79 books like Child of God

By Cormac McCarthy,

Here are 79 books that Child of God fans have personally recommended if you like Child of God. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of American Psycho

David E. Gates Author Of The Wretched

From my list on horror books that changed my life and could change yours.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved horror since my early teens, when I first discovered The Rats and Lair and other horror stories by James Herbert. The thing I like about horror, in particular, is that there are no holds barred, no censorship, as to what can be written. I grew up on movies like The Exorcist, Friday the 13th, Jaws, Alien, The Thing, etc., but horror writing takes you deeper and gives a more visceral experience than anything any film can do.

David's book list on horror books that changed my life and could change yours

David E. Gates Why did David love this book?

This was one of the hardest books to "get into," but a friend of mine told me to stick with it because the rewards of getting through the first quarter would be so great. I'm glad I did. It is an astounding piece of work, quite different from anything I've ever read before or since, and remains one of my top five books.

The tangents the book takes, and the blasé attributes of the leading character are superbly crafted. It was suggested it was "unfilmable," and there's one scene in particular I thought they'd never get away with, but if you look at the movie version carefully, it's in there. 

By Bret Easton Ellis,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked American Psycho as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Patrick Bateman is 26 and works on Wall Street. Handsome, sophisticated, charming and intelligent, he is also a psychopath.


Book cover of High Life

Andersen Prunty Author Of Sociopaths in Love

From my list on dark fiction for aspiring sociopaths.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since reading Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal in high school, I’ve always appreciated books and stories that can tackle dark subject matter in a completely deadpan way. The creator knows what they’re doing is kind of a joke and they’re inviting you along for the ride. I enjoy reading books where I think the writer had a really good time writing it, even if that means occasionally torturing the reader.

Andersen's book list on dark fiction for aspiring sociopaths

Andersen Prunty Why did Andersen love this book?

High Life is pitch black Hollywood noir. It’s one of those rare books that starts out dark and just keeps getting darker and more disturbing. Stokoe outdoes himself on nearly every page. This book was shocking and eye-opening, even for me. I’ve read a lot of extreme horror and I think this might outdo nearly all of them. Stokoe manages to fully flesh out the characters, rendering them terrifying, absurd, and profoundly sad, and does so with a style that is compulsively readable.

By Matthew Stokoe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hollywood. The City of Dreams at the end of the nineties. Jack has one ambition – to get famous. He doesn’t care how. He just wants to be like the people he sees in tabloid magazines and on TV: Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Tom and Nicole, Arnie, Bruce, Sly.... But the desire for fame has a dark side and he finds himself in a world of drugs and crime, whores, snuff shows, incest, deceit and despair. When his wife is found dead – murdered and disemboweled – and the search for her killer leads him to the femme fatale of…


Book cover of Blackwater: The Complete Saga

Jill Hand Author Of White Oaks

From my list on Southern Gothic that are dark and twisted.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lifelong New Jerseyan married to a man whose family comes from Georgia. It gave me an opportunity to observe the white, Southern, upper-class weltanschauung, up close. To hear them talk, you’d think the Civil War had ended just a few days earlier, and if the Yankees had only respected states’ rights, none of that mess would have happened. My book is about a dysfunctional Georgia family who has far too much money than is good for them. Hijinks ensue.

Jill's book list on Southern Gothic that are dark and twisted

Jill Hand Why did Jill love this book?

I love a sprawling family saga set in a small town. My husband’s father came from a small town in South Georgia that was founded by one of his ancestors. My husband’s grandfather, after visiting Chicago and being impressed by the big department stores he saw there, decided that what his tiny little town needed was a huge department store of its own. He built one, and amazingly, it was a success for many years, with folks coming from all around to marvel at its architectural sophistication and its dazzling array of wares. Like the fictional town of Perdido, Alabama, where the action is centered in Blackwater, everyone there knows everybody else, and nothing secret stays hidden for long.

On Easter Sunday, 1919, a flood engulfs Perdido. Oscar Caskey, the eldest son of the town’s most influential family, discovers a stranger named Elinor Dammert waiting patiently inside a room on…

By Michael McDowell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Blackwater is the saga of a small town, Perdido, Alabama, and Elinor Dammert, the stranger who arrives there under mysterious circumstances on Easter Sunday, 1919. On the surface, Elinor is gracious, charming, anxious to belong in Perdido, and eager to marry Oscar Caskey, the eldest son of Perdido’s first family. But her beautiful exterior hides a shocking secret. Beneath the waters of the Perdido River, she turns into something terrifying, a creature whispered about in stories that have chilled the residents of Perdido for generations. Some of those who observe her rituals in the river will never be seen again…


Book cover of Twilight

Robert Gwaltney Author Of The Cicada Tree

From my list on the gothic American South.

Why am I passionate about this?

Raised alongside three feral younger brothers in the rash-inducing, subtropical climate of Cairo, Georgia, I am a lifelong resident of the South. A circumstance, no doubt, leaving an indelible mark on my voice as a writer. At this point in my writing career, I write what I know. As a reader, I enjoy exploring the rich stories woven by Southern authors, capturing other places, people, and experiences beyond my own frame of reference. Ultimately, as a Southerner, I endeavor to reconcile the South’s troubled past of racial and social oppression with the romanticized notion others have of this place I call home.

Robert's book list on the gothic American South

Robert Gwaltney Why did Robert love this book?

This gothic fairytale is a favorite. Exploring the universal themes of good and evil, William Gay’s prose poetically weaves a sinister tale of Fenton Breece, an undertaker who abuses the dead.

This novel takes the reader on an eerie backwoods odyssey lush with peril and a grotesque cast of characters. I am inspired in my writing by Gay’s assignment of myth to place as he has done with the wilderness he calls the Harrikin. 

By William Gay,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Suspecting that something is amiss with their father's burial, teenager Kenneth Tyler and his sister Corrie venture to his gravesite and make a horrific discovery: their father, a whiskey bootlegger, was not actually buried in the casket they bought for him. Worse, they learn that the undertaker, Fenton Breece, has been grotesquely manipulating the dead. Armed with incriminating photographs, Tyler becomes obsessed with bringing the perverse undertaker to justice. But first he must outrun Granville Sutter, a local strongman and convicted murderer hired by Fenton to destroy the evidence. What follows is an adventure through the Harrikin, an eerie backwoods…


Book cover of Tampa

Tim O'Leary Author Of Men Behaving Badly

From my list on characters you love to hate.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Tim O’Leary and two of my books, Dick Cheney Shot Me in the Face–And Other Tales of Men in Pain and Men Behaving Badly, emanate from the minds of protagonists trying to do the right thing the wrong way or evil characters doing the wrong thing they believe to be right. I’m particularly drawn to those wonderful literary psychopaths that draw you in with compelling personalities, while reviling the reader with their heinous actions. 

Tim's book list on characters you love to hate

Tim O'Leary Why did Tim love this book?

This was a controversial book when it was released a few years ago, with some calling it “Lolita from a Woman,” and I think the comparison is accurate.

Like Nabakov, Nutting’s protagonist is likable and compelling, and before we know it, we are drawn into her twisted world. When these characters are written with skill, it is almost jarring to the reader to realize that they are in some way rooting for the protagonist until they consider what is really happening. 

By Alissa Nutting,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Celeste Price is an eighth-grade English teacher in suburban Tampa. She is attractive. She drives a red Corvette. Her husband, Ford, is rich, square-jawed and devoted to her. But Celeste has a secret. She has a singular sexual obsession - fourteen-year-old boys. It is a craving she pursues with sociopathic meticulousness and forethought.
Within weeks of her first term at a new school, Celeste has lured the charmingly modest Jack Patrick into her web - car rides after dark, rendezvous at Jack's house while his single father works the late shift, and body-slamming encounters in Celeste's empty classroom between periods.…


Book cover of The Restraint of Beasts: A Comedic Novel

Andersen Prunty Author Of Sociopaths in Love

From my list on dark fiction for aspiring sociopaths.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since reading Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal in high school, I’ve always appreciated books and stories that can tackle dark subject matter in a completely deadpan way. The creator knows what they’re doing is kind of a joke and they’re inviting you along for the ride. I enjoy reading books where I think the writer had a really good time writing it, even if that means occasionally torturing the reader.

Andersen's book list on dark fiction for aspiring sociopaths

Andersen Prunty Why did Andersen love this book?

The previous four books on my list have been pretty dark. “Heavy,” I guess, is relative. I find a lot of humor in them and, ultimately, that’s why I either have re-read them or plan to. This one isn’t as heavy on the violence as the previous ones. Often cited as a good example of dry British humor, written by a former bus driver, it’s the story of two fence-builders who travel the English and Scottish countryside in a caravan erecting fences. However, it seems like every time they’re on a job, they end up accidentally murdering someone. Rather than getting bogged down by things like remorse or guilt, they are much more interested in covering it up and saving their backs. One of them is obsessed with heavy metal and his hair. It’s a very weird and satisfying book.

By Magnus Mills,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Tam and I took hold of Mr McCrindle and lowered him into the hole, feet first. We decided to leave his cap on'. Fencers Tam, Richie and their ever-exasperated English foreman are forced to move from rural Scotland to England for work. After a disastrous start involving a botched fence and an accidental murder, the three move to a damp caravan in Upper Bowland and soon find themselves in direct competition with the sinister Hall Brothers whose business enterprises seem to combine fencing, butchering and sausage-making. "The Restraint of Beasts" introduced readers to the now much-loved unique voice of Magnus…


Book cover of Swamplandia!

Robert Gwaltney Author Of The Cicada Tree

From my list on the gothic American South.

Why am I passionate about this?

Raised alongside three feral younger brothers in the rash-inducing, subtropical climate of Cairo, Georgia, I am a lifelong resident of the South. A circumstance, no doubt, leaving an indelible mark on my voice as a writer. At this point in my writing career, I write what I know. As a reader, I enjoy exploring the rich stories woven by Southern authors, capturing other places, people, and experiences beyond my own frame of reference. Ultimately, as a Southerner, I endeavor to reconcile the South’s troubled past of racial and social oppression with the romanticized notion others have of this place I call home.

Robert's book list on the gothic American South

Robert Gwaltney Why did Robert love this book?

This 2011 novel is set in the Ten Thousand Islands off the southwest coast of Florida. I am drawn to the novel’s peculiar backdrop: a shabby alligator-wrestling theme park in the swamp.

Along with the fantastical setting, the reader is quickly lured into this place by the vivid, precocious voice of the thirteen-year-old narrator, Ava Bigtree, who is on a quest to rescue her sister, whom Ava believes to have been stolen away into the Underworld by Bird Man, a mysterious gentleman claiming to possess magical gifts.

By Karen Russell,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Swamplandia! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller | Pulitzer Prize Finalist

"Ms. Russell is one in a million. . . . A suspensfuly, deeply haunted book."--The New York Times

Thirteen-year-old Ava Bigtree has lived her entire life at Swamplandia!, her family’s island home and gator-wrestling theme park in the Florida Everglades. But when illness fells Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, the family is plunged into chaos; her father withdraws, her sister falls in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, defects to a rival park called The World of Darkness.

As Ava sets out…


Book cover of Lovecraft Country

Jill Hand Author Of White Oaks

From my list on Southern Gothic that are dark and twisted.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lifelong New Jerseyan married to a man whose family comes from Georgia. It gave me an opportunity to observe the white, Southern, upper-class weltanschauung, up close. To hear them talk, you’d think the Civil War had ended just a few days earlier, and if the Yankees had only respected states’ rights, none of that mess would have happened. My book is about a dysfunctional Georgia family who has far too much money than is good for them. Hijinks ensue.

Jill's book list on Southern Gothic that are dark and twisted

Jill Hand Why did Jill love this book?

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. 

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…


Book cover of Moon Lake

Jill Hand Author Of White Oaks

From my list on Southern Gothic that are dark and twisted.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lifelong New Jerseyan married to a man whose family comes from Georgia. It gave me an opportunity to observe the white, Southern, upper-class weltanschauung, up close. To hear them talk, you’d think the Civil War had ended just a few days earlier, and if the Yankees had only respected states’ rights, none of that mess would have happened. My book is about a dysfunctional Georgia family who has far too much money than is good for them. Hijinks ensue.

Jill's book list on Southern Gothic that are dark and twisted

Jill Hand Why did Jill love this book?

The action is set in the fictional east Texas town of New Long Lincoln, where Daniel Russell returns after a long absence. He was 13 when his father tried to kill them both by driving his car into Moon Lake. Now a drought has caused the lake to evaporate and the car’s been found, with the remains of Daniel’s father inside, as well as an extra body in the trunk. Daniel teams up with a childhood friend who’s become a police officer to untangle a web of old grudges and strange murders.

Drowned towns – ones that are deliberately submerged in order to build dams and reservoirs – fascinate me. There’s one in Sussex County, New Jersey, called Walpack. It was intended to be buried under a man-made lake in the nineteen-seventies, as part of a project to build a dam across the Delaware River. It was a cause célèbre…

By Joe R. Lansdale,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Daniel Russell was only thirteen years old when his father tried to kill them both by driving their car into Moon Lake. Miraculously surviving the crash- and growing into adulthood- Daniel returns to the site of this traumatic incident in the hopes of recovering his father's car and bones. As he attempts to finally put to rest the memories that have plagued him for years, he discovers something even more shocking among the wreckage that has ties to a twisted web of dark deeds, old grudges, and strange murders.

As Daniel diligently follows where the mysterious trail of vengeance leads,…


Book cover of Other Voices, Other Rooms

Robert Gwaltney Author Of The Cicada Tree

From my list on the gothic American South.

Why am I passionate about this?

Raised alongside three feral younger brothers in the rash-inducing, subtropical climate of Cairo, Georgia, I am a lifelong resident of the South. A circumstance, no doubt, leaving an indelible mark on my voice as a writer. At this point in my writing career, I write what I know. As a reader, I enjoy exploring the rich stories woven by Southern authors, capturing other places, people, and experiences beyond my own frame of reference. Ultimately, as a Southerner, I endeavor to reconcile the South’s troubled past of racial and social oppression with the romanticized notion others have of this place I call home.

Robert's book list on the gothic American South

Robert Gwaltney Why did Robert love this book?

Truman Capote’s 1948 debut novel holds a special place with me because it was my introduction to Southern Gothic when I was thirteen. A coming-of-age tale, it takes place at Scully’s Landing, a decaying mansion in Mississippi.

Rich with place and atmosphere, the book follows lonesome thirteen-year-old Joel Harrison Knox, who travels to live with his father, an emotionally unavailable presence who abandoned the boy at birth. Replete with a cast of the peculiar and grotesque, this book holds firm with literary merit and thematical relevance. 

By Truman Capote,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Truman Capote’s first novel is a story of almost supernatural intensity and inventiveness, an audacious foray into the mind of a sensitive boy as he seeks out the grown-up enigmas of love and death in the ghostly landscape of the deep South.

At the age of twelve, Joel Knox is summoned to meet the father who abandoned him at birth. But when Joel arrives at the decaying mansion in Skully’s Landing, his father is nowhere in sight. What he finds instead is a sullen stepmother who delights in killing birds; an uncle with the face—and heart—of a debauched child; and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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