The best novels where real-life horror meets the supernatural

James Pack Author Of The Morbid Museum
By James Pack

Who am I?

I have always had a greater interest in supernatural horror compared to the other subgenres of horror. Another way to describe it is fantasy horror. However, sometimes the fantasy can take away from the overall story. I find the best stories with supernatural elements also have a lot of real-life horror to balance with the fantasy. Magic realism is also a trope of Post-Modern Culture and I find myself drawn to stories with post-modern elements versus those that don’t. These are my top five pics for the best “Real-Life Horror Meets Supernatural Horror” novels.


I wrote...

The Morbid Museum

By James Pack,

Book cover of The Morbid Museum

What is my book about?

Visitors to the Morbid Museum seek the dark and twisted corners of the world. They are both terrified and intrigued by the unknown. Tales of killers, monsters, and madmen curated by the Master of Death, Mr. Siris Grim. Mr. Grim collects the darkness that everyone attempts to hide. He displays it within the corridors of his gruesome gallery. Who will be next to buy a ticket and walk the halls of the Morbid Museum?

The books I picked & why

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The Wolfman

By Nicholas Pekearo,

Book cover of The Wolfman

Why this book?

This is perhaps my favorite book of all time. Marlowe Higgins is a werewolf who uses his monthly change to hunt and kill the worst of criminals. The setting mostly takes place in 1993 with a few flashbacks including some time the main character spent in Vietnam during the war. There’s a serial killer targeting young women and Marlowe is hunting for him. He needs a scent or a name before the wolf can find them. And some people suspect Marlowe is the serial killer. The real tragedy of this story is the author died a few months before the book was published. The story is well written. There are plenty of funny moments to go along with the scary parts. If you like werewolves and anti-heroes, you’ll love this novel.

The Wolfman

By Nicholas Pekearo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Marlowe Higgins is a hard man; a wanderer. Since being dishonourably discharge after a tour in Vietnam, he's been in and out of prison, moving from town to town, going wherever the wind takes him. He's not really the kind of guy who can stay in one place too long. Every full moon he kills someone. Marlowe Higgins is a werewolf. For years he struggled with his affliction, until he found a way to use his unfortunate curse for good - he only kills really bad people. After years of being on the road, Higgins has found a home in…


Near the Bone

By Christina Henry,

Book cover of Near the Bone

Why this book?

I’ve read several of Christina Henry’s books. I enjoyed them all, but this one is my absolute favorite. Mattie lives in the mountains with her abusive husband, and she has no memory beyond the last few years, and she lives in fear of her husband’s wrath. An unknown, large creature appears and makes things more complicated. Mattie has to escape her husband and a monster in the woods and try to remember her past. This novel is one of the best horror stories I’ve ever read. It’s suspenseful and you never know what will happen next. One of my favorite things about this novel is, despite the supernatural creature, it’s not over-the-top and everything feels real including the actions and choices of the characters. This is definitely a must-read.

Near the Bone

By Christina Henry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mattie can't remember a time before she and William lived alone on a mountain together. She must never make him upset. But when Mattie discovers the mutilated body of a fox in the woods, she realizes that they're not alone after all.

There's something in the woods that wasn't there before, something that makes strange cries in the night, something with sharp teeth and claws.

When three strangers appear on the mountaintop looking for the creature in the woods, Mattie knows their presence will anger William. Terrible things happen when William is angry.


Horns

By Joe Hill,

Book cover of Horns

Why this book?

I haven’t read a lot of Hill’s work, but this novel was entertaining. The movie adaptation left a lot to be desired, but we won’t talk about that. Ignatius Perrish wakes one morning and has horns growing on his head. His girlfriend was raped and murdered, and everyone thinks he did it. He tries to find the killer and his horns give him power over people’s behaviors. Townsfolk partake in all kinds of debauchery around him, but they still think he raped and murdered his girlfriend. This novel has a lot of symbolism and metaphor. I loved the absurdity and dark humor. I would not recommend this to your church-going grandmother.

Horns

By Joe Hill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a major Hollywood film starring Daniel Radcliffe: read it first, if you dare ...

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with one hell of a hangover, a raging headache ... and a pair of horns growing from his temples.

Once, Ig lived the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned American musician, and the younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, Ig had security and wealth and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more - he had the…


HEX

By Thomas Olde Heuvelt,

Book cover of HEX

Why this book?

This novel was not what I was expecting. It was dark and provides an interesting commentary on human behavior. The town of Black Spring and its locals are cursed. If someone is born there, or moves into the town, they’re doomed to stay until they die. If they try to leave and never come back, they’ll die. The town is also home to the Black Rock Witch, whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. She’s been there since the town was cursed in the seventeenth century. The town was cursed because people did terrible things. The novel takes place during the final days of the town because some people did more terrible things to the Black Rock Witch.

HEX

By Thomas Olde Heuvelt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The greats of fiction Stephen King and George R. R. Martin lead the fanfare for HEX, so be assured that Thomas Olde Heuvelt's debut English novel is both terrifying and unputdownable in equal measure.

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay until death. Whoever comes to stay, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth-century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Blind and silenced, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children's beds for nights on end. So accustomed…


Beloved

By Toni Morrison,

Book cover of Beloved

Why this book?

My final pick is not technically a horror novel. It’s usually classified as literary fiction, however; it starts with a haunted house. The first sentence in the novel is, “124 was spiteful.” 124 refers to the house’s address or house number. The family believes is the spirit of one of their children who died at the age of two named Beloved. Later, the house’s presence leaves, and a strange, adult visitor arrives calling herself Beloved. The novel’s setting is during the Reconstruction Period after the Civil War. There are flashbacks to when slavery was legal, and we see the violent, graphic end of the child named Beloved. Though not in the horror genre, this novel still offers real-life horror meeting the supernatural.

Beloved

By Toni Morrison,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked Beloved as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Toni Morrison was a giant of her times and ours... Beloved is a heart-breaking testimony to the ongoing ravages of slavery, and should be read by all' Margaret Atwood, New York Times

Discover this beautiful gift edition of Toni Morrison's prize-winning contemporary classic Beloved

It is the mid-1800s and as slavery looks to be coming to an end, Sethe is haunted by the violent trauma it wrought on her former enslaved life at Sweet Home, Kentucky. Her dead baby daughter, whose tombstone bears the single word, Beloved, returns as a spectre to punish her mother, but also to elicit her…


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