The best books that are red in tooth and claw

Who am I?

I like action. I like raw. I like violence. Not carrying it out, I hasten to add, but reading and watching it, fiction, of course. Real-world violence distresses me (unless it's consenting, like combat sports). I get deeply upset when I hear about the cruelties humans inflict on each other, and on animals; I'm oddly sensitive to that as a horror writer. But I think that writing about (fictional) violence and reading or watching it, helps me confront my fears. The books I mention do that. They make me uncomfortable, nervous, uneasy, but the twists and turns of the plot give me highs as well as lows. For me, they help me become a better writer.


I wrote...

Skarlet

By Thomas Emson,

Book cover of Skarlet

What is my book about?

Fear grips London as dozens of clubbers die after taking a sinister new drug. But that's only the beginning. 48 hours later, the dead clubbers wake up—and it's open season on the living, who are butchered for blood. Soon, London gives a name to its terror: Vampires.

Jake Lawton, bitter and betrayed after the Iraq War, now finds himself fighting another battle. He joins forces with the journalist who brought about his downfall and the dealer tricked into distributing the drug. But the vampire plague unleashed in London is nothing to what lurks beneath the streets. Waiting to be fed... Waiting to be resurrected... Waiting to reign again over a city of human slaves...

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of 'Salem's Lot

Thomas Emson Why did I love this book?

This is the book that made me want to be a writer. It taught me tension and suspense. Stephen King’s best novel, probably. Vampire’s take over a small New England town. While there are nods to classic vampire tales—like Dracula, of course—this drags the vampire genre into the 20th century. Skarlet stands on the shoulder of this giant.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked 'Salem's Lot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 BESTSELLER • Ben Mears has returned to Jerusalem’s Lot in hopes that exploring the history of the Marsten House, an old mansion long the subject of rumor and speculation, will help him cast out his personal devils and provide inspiration for his new book.

But when two young boys venture into the woods, and only one returns alive, Mears begins to realize that something sinister is at work.

In fact, his hometown is under siege from forces of darkness far beyond his imagination. And only he, with a small group of allies, can hope to contain the evil that…


Book cover of The Books of Blood Volume 1

Thomas Emson Why did I love this book?

Bloody, brilliant, and ground-breaking, Clive Barker’s six-volume masterpiece mixes urban drama with fable, myth, legend, and gallons of blood. This gave us body horror, gore, agony. It gave us “Candyman” and “Rawhead Rex”, mythic monsters that stay with me to this day; it gave us the astonishing imagery of “In The Hills, The Cities”—tens of thousands of citizens stand together to form giants as tall as skyscrapers—and “The Skins Of The Fathers”—wretches sink into quicksand that then horrifically hardens around their partly sunken bodies (an image later used in Barker’s film, The Lord Of Illusions). A necessary collection that is nightmare-forming—and nightmares, for a horror author, can be very useful 

By Clive Barker,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Books of Blood Volume 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INSPIRATION FOR THE HULU ORIGINAL FILM

Rediscover the true meaning of fear in this collection of horror stories from Clive Barker, New York Times bestselling author and creator of the Hellraiser series.

Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red.

In this tour de force collection of brilliantly disturbing tales, Clive Barker combines the extraordinary with the ordinary, bringing to life our darkest nightmares with stories that both seduce and devour. As beautiful as they are terrible, the pages of this volume are stained with unsettling imagery, macabre humor, and visceral dread. Here then are the…


Book cover of Red Dragon

Thomas Emson Why did I love this book?

Hannibal Lecter’s first appearance in fiction. And although he is a peripheral character in this serial killer thriller as Will Graham hunts the “Tooth Fairy”, he looms over the action, and the threat he brings is palpable—we get hints at the violence he has unleashed. He is a chilling presence. The horror of it all makes your guts churn, and it’s a real page-turner beautifully and brutally written by Harris. This is a masterclass in making monsters—and I love making monsters.

By Thomas Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of "Silence of the Lambs" and "Black Sunday", this is the book that introduces the most famous serial killer of them all - Hannibal Lecter.


Book cover of The Descent

Thomas Emson Why did I love this book?

I love this book. It’s ambitious and brutal. It’s about the discovery of a civilization—savage, violent—that exists deep within the earth. Humanity, in this novel, comes face to face with what we really are. Religion is a theme, too, as many regard this new world as Hell. And when the world above attempts to quell this fierce race, using military force, it initially comes off second best… and then, the beasts of the Inferno start to ascend. It’s big and bold, brilliantly researched. It inspires me to be authentic, and work at getting facts right.

By Jeff Long,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a remote Himalayan cave a group of New Age tourists come across the mummified corpse of an RAF flyer. Before they can investigate the mystery, all except the guide are ritually massacred. In Bosnia, an American Air Cavalry patrol investigates a disturbance at a mass grave site and its commander catches a fleeting glimpse of a creature straight out of a medieval morality play. We are on the verge of discovering a new frontier. And it lies beneath our feet. A global labyrinth of underground tunnels and caves, miles below the surface, inhabited by immensely strong, savage devil-like creatures.…


Book cover of Holy Bible

Thomas Emson Why did I love this book?

If you want red in tooth and claw, really, read The Bible—or certainly parts of it; the Hebrew Bible (or the Old Testament, really) takes the biscuit. Genocide, rape, decapitation, mauled by wild animals, crushed by falling buildings, plagues, eaten by dogs, tent pegs in the head, cannibalism, disemboweling, dismemberment, burning… if you’re into horror and shocks, it’s all here. Nothing compares to it. And I’m pretty certain that most Christians have never really read it. The language, if you choose the King James edition, is glorious, of course; other translations are valuable too: ESV, NRSV. What it does—as well as giving me ideas for stories—is to teach me to be succinct in my writing; get to the point; use direct language. Read one book from it each month; won’t take you long.

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.


You might also like...

Oaky With a Hint of Murder

By Dawn Brotherton,

Book cover of Oaky With a Hint of Murder

Dawn Brotherton

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Aury and Scott travel to the Finger Lakes in New York’s wine country to get to the bottom of the mysterious happenings at the Songscape Winery. Disturbed furniture and curious noises are one thing, but when a customer winds up dead, it’s time to dig into the details and see what ferments.

Is there any truth to the Native American legends that cluster near Seneca Lake? Is the warrior’s disapproval of wineries growing legs? Aury will need to pour over the clues to unearth the mystery before the winery’s reputation is crushed. With the annual wine festival just around the corner, Aury harvests more than she bargained for when the killer tries to bottle her up for good.

Oaky With a Hint of Murder

By Dawn Brotherton,

What is this book about?

Aury and Scott travel to the Finger Lakes in New York's wine country to get to the bottom of the mysterious happenings at the Songscape Winery. Disturbed furniture and curious noises are one thing, but when a customer winds up dead, it's time to dig into the details and see what ferments.


Is there any truth to the Native American legends that cluster near Seneca Lake? Is the warrior's disapproval of wineries growing legs?


Aury will need to pour over the clues to unearth the mystery before the winery's reputation is crushed. With the annual wine festival just around the…


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