but what is compelling is King’s brilliant exploration of the breakdown of society. Plenty of characters are willing to work together to get through the crisis, but then there are those who want to exploit the situation for their own gain. As with many King novels, it’s the worst aspects of human nature that are the true monster. Plus, King keeps his foot on the gas for the entire length of this massive tome; it never lets up.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Under the Dome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Don’t miss the “harrowing” (The Washington Post) #1 New York Times bestselling thriller from master storyteller Stephen King that inspired the hit television series, following the apocalyptic scenario of a town cut off from the rest of the world.

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town…


Book cover of The Haunting of Hill House

Louis Arata Why did I love this book?

Can a house be born evil? Paranormal investigators want to find out. Jackson’s novel is both realistic and suggestive, which leaves the reader to question what is constantly being hinted at. Hill House’s slow, subtle seduction of Eleanor is a brilliant example of the descent into madness. And the ending still chills me with the deftness of Jackson’s prose.

By Shirley Jackson,

Why should I read it?

29 authors picked The Haunting of Hill House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part of a new six-volume series of the best in classic horror, selected by Academy Award-winning director of The Shape of Water Guillermo del Toro

Filmmaker and longtime horror literature fan Guillermo del Toro serves as the curator for the Penguin Horror series, a new collection of classic tales and poems by masters of the genre. Included here are some of del Toro's favorites, from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Ray Russell's short story "Sardonicus," considered by Stephen King to be "perhaps the finest example of the modern Gothic ever written," to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and stories…


Book cover of The Damned

Louis Arata Why did I love this book?

Another haunted house story, with a similar emphasis on atmosphere. A sister and brother visit a friend whose house is infected with competing ghostly forces. A constant sense of dread permeates the atmosphere. Blackwood keeps the reader on edge, waiting for the shoe to drop. And that’s it. It may pale by today’s standards of horror, but the novel excels at how ghostly presences vie for dominance.

By Algernon Blackwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How is this book unique?
Font adjustments & biography included
Unabridged (100% Original content)
Illustrated

About The Damned by Algernon Blackwood
The Damned by Algernon Blackwood is a great haunted house story along the lines of Turn of the Screw and the Haunting of Hill House. A brother and sister spend some time with a recently widowed friend. Her deceased husband was a strict fire and brimstone preacher who damned everyone who didn't believe like him to hell. His less strong-willed wife fell under his spell, but now the house seems to be haunted by...a shadow? Goblins? Ghostly pagans? Or…


Book cover of House of Leaves

Louis Arata Why did I love this book?

A difficult book to classify or to describe, it definitely leaves an impression. It’s another sort of haunted house, in which new rooms and passageways inexplicably appear, though the exterior dimensions of the house do not change. Danielewski plays with narrative structure and format, employing an unreliable narrator, copious footnotes, and multiple stories to weave together a compelling novel that leaves you questioning what is real. No description of the book will satisfy; you have to experience this one.

By Mark Z. Danielewski,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked House of Leaves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A novelistic mosaic that simultaneously reads like a thriller and like a strange, dreamlike excursion into the subconscious.” —The New York Times

Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth -- musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies -- the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations,…


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Deep Roots

By Sung J. Woo,

Book cover of Deep Roots

Sung J. Woo Author Of Deep Roots

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Novelist Tennis fan Cinephile Gamer

Sung's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

After solving her first case, private eye Siobhan O’Brien is hired by Phillip Ahn, an octogenarian billionaire with his own personal island in the Pacific Northwest. Ahn, a genius in artificial intelligence, swears that Duke, his youngest child and only son, is an impostor. Is Ahn crazy, or is Duke really someone else? As Siobhan attempts to arrive at the truth, her biggest challenge will be dealing with Ahn’s family, who all live under the same gilded roof: his current wife, his two ex-wives, and their awful, privileged children.

What is the real reason that Siobhan was brought to this isolated estate? If she can keep her head – literally and figuratively – she’ll learn that family secrets have some very deep roots.

Deep Roots

By Sung J. Woo,

What is this book about?

After solving her first case, Siobhan O’Brien faces her biggest challenge yet – Thanksgiving!  With her lawyer boyfriend Craig in tow, Siobhan travels to Minneapolis to endure small talk with the extended O’Brien clan and chow down on some seriously delicious turkey and dressing.  Everything’s swell until her sister-in-law Gwen tells her about her brother Sven's frequent late-night meetings with his co-workers.  Since Siobhan’s next case is just a ferry ride from their house in Washington state, she asks for Siobhan’s help.
Big sister is happy to oblige, though she’s got her hands full.  Hired by Phillip Ahn, a Korean…


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