The best books about evil

6 authors have picked their favorite books about evil and why they recommend each book.

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By Stephen King,

Book cover of It

Despite its biblical length, King’s iconic novel keeps the pages engaging, hilarious, and terrifying—often all at once. While his horror game plays out strong as ever in It, what really makes this story great is its unabashed perspective on childhood, nostalgia, and growing up, all centered in a gilded small-town atmosphere. It is the quintessential coming-of-age tome, tapping deep into the shadowy subconscious of our memories and pasts, while throwing in good old-fashioned blood, guts, and cosmic horror. For some reason I chose this book to give an oral presentation about in seventh grade (while my classmates mostly did The Hunger Games), and I swear I haven’t been the same since. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Who am I?

As a fisherman, my travels have taken me to some truly outlandish places and put me in contact with nature’s most dangerous, grotesque denizens. Coming face-to-face with teeth, venomous barbs, and viscous slime has given me a special appreciation for the bizarre, which translated perfectly to horror literature. Horror takes us by the hand and forces it upon the surface of this world’s darkest and weirdest places—the natural world, the human soul, the other side, the beyond—and I am your humble guide to those places. From those places, however? No guarantees. 

I wrote...

Hell's Gulf

By Nick Carlson,

Book cover of Hell's Gulf

What is my book about?

Rowan Vane, a young writer struggling with self-definition (really though, what young person isn’t?), finds himself in the dead center of a salty, sunbleached North Florida beach town for spring break. Emboldened by the lure of inspiration and personal growth, he sets out on a spirit journey, mind ablaze with possibility. But the further he ventures into its depths, the more he comes to realize the extent of the town’s darkness, from its diabolical menagerie of monsters to its corrupt, bloodsoaked history. Can he navigate the wilds of Hell’s Gulf and emerge a better, stronger man? Or will the horrifying truth behind it all end up killing him? 

Attitudes and Persuasion

By Richard E. Petty, John T. Cacioppo,

Book cover of Attitudes and Persuasion: Classic and Contemporary Approaches

What do I consider the most important theory of persuasion? The elaboration likelihood model provides a detailed, yet elegant, framework for understanding two primary “routes” through which people are influenced. This academic book not only helped me synthesize a huge body of previous theory and research, it still provides a practical blueprint for constructing my own persuasive messages. 

Who am I?

As an undergraduate in college, I worked selling men’s clothing. There was a rack of suits that, for whatever reason, would not sell, so my boss phoned a coworker and told her to cut the price of the suits by 50 percent. Misunderstanding him, she doubled the price instead. By the time our boss returned from vacation, nearly all those suits had been sold! It made no sense to me…until I read Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence. From there, I not only sold plenty of suits, I earned a Ph.D. at the University of Southern California, and eventually was named a Distinguished Professor at Utah State University.

I wrote...

Persuasion: Social Influence and Compliance Gaining

By Robert H. Gass, John S. Seiter,

Book cover of Persuasion: Social Influence and Compliance Gaining

What is my book about?

The newest edition of this field-leading book provides a highly readable, often entertaining, yet astute, presentation of major approaches to persuasion. Using real-life examples, often involving the authors’ own persuasive mishaps, the book encourages readers to develop and apply conclusions about persuasion in real-world settings. Along the way, readers are also introduced to major theories of persuasion as they apply to the practice of social influence in an array of contexts (e.g., advertising, marketing, politics, interpersonal relationships, social media, groups) and across a variety of topics (e.g., credibility, personality, deception, motivational appeals, visual persuasion). Finally, the book not only emphasizes the goal of effective persuasion, but also the importance of being ethical in one’s attempts to influence others.

The Seventh Gate

By Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman,

Book cover of The Seventh Gate

A tremendous conclusion to the Death Gate Cycle series. All that is needed is to enter the final gate and this brings new and old enemies to their doorstep. Magic has greater meaning than in this tale. A tale of treachery and heroism awaits you, take the leap through the seventh gate…

Who am I?

I spent the better part of a decade honing my writing skills and pushing the bounds of imagination after my debut fantasy novel Mercury Dagger - A Tale From Kraydenia. When I am not off exploring the wilds of Australia, I am dreaming up new adventures and monsters to cause chaos in a fantastical world filled with twists, loyalty, honour, and great and terrible battles. Originally from South Africa, I have travelled the African continent, visiting numerous countries, seeing first-hand the differences in many cultures who roam the lands and found it fascinating. It is this fascination that inspires my love for creating new characters and finding out what makes them tick.

I wrote...

Mercury Dagger: A Tale From Kraydenia

By Marius H. Visser,

Book cover of Mercury Dagger: A Tale From Kraydenia

What is my book about?

Kraydenia used to be a relatively peaceful land, until the release of Ortega Bloodbane. Now the evil sorcerer and the forces he commands is spreading terror and fear. Gordon, a youth that only set out to complete his rite of passage is quickly ensnared by the growing threat and forced to defend the land. Joined on his quest by three others, they would do their best to save their world:

Baldrake, the fierce general of the Gar hounds, who was shunned from the pack and stripped of his title by the last remaining wolves of Gar. Malachai, who not only fights for the land but also the turmoil raging inside him. Melche, the maniacal little old Mekkel who causes problems wherever he goes. A classic tale of good versus evil told in a way unlike you have ever heard.


By Dean Koontz,

Book cover of Devoted

My first experience with a Dean Koontz book was Intensity and wow, did that thriller live up to its title. The same goes for Koontz’s, suspense-packed Devoted – the perfect descriptor for Kipp, a loyal golden retriever who has that magical innate ability dogs seem to have of communicating wordlessly with their humans. At the beginning of the book, we meet Woody, an eleven-year-old non-verbal child with autism who is confident that his father’s untimely death was no accident, but an evil entity that is now after him and his mother. While Woody’s terror grows, Kipp begins his tireless search for Woody, knowing that he could be the only one who can deliver the boy to safety. 

Told with Koontz’s signature page-turning suspense, Devoted is a heart-tugging, immersive thrill-ride, best experienced with your canine best friend snuggled up right next to you. 

Who am I?

Some of my fondest memories have been of curling up with the family dog and reading a good book. This started as a child with our golden retriever OJ, and continues today with Lolo, our sweet but spoiled German shorthaired pointer. Dogs are such wonderful companions, always up for anything: hiking, exploring, car rides, sitting on the couch, and lounging. It’s no surprise, then, that not only do I love reading books featuring dogs I’ve also included a canine sidekick in each of the nine thrillers that I’ve written. I hope you enjoy this dogged list of mysteries and thrillers as much as I have. 

I wrote...

Not a Sound

By Heather Gudenkauf,

Book cover of Not a Sound

What is my book about?

When a tragic accident leaves nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she loses everything that matters—her job, her husband, and her stepdaughter. Now, two years later and with the help of her hearing dog, Stitch, she is finally getting back on her feet. But when she discovers the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by the river, deep in the woods near her cabin, she is plunged into a disturbing mystery that could shatter the carefully reconstructed pieces of her life all over again.

As clues begin to surface, Amelia finds herself swept into an investigation that hits all too close to home. But how much is she willing to risk in order to uncover the truth and bring a killer to justice? 

The Dragon and the George

By Gordon R. Dickson,

Book cover of The Dragon and the George

Twisting things around, The Dragon and the George throws the main character into the body of a dragon. I highly enjoyed the view of a human being thrown into an unknown type of body. The confusion and the discovery of strength and weaknesses made it fun to read. The tale has a small cast, and the story might remain a bit flat in ways, nevertheless, I found myself entertained by the setup and the unlikely band that the adventure brings together.

Who am I?

Fascinated by dragons at a very young age, I’ve read dozens of dragon books before I began to weave my own story with these mythical creatures. Driven by my interest in human-animal bonds, I followed wildlife management and worked with birds of preyone of the most wondrous times of my life. I want to bring dragons into the reader’s mind as a real part of the animal kingdom and the way of nature has as much a place in my books as the bonds between the characters. But there are so many dragon books out there to enjoy, with so many different approaches, that it would be silly not to share the joy. 

I wrote...

Windcatcher: Book I of the Stone War Chronicles

By A.J. Norfield,

Book cover of Windcatcher: Book I of the Stone War Chronicles

What is my book about?

When Raylan bonds with the curious dragon Galirras, the duo and their friends are thrown into an adventure that darkens as the stakes increase. Chased by the Stone King’s ruthless general, Raylan and the others scramble to stay alive as they hastily try to find a safe way back home from behind enemy lines.

The Stone War Chronicles is a fast-paced, epic fantasy series featuring giant stone warriors, heart-racing action, and a world to submerge yourself in. What begins as a simple chase, develops into a complex, world-threatening conflict with dragons at the core of all. The Stone King rises and he wants his dragon!

Sheepfarmer's Daughter

By Elizabeth Moon,

Book cover of Sheepfarmer's Daughter

Paksenarrion is a young farm girl in a fantasy world who can’t face the quiet life that seems to be her fate. Tall and strong, she runs away from home to join a mercenary company and train to be a soldier. Then she goes on the campaign and through grit and determination survives and thrives, impressing her commanders to rise to a command of her own. The book’s low magic setting and focus on the reality of military life make for a refreshing change in fantasy. There’s no chosen one, no prophecy, no evil wizard threatening the whole world; just a girl growing into a woman and a warrior through effort and courage. 

Who am I?

Like so many boys, I grew up playing soldiers with my friends. Now I’m a trained historian and running around waving a stick as a pretend rifle yelling rat-a-tat, or sword fighting with fallen branches, just isn’t a good look for me. But I can still appreciate the heroism of soldiers that drew me to play those games in the first place. These books scratch that itch, as well as meeting the standard of truthfulness that the historian in me needs. Believable settings with heroes you can root for and stakes that feel real. That’s what I like to read and that’s what I write.

I wrote...

Prentice Ash

By Matt Barron,

Book cover of Prentice Ash

What is my book about?

Trained as a knight, condemned as a heretic, exiled as a convict, Prentice’s every moment is a struggle just to survive. 

The duke is dead and young Duchess Amelia, now rules the Western Reach alone. When an unknown enemy invades her lands, slaughtering all in their path, her knights are too eager for glory to see the danger. She is forced to turn to Prentice, a convict, skilled at warfare and the only one she can trust despite the dishonour. Thrust into the front lines, Prentice must fight the violence of the enemy and foolishness of his own commanders. In battle he will earn the name Prentice Ash, for no matter how intense the fires of war, even if all burns away, Ash will remain.

The Bad Seed

By William March,

Book cover of The Bad Seed: A Vintage Movie Classic

I read this novel written well before the present focus on psychopathy. It’s simple but bone-chilling. The book came out in 1954 and became an instant best-seller, leading to more books, stage shows, and films. Rhoda Penmark is eight years old with braids and the image of sweet young innocence. Yet strange things follow her – bad events, terrible accidents in the neighborhood, and frightened people. March shows the true nature of a psychopath in childhood, giving the reader a peek into what and how these “monster” children grow up. 

Who am I?

I’m a family therapist and author with a lot of experience in psychopathic behavior. Psychopathy falls on a spectrum – from a few traits to the extreme (serial killer) and everything in-between. Studies have shown that strong psychopathic behavior is common in our leaders – political, religious, business, and cultural. There’s also the psychopath “next door” – people we work, play, and live with. As an author, therapist, and researcher, I’m passionate about the subject – constantly examining psychopathic behaviors. I hope you enjoy my Broken Books Series which features different types of psychopaths in both the present and past, and my booklist that explores this fascinating subject.

I wrote...

Broken by Evil

By Jeri Fink, Donna Paltrowitz,

Book cover of Broken by Evil

What is my book about?

Haunted family trees, chilling photo insights, and twisted psychopaths fill the pages of my bone-chilling thriller. Spanning generations, the story follows the people (and psychopaths) surrounding young Joshua. Everyone is terrified of Joshua. No one understands his mind as he drowns cats, dissects squirrels, and burn dogs instead of playing with Legos. His mother struggles to cover it up. The Senator watches with amusement.

Where does this innocent-looking child come from and how does he control so many people? Where is he headed? Partially based on a true story, young Joshua is the ultimate evil.

Angel Manor

By Chantal Noordeloos,

Book cover of Angel Manor

Although this book is only a few years old, it should be considered a classic in the genre of evil houses. A young woman inherits her mother’s childhood home and decides to convert it into a hotel. Only the place comes with some surprises: ghosts, demons, and an ancient evil that has been locked away in the dark basement. Now that evil is loose again, and the bloodshed and death are just beginning. Author Chantal Noordeloos doesn’t hold back with the frights or the blood, as person after person suffers a horrible death while poor Freya discovers her true destiny is not what she planned, and that the place they call Lucifer Falls might never let her go. 

Who am I?

I’ve been a fan of horror books since I was old enough to read, and one of my favorite subgenres has always been the haunted/evil house. Ghosts, demons, unnamed forces – I love it. One of the first books I ever wrote was about a demonic carnival, and I’ve returned to the theme of the haunted/evil house or place many times in both my long and short fiction. Even in real life, I have a fascination for visiting so-called haunted places: abandoned asylums, murder houses, etc. So it’s no surprise that I’d create a list of my favorite evil house books. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

I wrote...

The Wakening

By JG Faherty,

Book cover of The Wakening

What is my book about?

I wrote The Wakening based on a story I heard from an actual Catholic church exorcist when I was in college. Decades later, it gave me the idea for combining three of my favorite horror subgenres: Possession, Exorcism, and Haunted Houses. In The Wakening, a group of paranormal investigators must join forces with a retired exorcist and a defrocked priest to rid a house of poltergeists and cast a demon out from a young girl. But all of these people have dark secrets in their pasts that link them to the demon, secrets which they’re only now discovering. Only it might be too late to save their souls and prevent the demon from escaping Hell.

The Forests of Silence

By Emily Rodda,

Book cover of The Forests of Silence

An astoundingly creative world fashioned by Australian author Emily Rodda, the unique and thrilling creatures roaming the land of Deltora quickly captured my imagination as a young reader. From the fearsome vulture-like Ak-Baba carrying out the Shadow Lord’s will to the tyrannical lizard-esque Wennbar demanding food offerings from the Wenn, Rodda has a talent for conceiving creatures that both excite and terrify readers. These creatures are further brought to life by the vivid illustrations from the talented Marc McBride, and an anime series that I only just learned the existence of while writing this article, but am now thrilled to check out! 

Who am I?

A profound love for fantasy took hold of me at a young age, the inception being when my mother scattered a rotating collection of books around our house for me to find and devour. Several of the novels leaned against the walls of my childhood home ended up on this list, and inspired me to craft my own stories. My writing has appeared across many different mediums such as comics, trading cards, and video games. Currently working as a Lead Narrative Designer, I have the pleasure of directing narratives for several exciting video games while also continuing to pen fantasy novels and original TV pilot scripts in my spare time.

I wrote...

Aether Warriors: The Hidden War Series Book 1

By Dean Ravenola,

Book cover of Aether Warriors: The Hidden War Series Book 1

What is my book about?

In this riveting urban fantasy novel, young orphan Chase’s life is abruptly turned upside-down as he discovers that he is an Aether Warrior, a small group of magically gifted children fated to continue fighting a war that has been ongoing secretly for centuries. Each of these young warriors draws power from a unique Aether animal, which grants them astonishing abilities such as flight and invisibility. Fantastical creatures inspired by mythical beasts and cryptids, powerful ancient artifacts, and deadly deceptions await Chase as he rushes headlong towards his destiny. 

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