The best ‘most disturbing’ books that you can not put down

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an award-winning British singer/songwriter who you have probably never heard of. Since completing my first novel I’ve also titled many other multi-genre works. My passion is based on anything and everything that has never been done before. I say this; “If you wish to feel happy, take a pill - if you seek a cure, then face the truth.” I’ve written songs about 9/11, The Holocaust, Execution by hanging in Iran – all themes that many would say are ‘unapproachable’. I am a Neurodiverse writer who won the Principal’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Education – let me share that success with you. My disability is a gift, not a curse.


I wrote...

Meat: Memoirs Of A Psychopath

By Jonathan R.P. Taylor,

Book cover of Meat: Memoirs Of A Psychopath

What is my book about?

A chance meeting with a fellow British author (John Dodds) prompted me – he said, "Just write." I started with my favourite genre – Horror. My songwriting skills and music albums have been highly successful, my work "If Only – The Falling Man" winning an Akademia and is featured in the artist gallery of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. I have now completed 11 novels: All are in quite separate genre. Writing Meat was my first and probably my last horror novel: It was a deeply disturbing experience. 

"The contrast between the psychiatrist's analytical writing and the killer's horrific ranting is really clever. The shift in gear from a domestic tone to the almost apocalyptic is both startling and shocking, to say the very least.” - John Dodds

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Gates Of Janus

Jonathan R.P. Taylor Why did I love this book?

This infamous child killers work remains banned in my home country (UK) but is widely available online. Brady and Hindley (his partner) were child killers, both incarcerated for life and both died in prison.

This book was read for curiosity only, whilst writing my own ‘inside the mind of a psychopathic killer’ narrative, I wanted to understand how a ‘real serial killer’ would really think. He wrote The Gates of Janus whilst incarcerated at Ashworth high-security psychiatric hospital.

Brady’s intention was that it be published anonymously, however, this could never be allowed to happen. It is in 2 parts 1) He describes his involvement in the 6 murders from the perspective of ‘understanding himself’ and part 2) His advice as offered to law enforcement in solving such future cases (in this it falls flat).

I recommend it only if you want to understand his thought process – just as Hitler’s Mein Kampf, it is graphic narcissism at its worst and is a book that is quite unreadable at best.

Read for research purposes only, there is no pleasure to be found in this one.

By Ian Brady,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ian Brady and Myra Hindley's spree of torture, sexual abuse, and murder of children in the 1960s was one of the most appalling series of crimes ever committed in England, and remains almost daily fixated upon by the tabloid press. In The Gates of Janus, Ian Brady himself allows us a glimpse into the mind of a murderer as he analyzes a dozen other serial crimes and killers.

Criminal profiling by a criminal was not invented by the dramatists of Dexter.

Novelist and true-crime writer Colin Wilson, author of the famous and influential book The Outsider, remarks in his introduction…


Book cover of The Silence of the Lambs

Jonathan R.P. Taylor Why did I love this book?

As I was writing my first novel based on the relationship between killer and psychologist I needed inspiration. I wanted to recreate a narrative that was deeply disturbing but avoided conventional horror clichés.

I’d always loved the film, a staple for any horror fan, but had never read the book: It brought home just how much of one’s imagination as a reader is lost in film.

To enjoy Silence of The Lambs, the contents of Red Dragon are not necessary – there are only a few brief references to Francis Dolarhyde and Will Graham, and in no way do these references detract the reader from what is, I believe, one of the best novels I have ever read.

Like a great wine it ages perfectly. 

By Thomas Harris,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked The Silence of the Lambs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As part of the search for a serial murderer nicknames "Buffalo Bill," FBI trainee Clarice Starling is given an assignment. She must visit a man confined to a high-security facility for the criminally insane and interview him.

That man, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, is a former psychiatrist with unusual tastes and an intense curiosity about the darker corners of the mind. His intimate understanding of the killer and of Clarice herself form the core of Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs--an unforgettable classic of suspense fiction.


Book cover of The Darkest Evening of the Year

Jonathan R.P. Taylor Why did I love this book?

I had never heard of Koontz until my wife said to me that my work had huge similarities. She is an avid horror reader, I am not – and to be honest I had always preferred films.

If I was going to have my first novel pigeon-holed then this is where she felt it would sit. It was her finding of the onslaught of vulgarity in my own text (of my killer’s rantings) that drew these similarities. I asked her which book was best to start with and she suggested the title: The Darkest Evening of the Year.

I did see similarities in style – a suspense thriller that incorporates the elements of graphic horror, of sexual fantasy, a good dose of science fiction, and of course; suspense and mystery. It was interesting to see how a reader would separate the text of the creator - from them as the author.

I asked her to sum up Koontz in one word. She replied - misogynist! That is not a badge of honour that I would like to wear and confirmed to me that it was the correct decision to hold my first novel back until others were later completed.

By Dean Koontz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A fast-paced and emotionally devastating suspense novel from the bestselling author of Velocity,The Husband and The Good Guy

Amy Redwing recklessly risks everything in her chosen field of dog rescue. When she confronts a violent drunk in order to rescue Nickie, a beautiful golden retriever, Amy has no misgivings. Dogs always do their best, and so will she. Whatever it takes.

Riding shotgun nervously is her friend and lover, Brian, an architect who would marry her if only she were not so committed to these crazy ... heroics! He blames her work for her refusal to marry him. But everything…


Book cover of Holy Bible

Jonathan R.P. Taylor Why did I love this book?

I appreciate that this may be quite random but I had to read it to obtain multiple references as the wider plot grew into that of the Gabriel Sect – when the original killer develops a ‘fan club’.

I am now an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church – but I am not Christian. I believe in both freedom of and freedom from religion.

I certainly do not set out to offend anyone and welcome all faiths and alternate beliefs, but this I would say. If the Holy Bible were to be published today, given the huge doses of incest, sodomy, and extreme violence it contains, it would be considered - unsuitable for children.

I wanted to understand how specific biblical and ancient texts could be exploited by cults, I naturally chose the worst. I appreciate that this is counteracted by equal doses of kindness and goodness within the Bible and that such stories are not ‘literal’.

I had to put myself in the mindset of my character and the ways that this cult could pervert it. I hope you under the context here, it was simply from the position that if I wanted to set up a cult of killers, which bits (The words of God) would I use to defend my actions as divinely acceptable…

Had I been writing the book today I would be using Chad & Lori Daybell for such references.

By Unknown,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Holy Bible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With an attractive new slipcase and binding, this compact Bible is an ideal gift and spiritual companion.

The full text of the ever-popular Authorized King James Version Bible, with all its literary beauty and poetic grandeur, in an attractive size and with beautiful binding and slipcase
making it an ideal gift.

Includes silver gilt edged pages and white marker ribbon.


Book cover of Jaws

Jonathan R.P. Taylor Why did I love this book?

This just must be one of the greatest contemporary novels ever written.

For me Benchley’s work is perfection. I hope that in one hundred years people look back on Jaws with the same appreciation that we have for Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, today. This is the only fiction novel I have ever read where I would – change nothing!

Spielberg did in the movie, the focus being ‘stop the shark’ but the book is so much more complex – the book is about human greed, and the shark, whilst centre stage is not the central focus. As a new writer this is the quality of penmanship I aspire to, Benchley’s brilliance.

Don’t be put of by ‘it’s over 50 years old’ and/or ‘but it can never be as good as the film’ (Yes - the film is excellent too) but give it a go. You’ll love it. And: If a book is to be sold by its cover, it had the best book cover ever! ‘’A super-thriller of relentless terror’’ were the words on Benchley’s original.

I read this book because this is the benchmark I aspire to. Peter, if you ever read this, the beers on me!

By Peter Benchley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Peter Benchley's Jaws first appeared in 1974. As well as Steven Spielberg's film adaptation, the novel has sold over twenty million copies around the world, creating a legend that refuses to die.

It's never safe to go back in the water . . .

It was just another day in the life of a small Atlantic resort until the terror from the deep came to prey on unwary holiday makers. The first sign of trouble - a warning of what was to come - took the form of a young woman's body, or what was left of it, washed up…


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Feral Maril & Her Little Brother Carol

By Leslie Tall Manning,

Book cover of Feral Maril & Her Little Brother Carol

Leslie Tall Manning Author Of Maggie's Dream

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Mentor Laugher Research nut Avid reader

Leslie's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Winner of the Literary Titan Book Award

Bright but unassuming Marilyn Jones has some grown-up decisions to make, especially after Mama goes to prison for drugs and larceny. With no one to take care of them, Marilyn and her younger, mentally challenged brother, Carol, get tossed into the foster care system. While shuffling from one home to another, Marilyn makes it her mission to find the Tan Man, a mysterious man from her babyhood she believes holds the key to her family’s happiness.

But Marilyn’s quest is halted when her daddy, an ex-con she has never met, is chosen by the courts as the new guardian. Caleb Jones wants something more than a father-daughter relationship. He sends Carol far away, where the boy won’t be a hindrance to his plans. Marilyn devises a plan of her own: to locate her little brother, kidnap him, and run away.

Independence, however, often comes at a high price.

As Marilyn weathers the unexpected and often brutal storms of her childhood and adolescence, hope becomes her ally as she winds through small southern towns, wrapping herself around an assortment of hearts along the way. With unexpected help from a caring social worker, a carnival of misfits, her first true love, and even the elusive Tan Man himself, Marilyn will discover that “family” isn’t always what we imagine it to be.

"A dazzling piece that delves deep into the themes of survival, the casualties of self-discovery, and the power of familial ties." ~ Prairies Book Review

Feral Maril & Her Little Brother Carol

By Leslie Tall Manning,

What is this book about?

Bright but unassuming Marilyn Jones has some grown-up decisions to make, especially after Mama goes to prison for drugs and larceny. With no one to take care of them, Marilyn and her younger, mentally challenged brother, Carol, get tossed into the foster care system. While shuffling from one home to another, Marilyn makes it her mission to find the Tan Man, a mysterious man from her babyhood she believes holds the key to her family's happiness.

But Marilyn's quest is halted when her daddy, an ex-con she has never met, is chosen by the courts as the new guardian. Caleb…


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