The best unconventional horror books

Why am I passionate about this?

I was six years old when I found myself getting up for a drink of water and watching a brutal dismemberment in a Sam Rami classic starring Bruce Cambell. I was transfixed. I saw The Terminator at five, most of Fulcci’s work before I could pee alone and worshiped Craven and Carpenter long before I could appreciate that I was their target audience. Horror is to me what oxygen is to every other mammal on the planet. Without it, I wither and die.

I wrote...

There Are Stranger Things

By K.V.T.,

Book cover of There Are Stranger Things

What is my book about?

A delightfully twisted collection of macabre tales designed to draw readers into the darkest corners of the author's mind. Each story is a unique picture of horror designed to tear at the reader's ideas of reality.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Gleefully Macabre Tales

K.V.T. Why did I love this book?

Jeff Strand is the flip side to the coin that I continually try to write. He takes a horrifying premise and makes it funny. I try to take a funny premise and make it horrifying. We both succeed to varying degrees.

The opening story in Gleefully Macabre Tales only spans 750 words and it was the last time I can remember laughing out loud at a written story. It concerns a door-to-door magazine salesman, crotchety old man, and a Weiner dog. To embellish further would be to betray the author’s intent. But know that if you do not find yourself smiling by the time the tale is told you desperately need to check for a pulse.

By Jeff Strand,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A short story collection from the author of DEAD CLOWN BARBECUE. Over 85,000 words' worth of insanity!

Cemetery Dance Magazine says that "No author working today comes close to Jeff Strand's perfect mixture of comedy and terror." GLEEFULLY MACABRE TALES compiles thirty-three of his most twisted blends of cringe-worthy horror and ghoulish humor, with a couple of serious pieces thrown in just to mess with you.

This collection includes tales from his three chapbooks (Two Twisted Nuts, Socially Awkward Moments With An Aspiring Lunatic, and Funny Stories of Scary Sex) and numerous other stories both popular and obscure, including "Really,…

Book cover of By Bizarre Hands

K.V.T. Why did I love this book?

I should not have to recommend the president of the Horror Writers Association, but if you are unfamiliar to Lansdale, this is a great introduction. He is a caustic voice with no pretense, or subtlety. I love him for his sincerity, his abruptness, and his ability to make me feel really bad for laughing.

Book cover of The Books of Blood Volume 1

K.V.T. Why did I love this book?

Personally, I have owned 3 copies in my lifetime, two of which I read into tatters. Clive Barker remains one of the most unusual imaginations in horror to date. If you can’t find something in this collection that you enjoy, pull out the femoral stick. These stories have been translated into film almost as often as Carrie

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?


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 Midnight Pleasures

K.V.T. Why did I love this book?

Best known for penning the infamous Psycho. Robert Bloch, is perhaps the greatest horror author of the 20th century. He is to short-horror fiction, what Ray Bradbury is to the science-fiction genre. Though he is often overlooked for names such as King, Lovecraft, and Barker, Rober Bloch is the preeminent master of the subtle scare.

By Robert Bloch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A collection of thirteen macabre tales, including "The Spoiled Wife," "The Undead," "Die--Nasty," and "Pranks"

Book cover of The Bachman Books

K.V.T. Why did I love this book?

It should be noted, before wading into this collection, that Rage is credited as the story that inspired the Columbine killings, and is therefore not recommended for a general audience. It is not, however, the novella for which this recommendation is made. The Long Walk is without a doubt, King’s strongest ending ever written. The collection only includes four stories that achieve varying degrees of success. Personally, I find Road Work a complete waste of time. If you never read another Stephen King story, however, The Long Walk is his most iconic piece of fiction to date.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For years, readers wrote asking if Richard Bachman was really world-bestselling Stephen King writing under another name. Now the secret is out - and so, brought together in one volume, are these three spellbinding stories of future shock and suspense.

The Long Walk: A chilling look at the ultra-conservative America of the future where a grueling 450-mile marathon is the ultimate sports competition.

Roadwork: An immovable man refuses to surrender to the irresistible force of progress.

The Running Man: TV's future-favourite game show, where contestants are hunted to death in the attempt to win a $1 billion jackpot.

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Lightning Strike Blues

By Gayleen Froese,

Book cover of Lightning Strike Blues

Gayleen Froese Author Of Lightning Strike Blues

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Communications officer Singer-songwriter Fan of all animals Role-playing geek Nature photographer

Gayleen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

One summer night in a small prairie city, 18-year-old Gabriel Reece accidentally outs himself to his redneck brother Colin, flees on his motorcycle, and gets struck by lightning on his way out of town.

He’s strangely fine, walking away from his melted pile of bike without a scratch. There’s no time to consider his new inhuman durability before his brother disappears and his childhood home burns down. He’s become popular, too—local cops and a weird private eye are after him, wanting to know if his brother is behind a recent murder.

Answers might be in the ashes of the house…

Lightning Strike Blues

By Gayleen Froese,

What is this book about?

On Friday, Gabriel Reece gets struck by lightning while riding his motorcycle.

It's not the worst thing that happens to him that week.

Gabe walks away from a smoldering pile of metal without a scratch-or any clothes, which seem to have been vaporized. And that's weird, but he's more worried about the sudden disappearance of his brother, Colin, who ditched town the second Gabe accidentally outed himself as gay.

Gabe tries to sift through fragmented memories of his crummy childhood for clues to his sudden invincibility, but he barely has time to think before people around town start turning up…

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