The scariest novels with a rock & roll influence

Poppy Z. Brite Author Of Courtney Love: The Real Story
By Poppy Z. Brite

Who am I?

An author who also runs an online shop, PZBaubles New Orleans, specializing in quirky vintage jewelry, occult curios, holy objects, rare Tarot decks, metaphysical parlor games, and more. Music has always been a huge inspiration to me, and bands often turn up in my fiction, the best-known probably being Lost Souls from the novel of the same name. I published and lived for twenty-odd years under the name Poppy Z. Brite, but now go by Billy Martin.

I wrote...

Courtney Love: The Real Story

By Poppy Z. Brite,

Book cover of Courtney Love: The Real Story

What is my book about?

Published in 1997, it’s an unauthorized but very inside biography of Courtney Love. One of the most vilified women in rock, I think she’s also one of the most interesting, and it was easy to tell her story as I would have written a novel. I examined her early life bouncing between reform schools and foster homes, her youthful travels as a stripper, actress, and musician, her marriage to Kurt Cobain, and her career with the band Hole.

The books I picked & why

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The Armageddon Rag

By George R.R. Martin,

Book cover of The Armageddon Rag

Why this book?

Before Game of Thrones became a cultural touchstone, Martin was known as much for his horror novels as for his fantasy. The Armageddon Rag follows the reunion of 1960s prog-rock legends The Nazgul, who broke up after their lead singer, Patrick Hobbins, was assassinated onstage. When a wealthy promoter introduces the surviving band members to a Hobbins doppelganger who seems to be possessed by the spirit of the late vocalist, it becomes apparent that the Nazgul are the unwitting center of a ritual to bring darkness to a world that rejected the light and love of the Sixties. Vivid characters, flower-child nostalgia, and an ominous vibe combine to make this an absorbing read.

Wylding Hall

By Elizabeth Hand,

Book cover of Wylding Hall

Why this book?

Short, compulsively readable epistolary novel about a 1970s acid-folk band recording an album in an old English manor house. It may or may not be a ghost story, but it’s definitely a snapshot of a magic moment in a golden summer. Hand is underrated and deserves to be more widely read.


By Caitlin R. Kiernan,

Book cover of Silk

Why this book?

Set in the 1990s alt/goth scene of Birmingham, Alabama – yes, it did have one – Silk was Kiernan’s first published novel, and it immediately attracted a loyal readership. Daria is trying to hold together a relationship and a band (the wonderfully named Stiff Kitten), while her junkie boyfriend Keith shoots up with his father’s antique rig. Meanwhile, weirdness is going on with local curio shop owner Spyder Baxter, whose pet black widow spiders aren’t her only arachnoid allies. This is a hard novel to describe, but for the right sort of reader, it will become a cherished one.

Heart-Shaped Box

By Joe Hill,

Book cover of Heart-Shaped Box

Why this book?

Creatively blocked and disenchanted with life, heavy metal legend Judas Coyne amuses himself by buying morbid trinkets online. When he purchases a funeral suit haunted by the ghost of a creepy old man who turns out to have a very personal grudge against him, life becomes more interesting (and more dangerous). Hill’s first novel, Heart-Shaped Box established his reputation as an important modern horror writer, and he has since published a raft of great spooky tales.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in rock music, rock and roll, and English country house?

5,810 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about rock music, rock and roll, and English country house.

Rock Music Explore 129 books about rock music
Rock And Roll Explore 37 books about rock and roll
English Country House Explore 14 books about English country house

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Garden of Evening Mists, A Sudden Light, and The Rats if you like this list.