100 books like The Rats

By James Herbert,

Here are 100 books that The Rats fans have personally recommended if you like The Rats. 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 Dracula

Amanda Desiree Author Of Smithy

From my list on creepy epistolary horror novels.

Who am I?

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?

Older than the rest and still one of the best, Dracula was my introduction to the epistolary format. My eleven-year-old self was pleasantly surprised when the diaries and letters never gave way to straight narration. Reading the book gave me the chance to see how much detail was left out of the various movie adaptations.

After a slow start with Harker’s travelogue, the book unleashed some gruesome and haunting imagery. I thought Renfield’s scenes were especially chilling. I can’t wait to check out the complete, uncut version of the novel, released in Sweden as Powers of Darkness, to see what other creepiness Stoker originally planned for his readers.

By Bram Stoker,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked Dracula as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 17.

What is this book about?

'The very best story of diablerie which I have read for many years' Arthur Conan Doyle

A masterpiece of the horror genre, Dracula also probes identity, sanity and the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire. It begins when Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula purchase a London house, and makes horrifying discoveries in his client's castle. Soon afterwards, disturbing incidents unfold in England - an unmanned ship is wrecked; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman's neck; a lunatic asylum inmate raves about the imminent arrival of his 'Master' - and a determined group of adversaries…

Book cover of The Deep

Kristal Stittle Author Of Survival Instinct

From my list on featuring plagues.

Who am I?

I live in sight of an extremely busy highway. On the rare days when I wake up to an empty house, I go look at the cars to confirm that I’m not the last person on Earth. There’s always been this part of me that assumes an unprecedented disaster is coming. The best way to soothe that fear, is to read (and write) books about it. Understanding how people survive, or not, feels like a great way to prepare for the unknown. Plagues are particularly bad, especially those of the biblical sense. Water turning to blood, swarms of insects, prolonged darkness, all of these are lethal under the right circumstances.

Kristal's book list on featuring plagues

Kristal Stittle Why did Kristal love this book?

As if a plague of memory loss that eventually makes you forget how to breathe isn’t scary enough, Cutter takes us deep under the ocean, to a lab where something has gone terribly wrong with our potential saviors. This is the most claustrophobic book I’ve ever read. You can feel the crushing weight of the water and the dark just outside the lab’s walls. There’s a wonderful sort of madness to the whole thing, and one scene, in particular, continues to haunt me.

By Nick Cutter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Afraid of the dark? You should be ... Part horror, part psychological nightmare, The Deep by Nick Cutter is a novel fans of Stephen King and Clive Barker won't want to miss.

A plague is destroying the world's population. The 'Gets makes people forget. First it's the small things, like where you left your keys ... then the not-so-small things, like how to drive. And finally your body forgets how to live.

But now an unknown substance with extraordinary power to heal has been discovered in the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Nicknamed ambrosia, it might just be the miracle…

Book cover of Hater

Lee Taylor Author Of BEDBUGS (Can you see them?)

From my list on horror that should be movies.

Who am I?

My name is Lee Andrew Taylor. I write novels and screenplays, mostly in the horror genre, with a few signed by Producers since 2021. I write what I see. It’s worked for me so far, with many discussions with producers in the past few years. If I can see a movie when I read someone’s story then there’s a great chance other people will see the same thing. I am always creating new worlds inside my mind, new stories to write, and new paths to take.

Lee's book list on horror that should be movies

Lee Taylor Why did Lee love this book?

I’m recommending this book because of its subject matter. A virus. After what’s happened in the world recently with Covid, why not believe this could happen? A disease that makes you think someone is trying to kill you, so you have to kill them first. It’s similar to being paranoid. The author of this book has written a few sequels that follow the main character’s journey. A journey that took the person from working a normal day to thinking people were now the enemy. 

By David Moody,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

REMAIN CALM DO NOT PANIC TAKE SHELTER WAIT FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS THE SITUATION IS UNDER CONTROL Society is rocked by a sudden increase in the number of violent assaults on individuals. Christened 'Haters' by the media, the attackers strike without warning. The assaults are brutal, remorseless and extreme: within seconds, normally rational, self-controlled people are becoming maddened, vicious killers. There are no apparent links as a hundred random attacks become a thousand, and then thousands, right across the country. Everyone, irrespective of gender, age, race, sexuality or any other difference, has the potential to become a victim - or a…

Book cover of The Ruins

Jason McGathey Author Of The Doom Statues

From my list on horror featuring a cursed location.

Who am I?

I’ve been a lifelong horror reader, really since first stumbling onto Stephen King in the 9th grade. There’s something about that genre that has held a particular fascination for me through the years, probably because the best works are some combination of suspenseful, well-written, and cathartic, as they really get your mind racing as to what you might do yourself in a given situation. If you’re lucky, they might even have something to say about the human condition as a whole. But given this prolonged interest and exposure to horror, it’s only natural I would eventually progress to giving it a stab myself.

Jason's book list on horror featuring a cursed location

Jason McGathey Why did Jason love this book?

This is always the first one that leaps to mind for me when I’m thinking of a relentlessly paced novel that is nonetheless extremely well written. It’s a simple yet relatable premise, which to me makes it all the more horrifying. Smith is a master of economy here, as he keeps the plot moving (with no chapter breaks!) throughout, yet his style is a fairly literary one and he develops the characters well.

By Scott Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Craving an adventure to wake them from their lethargic Mexican holiday before they return home, four friends set off in search of one of their own who has travelled to the interior to investigate an archaeological dig in the Mayan ruins.
After a long journey into the jungle, the group come across a partly camouflaged trail and a captivating hillside covered with red flowers. Lured by these, the group move closer until they happen across a gun-toting Mayan horseman who orders them away. In the midst of the confrontation, one of the group steps inadvertently backwards into the flowering vine.…

Book cover of The Fireman

S. James McLaughlin Author Of The WVU Coed Murders: Who Killed Mared and Karen?

From my list on cleansing your true-crime palate.

Who am I?

Lately, the state of the world is a big factor of negativity and rumination for me. To keep from getting jaded, I have to take periodic breaks from reading the news and researching crime cases. Fiction works as an escape, especially horror, which might sound like ugly-adjacent, but it’s cathartic. The characters aren’t real, so if anything happens to them, it’s not going to affect my psyche the way real families dealing with the murders of their loved ones does. Sometimes a perfectly-solved mystery or a revenge tale is a breath of fresh air compared to the unresolved loose ends of real life. 

S.'s book list on cleansing your true-crime palate

S. James McLaughlin Why did S. love this book?

Joe Hill is a masterful storyteller.

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but The Fireman has it all––a pandemic that causes its afflicted to spontaneously combust (called Dragonscale because Spinal-Tap Drummer Disease was too long), a plucky pregnant nurse determined to have a healthy baby in spite of the odds (which includes an unhinged husband and a blood-thirsty post-apocalyptic death squad), a commune that has figured out a way to live with the disease, and a lone wolf that wears a fireman’s jacket who has somehow learned how to control his fire.

The characters are so real they still live rent free in my head. I read it during the COVID lockdown and the parallels were both scary and hopeful. 

By Joe Hill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The NUMBER ONE New York Times Bestselling novel

Nobody knew where the virus came from.
FOX News said it had been set loose by ISIS, using spores that had been invented by the Russians in the 1980s.
MSNBC said sources indicated it might've been created by engineers at Halliburton and stolen by culty Christian types fixated on the Book of Revelation.
CNN reported both sides.
While every TV station debated the cause, the world burnt.

Pregnant school nurse, HARPER GRAYSON, had seen lots of people burn on TV, but the first person she saw burn for real was in the…

Book cover of The Haunting of Hill House

Linda Griffin Author Of Stonebridge

From my list on good old-fashioned haunted house.

Who am I?

Maybe because I grew up in San Diego, a city that boasts what ghost hunter Hans Holzer called the most haunted house in America, I’ve always loved ghost stories. I never encountered a ghost when I visited the Whaley House Museum, as Regis Philbin did when he spent the night, but I once took a photograph there that had an unexplained light streak on it. Although I conceived a passion for the printed word with my first Dick and Jane reader and wrote my first story at the age of six, it took me a few decades to fulfill my long-held desire to write a ghost story of my own.

Linda's book list on good old-fashioned haunted house

Linda Griffin Why did Linda love this book?

I was late in coming to this and was glad to find its popularity richly deserved.

The characters are quirky enough to be entertaining on their own, and the house is a formidable opponent. I found the climactic scene where the ghost is banging on all the doors genuinely frightening, and then the plot took a completely unexpected turn. I was the one who succumbed to the haunting in the end.

By Shirley Jackson,

Why should I read it?

29 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 Silence of the Lambs

Carl Vonderau Author Of Saving Myles

From my list on thrillers that are as much about family as danger.

Who am I?

I am a former international banker and now a prize-winning author. My books take place in the financial world. However, my writing principle is that behind every crime is a family. In my thrillers, the crime amplifies the family dysfunction. My characters can only survive by growing and coming together. If you like character development, as well as the twists and turns of a good plot, you will like the novels that I recommend. 

Carl's book list on thrillers that are as much about family as danger

Carl Vonderau Why did Carl love this book?

This is my eccentric pick. This book shows how the protagonist forms a kind of family when she has lost her own.

Clarice, a young FBI trainee, must enlist the help of a Hannibal Lecter, a serial killer, to find another serial killer. Clarice’s father was killed and her mother unable to keep the family together, which caused her to be sent to an orphanage.

She is without a family but has two father figures: her FBI boss who is shown to be wonderfully devoted to his dying wife, and Hannibal Lecter, a man who is incapable of love but values loyalty and courtesy.

I love this book because it balances how an unloved protagonist seeks out the outlines of a family in her mentors and friends. 

By Thomas Harris,

Why should I read it?

18 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 Psycho

Alan Toner Author Of Werewolf Nightmare

From my list on horror fiction that scared me witless.

Who am I?

The reason why I love horror fiction so much, and the reason why I decided to become a horror writer myself, is that horror is my No.1 genre. Ever since I saw Boris Karloff portraying, so brilliantly, the monster in Universal’s Frankenstein when I was a kid, I became a lifelong horror fan. I love both reading and writing horror fiction. I also enjoy collecting horror films, and review them regularly on my YouTube channel. I have studied the world of horror all my life, and think I have accrued a fairly broad knowledge on the subject. I have published my horror fiction books and my true paranormal books.

Alan's book list on horror fiction that scared me witless

Alan Toner Why did Alan love this book?

This book is an absolute classic, and spawned an equally classic movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The reason why I love Psycho so much is that it brought horror away from the traditional Gothic haunted house and castle settings right into the modern world. And if you add the aspect of mental illness in the chilling form of the Norman Bates character, then you have a horror story that becomes all too real, all too unsettling. We are not dealing with ghoulies and ghosties here, but with a deranged killer harbouring a split personality, whose warped mentality has often been mirrored in real-life crime cases. For example, Bloch based Norman Bates on an actual killer, Ed Gein. Psycho is a novel that every horror fan must read.

By Robert Bloch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mary Crane believes she has found shelter from the storm when she checks into the Bates Motel, but the knife-wielding owner, Norman Bates, soon rips her piece of mind to shreds and the nightmare begins.

Book cover of Heart-Shaped Box

Christopher Brett Bailey Author Of I Saw Satan at the 7-Eleven

From my list on for headbangers.

Who am I?

My new book, I Saw Satan at the 7-Eleven, is among other things, a love letter to heavy metal. I am a lifelong music obsessive: a record collector, concertgoer, maker of mixtapes, sewer of patch jackets. When I’m not writing or reading I’m playing guitar with the amp turned all the way up. And I have the tinnitus to prove it. Some of the books on this list are about metal, others are simply imbued with its rebellious dionysian spirit. But every damn one of them goes to 11, I can assure you of that. Enjoy!

Christopher's book list on for headbangers

Christopher Brett Bailey Why did Christopher love this book?

Debut novel by Stephen King’s kid.

A poppy, pulpy page-turner in the grand tradition of his father. In which an ageing rockstar obsessed with the morbid—think Ozzy or Alice Cooper—stumbles onto a newfangled website called “eBay” where one can seemingly buy anything one desires… and what does he buy? A human soul. And guess what? That ain’t good juju, so all heck breaks loose. 

By Joe Hill,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Heart-Shaped Box as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Buy my stepfather's ghost' read the e-mail.

So Jude did.

He bought it, in the shape of the dead man's suit, delivered in a heart-shaped box, because he wanted it: because his fans ate up that kind of story. It was perfect for his collection: the genuine skulls and the bones, the real honest-to-God snuff movie, the occult books and all the rest of the paraphanalia that goes along with his kind of hard/goth rock.

But the rest of his collection doesn't make the house feel cold. The bones don't make the dogs bark; the movie doesn't make Jude feel…

Book cover of Jaws

Ben H. Winters Author Of The Bonus Room

From my list on malevolent beasts.

Who am I?

I’ve written across genres, including mysteries like The Last Policeman and big works of alternate history like Underground Airlines. But Bedbugs—now republished as The Bonus Room—was one of my first books, and very dear to my heart. I’ve always loved books that pit a single, relatively helpless protagonist against some inexplicable force that he or she cannot begin to fathom. A force that can’t be reasoned with or bargained with. You just have to beat it. Perhaps that’s why I love these books about man vs. beast—the natural world is our friend, and animal are subservient to us…until suddenly, terrifyingly, they’re not.   

Ben's book list on malevolent beasts

Ben H. Winters Why did Ben love this book?

Jaws is one of those extremely rare cases where the movie is actually better. (Can’t think of another one? Try The Godfather.)
It’s a perfectly fun suspense novel, but in the film version Spielberg conjures up by special effects magic (and the magic of Dreyfuss and Scheider’s performances) what Benchley in his novel comes close to but never quite lands: the absolutely terrifying feelings of knowing something is there—and getting closer—and closer—but you can’t actually see

By Peter Benchley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Peter Benchley's Jaws first appeared in 1974. As well as Steven Spielberg's film adaptation, the novel has sold over twenty million copies around the world, creating a legend that refuses to die.

It's never safe to go back in the water . . .

It was just another day in the life of a small Atlantic resort until the terror from the deep came to prey on unwary holiday makers. The first sign of trouble - a warning of what was to come - took the form of a young woman's body, or what was left of it, washed up…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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