100 books like Heart-Shaped Box

By Joe Hill,

Here are 100 books that Heart-Shaped Box fans have personally recommended if you like Heart-Shaped Box. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Sing, Unburied, Sing

Lucy Blue Author Of The Devil Makes Three

From my list on hauntings.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a goth chick from the American South, I’m obsessed with stories of old evil from the past finding its way into the present. I even live in a haunted house, a disintegrating Craftsman built in 1901. Our ghosts are very cozy, two cat-loving maiden ladies who were co-presidents of the local temperance society. We’ve given up on keeping liquor in our liquor cabinet; bottles cracking and leaking, glassware broken for no reason. And we’ve gotten so used to seeing and hearing their famous cat, Tom, we barely react anymore—a huge orange tabby tomcat who runs past our feet and jumps on the foot of our bed. 

Lucy's book list on hauntings

Lucy Blue Why did Lucy love this book?

Reading this book made me stop writing my own Southern gothic ghost book in the middle, rethink it completely, and start over again from scratch, and I wasn’t even mad about it. It’s just that good. It’s about thirteen-year-old Jojo and his family—his much-loved and very much dying grandmother, his strong, silent, and protective grandfather, his wild child mother, Leonie, his baby sister, Kayla, who looks to Jojo to keep her safe, and his white father, Michael, who just got out of jail. Everybody has secrets, and everybody sees ghosts. This literary novel won the National Book Award, but I promise you, horror readers, it will scare you silly and break your heart. 

By Jesmyn Ward,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2018 WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 2017 ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S BEST BOOKS OF 2017 SELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE NEW STATESMAN, THE FINANCIAL TIMES, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, TIME AND THE BBC Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Finalist for the Kirkus Prize Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award 'This wrenching new novel by Jesmyn Ward digs deep into the not-buried heart of the American nightmare. A must' Margaret Atwood 'A powerfully…


Book cover of If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood

Melissa Caribou Annen Author Of The Midwest Madman: An Agent Raines Casefile

From my list on murderous serial killers that keep you up at night.

Why am I passionate about this?

I believe my love of horror and mystery started young. My first favorite book was The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree. I started writing my first mystery novel when I was in high school. It wasn’t very good, but I still have it. I have so many stories in my head that it’s hard to keep them straight. I also co-host a True Crime podcast, Nothing Happens in A Small Town

Melissa's book list on murderous serial killers that keep you up at night

Melissa Caribou Annen Why did Melissa love this book?

If You Tell reads like a fiction mystery novel. I wasn’t paying attention when I started reading this, and I thought it was fiction. When I realized this book was based on a true story it bewildered me. You hear stories about people, how horrible they can be, but this mother had to be a fictional character – she’s not. She will give you nightmares.

By Gregg Olsen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A #1 Wall Street Journal, Amazon Charts, USA Today, and Washington Post bestseller.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Gregg Olsen's shocking and empowering true-crime story of three sisters determined to survive their mother's house of horrors.

After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle's talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now.

For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, Shelly, subjected her girls to unimaginable abuse, degradation, torture, and psychic terrors. Through it all,…


Book cover of Wylding Hall

Amanda Desiree Author Of Smithy

From my list on creepy epistolary horror novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always admired epistolary novels—stories told in the form of diaries, letters, or other mass media. They seem so real and so much more believable than plain narratives. When dealing with fantastic subjects, like paranormal phenomena, any technique that can draw the weird back into the real world helps me become more invested as a reader. It’s a quality I’ve also tried to capture as a horror writer. Moreover, the epistolary format pairs well with unreliable narrators, often filtering stories so as to make them more ambiguous and disturbing. From the many epistolary works I’ve read over the years, here are my picks for the most compelling—and creepy.

Amanda's book list on creepy epistolary horror novels

Amanda Desiree Why did Amanda love this book?

This phantasmagorical oral history unfolds during one of my favorite time periods, the psychedelic late 60s/early 70s. It also fuses two of my favorite sub-genres, folk horror and haunted houses.

I could easily visualize the setting and the different characters as I read their statements and tried to piece together the reality of what happened during the band’s infamous time at Wylding Hall.

By Elizabeth Hand,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Wylding Hall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After the tragic and mysterious death of one of their founding members, the young musicians in a British acid-folk band hole up at Wylding Hall, an ancient country house with its own dark secrets. There they record the classic album that will make their reputation but at a terrifying cost, when Julian Blake, their lead singer, disappears within the mansion and is never seen again. Now, years later, each of the surviving musicians, their friends and lovers (including a psychic, a photographer, and the band s manager) meets with a young documentary filmmaker to tell his or her own version…


Book cover of A Head Full of Ghosts

Tyler Paterson Author Of Dark Satellites

From my list on transport to the heart of spooky season.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an October baby born during a full moon, into a small New England town notorious for their connection to the Salem Witch Trials. My house was for sure haunted growing up, I’ve had a lot of nightmares over the years, and I found solace in the horror genre. Though my true background is in comedy having studied with Second City Chicago, the experience afforded me the opportunity to explore the more pained and shadowed sides of myself as a tool to write relevant material. I learned to focus those explorations into narratives and create stories with a lot of heart that highlight my own quest to uncover inner peace.

Tyler's book list on transport to the heart of spooky season

Tyler Paterson Why did Tyler love this book?

A fellow New Englander, Tremblay took me by complete surprise with this novel. In the past, I saw horror defined by slashers, gore, and jump scares. This novel helped me understand that modern horror is a bit savvier and more nuanced, with a stronger focus on emotional suffering.

I really connected with the struggling working-class family and sympathized with their decision to let a documentary film crew create a series about their clearly struggling daughter. The film crew intended to market the girl as possessed by a demon, which the family signs off on in order to collect a desperately needed financial boost.

It expertly explores the hardships of the middle class, sibling love, and the societal hush-hush of mental illness. Plus, it’s got some twists and turns to that made my blood run absolutely cold.

By Paul Tremblay,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked A Head Full of Ghosts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The lives of the Barretts, a suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. To her parents' despair, the doctors are unable to halt Marjorie's descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show.Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie's younger sister, Merry. As she recalls the terrifying events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets…


Book cover of The Rats

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 pretty much the first true horror book I read.

My mother, who had read it, thought I'd like it. Reading as a teenager, the scenarios of giant rats attacking people were frightening, and Herbert's description lent a realism to those scenes which I'd not encountered before. I found myself eagerly turning the pages to feast on the horrors of that which was contained within with relish. I was also fortunate, in my adult life, to meet and interview James Herbert and gain an insight into how he wrote and came up with the stories he told. 

By James Herbert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A special fortieth anniversary edition of The Rats, the classic, bestselling horror novel that launched James Herbert's career.

With a foreword by Neil Gaiman, author of Norse Mythology.

It was only when the bones of the first devoured victims were discovered that the true nature and power of these swarming black creatures with their razor sharp teeth and the taste for human blood began to be realized by a panic-stricken city. For millions of years man and rats had been natural enemies. But now for the first time - suddenly, shockingly, horribly - the balance of power had shifted .…


Book cover of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Tim Pratt Author Of Heirs of Grace

From my list on fantasy with women heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been reading fantasy for 42 years and writing it for 40, and because I was raised by badass women, I've always enjoyed tales of clever, kickass, indomitable heroines. I've written a bunch of them (a dozen books in an urban fantasy series about a sorcerer named Marla Mason; four books in the Axiom space opera series about ship captain Callie Machedo and her love interest, time refugee xenobiologist Elena Oh; contemporary fantasy/romance Heirs of Grace, about an art student who discovers a magical inheritance, and more). I'm also a longtime book reviewer, editor at SF/fantasy trade magazine Locus, and frequent award juror (Bradbury Prize, Philip K. Dick Award, and more), so... I think about SF/fantasy books a lot. 


Tim's book list on fantasy with women heroines

Tim Pratt Why did Tim love this book?

In 1700s France, the titular heroine of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue makes a deal with a strange force in the forest, and attains one of my favorite superpowers: the ability to not be noticed.

Addie is immortal, and people always forget she exists the moment she leaves their presence. As a result, her life has been sad, lonely, strange, and fundamentally unchanging... until, in the modern era, she meets someone who does remember her. It's a fascinating take on one of my favorite premises.

By V. E. Schwab,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"For someone damned to be forgettable, Addie LaRue is a most delightfully unforgettable character, and her story is the most joyous evocation of unlikely immortality." -Neil Gaiman

A Sunday Times-bestselling, award-nominated genre-defying tour-de-force of Faustian bargains, for fans of The Time Traveler's Wife and Life After Life, and The Sudden Appearance of Hope.

When Addie La Rue makes a pact with the devil, she is convinced she's found a loophole-immortality in exchange for her soul. But the devil takes away her place in the world, cursing her to be forgotten by everyone.

Addie flees her tiny home town in 18th-Century…


Book cover of The Shining

Valentina Cano Repetto Author Of Sanctuary

From my list on horror books in which the setting is another character.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a fanatic of horror, especially Gothic horror since I was about eight years old when I read all of Poe’s short stories. It’s the genre I read most often and the one I’m dedicated to writing about. For me, the most effective horror novels have a setting that is as rich and fully developed as any of the characters. You can battle vampires, zombies, and all of the other delightful monsters out there, but how do you battle what’s trapped in the walls around you? How do you fight a home that hates you? Or one that loves you too much to let you go? It’s endlessly fascinating.

Valentina's book list on horror books in which the setting is another character

Valentina Cano Repetto Why did Valentina love this book?

There’s no list I can create in my head about haunting locations that doesn’t include this book. One of the most interesting aspects of horror novels that take place in a vivid setting is that they draw you in and both make you wish you could visit the location while at the same time thanking all that’s good and holy that you’re not there. That’s what The Shining did for me when I read it. 

The Overlook hotel is larger than life, treacherous, and inviting, and King does an incredible job at maintaining the high-pitched hum of tension from the moment the Torrances walk through its doors.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Before Doctor Sleep, there was The Shining, a classic of modern American horror from the undisputed master, Stephen King.

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around…


Book cover of The Silence of the Lambs

Kate Robards Author Of Only The Guilty Survive

From my list on thrillers inspired by real events.

Why am I passionate about this?

My new thriller centers around a small, mysterious cult and their shocking demise. For years, I’ve read true crime books on the subject, and I wanted to infuse the reality and truth of real-life events into my fictional novel. In a similar vein, these books represent a range of thrillers inspired by true events, ranging from cults to serial killers to teenage criminals. I hope you find these books as gripping and haunting as I do.

Kate's book list on thrillers inspired by real events

Kate Robards Why did Kate love this book?

I’m fascinated by the in-depth character development and details in this book. The film is a classic, but I think the book is even better. Many people think of Hannibal Lecter as the obvious villain of Silence of the Lambs, forgetting that Clarice and the FBI were seeking his guidance to find “Buffalo Bill,” a fictional serial killer attacking women.

Buffalo Bill is an amalgamation of real serial killers, including Ted Bundy, Ed Gein, and Gary Heidnik. By cherry-picking the methods and traits of real killers, I think Harris created a truly terrifying villain. I find the characters, and especially the villain, to be rooted in reality, making them stick in your mind long after the last page.

By Thomas Harris,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked The Silence of the Lambs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As part of the search for a serial murderer nicknames "Buffalo Bill," FBI trainee Clarice Starling is given an assignment. She must visit a man confined to a high-security facility for the criminally insane and interview him.

That man, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, is a former psychiatrist with unusual tastes and an intense curiosity about the darker corners of the mind. His intimate understanding of the killer and of Clarice herself form the core of Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs--an unforgettable classic of suspense fiction.


Book cover of The October Country

Tyler Paterson Author Of Dark Satellites

From my list on transport to the heart of spooky season.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an October baby born during a full moon, into a small New England town notorious for their connection to the Salem Witch Trials. My house was for sure haunted growing up, I’ve had a lot of nightmares over the years, and I found solace in the horror genre. Though my true background is in comedy having studied with Second City Chicago, the experience afforded me the opportunity to explore the more pained and shadowed sides of myself as a tool to write relevant material. I learned to focus those explorations into narratives and create stories with a lot of heart that highlight my own quest to uncover inner peace.

Tyler's book list on transport to the heart of spooky season

Tyler Paterson Why did Tyler love this book?

Though often overlooked in Bradbury’s canon of masterpieces, The October Country is such a fantastic treat. I recommend it every chance I get and often quote his descriptions of Autumn. “It was September. In the last days when things are getting sad for no reason.” I mean…right?? How heartbreakingly beautiful is that?

The book comes together as a collection of short stories that take place in a world of perpetual autumn, where trees drop their fiery leaves one by one, lakes become still, and darkness creeps in earlier each day.

I swear, if I could wrap myself in a cocoon of this feeling, I’d be a happy camper. Plus, touches of the supernatural? Yes. All day. Count me in. Forever and ever. Amen.

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The October Country is Ray Bradbury’s own netherworld of the soul, inhabited by the horrors and demons that lurk within all of us. Renowned for his multi-million-copy bestseller, Fahrenheit 451, and hailed by Harper’s magazine as “the finest living writer of fantastic fiction,” Ray Bradbury proves here that he is America’s master of the short story.

This classic collection features:

The Emissary: The faithful dog was the sick boy’s only connection with the world outside—and beyond . . .
The Small Assassin: A fine, healthy baby boy was the new mother’s dream come true—or her worst nightmare . . .…


Book cover of The Armageddon Rag

Poppy Z. Brite Author Of Courtney Love: The Real Story

From my list on scariest novels with a rock & roll influence.

Why am I passionate about this?

An author who also runs an online shop, PZBaubles New Orleans, specializing in quirky vintage jewelry, occult curios, holy objects, rare Tarot decks, metaphysical parlor games, and more. Music has always been a huge inspiration to me, and bands often turn up in my fiction, the best-known probably being Lost Souls from the novel of the same name. I published and lived for twenty-odd years under the name Poppy Z. Brite, but now go by Billy Martin.

Poppy's book list on scariest novels with a rock & roll influence

Poppy Z. Brite Why did Poppy love this book?

Before Game of Thrones became a cultural touchstone, Martin was known as much for his horror novels as for his fantasy. The Armageddon Rag follows the reunion of 1960s prog-rock legends The Nazgul, who broke up after their lead singer, Patrick Hobbins, was assassinated onstage. When a wealthy promoter introduces the surviving band members to a Hobbins doppelganger who seems to be possessed by the spirit of the late vocalist, it becomes apparent that the Nazgul are the unwitting center of a ritual to bring darkness to a world that rejected the light and love of the Sixties. Vivid characters, flower-child nostalgia, and an ominous vibe combine to make this an absorbing read.

By George R. R. Martin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Magic, music, drugs and rock'n'roll in an early novel from George R. R. Martin, author of A GAME OF THRONES

One-time underground journalist Sandy Blair has traveled far from his radical roots in the '60s - until the bizarre and brutal murder of a millionaire rock promoter draws him back. As Sandy sets out to investigate the crime, he finds himself on a magical mystery tour of the pent-up passions of his generation. For a new messiah has resurrected the once legendary rock band Nazgul - but with an apocalyptic new beat that is a requiem of demonism, mind control,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in rock music, ghost story, and rock and roll?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about rock music, ghost story, and rock and roll.

Rock Music Explore 229 books about rock music
Ghost Story Explore 156 books about ghost story
Rock And Roll Explore 69 books about rock and roll