The best unsettling story collections that will gnaw at your subconscious

Who am I?

Tamel Wino is a Canadian fiction writer from resplendent British Columbia whose works focus largely on the degeneration of sanity and morality. He studied Health Sciences and Psychology, which only furthered his interest in human nature. With inspirations including Shirley Jackson, Cormac McCarthy, Clive Barker, Margaret Atwood, and Edgar Allan Poe; Tamel’s expositions are strongly grounded in traditions of dark fiction. Yet, with his bold narrative voice and incisive plot construction, Wino is paving a new movement within the space.


I wrote...

Ékleipsis: the Abyss

By Tamel Wino,

Book cover of Ékleipsis: the Abyss

What is my book about?

Ékleipsis: The Abyss is a collection of macabre tales that expose human frailty and depravity. We all eventually find ourselves facing the chasm, but who among us plunges into its depths kicking and screaming, and who embraces the abyss? Once we hit the bottom, does it even matter how we got there?

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Teatro Grottesco

Tamel Wino Why did I love this book?

These intensely dark, well-written stories are more on the side of psychological/existential horror. These tales crept up on me and led to an intense fear of losing my own sanity. Often dubbed as the modern Poe/Lovecraft, Ligotti adapts their exquisite style to portray the horrid banality of the modern age. Ligotti's prose slowly enshrouds you and pulls you down into this abyss occupied by familiar, plausible places and characters.

By Thomas Ligotti,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Teatro Grottesco as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Thomas Ligotti is often cited as the most curious and remarkable figure in horror literature since H. P. Lovecraft. His work is noted by critics for its display of an exceptionally grotesque imagination and accomplished prose style. In his stories, Ligotti has followed a literary tradition that began with Edgar Allan Poe, portraying characters that are outside of anything that might be called normal life, depicting strange locales far off the beaten track, and rendering a grim vision of human existence as a perpetual nightmare. The horror stories collected in Teatro Grottesco feature tormented individuals who play out their doom…


Book cover of Kiss Kiss

Tamel Wino Why did I love this book?

Roald Dahl, who's mostly known for his writings of children’s literature, also wrote a plethora of brilliant adult short works of fiction. The author is relentlessly masterful in conjuring up bizzare, macabre stories. Subtle yet profound, these tales will be burrowed deep inside the reader's subconscious, lurking and writhing...

By Roald Dahl,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Kiss Kiss you will find eleven devious, shocking stories from the master of the unpredictable, Roald Dahl.

What could go wrong when a wife pawns the mink coat that her lover gave her as a parting gift? What happens when a priceless piece of furniture is the subject of a deceitful bargain? Can a wronged woman take revenge on her dead husband?

In these dark, disturbing stories Roald Dahl explores the sinister side of human nature: the cunning, sly, selfish part of each of us that leads us into the territory of the unexpected and unsettling. Stylish, macabre and…


Book cover of The October Country

Tamel Wino Why did I love this book?

A true masterpiece of short stories. The October Country was flawless. Once again, Bradbury has proven that he is a wizard of the craft. His stories are thought-provoking and chillingly beautiful.  I've read this book a few times and each time as breathtaking as the first time. There's just something exceptionally delectable about Bradbury.

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The October Country is Ray Bradbury’s own netherworld of the soul, inhabited by the horrors and demons that lurk within all of us. Renowned for his multi-million-copy bestseller, Fahrenheit 451, and hailed by Harper’s magazine as “the finest living writer of fantastic fiction,” Ray Bradbury proves here that he is America’s master of the short story.

This classic collection features:

The Emissary: The faithful dog was the sick boy’s only connection with the world outside—and beyond . . .
The Small Assassin: A fine, healthy baby boy was the new mother’s dream come true—or her worst nightmare . . .…


Book cover of Occultation and Other Stories

Tamel Wino Why did I love this book?

Barron is undeniably a genius and proficient. Pick whichever book of his and it’ll blow you away. With a superior command of language and an impressive understanding of what frightens us, the author pulls no punches and peels back the layers to reveal the vileness that prowls in the dark.

By Laird Barron,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Occultation and Other Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Shirley Jackson Award, nine stories of cosmic horror from the heir apparent to Lovecraft's throne.

Laird Barron has emerged as one of the strongest voices in modern horror and dark fantasy fiction, building on the eldritch tradition pioneered by writers such as H. P. Lovecraft, Peter Straub, and Thomas Ligotti. His stories have garnered critical acclaim and have been reprinted in numerous year's best anthologies and nominated for multiple awards, including the Crawford, International Horror Guild, Shirley Jackson, Theodore Sturgeon, and World Fantasy awards. His debut collection, The Imago Sequence and Other Stories, was the inaugural winner…


Book cover of The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies

Tamel Wino Why did I love this book?

A powerhouse collection, familiar and innovative, at times agonizingly devastating and horribly entertaining. After reading John Langan's novel The Fisherman, I just had to pick up this one. A profoundly, gratifying dark read. With such a sublime and unwavering collection, Langan rises in my book as one of the most fascinating in the contemporary, horror writer circle.

By John Langan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I want to be like John Langan when I grow up, okay? He blends meticulously crafted traditional narratives with joyous genre-bending and narrative rule-breaking. His stories are fiercely smart, timely, timeless, heartbreaking, and of course, flat-out scary. Langan fearlessly commits to his monsters, his characters, his readers, to his vision of the horror story and the messed-up, broken, frightening world we inhabit. Wide, Carnivorous Sky, indeed."-Paul Tremblay, author of The Little Sleep and Swallowing a Donkey's Eye.

John Langan has, in the last few years, established himself as one of the leading voices in contemporary horror literature. Gifted with a…


You might also like...

Through Any Window

By Deb Richardson-Moore,

Book cover of Through Any Window

Deb Richardson-Moore Author Of Murder, Forgotten

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Mystery aficionado Beach lover Mother Gardener Housing advocate

Deb's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Riley Masterson has moved to Greenbrier, SC, anxious to escape the chaos that has overwhelmed her life.

Questioned in a murder in Alabama, she has spent eighteen months under suspicion by a sheriff’s office, unable to make an arrest. But things in gentrifying Greenbrier are not as they seem. As Riley struggles to forge a new life, forces are gathering in the tension-plagued neighborhood where glitzy new homes rise alongside crumbling mill houses, and everyone, it seems, can peer into a neighbor’s window.

When murder explodes, someone unexpected is caught in the crossfire. Detectives are left to ponder: Are the deaths personal or the result of rich and poor living in such close proximity? And will Riley take the blame as someone so meticulously planned?

Through Any Window

By Deb Richardson-Moore,

What is this book about?

After being questioned in a murder investigation, Riley Masterson has spent eighteen months under suspicion by the sheriff’s office. Anxious to escape accusing eyes, she finally decides to leave Alabama and move to South Carolina.

But Greenbrier isn’t the stabilizing influence she hopes for, as her neighborhood is slowly being gentrified, with homeless people living in the shadows of mansions. As Riley struggles to forge a new life, forces are gathering in the tension-plagued neighborhood as glitzy new homes rise beside crumbling mill houses, and everyone is able and willing to peer into a neighbor’s window.

When a ghastly crime…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in subconscious, Lovecraftian horror, and presidential biography?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about subconscious, Lovecraftian horror, and presidential biography.

Subconscious Explore 23 books about subconscious
Lovecraftian Horror Explore 23 books about Lovecraftian horror
Presidential Biography Explore 17 books about presidential biography