73 books like The Dead Beat

By Robert Bloch,

Here are 73 books that The Dead Beat fans have personally recommended if you like The Dead Beat. 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 Stars My Destination

Why am I passionate about this?

 I’ve always loved a good mystery that doesn’t give you all the details upfront. My favourite stories growing up were those where I had little epiphanies along the way until I got to the end, where everything finally fell into place. But perhaps why I’m most drawn to these types of stories is because they parallel learning about your surroundings in the real world. After living in several different countries, I’ve come to learn many situations piece by piece, where some ended in danger, while others were more humorous events that I can now laugh about. 

Jon's book list on dark horror stories that slowly unravel their mysteries piece by piece, letting you figure out along the way

Jon Vassa Why did Jon love this book?

This book blew my mind! It changed my life and gave me food poisoning; well, maybe it was some lousy shrimp that did that, but it came around the same time anyhow.

I loved the initial point of revenge, how the main character was abandoned to die in a broken spaceship in the middle of nowhere. I, too, would be pissed if a ship flew by me without stopping to save my butt.

I was happy that the book also played with metaphysical notions and cranked up the ending to a glorious finish that broke from the standard good-guy wins trope.

By Alfred Bester,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Stars My Destination as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gully Foyle, Mechanic's Mate 3rd Class, is the only survivor on his drifting, wrecked spaceship. When another space vessel, the Vorga, ignores his distress flares and sails by, Gully Foyle becomes a man obsessed with revenge. He endures 170 days alone in deep space before finding refuge on the Sargasso Asteroid and then returning to Earth to track down the crew and owners of the Vorga. But, as he works out his murderous grudge, Gully Foyle also uncovers a secret of momentous proportions...


Book cover of Deathbird Stories

David Yurkovich Author Of Glass Onion

From my list on reads that stick with you long after you finish.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer, editor, and publisher. As a child in the 1970s, I first discovered a taste for adventure stories in the pages of Marvel comics. This lead to a wider interest in fiction, particularly sci-fi, horror, and adventure tales. I believe one of the basic tenets to becoming a good writer is to read…a lot. I gravitate toward well-known but also lesser-known stories. My main criteria: is the writing engaging, does it inspire me to keep reading? As a writer, I ask myself these same questions about my work. The titles in this list are among the benchmarks I aim for when writing and editing. 

David's book list on reads that stick with you long after you finish

David Yurkovich Why did David love this book?

One of the first Ellison books I ever read and the one that haunts me the most.

Deathbird Stories lives up to its title and delivers a tour de force of fantasy and horror that only Ellison could have written. The nineteen stories in this collection are, in a sense, about gods. Not the gods we know and may worship but new ones. “A New Testament of deities for the computerized age of confrontation and relevance,” as notes Ellison in his introduction.

You’ll likely want to read every story in this collection several times, though to the casual reader looking for a taste, I recommend “The Whimper of Whipped Dogs,” an unflinchingly honest assessment of human behavior and depravity—and based in part on actual events.

I’ve seldom been so gutted by a short story, and it hits me every time I re-read it.

By Harlan Ellison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Masterpieces of myth and terror about modern gods from technology to drugs to materialism-"fantasy at its most bizarre and unsettling" (The New York Times).

As Earth approaches Armageddon, a man embarks on a quest to confront God in the Hugo Award-winning novelette, "The Deathbird."

In New York City, a brutal act of violence summons a malevolent spirit and a growing congregation of desensitized worshippers in "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs," an Edgar Award winner influenced by the real-life murder of Queens resident Kitty Genovese in 1964.

In "Paingod," the deity tasked with inflicting pain and suffering on every living being…


Book cover of Mister B. Gone

Randy Ryan Author Of Perspectives

From my list on horror that challenges beliefs and imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about this topic because it dates back to my childhood. I have been interested in this subject for as long as I can remember and, as far as I can tell, gravitated towards it naturally, probably due to those unknown vectors within us all that gear us towards our loves, interests, and passions. I have written many novels in this field, and countless short stories, some published, others lying around my house. For me, this genre defines the best aspects of the imagination and is full of color, fantasy, and the entire broad spectrum of human emotions, including the most potent: fear. 

Randy's book list on horror that challenges beliefs and imagination

Randy Ryan Why did Randy love this book?

This novel's structure inspired me to write my book, at least in part. I read it in one sitting while working as a security guard at a nature park on Christmas night years ago. It deals with an unholy presence by the name of Jakerbok, imprisoned in the pages of the book, who perpetually pleads with the reader to “Burn this book!” or else. It is wholly unique, original, and decidedly unsettling.

By Clive Barker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The long-awaited return of the great master of horror. Mister B. Gone is Barker's shockingly bone-chilling discovery of a never-before-published demonic 'memoir' penned in the year 1438, when it was printed - one copy only - and then buried until now by an assistant who worked for the inventor of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg.

This bone-chilling novel, in which a medieval devil speaks directly to his reader-his tone murderous one moment, seductive the next-is a never-before-published memoir allegedly penned in the year 1438.

The demon has embedded himself in the very words of this tale of terror, turning the…


Book cover of Slayground

Frank Zafiro Author Of The Last Horseman

From my list on action with thrills that could really happen.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a cop for twenty years. And while I always saw True Crime as a busman’s holiday, I loved crime fiction all along. Eventually my own writing took me there, as well. I love how crime fiction, much like good science fiction, explores the nature of human behavior in a way that isn’t as prevalent in other genres. As a result, I’ve read widely in the field, always gravitating toward the darker and grittier entries. The lone wolf protagonists who either live by a code or undergo a fascinating change within the book or series has also been my focus.

Frank's book list on action with thrills that could really happen

Frank Zafiro Why did Frank love this book?

I love this book because, like all of the Parker novels, it starts in the middle of the action, with Parker and his associates spilling out of a car, on the run. Parker hides in an off-season theme park and what follows is a story that is better than Die Hard (and pre-dates it by a decade).

I love the Parker novels for this sort of action and the way that Parker adheres to his particular code. It is not one most heroes abide by but you have to admire this tough thief who lives by the words he speaks – there’s something honorable in that.

By Richard Stark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

By the time Richard Stark sat down to write "Deadly Edge" in 1971, he'd been chronicling the adventures of his antihero, Parker, for nearly a decade. But it turns out he was just warming up: the next three "Parker" novels would see Stark crank everything up a notch - tightening the writing, heightening the violence, and, most of all, hardening the deadly heister at the books' heart. "Deadly Edge" kicks things off by bidding a brutal adieu to the 1960s: Parker robs a rock concert, but the heist goes sour, and he finds himself - and his woman, Claire -…


Book cover of A Romance on Three Legs: Glenn Gould's Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Piano

Dan Moller Author Of The Way of Bach: Three Years with the Man, the Music, and the Piano

From my list on Bach, music, and the piano.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of philosophy at the University of Maryland interested in politics, ethics, and art. Philosophers are often unpopular loners who are passionate about their ideas, and so are musicians like Bach. When I teach Socrates and the trial that led to his death I can’t help but think of Bach, who was rejected from job after job in favor of mediocrities, and whose music was considered offensive by parishioners and obsolete by musicians by the end of his life. These figures endear themselves to me not just because of the ideas themselves, but because they had to fight so hard for what they believed in.

Dan's book list on Bach, music, and the piano

Dan Moller Why did Dan love this book?

I’ve always had mixed feelings about the great Glenn Gould, one of the outstanding Bach pianists.

This book captures what I love and hate about him, through the lens of his pianos and his blind piano technician. Gould actually hated the piano in a sense, always pushing it toward something it wasn’t, thinning out its sound like a harpsichord, while also trying to make its hammers more continuous-sounding, like an orchestra.

He’s also insufferable in the way that most great artists are, and this book documents that, including his imagined injuries, senseless lawsuits, and the abuse his technicians endured, who kept his pianos alive until they were inevitably smashed.

By Katie Hafner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Romance on Three Legs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A grand tale of obsession about the brilliant Glenn Gould and the unique, temperamental instrument he came to love beyond all others, by a top New York Times writer.
Glenn Gould was one of the most complex, brilliant artists of the twentieth century, a musician famous for bizarre habits: he wore a hat and gloves even on the warmest summer day; refused to shake hands for fear of germs or damaged fingers; hummed and conducted himself while he played; and traveled the world with a battered old chair, refusing to perform while sitting on anything else.
But perhaps Gould’s greatest…


Book cover of The Piano Shop on the Left Bank: Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier

Sharon Farmer Author Of Surviving Poverty in Medieval Paris: Gender, Ideology, and the Daily Lives of the Poor

From my list on the culture of France and medieval modern poverty.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started out as a religion major in college, but soon became frustrated with the abstract thoughts of privileged white males. I wanted to understand the passions and struggles of ordinary people, and soon became convinced that the examination of the distant past sheds important light on the present. It’s not that I don’t care about the world around me right now. Rather, I am convinced that those who look only at this decade, this century, or even the last century fail to recognize some of the most powerful cultural forces that have shaped our most fundamental understandings of gender, wealth, poverty, work, and so much more.

Sharon's book list on the culture of France and medieval modern poverty

Sharon Farmer Why did Sharon love this book?

Everyone knows that there are no “French people.” Each region has its particular culture, and Paris is a country unto itself. Focusing on one particular artisan, his clients, and his neighborhood, Carhart helps us to understand what it means to inhabit a single quartier of Paris. It’s one of the most beautiful memoirs I’ve ever read – and I don’t even play the piano!

By Thad Carhart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Piano Shop on the Left Bank as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Walking his two young children to school every morning, Thad Carhart passes an unassuming little storefront in his Paris neighborhood. Intrigued by its simple sign—Desforges Pianos—he enters, only to have his way barred by the shop’s imperious owner. Unable to stifle his curiosity, he finally lands the proper introduction, and a world previously hidden is brought into view. Luc, the atelier’s master, proves an indispensable guide to the history and art of the piano. Intertwined with the story of a musical friendship are reflections on how pianos work, their glorious history, and stories of the people who care for them,…


Book cover of It Starts from the Belly and Blooms: Poems

Seth Brown Author Of The Disapproval of My Toaster

From my list on human poetry for an increasingly inhuman world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been writing poetry since second grade, although oddly it took me until after college (where I was Class Poet) to start writing poetry that *gasp* didn't rhyme. (Did I mention I grew up on Ogden Nash and Shel Silverstein?) I started attending local poetry slams and then poetry festivals like WordXWord, and listening and performing there showed me what poetry could be. Poems can crystalize in a few lines a universal truth you've felt for years but been unable to express. I think that's amazing. (I also think it's better with a dash of humor mixed in, because I'm a humor columnist and I'm biased.)

Seth's book list on human poetry for an increasingly inhuman world

Seth Brown Why did Seth love this book?

Nothing says humanity like vulnerability about the messy, imperfect creatures we are, and this book has that in spades. (Or I guess, more appropriately, hearts.) I could talk about how the book is darkly funny and reveals hidden depths of the soul, but I'll admit one thing I love about it is that it contains one of the most beautiful, inspiring poems I've ever heard, one I share frequently, with some devastating lines and a real sense of hope that it's okay to feel broken and still fight on, and the poem is titled, “I Can't Believe I Let You Touch My Balls”.  It's like if that old piano player joke was real life.

By Thomas Fucaloro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It Starts from the Belly and Blooms as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A strong dose of Bukowski, Breaking Bad, and brilliance. Intense and gripping, with splashes of outlandish humor, it is a full frontal assault on the challenges of modern life for outsiders. As award-winning poet Mark Bibbins raves, "Thomas Fucaloro is here and he is showing you his big messy heart. (Actually, if you're looking for other body parts, you'll find most of them in this book.). Poet Corrina Bain (louderARTS project) applauds the work: "It Starts from the Belly and Blooms dives facefirst into the glory and wildness of life, combining fearless authenticity, humor, and a gut-punching ear for images.…


Book cover of S Is for Story: A Writer's Alphabet

Carmen Oliver Author Of Bears Make the Best Writing Buddies

From my list on picture books about bears, buddies, and writing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I once spotted a mama black bear and her cubs on a camping trip in Manitoba, Canada. I kept a safe distance watching in awe as the cubs climbed trees. I’ve been fascinated with bears ever since. Most of the books I publish center around strong themes of family, friendship, making a difference in the world, and many have a bear as a secondary character. I think there’s always room for more bear stories in the world, don’t you?

Carmen's book list on picture books about bears, buddies, and writing

Carmen Oliver Why did Carmen love this book?

Like my book, this book is filled with tips and terms from A to Z to connect readers to the writerly process and life. There are inspiring quotes sprinkled throughout and the illustrations by Pullen are bright and vivid. It’s the perfect backdrop to the beautiful poetry and prose written by author Hershenhorn. 

H is for Hero and Heroine, 

   their journey grand tales to be told,

      of beaten foes, 

         and bested woes,

            of triumps, alas, to behold.

I return to this book time and time again for inspiration and to spark my imagination.

By Esther Hershenhorn, Zachary Pullen (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked S Is for Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

What is a first draft? What is a narrative? In S is for Story: A Writer's Alphabet, author and writing coach Esther Hershenhorn uses the alphabet to help explain, explore, and examine the tools, techniques, and strategies for those hoping to live the literary life. Writing terms and topics are explained using a two-tier format. C is for the Character, every story's star, the one for whom we cheer, we care, with whom we travel far. Specific genres, story elements (setting and plot), and the mechanics of how to write (including editing and revision) are covered, while quotes from famous…


Book cover of The Whatifs

Jennifer E. Morris Author Of Much Too Much Birthday (Maud the Koala)

From my list on worried or anxious children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a children’s book creator and a parent. Raising an anxious child can be challenging. Events that many children find fun and exciting can be overwhelming and scary for your child. Seemingly small changes in their daily routine can throw some youngsters into a swirl of emotions that is upsetting to them and to those who love them. When I was searching for picture books to help the young worrier in my life, I looked for books that acknowledged their distressing feelings while giving them some strategies with which to cope with their overwhelming emotions. That premise became the theme of my Maud the Koala book series. 

Jennifer's book list on worried or anxious children

Jennifer E. Morris Why did Jennifer love this book?

Cora has a bad case of the whatifs, whimiscal bug-like creatures that follow her everywhere. They fill her head with worries like “what if the dog runs away?” or “what if I forget my homework?” The whatifs become almost unbearable as Cora prepares for her big piano recital. What if no one comes? What if she makes a mistake? But through the help of her friend, Cora learns there are also happy whatifs. A good introduction to replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. 

By Emily Kilgore, Zoe Persico (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Whatifs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

"Persico's atmospheric illustrations aptly reflect Cora's shifting emotions, and Kilgore successfully balances the whimsical with a tale grounded in reality." -Publishers Weekly

"Cora and her Whatifs have a charming appeal beyond their focus on tackling anxious thoughts, making an enjoyable read-aloud for wide audiences. . . . A thoroughly welcome addition to growing collections of socio-emotional development materials." -Kirkus Reviews

Cora is struggling with her Whatif questions ahead of a big piano recital in this timely picture book about overcoming anxiety.

What if my dog runs away?
What if I forget my homework?
What if the sun stops shining?
What…


Book cover of The Unconsoled

Jon Bassoff Author Of Beneath Cruel Waters

From my list on that are relentlessly twisted.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I completed one of my early novels, a really demented one called Factory Town, a fellow author emailed me with great concern for my mental health. He was convinced I was heading down a dark cave that I couldn’t be rescued from. But it wasn’t true. Writing and reading these dark novels doesn’t make me depressed. It makes me feel creatively revitalized. Dark literature reminds us that being alive is painful—but it’s also wonderful. I hope to never spend any real time with people as terrifying as the ones I’ve found on these pages. But I’m incredibly thankful they were a part of my imagined world for a time. 

Jon's book list on that are relentlessly twisted

Jon Bassoff Why did Jon love this book?

I’ve always been fascinated by surrealism and expressionism—and The Unconsoled takes those dreamlike images and expresses them in a fascinating and disorienting story. Reading this novel makes you feel like you’re trapped in a terrifying and anxious nightmare—and I mean that in the best possible way. The novel uses dream logic: characters appear out of thin air and morph into other characters. The setting is a strange labyrinth in some nameless European city. If you like David Lynch movies, you’ll dig this. If you’re looking for a linear narrative, stay away!

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*Kazuo Ishiguro's new novel Klara and the Sun is now available*

Ryder, a renowned pianist, arrives in a Central European city he cannot identify for a concert he cannot remember agreeing to give . . .

On first publication in 1995, The Unconsoled was met in some quarters with bewilderment and vilification, in others with the highest praise. One commentator asked, 'Has Ishiguro gone for greatness or has he gone mad?' Over the years, this uniquely strange and extraordinary novel about a man whose life has accelerated beyond his control has come to be seen by many as being the…


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