10 books like Can You Sign My Tentacle?

By Brandon O'Brien,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Can You Sign My Tentacle?. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Hammers on Bone

By Cassandra Khaw,

Book cover of Hammers on Bone

Noir can sometimes be hard to identify, but most readers are familiar with the tropes: the put-upon private investigator, the case that he can’t walk away from, the hunt for leads, the twists and double-crosses. With Hammers on Bone, we get all the aesthetics of a hardboiled detective story but also: Lovecraftian monsters. Noir stories lay bare individual and collective moral failings, and in adding eldritch horrors, the book further externalizes those ills, showing how monstrous humans can be.

Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw is a novella that melds the hardboiled detective novel with Lovecraftian monsters. Our private dick, John Persons, is hired by a ten-year-old kid to off his abusive stepfather. From this classic noir setup, to the character voice and dialect, to the shady characters, to the twists and reversals, this book really keys into the strengths of the genre, and amplifies them even further with…

Hammers on Bone

By Cassandra Khaw,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hammers on Bone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cassandra Khaw bursts onto the scene with Hammers on Bone, a hard-boiled horror show that Charles Stross calls "possibly the most promising horror debut of 2016." A finalist for the British Fantasy award and the Locus Award for Best Novella!

John Persons is a private investigator with a distasteful job from an unlikely client. He’s been hired by a ten-year-old to kill the kid’s stepdad, McKinsey. The man in question is abusive, abrasive, and abominable.

He’s also a monster, which makes Persons the perfect thing to hunt him. Over the course of his ancient, arcane existence, he’s hunted gods and…


The Ballad of Black Tom

By Victor LaValle,

Book cover of The Ballad of Black Tom

Readers of H.P. Lovecraft, and writers (like me) who have mined the Lovecraftian Mythos for decades, have struggled in recent years to square the inspiration they have derived from the work and the intensely problematic nature of the man’s white supremacy and xenophobia. Several recent books have addressed this ethical conflict head-on, and none so brilliantly and effectively as LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom, which reconstitutes Lovecraft’s “The Horror of Red Hook” from an African American POV. LaValle’s sharpness of prose, keen eye, and feel for environment grounds his tale of a street hustler in 1920s Harlem confronting horrors both cosmic and terrestrial, acting as the perfect answer to the insult of the original tale. This work stands as a landmark of contemporary cosmic horror that needs to be on every bookshelf. 

The Ballad of Black Tom

By Victor LaValle,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Ballad of Black Tom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn't there.

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father's head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic…


Winter Tide

By Ruthanna Emrys,

Book cover of Winter Tide

I have always been a fan of Lovecraft, but the unfathomable remoteness of his fearsome creations left me dissatisfied. Ruthanna Emrys flips the Lovecraftian script on its head and tells tales within Lovecraft’s universe from the perspective of the characters that Lovecraft vilified. In a world that celebrates diverse perspectives far more than in Lovecraft’s day, Winter Tide gives readers a chance to appreciate the richness and creativity of Lovecraft’s world through the eyes of its marginalized characters.

Winter Tide

By Ruthanna Emrys,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Two decades ago the U.S. government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to a desert prison, far from their ocean, their Deep One ancestors, and their sleeping god, Cthulhu. Only Aphra and Caleb Marsh survived the camps, emerging without a past or a future.

Now it's 1949, and the government that stole Aphra's life needs her help. FBI Agent Ron Spector believes that Communist spies have stolen dangerous magical secrets from Miskatonic University, secrets that could turn the Cold War hot in an instant and hasten the end of the human race.

Aphra must return to the…


The Fisherman

By John Langan,

Book cover of The Fisherman

John Langan is renowned for turning horror on its head, picking apart its hoariest tropes, and reassembling them in fascinating new forms. The Fisherman is his most complete single work, massive in its scope if not its page count, and filled with imagery that sticks its barbs into your imagination and will not let go. It’s also poignant and always sensitive to the human emotions of its protagonists—even face to face with monsters. It’s the sort of story whose core conception becomes part of your mental framework, like Mordor or Gormenghast—read once, never forgotten. 

The Fisherman

By John Langan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In upstate New York, in the woods around Woodstock, Dutchman's Creek flows out of the Ashokan Reservoir. Steep-banked, fast-moving, it offers the promise of fine fishing, and of something more, a possibility too fantastic to be true. When Abe and Dan, two widowers who have found solace in each other's company and a shared passion for fishing, hear rumors of the Creek, and what might be found there, the remedy to both their losses, they dismiss it as just another fish story. Soon, though, the men find themselves drawn into a tale as deep and old as the Reservoir. It's…


Lovecraft Country

By Matt Ruff,

Book cover of Lovecraft Country

I first read H.P. Lovecraft when I was in college. His Cthulhu Mythos instantly grabbed my imagination. Lovecraft was a large part of the reason I started writing horror. Even back then, his disdain for foreigners and Black people and anyone else whose ancestors didn’t come over on the Mayflower, the way his did, was apparent. In recent years, Lovecraft’s racism has become a hot topic. That’s why I like this book: because it urns the usual Lovecraft trope of evil monsters from another dimension on its head by bringing the monsters closer to home, in the form of the horrors of the Jim Crow era. 

Lovecraft Country

By Matt Ruff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Chicago, 1954. When his father Montrose goes missing, 22-year-old Army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road trip to New England to find him, accompanied by his Uncle George - publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide - and his childhood friend Letitia. On their journey to the manor of Mr. Braithwhite - heir to the estate that owned one of Atticus's ancestors - they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devours.

At the manor, Atticus discovers his father in chains, held prisoner by a secret cabal…


Cthulhu Armageddon

By C.T. Phipps,

Book cover of Cthulhu Armageddon

HP Lovecraft created a great cast of cosmic characters, but it’s debatable that other writers have done a better job utilizing them. Cthulhu Armageddon takes Lovecraftian horror and puts an adventure spin on it. The real highlight is the book’s main character, who has to navigate this post-apocalyptic world and the various creatures within it while coming to terms with his own insecurities.

Cthulhu Armageddon

By C.T. Phipps,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Under an alien sky where gods of eldritch matter rule, the only truth is revenge.”

CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON is the story of a world 100 years past the rise of the Old Ones which has been reduced to a giant monster-filled desert and pockets of human survivors (along with Deep Ones, ghouls, and other “talking” monsters).

John Henry Booth is a ranger of one of the largest remaining city-states when he’s exiled for his group’s massacre and suspicion he’s “tainted.” Escaping with a doctor who killed her husband, John travels across the Earth’s blasted alien ruins to seek the life of…


Dread Island

By Joe R. Lansdale, Menton Mathews III (illustrator),

Book cover of Dread Island: A Classics Mutilated Tale

Dread Island was an enjoyable read for me due to its mix of Lovecraftian horror intertwined with the old tales of Huckleberry Fin. The way Joe R. Lansdale depicted his version of the story was incredible and gave me the insight that anything can be made into a horror story. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys horror, especially Lovecraftian-style horror.

Dread Island

By Joe R. Lansdale, Menton Mathews III (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Limited to remaining stock on hand! This "Monster Lit" mash-up novella from modern horror master Joe R. Lansdale, a highlight from the recent Classics Mutilated anthology, combines Lovecraft and Mark Twain in a way that can only be described as brilliant. Or, as Lansdale.


Night Winds

By Karl Edward Wagner,

Book cover of Night Winds

Ooooh, my goodness. Kane is possibly the best anti-hero ever created, and the combination of cosmic horror, swords, sorcery, action, and awesome storytelling make these books/story collections stand out for me. Kane is an immortal, cursed by a mad god to wander the Earth “until he is destroyed by the violence that he himself has created,” and is a take on the biblical Cain, but a lot more fun. Kane inspired one of the characters in my book series and he may just edge out Conan as my favorite lead in the sword & sorcery genre.

Night Winds

By Karl Edward Wagner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Where once the mighty Kane has passed, no one who lives forgets. Now, down the trail of past battles, Kane travels again. To the ruins of a devastated city peopled only with half-men and the waif they call their queen. To the half-burnt tavern where a woman Kane wronged long ago holds his child in keeping for the Devil. To the cave kingdom of the giants where glory and its aftermath await discovery. To the house of death itself where Kane retrieves a woman in love.

The past, the future, the present - all these are one for Kane as…


John Dies at the End

By Jason Pargin, David Wong,

Book cover of John Dies at the End

Possibly the most famous book on this list, this book was included not for its fame, but for the author’s ability to handle the Eldritch/Cosmic horror trope and make it hilarious. A wonderful mix of horror and comedy, the pseudonymous Wong is also the main character in the book. His first-person narration paired with other details paints this book as an actual series of events that he is risking his life and all of reality by telling you these bizarre events. An homage to the Lovecraftian style and several real-world paranormal mysteries will surely entertain readers, however for writers, it shows you how to blend the real-world, inspiration from other literary worlds, and your own creative content to make a fantastic story. 

John Dies at the End

By Jason Pargin, David Wong,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked John Dies at the End as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. On the street they call it Soy Sauce, and users drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly, a silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can't. "John Dies at the End" has been described as a 'Horrortacular', an epic of 'spectacular' horror that combines…


Teatro Grottesco

By Thomas Ligotti,

Book cover of Teatro Grottesco

Puppets, clowns, mannequins, carnivals, art, crumbling buildings, means of production, mundane workplaces, hidden histories, the body, the mind, the unglimpsed universe, life itself—these are the essential salts of Ligotti’s special alchemy of universal nihilism and societal decay. The result is a brand of fatalistic fiction that is legitimately terrifying and profoundly pessimistic, casting the world in an uncanny, yellowish fog where everything is suspect. All of Ligotti’s collections and varied works are special, but Teatro Grottesco distinguishes itself for its thematic through line of the sinister nature of art and its various artistic underworlds. The firmness of the stories’ subject matter makes it the perfect introduction to the Ligottian multiverse for new readers.

Teatro Grottesco

By Thomas Ligotti,

Why should I read it?

3 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…


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