88 books like HEX

By Thomas Olde Heuvelt,

Here are 88 books that HEX fans have personally recommended if you like HEX. 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 Beloved

Donna Hemans Author Of The House of Plain Truth

From my list on haunting: how the past lingers with us.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a culture that both fears and embraces spirits or outrightly rejects the idea that spirits live on beyond death. I grew up on stories of rolling calves and duppies that caused havoc among the living. Since then, I’ve been fascinated by what haunts us—whether it be our familial spirits that float among the living and continue to play a role in our lives, our memories, or our past actions. I’ve written three books that play with this idea of past actions lingering long into the characters’ lives and returning in unexpected ways.  

Donna's book list on haunting: how the past lingers with us

Donna Hemans Why did Donna love this book?

This book is a longtime favorite of mine. Toni Morrison was a master at blending the personal story and the political, and in this book, she blends the true story of a mother who kills her child to prevent slave catchers from returning the baby to life as a slave.

Morrison’s fictional Sethe is haunted by the ghost of the baby she killed and the memories of her difficult life as a slave. This is one of the novels I return to time after time, both for the beauty of the writing and the portrayal of a mother’s love, guilt, and the lingering impact of slavery.

By Toni Morrison,

Why should I read it?

33 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…


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 Girl Next Door

Ty Michael Author Of Jeremy

From my list on disturbing horror stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been intrigued by the behaviors of humans. Even as a child, I’ve watched how people interact with each other. We are all so different, yet we are all the same. Each of us has an imaginary box where keep some things locked up such as: our innermost desires—and our worse fears. Fears that, in a very subtle way, guide us in our life decisions. Afraid of blood… then you’d likely not choose nursing. Afraid of flying… then you probably won’t become a pilot. But what happens when we cannot avoid what we are most afraid of? This is where a horror story begins.

Ty's book list on disturbing horror stories

Ty Michael Why did Ty love this book?

To set the record straight, I do not love this book. I still haven’t come to a decision if I even like it. It isn’t the “best” book on my list, yet it is the most disturbing. And it is a must-read.

A warning, though. It’s a book that you won’t be able to stop and you’ll likely feel very guilty for even reading it. It dives into human behaviors that we don’t want to think about and surely would not intentionally want to take part in. I’ve a question for you: Is there a limit to what you would do to another human being if others were doing it too? How confident are you in your answer? The worse part about this novel is that it is based on a true story.

By Jack Ketchum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A teenage girl is held captive and brutally tortured by neighborhood children. Based on a true story, this shocking novel reveals the depravity of which we are all capable.

This novel contains graphic content and is recommended for regular readers of horror novels.


Book cover of The Haunting of Hill House

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?

The novel’s prose is breathtaking. Jackson tells us from the start that Hill House is not sane and that sets the tone for the unraveling of the other characters’ minds.

For me, one of the best things about the novel is that it gives the reader space to create their own horrors. Nothing is explicitly stated and that makes it all the more frightening. Add to that an unreliable narrator and this novel captured my mind from the moment I read it. 

By Shirley Jackson,

Why should I read it?

31 authors picked The Haunting of Hill House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part of a new six-volume series of the best in classic horror, selected by Academy Award-winning director of The Shape of Water Guillermo del Toro

Filmmaker and longtime horror literature fan Guillermo del Toro serves as the curator for the Penguin Horror series, a new collection of classic tales and poems by masters of the genre. Included here are some of del Toro's favorites, from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Ray Russell's short story "Sardonicus," considered by Stephen King to be "perhaps the finest example of the modern Gothic ever written," to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and stories…


Book cover of The Wolfman

James Pack Author Of The Hook

From my list on where real-life horror meets the supernatural.

Why am I passionate about this?

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.

James' book list on where real-life horror meets the supernatural

James Pack Why did James love 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.

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…


Book cover of 'Salem's Lot

Richard S. Sargent Author Of The Horror Movie Night Cookbook: 60 Deliciously Deadly Recipes Inspired by Iconic Slashers, Zombie Films, Psychological Thrillers, Sci-Fi Spooks, and More

From my list on delicious horror stories to devour in one sitting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been a student of horror since my mother first sat me down in front of the TV to watch the old monster movies with her. It's a genre for the outsiders, the underdogs, which I've certainly felt at several points throughout my life. Good horror is both an escape and a vessel to affect change in the world. Many people in my life believe horror is just boobs and blood, so I feel like it's my job to educate them. This is why I started hosting my horror movie nights, which later developed into my first cookbook. Horror is a major part of my life and I hope it gets the appreciation it deserves.

Richard's book list on delicious horror stories to devour in one sitting

Richard S. Sargent Why did Richard love this book?

I believe King is at his best in his short stories. This one in particular is masterful in its depiction of a man’s descent into madness.

Full of vivid imagery and interesting characters, this story is primarily told through letters, a device that was new to me at the time and one that works exceptionally well here. In such a short period of time, King is able to create a fully immersive atmosphere that will be burned in the reader's mind forever. I am getting chills just writing this.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked 'Salem's Lot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 BESTSELLER • Ben Mears has returned to Jerusalem’s Lot in hopes that exploring the history of the Marsten House, an old mansion long the subject of rumor and speculation, will help him cast out his personal devils and provide inspiration for his new book.

But when two young boys venture into the woods, and only one returns alive, Mears begins to realize that something sinister is at work.

In fact, his hometown is under siege from forces of darkness far beyond his imagination. And only he, with a small group of allies, can hope to contain the evil that…


Book cover of The Apparition Phase

Daisy Pearce Author Of The Silence

From my list on provoking a sense of dread.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a ghostbuster. I was the kid with the stack of ghost books and horror film obsession, sparked full of adrenaline and excitement. I knew about ouija boards and poltergeists before I knew my times tables and even now - older, more cynical, less drawn to graveyards - I still feel that same thrill when I am holding a horror novel in my hands. I write about discomfort, about fear. I’m well-acquainted with it. I like the feeling of being unnerved and want to evoke that in the stories I tell and the ones I read, like the books below. Hope you enjoy! 

Daisy's book list on provoking a sense of dread

Daisy Pearce Why did Daisy love this book?

So good! A ghost story rich in texture, set in Britain during the seventies. Twins Tim and Abi live in an insular world, obsessed with the paranormal. After they prank a school friend with a fake ghost photograph events start to spiral out of control. Nostalgic without being syrupy, this book felt like stepping back into my own ghost-obsessed childhood. It’s that familiarity, as well as the slow burn of the strange and unnerving events, that kept me absolutely hooked.

By Will Maclean,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE MCKITTERICK PRIZE 2021

'A delight for both the expert and the uninitiated, this creepy tale is a carapace of cosy nostalgia wrapped round a solid thread of dread ... A page turner that keeps you in dreaded suspense of what you are about to be shown ... A claustrophobic and entertaining read that left me breathless ... Horror for the connoisseur.' ALICE LOWE

'Hallucinatory brilliance ... The Apparition Phase may be the perfect novel for our phantom present.' GUARDIAN
___________________________________
Tim and Abi have always been different from their peers. Precociously bright, they spend their evenings in…


Book cover of Between Two Fires

Richard Swan Author Of The Tyranny of Faith

From my list on mentor/apprentice relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

As writers, one of the things that most commonly unites us is how quickly we are able to point to our favourite teacher from school—almost always our literature teacher. These people instilled in us a love of reading, and encouraged us to explore and hone the craft of writing. I’m always drawn to, and fascinated by, the idea of how certain individuals can impact our lives, this butterfly effect of personal connection. Sometimes these relationships can have very complex dynamics; other times these mentors won’t even know the impact they have had on us. In this list, I have selected five works that I have read recently and which I think examine these relationships masterfully.

Richard's book list on mentor/apprentice relationships

Richard Swan Why did Richard love this book?

One of the most masterfully-wrought novels I’ve had the pleasure to read.

Here we follow a bitter, veteran knight, Thomas, wounded at the Battle of Crecy and divested of his landholdings, as he leaves behind a life of brigandage in order to deliver a young oddball girl to Avignon.

All the while France descends into chaos, not just because of the bubonic plague, but because the forces of heaven and hell are locked in a battle for the fate of humankind. Freighted with pathos and lyrical in its allegory, this is a novel that will both inspire and terrify you.

By Christopher Buehlman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

His extraordinary debut, Those Across the River, was hailed as “genre-bending Southern horror” (California Literary Review), “graceful [and] horrific” (Patricia Briggs). Now Christopher Buehlman invites readers into an even darker age—one of temptation and corruption, of war in heaven, and of hell on earth… And Lucifer said: “Let us rise against Him now in all our numbers, and pull the walls of heaven down…” The year is 1348. Thomas, a disgraced knight, has found a young girl alone in a dead Norman village. An orphan of the Black Death, and an almost unnerving picture of innocence, she tells Thomas that…


Book cover of Witch Bottle

Daisy Pearce Author Of The Silence

From my list on provoking a sense of dread.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a ghostbuster. I was the kid with the stack of ghost books and horror film obsession, sparked full of adrenaline and excitement. I knew about ouija boards and poltergeists before I knew my times tables and even now - older, more cynical, less drawn to graveyards - I still feel that same thrill when I am holding a horror novel in my hands. I write about discomfort, about fear. I’m well-acquainted with it. I like the feeling of being unnerved and want to evoke that in the stories I tell and the ones I read, like the books below. Hope you enjoy! 

Daisy's book list on provoking a sense of dread

Daisy Pearce Why did Daisy love this book?

Although this is a slow-burning horror with an air of menace throughout Witch Bottle is a very human book. It is a story about grief and loss and loneliness and conjures up a deeply unsettling atmosphere that stayed with me long after I’d turned out the light. Uncanny, in the truest sense of the word. 

By Tom Fletcher,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A deeply atmospheric literary horror novel about the nature of repressed guilt, grief and fear: 'Unsettling, horribly gripping and touched with genius' says the Daily Mail

Daniel once had a baby brother, but he died, a long time ago now. And he had a wife and a daughter, but that didn't work out, so now he's alone. The easy monotony of his job as a milkman in the remote northwest of England demands nothing from him other than dealing with unreasonable customer demands and the vagaries of his enigmatic boss.

But things are changing. Daniel's started having nightmares, seeing things…


Book cover of Pet Sematary

S.R. Masters Author Of How to Kill with Kindness

From my list on books in which all that glitters is not gold.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've always been drawn to stories in which all that glitters isn't gold, and all three of my novels contain this theme. They are, at the bottom, tales of hubris, which is why I like them. A character strives to obtain some glittery thing, confident it will be better than what they have. Yet, ultimately, their confidence is misplaced, and their ambition brings about their downfall. Perhaps because I'm someone who's naturally quite risk-averse but also believes little good comes in life without taking chances, stories like this attract me. They allow me to safely hunt for the Aristotelian mean between being overly sensible and irrationally ambitious.  

S.R.'s book list on books in which all that glitters is not gold

S.R. Masters Why did S.R. love this book?

All that glitters isn't gold, and sometimes, dead is better. For a tale that Stephen King was told not to publish because it was too scary and that he only released to get out of a contract, I've always found this book oddly comforting. It once genuinely helped me process a string of sudden bereavements. 

I admire its frankness about death: it pulls no punches. In my own family, and perhaps in British culture more widely, we struggle to talk about death. I've read the novel lots, as a young man and as a not-so-young man with his own children, and found that what stands the test of time is the central notion that, yes, not being here is bad, it's really bad, but it isn't the worst thing–and for that small mercy we should be grateful. 

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a major motion picture! Stephen King’s #1 New York Times bestseller is a “wild, powerful, disturbing” (The Washington Post Book World) classic about evil that exists far beyond the grave—among King’s most iconic and frightening novels.

When Dr. Louis Creed takes a new job and moves his family to the idyllic rural town of Ludlow, Maine, this new beginning seems too good to be true. Despite Ludlow’s tranquility, an undercurrent of danger exists here. Those trucks on the road outside the Creed’s beautiful old home travel by just a little too quickly, for one thing…as is evidenced by the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in witches, haunted places, and witchcraft?

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