The best books about hell

3 authors have picked their favorite books about hell and why they recommend each book.

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Breakup from Hell

By Ann Davila Cardinal,

Book cover of Breakup from Hell

This one is a little bit of a cheeky pick, because, at the time of writing, it hasn’t been published yet. I was lucky enough to get an early read and I loved it. Miguela is frustrated by the tight reign her Puerto-Rican grandmother keeps on her. She is bored with going to church, going to school, being forbidden to date, or basically anything fun. So when Sam, a new gorgeous boy comes to her school and she feels an irresistible pull towards him, she doesn’t resist very hard. Until Sam learns of Sam’s family roots… and has to break up with him. But you don’t just break up with Sam without potentially apocalyptic consequences. This book reminded me of a YA Imaginary Friend by Chbosky, only funny. And why did I pick it for this creepy creature list? Well, the creatures in this one definitely freaked me out. Despite…

Breakup from Hell

By Ann Davila Cardinal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Breakup from Hell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

I am and have always been fascinated with supernatural creatures, particularly if they have horns and dwell in the dark swamps of wooded hinterlands. I spent a greater part of my childhood in the African bush. A formative experience was the day an isangoma (witchdoctor) cast knuckle bones at me in a particularly energetic frenzy. Rather than being scared, I was fascinated by the power these little bones had to command spirits and creatures I had only seen in my nightmares. An obsession was born.


I wrote...

Teeth in the Mist

By Dawn Kurtagich,

Book cover of Teeth in the Mist

What is my book about?

On a cursed mountain in the dark heart of North Wales, three women divided by centuries are drawn to the cursed water mill that sits at the top. The young bride accompanying her zealous new husband to a new land, a man who dreams of building a water mill where no water flows; the orphaned witch desperately trying to contain a destructive power that grows more deadly by night, and a student photographer searching for the cause of her father’s mysterious illness. Three women, generations apart, bound together by the evil of one man who made an Unholy pact with The Beast. A man who, a thousand years later, may still be watching.

The Divine Comedy

By Dante Alighieri, C.H. Sisson (translator),

Book cover of The Divine Comedy

This poem is probably the greatest single poem in world literature; sadly, it’s not written by an English poet but an Italian, which means it’s important to get a great translation! To get the feel for the poetry and for accuracy of the Inferno, I recommend J. Simon Harris’s very recent Dante Inferno for book 1 and Dorothy L. Sayers's version for the rest. Truly, this is a hero’s journey – it has everything: hell, purgatory, and heaven; not to mention sexual passion, perversion, deepest treachery, friendship, and such a love as makes the heart stop! The opening line of the poem makes it clear that this is our journey, not just Dante’s. Read this and climb to heaven yourself! As a bonus, it’s full of witty and funny moments.

The Divine Comedy

By Dante Alighieri, C.H. Sisson (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Described variously as the greatest poem of the European Middle Ages and, because of the author's evangelical purpose, the `fifth Gospel', the Divine Comedy is central to the culture of the west. The poem is a spiritual autobiography in the form of a journey - the poet travels from the dark circles of the Inferno, up the mountain of Purgatory, where Virgil, his guide leaves him to encounter Beatrice in the Earthly Paradise. Dante conceived the poem as the
new epic of Christendom, and he creates a world in which reason and faith have transformed moral and social chaos into…

Who am I?

I have been writing poetry for over 50 years and realized that as soon as I read Milton’s Paradise Lost – which blew my mind and emotions with its power of language – that epic poetry is the highest and greatest form of poetry. Thus, I have been assiduously reading epics ever since! I love them. And I write books on poetry writing (e.g. The Poetry Show: Macmillan, 1987), write on poetry for New York’s The Epoch Times, and am on the Advisory Board of The Society of Classical Poets. My own HellWard demonstrates a lifetime’s distillation about writing epic poetry, and shortly volume 2, StairWell, will be available.


I wrote...

HellWard

By James Sale,

Book cover of HellWard

What is my book about?

Dante’s Inferno in the Twenty-First Century… A psychological and metaphysical thriller in epic poetic form about nearly dying of cancer and descending into a Dantean-type of Hell where both the dead and the soul-dead are each in their separate wards. Meet awful family members, dire friends, a dreadful boss, a perverted pupil, and a murdering neighbour; plus, some infamous (and contemporary) politicians, poets, and philosophers all contributing to human misery in their self-righteous and mad words, actions, and productions.

Let Dante take you through an odyssey in Hell just as he leads James, and meet not just real people but a cornucopia of mythological and Biblical characters whose presence will amaze and astound you – and yet will resonate with some of your own experiences, and throw a fascinating light on them.

The Great Divorce

By C.S. Lewis,

Book cover of The Great Divorce

The Great Divorce is part allegory, part fantasy, part self-help, part cautionary tale as readers tag along on a bus ride from Hell to Heaven. Through the course of the journey, Lewis uses a fascinating variety of unique characters and strange situations to illustrate how individual perspective and personal choices determine how happy (or miserable) we humans are in this life, as well as what we can expect in the next. 

The Great Divorce

By C.S. Lewis,

Why should I read it?

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


Who am I?

I’ve always been intrigued by concepts of what happens after death, ignited by my religious schooling and fueled by afterlife stories from The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Tales from the Crypt, and similar works of fiction. In college I began studying interpretations of Heaven and Hell from literature, art, myth, music, and pop culture, and continued to pursue the topic in my early career. This fascination led to my first books, Encyclopedia of Hell and Encyclopedia of Heaven, and has inspired many of my other works. I continue to do research in the field of comparative afterlife theory, and never miss a chance to interview those with expertise in supernatural matters. 


I wrote...

Bandun Gate

By Miriam Van Scott,

Book cover of Bandun Gate

What is my book about?

The fact inspired novel Bandun Gate features graphic depictions of Hell, demons and diabolic creatures. In telling the story of an executed murderess determined to rise again ‘wearing’ the body of a targeted woman, Bandun Gate incorporates firsthand accounts from actual exorcists, liberated cult members, Gullah root doctors, and other paranormal practitioners. The result is a horror story set along the shores of Charleston, South Carolina that stretches into the very depths of the great abyss. 

Dante's Divine Comedy

By Seymour Chwast,

Book cover of Dante's Divine Comedy: A Graphic Adaptation

First I want to say how much I love The Divine Comedy Dante’s Inferno and this graphic novel adaptation by Seymour Chwast is a wonderful version of the tale. If you don’t already know the story I highly suggest you read it in its original text but also be sure to grab this copy as it will really bring the levels of hell to a more comical light. I particularly love the black and white bold art style and humor brought to life here. 

Dante's Divine Comedy

By Seymour Chwast,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dante's Divine Comedy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

I am from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I have always had a passion for art and literature. I started drawing at a young age and never stopped. Constantly drawing on scrap papers from my father’s graphic arts business. Always pulling from my imagination and the world around me for inspiration. Books were a major outlet for my creativity. Graphic novels in particular were always my favorite form of expression. To be able to tell a story using pictures and share my own personal feelings with others was a means of communication for me. I began to study illustration in school and college. I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Marywood University. I currently work as a graphic designer and illustrator.


I wrote...

Leviathan

By Vince Galea,

Book cover of Leviathan

What is my book about?

Leviathan is a short story graphic novel that focuses on mental health. More specifically my own mental health… Based on true events the book takes place in a state of mind, or rather a dream. Conversations are narrated through sometimes incomplete thoughts or text messages from circa 2008. Texting was much less common then and more difficult to express emotions.

A failing relationship between two lovers and the fear of facing reality spirals to an end. There is also a comical side to this story as the protagonist is hurtling toward self-destruction. Little quirks and dark humor allow the reader to find comfort in this mature tragedy.

This book is available here.

Four Views on Hell

By Preston Sprinkle (editor),

Book cover of Four Views on Hell

This book was perspective shifting for me because it brings together four experts on the bible and contrasts their very different views on one of the most important topics of our faith, eternity. As someone that grew up never thinking critically about hell, this book made me realize that there were still a lot of elements of my faith that I needed to investigate.

Four Views on Hell

By Preston Sprinkle (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Four Views on Hell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Recent years have seen much controversy regarding a unified Christian doctrine of hell: Do we go to heaven or hell when we die? Or do we cease to exist? Are believers and unbelievers ultimately saved by grace in the end?

By focusing on recent theological arguments, Four Views on Hell: Second Edition highlights why the church still needs to wrestle with the doctrine of hell.

In the fair-minded and engaging Counterpoints format, four leading scholars introduce us to the current views on eternal judgment, with particular attention given to the new voices that have entered the debate.

Contributors and views…


Who am I?

I’m the founder of PreachersNSneakers, a network of social media accounts and books of the same title, which looks to get others to question the state of the modern church and our obsession with wealth, entertainment and fame. Going through the process of curating the accounts and writing the book has helped me develop expertise on mega churches, celebrity pastors, social media and the prosperity gospel. My goal is to get all people to laugh, think and live more authentically.


I wrote...

PreachersNSneakers: Authenticity in an Age of For-Profit Faith and (Wannabe) Celebrities

By Ben Kirby,

Book cover of PreachersNSneakers: Authenticity in an Age of For-Profit Faith and (Wannabe) Celebrities

What is my book about?

What started as a joke account on Instagram has turned into a movement. Through this provocative project, the founder of PreachersNSneakers is helping thousands of Jesus followers wrestle with the inevitable dilemmas created by our Western culture obsessed with image and entertainment.

In PreachersNSneakers: Authenticity in an Age of For-Profit Faith and (Wannabe) Celebrities, Ben Kirby approaches many of the difficult questions plaguing countless Christians’ minds, presenting experiences and input from both sides of difficult questions.This book will doubtlessly become a staple for church small groups, college ministries, and book clubs, emboldening struggling believers who want to live a more genuine faith. After all, the Lord works in mysterious colorways.

Her Lover's Face

By Patricia Elliott,

Book cover of Her Lover's Face

This book is surrounded by a shroud of mystery from the start. Laryssa Mitchell reclaims her life after the death of her abusive husband. She starts taking back what was lost – her independence and her old job. But she finds herself in a living nightmare when she meets her new boss. Who is the man standing in front of her with her dead husband’s face? Alexander Richards is the spitting image of Laryssa’s ex, but instead of darkness, she finds light in this caring man in the midst of danger. The passion is hot and there are plenty of thrills in this novel.

Her Lover's Face

By Patricia Elliott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Her Lover's Face as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

I am a big fan of romance books with thrilling plots. It’s partly how I remember the stories years later. When I wrote Flowers for Kate in the Rainbow Desire anthology, it started as a pure romance, but I added a supernatural thrill. One reader admitted checking over her shoulder in case a spectral being was there while reading the story. I love writing stories with twists and turns, and surprising readers. Maybe it comes from my childhood days of being a Scooby-Doo fan—I loved the thrill of guessing the mysteries behind each character and the villain being unmasked. I’m an ex-journalist who has published romance stories from erotic to sweet.


I wrote...

Rainbow Desire

By Annabel Allan, Estelle Pettersen, Callie Carmen

Book cover of Rainbow Desire

What is my book about?

It’s 1988, a decade after video killed the radio star. Disco’s out of fashion, and pop music dominates the dance floor. At twenty-two, Kate Calloway is a bangle-loving university student finding her way in life with her friends. She’s allergic to pollen and hates flowers until she meets the mysterious Dahlia, a florist who takes her breath away. Kate wants Dahlia, but does Dahlia feel the same for Kate?

Flowers for Kate is a story in Rainbow Desire, an anthology that celebrates life and love in its kaleidoscope of exotic rainbow colours. Published by Black Velvet Seductions, the stories in the book reflect its vibrant shades of romance from light and dark. The LGBTQ+ anthology features work by international and award-winning authors.

Sutton's Spinster

By Scarlett Scott,

Book cover of Sutton's Spinster

One of the tropes I always one-click is the well-bred lady with an earthy, pull-himself-up-by-the-bootstraps kind of guy. Sutton’s Spinster gives you all that and more. Jasper has built his wealth by running a successful gaming hell. When two young daughters land on his doorstep, he finds himself in need of a wife. Octavia dreams of creating a gossip journal, but needs a partner to provide the start-up funds. The heat between these two lights up the pages. I love how Jasper reacts to suddenly becoming a father, and how he transforms from a hard and cutthroat businessman to something softer because of Octavia. Scarlett Scott delivered with this one.

Sutton's Spinster

By Scarlett Scott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sutton's Spinster as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

I grew up reading nothing but mystery novels, which is why when I discovered romance, I found the ones I liked the best had a bit of intrigue to them. As Alyson Chase, I write Regency romances I like to read: full of adventure and mystery, deep emotional connections, and, yes, quite a bit naughty. Character is the most important thing to me, whether as a writer or reader, and the books on this list are full of characters you can’t help but fall in love with.


I wrote...

Disciplined by the Duke

By Alyson Chase,

Book cover of Disciplined by the Duke

What is my book about?

The day her sister murdered their abusive father, Elizabeth Wilcox stopped being a gentleman’s daughter. Willing to do anything to save her sister from the hangman’s noose, now she is a spy... A servant. A liar. A submissive.

Masquerading as a parlor maid in the Duke of Montague’s estate, Liz is willing to risk all to uncover the secrets that would save her sister. But submitting to the duke’s peculiar brand of discipline surprises her with a heady mixture of pleasure and pain. Eager to relinquish control of her messy life, Liz soon craves the rough hands of Montague and his powerful, passionate attentions. Can she succumb to the hot sting of his hand and the gentleness of his kisses without revealing her darkest secrets?

Inferno

By Holly S. Roberts,

Book cover of Inferno: Desert Mafia

Out of all my recommendations, this one is a true mafia romance in the Hotter Than Hell series. But make no mistake, this isn’t the typical mafia romance where the hot/rich/dangerous guy comes in and sweeps the virgin/young/beautiful girl off her feet into a glamourous life where she’s pampered, but never loses her “I’m just a down-to-earth kinda gal” personality. I’ve met Ms. Roberts personally, and know she’s worked as a sex crime detective in real life, which has enabled her to bring some of those experiences to her books. While she never shies away from the hard stuff, she also never glorifies violence, and instead focuses on the emotional aftermath of trauma and the message that love really can conquer all.

Inferno

By Holly S. Roberts,

Why should I read it?

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


Who am I?

I’ve been reading romance since before dirt was old—(okay, I’m not actually that old, but some days I feel like it)—and I have a deep belief that romances can be our shining light in a sometimes very dark world. Which is why when I wrote my own stories, my very first editorial letter started out with, “Wow, you really like to torture your characters.” I wanted to create genuine characters that make mistakes, mess up, and sometimes are their own worst enemy but you still want to root for them. My list of books on Heroines That Won’t Get Nominated For Sainthood will take you on a journey far more interesting than sainthood—the human experience.


I wrote...

Mi Familia: Part 1

By K.C. Klein,

Book cover of Mi Familia: Part 1

What is my book about?

My life could be every episode of Cops. Kicked out of the trailer by my stripper mother with an angry drug dealer hot on my trail. I’m outta gas and outta money and stuck in a crap-hole bar too close to the Mexican border. Yeah, nothing could go wrong with this picture. But I’ve gotta plan—hustle money out of the losers at the pool tables or five-finger discount some fat wallets, and then back on the road before anything else in my life implodes.

Too late. Meet Jack. Designer jeans. Bulging wallet. Perfect pick-pocket material. Until I follow him into the men’s bathroom and learn he’s playing his own game. Dark, dangerous, and involved with the mob, Jack’s everything I hate...and in this family, I’m the weakness he can’t afford to have. 

Book cover of Daydream's Daughter, Nightmare's Friend: One Woman's Journey Through Two Hells

I've always heard there are two sides to every story. Generally, this means a good side and a bad, or at least one with some sort of a redeeming perspective. But what does a person do when both sides are equally hellish? For Maiya, it means she truly is Daydream's Daughter and Nightmare's Friend. It seems as though the insufferable miseries will never end. This book is deeply emotional and compelling. The author describes the events in vivid detail creating a sense for the reader of being there in the midst of it all. The book immediately captures your attention, and page after page keeps you wondering what will happen next. An excellent story by an excellent author.

Daydream's Daughter, Nightmare's Friend

By Nonnie Jules,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Daydream's Daughter, Nightmare's Friend as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

While the subject matter of the books on my list may vary, the thing that ties them together is the suspenseful tension that builds and keeps the reader on edge. The unexpected twists and turns are the "secret sauce"  that adds flavor and fervor. I like the way each of these books keeps your mind from wandering by combining vivid imagery with a compelling storyline. As an author myself, I am always fascinated by those who make it look so easy and effortless. And as an avid reader, I constantly search for these kind of books; the kind that make you feel as if you just have to keep reading.


I wrote...

Over My Dead Body

By Bruce A. Borders,

Book cover of Over My Dead Body

What is my book about?

When the director of Child Protective Services uses his position to exact a personal vendetta in removing three-year-old Ashley from her home, a protective father, Jeff Blake, puts up a fight. The situation quickly becomes violent and by the end of the short encounter, three people are dead. Ironically, Ashley is still taken.

To further complicate matters, Amy, the wife and mother, winds up in a mental ward due to the trauma she witnessed in her home. Ashley is placed in foster care, while the family’s attorneys attempt to salvage what they can and re-unite the family. The police, as well as the courts, understandably, are not too concerned with the needs of the family and it seems the entire justice system is against them.

Hideaway

By Dean Koontz,

Book cover of Hideaway

Hideaway explores the question: what would happen if people who’ve had near-death experiences bring something back with them from the other side? Koontz offers two characters resuscitated after being clinically dead for more than half an hour, one who tastes Heaven while the other sees Hell. Is the carnage that follows the result of their angel/demon hitchhikers wreaking havoc among the living, or is something else at play? The novel offers unique perspective on the desire to return to the land of the dead, and how closely the forces of Heaven and Hell are linked to the realm of the living. 

Hideaway

By Dean Koontz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Strange visions plague a man after he survives a near-death experience in this chilling thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz.

Surviving a car accident on a snowy mountain road is miraculous for Lindsey Harrison, but even more so for her husband, Hatch, who was clinically dead for eighty minutes.

After experimental procedures bring Hatch back to life, he awakens with the terrifying feeling that something is it out there. But it soon becomes apparent that the evil stalking Hatch is within him-a dark force of murderous rage that hides within us all...

Who am I?

I’ve always been intrigued by concepts of what happens after death, ignited by my religious schooling and fueled by afterlife stories from The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Tales from the Crypt, and similar works of fiction. In college I began studying interpretations of Heaven and Hell from literature, art, myth, music, and pop culture, and continued to pursue the topic in my early career. This fascination led to my first books, Encyclopedia of Hell and Encyclopedia of Heaven, and has inspired many of my other works. I continue to do research in the field of comparative afterlife theory, and never miss a chance to interview those with expertise in supernatural matters. 


I wrote...

Bandun Gate

By Miriam Van Scott,

Book cover of Bandun Gate

What is my book about?

The fact inspired novel Bandun Gate features graphic depictions of Hell, demons and diabolic creatures. In telling the story of an executed murderess determined to rise again ‘wearing’ the body of a targeted woman, Bandun Gate incorporates firsthand accounts from actual exorcists, liberated cult members, Gullah root doctors, and other paranormal practitioners. The result is a horror story set along the shores of Charleston, South Carolina that stretches into the very depths of the great abyss. 

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