100 books like Hammers on Bone

By Cassandra Khaw,

Here are 100 books that Hammers on Bone fans have personally recommended if you like Hammers on Bone. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Ballad of Black Tom

Barbara Cottrell Author Of Darkness Below

From my list on character-driven horror with a heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been attracted to strange things. When I was a kid, I loved to picnic in graveyards and make up stories about the people buried there. I think I gravitate toward the strange because it’s an escape from the gray every day. The best horror writing fills readers with wonder, opens the door to that magical question, ‘what if?’ But being truly engaged depends on caring about what happens to the characters in a book. That’s why I chose Horror with A Heart as my theme. I like horror with well-developed characters, people that matter to me. People who I could imagine as my friends.

Barbara's book list on character-driven horror with a heart

Barbara Cottrell Why did Barbara love this book?

The Ballad of Black Tom rocked my world.

I was already writing stories inspired by H.P. Lovecraft but I wasn’t sure I had a place in the genre. Then Victor LaValle took one of Lovecraft’s most racist works, The Horror At Red Hook, and produced an alternate version.

Black Tom touches on the events of Lovecraft’s original story but tells the tale from the point of view of a black musician named Tommy Tester. LaValle’s reimagining of Lovecraft is a revelation.

He showed me that I didn’t have to be like Lovecraft to write in his world. And LaValle perfectly captures the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, a world that Lovecraft’s racism prevented him from seeing, even though he lived in New York City at the time.

By Victor LaValle,

Why should I read it?

5 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…


Book cover of Can You Sign My Tentacle?: Poems

Premee Mohamed Author Of Beneath the Rising

From my list on modern cosmic horror.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wouldn't call myself a cosmic horror expert, but I've read quite a few of the expected authors--Dunsany, Machen, Lovecraft, Blackwood, Howard, etc--and I've written novels and short fiction in the genre and have been asked to panel and talk about it for years at professional events. How can a fictional narrative contain villains so powerful that human beings have no way to understand, let alone resist them? I like exploring that impossibility in my own writing, and I feel compelled to subvert its historical legacy of colonialism and racism where I can. It is not a genre that needs reclaiming but rewriting, and it is rife with possibilities. 

Premee's book list on modern cosmic horror

Premee Mohamed Why did Premee love this book?

This book of poems is a truly unexpected combination of current pop culture, social commentary, and cosmic horror--and a hugely enjoyable read. It deals with the themes of sacrifice, thoughtless loyalty, collusion, survival, colonialism, and the very idea of the monstrous. How do we know when the forces around us are asking too much of us? How can we trust what we will get in return? How do our personal histories inform how we will respond to the void when it comes knocking? A lively, thoughtful read.  

By Brandon O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Can You Sign My Tentacle? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New Release in Caribbean & Latin American Poetry
Cthulhu meets hip-hop in this book of horror poems that flips the eldritch genre upside down. Lovecraftian-inspired nightmares are reversed as O'Brien asks readers to see Blackness as radically significant. Can You Sign My Tentacle? explores the monsters we know and the ones that hide behind racism, sexism, and violence, resulting in poems that are both comic and cosmic.


Book cover of Winter Tide

Jaq Evans Author Of What Grows in the Dark

From my list on people who are unsure of horror genre.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a horror and speculative fiction author who reads everything but who is tired of strict genre definitions and loves introducing people to work they might not have considered—especially the spooky stuff, and especially when I’m asked about horror recommendations for non-horror lovers. I think dark fiction gives us a way to process painful emotions in a safe space; it offers catharsis for being alive in a difficult world; it can definitely be a lot of fun while also giving you a way to empathize with people outside your own direct experience. I’ve tried to hit on all of that in this list!  

Jaq's book list on people who are unsure of horror genre

Jaq Evans Why did Jaq love this book?

I am one of those people who were really into Lovecraft until they discovered he was a huge racist and homophobe, among other things; the contemporary reclamation of Lovecraft’s iconic mythology is delicious, and this book is a wonderfully eerie, weird entry into the new canon.

This book checks a lot of my personal boxes, like secretive government experiments, shady, half-revealed lore, and lyrical writing. I’m a huge fan of stories where you know just enough about what’s going on to keep up, and the characters are so sympathetic that you’ll follow the mystery for their sake alone. 

By Ruthanna Emrys,

Why should I read it?

3 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…


Book cover of The Fisherman

Brandon R. Grafius Author Of Lurking Under the Surface: Horror, Religion, and the Questions that Haunt Us

From my list on horror and religion.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a fan of horror since I got sucked into Scooby-Doo as a three-year-old. When I started my academic career, I kind of kept that passion tucked inside as something to be embarrassed about – after all, I wanted to do serious work, and horror movies aren’t serious, right? Graduate school made me rethink that assumption, and pushed me towards seriously considering the engagement of horror and religion. I wrote my dissertation on a chapter of the Book of Numbers as a slasher narrative, and I haven’t looked back since.

Brandon's book list on horror and religion

Brandon R. Grafius Why did Brandon love this book?

Langan’s novel is gripping from the start, and weaves a beautifully tangled web of stories-within-stories.

But it’s in the novel’s conclusion, where the whole universe breaks open, that it becomes truly jaw-dropping. After I finished reading it, I was thinking not only about the book I had just read – but about what it implied about the universe, and my place in it.

By John Langan,

Why should I read it?

5 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…


Book cover of Certain Dark Things

Barbara Cottrell Author Of Darkness Below

From my list on character-driven horror with a heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been attracted to strange things. When I was a kid, I loved to picnic in graveyards and make up stories about the people buried there. I think I gravitate toward the strange because it’s an escape from the gray every day. The best horror writing fills readers with wonder, opens the door to that magical question, ‘what if?’ But being truly engaged depends on caring about what happens to the characters in a book. That’s why I chose Horror with A Heart as my theme. I like horror with well-developed characters, people that matter to me. People who I could imagine as my friends.

Barbara's book list on character-driven horror with a heart

Barbara Cottrell Why did Barbara love this book?

Just when I thought I was done with vampires, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Certain Dark Things came along.

I was burned out on the genre. Most of the characters in vampire stories are rich, privileged, and frankly, not that interesting. Atl, the main character in Certain Dark Things, is the exception.

A descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, she finds herself caught between the rival vampire clans that dominate Mexico City. When she develops an unexpected attachment to a street kid named Domingo, her life gets even more complicated. 

Domingo could have been nothing but a Renfield, a plaything for her vampire lead. But Moreno-Garcia explores the tender bond that develops between them, a connection that puts both in jeopardy. An engrossing new spin on the vampire tale.

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Certain Dark Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood-drinkers, is smart and beautiful - and very dangerous. Domingo is mesmerised.

Atl needs to escape the city quickly, to get far away from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn't include Domingo, but little by little, she finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of…


Book cover of The Body Scout

M. Darusha Wehm Author Of Self Made

From my list on science fiction detectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m primarily a science fiction writer and reader, but mystery is my first literary love, and I was the editor-in-chief of the mystery magazine, Plan B. So, I doubly love it when a mystery story takes place in a science fictional world. In my own work, certain themes keep showing up even when I don’t intend them to because I love them as much as I love a juicy mystery: using technology to change our bodies and environments, the struggle that wealth and corporate greed create, how we can learn to understand someone who is radically different from ourselves. These five books hit all those marks for me. 

M. Darusha's book list on science fiction detectives

M. Darusha Wehm Why did M. Darusha love this book?

I don’t care about baseball at all, but I love stories with cybernetic implants, reluctant detectives, and corporate machinations and this book has all of those… plus cyborg baseball. I loved Kobo, the down-on-his-luck baseball scout barely scraping by on his implant maintenance fees, and the mystery he’s sucked into when his childhood best friend (and major league baseball star) dies in the middle of a game. This is the best kind of onion mystery, with layers upon layers of twists and turns, and it’s full of the brain-busting science fictional ideas I love—biological and technological augmentation and their consequences.

By Lincoln Michel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hong Kong society is often regarded as politically apathetic. Yet throughout its history, Hong Kong experienced periodic waves of social movement activity. In part, the perception of an apathetic populace stems from the colonial government's laissez-faire policies, the society's concentration on economic development, the maintenance of traditional Chinese culture, and a consensus that Hong Kong would revert to Chinese sovereignty. Since Hong Kong was a colony, instead of evolving into a democratic government, Great Britain instituted a system of elite consultation and absorption of the masses' political problems through indirect participation. Butenhoff addresses the question of why social movements emerged…


Book cover of The Paradox Hotel

Neve Maslakovic Author Of Regarding Ducks and Universes

From my list on mysteries that break the mold.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I devoured books from two authors, the grande dame of mystery, Agatha Christie, and the science fiction great, Isaac Asimov. Luckily for me, both were prolific. That combination explains what I write, best described as the sleuth story meets speculative fiction. As a reader, when it comes to mysteries I’m always on the lookout for the out of this world. Which doesn't necessarily mean murder on a spaceship, though it can! What breaks the mold could be an unlikely detective, an inventive premise, an unusual setting, a narrative that surprises… Here are five such tales.

Neve's book list on mysteries that break the mold

Neve Maslakovic Why did Neve love this book?

Rob Hart’s The Paradox Hotel is bursting at the seams with interesting characters. The hotel of the title serves the needs of wealthy time tourists on their way to and from the nearby Einstein port. Working security is one January Cole. Her only friend an AI drone, January is grieving a lost love and fast succumbing to a time-travel illness that has her becoming unmoored from the present. Things go from bad to worse when she stumbles on a dead body that only she can see—turns out, it’s quite tricky to solve a murder that hasn’t happened yet. Surprisingly poignant, with moments that made me laugh out loud, and some inventive time travel shenanigans.

By Rob Hart,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Paradox Hotel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Time travel, murder, corruption, restless baby dinosaurs, and a snarky robot named Ruby collide in this excellent, noir-inflected, humor-infused, science-fiction thriller.”—The Boston Globe
 
An impossible crime. A detective on the edge of madness. The future of time travel at stake. From the author of The Warehouse . . .

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: NPR, Kirkus Reviews

January Cole’s job just got a whole lot harder.

Not that running security at the Paradox was ever really easy. Nothing’s simple at a hotel where the ultra-wealthy tourists arrive costumed for a dozen different time periods, all eagerly waiting…


Book cover of Far from the Light of Heaven

Victor Manibo Author Of The Sleepless

From my list on blending speculative fiction and noir fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

My debut novel, The Sleepless, is a sci-fi noir story born out of my passion for both speculative fiction and crime fiction. I grew up devouring Marvel comics and Ray Bradbury and Agatha Christie, and those were some of my strongest influences when I finally decided to write my own stories. As a queer immigrant and a person of color, I was also influenced by the lives of people who live these identities, as much as I was influenced by my career as a lawyer in the immigration, criminal, and civil rights fields. 

Victor's book list on blending speculative fiction and noir fiction

Victor Manibo Why did Victor love this book?

As a reader, I am drawn to both noir and science fiction because they are both puzzles. They present a mystery seeking an answer, whether it is a question about the rules of a strange new world, or the question of who killed who and how. In Far from the Light of Heaven, we start with a locked room murder mystery set on an interstellar vessel. The seemingly impossible crime is enough to keep one reading to the end, but then the book provides other, more enticing mysteries that grow in scale and scope the deeper the story goes.

By Tade Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Far from the Light of Heaven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Gripping and skilfully told, with an economy and freshness of approach that is all Tade Thompson's own. The setting is interstellar, but it feels as real, immediate and lethal as today's headlines' Alastair Reynolds

Arthur C. Clarke Award winner Tade Thompson makes a triumphant return to science fiction with this unforgettable vision of humanity's future in the chilling emptiness of space.

The colony ship Ragtime docks in the Lagos system, having travelled light years from home to bring one thousand sleeping souls to safety among the stars.

Some of the sleepers, however, will never wake - and a profound and…


Book cover of A Study in Emerald

Christian Klaver Author Of Sherlock Holmes and Count Dracula

From my list on Sherlock Holmes mash-ups.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Christian Klaver, and I’ve had, in turn, many different jobs as a bookseller, martial arts instructor, and bartender before settling into a career in internet security. Books have always been a passion of mine, with science fiction, fantasy, and mystery as my main focus. I’ve been a lifelong fan of Sherlock Holmes and am a proud member of two different Sherlock Holmes Societies.

Christian's book list on Sherlock Holmes mash-ups

Christian Klaver Why did Christian love this book?

While the others are novels, this is merely a short story and included in several collections. However, this is one of the more fantastic executions here, and well worth the time to track it down.

Just read it, read it now. It’s short, you have time. You won’t regret it. I promise.

By Neil Gaiman, Rafael Albuquerque, Rafael Scavone (illustrator) , Dave Stewart (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Study in Emerald as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This supernatural mystery set in the world of Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos features a brilliant detective and his partner as they try to solve a horrific murder.

The complex investigation takes the Baker Street investigators from the slums of Whitechapel all the way to the Queen's Palace as they attempt to find the answers to this bizarre murder of cosmic horror!

From the Hugo, Bram Stoker, Locus, World Fantasy, Nebula award-winning, and New York Times bestselling writer Neil Gaiman comes this graphic novel adaptation with art by Eisner award winning artist Rafael Albuquerque!


Book cover of Red Harvest

David Kruh Author Of Inseparable: An Alcatraz Escape Adventure

From my list on the 1920s with healthy skepticism of American values.

Why am I passionate about this?

I studied history in college and, after a few misspent years in broadcasting, worked in marketing and public relations for several companies. In my free time I wrote articles and books on historical events and people. A dozen years ago, on a trip to San Francisco and Alcatraz, I conceived of an idea for a novel. True to my background, it was based on a real historical event – the 1962 escape of three men in a raft from the prison. It wasn't until my mid-sixties when I felt ready to step out of my non-fiction comfort zone and write my first novel. Can't wait to start the next one.

David's book list on the 1920s with healthy skepticism of American values

David Kruh Why did David love this book?

It would be obscene to read this on a Kindle. This early Dashiell Hammett novel has to be read in paperback, the older a copy you can find, the better.

It has everything a great pulp novel should have; murder, crooked cops, gangs, and a rumpled too-honest-for-his-own-good hero. What I love about this book is how Hammett uses his own experience working for the Pinkerton Detective Agency (who were basically hired thugs) and a real historical event (a labor dispute in Montana that resulted in several deaths) to weave a solid crime novel.

By Dashiell Hammett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Detective-story master Dashiell Hammett gives us yet another unforgettable read in Red Harvest: When the last honest citizen of Poisonville was murdered, the Continental Op stayed on to punish the guilty--even if that meant taking on an entire town. Red Harvest is more than a superb crime novel: it is a classic exploration of corruption and violence in the American grain.


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