The best books that capture the horrors of the workplace

Who are we?

We've been writing together for over ten years now. A theme that we’ve come back to lots of times is the horrible workplace with its bosses from hell. Feedback from readers tells us that the ways in which we’re made miserable at work are universal and it can be fun to examine them in fiction. We doubled down on the theme in the Oddjobs series of books. We both love to read and write horror, and we spend time with lots of horror authors, so this list came together very easily.

We wrote...


By Heide Goody, Iain Grant,

Book cover of Oddjobs

What is my book about?

Unstoppable horrors from beyond are poised to invade and literally create Hell on Earth. It’s the end of the world as we know it, but someone still needs to do the paperwork.

Morag Murray works for the secret government organisation responsible for making sure the apocalypse goes as smoothly and as quietly as possible. Trouble is, Morag’s got a temper problem and, after angering the wrong alien god, she’s been sent to another city where she won’t cause so much trouble. But Morag’s got her work cut out for her. She has to deal with a man-eating starfish, solve a supernatural murder and, if she’s got time, prevent her own inevitable death.

The Books I Picked & Why

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By Grady Hendrix,

Book cover of Horrorstör

Why this book?

You think your job is terrible? As terrible as working in a giant IKEA-like furniture store with its own weird company philosophy and product names you can’t pronounce? And what if a strange malevolent presence haunts the place every night, soiling furniture, and leaving cryptic horrid messages? This very much tongue-in-cheek story follows a band of employees who have the deeply unenviable job of guarding the store overnight. What happens is a mind-bending dimension-hopping lesson in why minimum wage is never enough.

Wolf Hunt

By Jeff Strand,

Book cover of Wolf Hunt

Why this book?

Even the simplest jobs can turn out to be horrible. George and Lou are the nicest, most amiable underworld thugs you could meet. They just want to get their delivery job done and then go out for some beers and bowling. Except, the thing they don’t know is that their delivery consignment is a very angry werewolf. When it escapes, they are forced into a cat-and-mouse chase across Florida. No paycheck can be worth the horror and torment that Jeff Strand’s bloody comedy puts them through.

The Atrocity Archives

By Charles Stross,

Book cover of The Atrocity Archives

Why this book?

Possibly the most perfect fusion of horror and the workplace, the Laundry Files books show us a bureaucratic British intelligence service where even reading a training manual wrong will result in your brains leaking out of your ears. A fusion of Cold War spy novels and Cthulhu-ish horror, The Atrocity Archive introduces us to put-upon spy/clerk Bob Howard. It’s uncertain whether endless form filling, petty managers, or horrors from the dark side of the moon are most likely to drive him mad.

The Stranger Times

By C.K. McDonnell,

Book cover of The Stranger Times

Why this book?

In this absurdist horror comedy, The Stranger Times is a newspaper that reports on all of those “Bat-faced boy ate my cat!” stories that proper newspapers ignore. The press office is utter chaos, perpetually on the brink of collapse, and the editor is a foul-mouthed drunkard with a painful past. It’s not surprising that, faced with all of this, new reporter Hannah has trouble understanding what her job is meant to be. When she discovers that the newspaper has stumbled onto a true story of demonic horrors, it’s up to her to save everyone’s lives. And her own career.

I Am Not a Serial Killer

By Dan Wells,

Book cover of I Am Not a Serial Killer

Why this book?

John is a teenager who is starting to work in his family’s business, which is a mortuary. He is concerned about how much he enjoys being around death, and worries that he might be a sociopath. His concerns take a back seat when a murdering demon comes to town and John’s the only one who seems to know what is happening. A surprisingly warm and engaging book, given the subject matter. It’s also been made into a film.

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