The best supernatural books

19 authors have picked their favorite books about the supernatural and why they recommend each book.

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The Curse She Wore

By Jordan Dane,

Book cover of The Curse She Wore

What I love best about this novel is how adept the author is at combining the traditional elements of a serial killer story with those of supernatural tales such as Peter Straub’s terrifying Ghost Story. And trust me, the combination works. If you’re in the mood to be scared, then touched by the tortured yet loyal and loving Trinity LeDoux, I suggest you stop what you’re doing and acquire The Curse She Wore.

Who am I?

Steven Ramirez is a lifelong fan of the movies—especially gripping thrillers and nail-biting horror. An award-winning author, he wrote the supernatural suspense series, Sarah Greene Mysteries, and the horror-thriller series, Tell Me When I’m Dead. His latest novel is Faithless, a thriller. A former screenwriter, Steven lives in Los Angeles with his family. He enjoys Mike and Ikes with his Iced Caffè Americano, doesn’t sleep on planes, and wishes Europe were closer.


I wrote...

The Girl in the Mirror: A Sarah Greene Supernatural Mystery

By Steven Ramirez,

Book cover of The Girl in the Mirror: A Sarah Greene Supernatural Mystery

What is my book about?

Sarah Greene is a successful realtor who sees ghosts–and sometimes wishes she didn’t. While renovating an old house with her ex-husband, she finds a mirror haunted by a teenager’s tortured spirit. As she sets out to discover the victim’s identity, Sarah stumbles onto something chilling. The people who built the house had a demon-worshipping son, Peter. And Sarah comes to believe he murdered the girl. But there’s more. An insidious evil is infesting the town of Dos Santos. Could this dark force be tied to Peter Moody?

A Dictionary of Fairies

By Katharine M. Briggs,

Book cover of A Dictionary of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, and Other Supernatural Creatures

There is a world of difference between the fairies of folk-lore and the ‘airy-fairy’s’ to use one of Katherine Brigg’s descriptions that infest popular media. Disney’s depiction of Peter Pan & Tinkerbelle as ordinary kids who happen to have wings bears no relation to the fairies of folklore. The moment a fairy character is absorbed into capitalist entertainment, their magic is lost. The unsurpassable fairy lore of Katherine Briggs 1898-1980, takes up an entire shelf on my bookcase and includes The Anatomy of Puck, The Fairies in Tradition and Literature, The Vanishing People, and A Dictionary of Fairies. The one-time president of the English Folklore Society, her books are so authoritative and imaginative, they bring to life the incredible inhabitants of the otherworldly realm. All the best books on the subject were written before 1970, the later ones tending to be cribbed from Briggs and that other great…


Who am I?

A cult author who has survived by the skin of her wits. Nina has spent her adult years in London though many believe she is from New York, which sounds like a lot of travelling for someone who has spent the majority of her life in the dream land of writing. What does being a cult author entail? It is to be a literary Will o’ the Wisp, possessing a gem like glimmering in a mist of obscurity, loved by the rarified few. After writing many critically acclaimed books on various nefarious rock n’ rollers, her ardor dimmed with the passing years as those she had loved were no more and so she returned to her first love, which is the strange and supernatural.


I wrote...

Johnny Thunders: In Cold Blood

By Nina Antonia,

Book cover of Johnny Thunders: In Cold Blood

What is my book about?

Johnny Thunders – In Cold Blood has existed below the mainstream radar but Mr. Thunders has a devoted fan base that has grown since his death in 1991. In life, he was the stripped-down essence of rock n’ roll and an unquantifiable influence on the musicians who grew up in his shadow from Guns n’ Roses to Green Day. It is rewarding to hear from people a great deal younger than myself for whom Johnny Thunders is an emblem of a freer albeit wilder time. He connects with the disenfranchised and disheartened and reminds them of how liberating a good guitar riff can be.

The commissioning editor of Virgin Books told me there was no future in writing about Punk whilst the editor of the NME declared that neither he nor his staff could find anything redeeming in the subject matter. Happily, it has survived its detractors and has remained in print for the best of 30 something years.

Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre

By H.P. Lovecraft,

Book cover of Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre: The Best of H. P. Lovecraft

The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre showcases some of the weirder stories of the horror genre. “The Rats in the Walls” and “The Thing on the Doorstep” put the “f” in fear! H.P.’s evil space creature, Cthulhu, also makes an appearance in this anthology.


Who am I?

My Swedish grandmother first introduced me to the horror genre when I was a small boy. Her folktales of trolls and witches really fueled my imagination! Then, when I was in junior high, my father encouraged me to read Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. I didn’t get hooked on things Gothic, however, until I heard the lyrics of Jim Morrison and the Doors in high school. After college, I became a freelance writer. I quickly learned that 80% of my spooky stuff got accepted by magazines while only 10% of my general interest work was published. That said, it’s no wonder I became a horror writer! 


I wrote...

Ghosts Revisited

By William P. Robertson,

Book cover of Ghosts Revisited

What is my book about?

Ghosts Revisited by William P. Robertson exhumes 32 chilling tales from the crypts of Pennsylvania and Western New York. Who knew that Erie Cemetery housed a vampire, or that High Hat, the Seneca Bogeyman, roams Allegany State Park to quench his cannibalistic urges? Hell hounds frequent Goodleburg Graveyard while Hotel Conneaut is home to the specter bride Elizabeth who burned to death on her honeymoon. Scarier yet, is the serial killer whose ghost resides at the Bergen House near Rochester, New York. That was where he slaughtered children and fed them to the pigs.

Historic sites such as the Devil’s Den at Gettysburg, the Dunkirk Lighthouse, and Eastern State Penitentiary have their share of phantoms, as well. Add in a haunted hospital, a derelict poorhouse, and a rat-infested factory, and this book becomes truly spooktacular!

Coraline

By Neil Gaiman,

Book cover of Coraline

This book is a classic—one where a bored and curious girl finds her way through a locked door in her new house that leads to a similar-but-not-quite-right version of her very own home. And similar-but-not-quite-right versions of her very own parents. It’s wonderfully creepy and a quick read that you will want to revisit again and again.


Who am I?

Each summer when I was small, I visited my gram. During the day we would go off on one adventure or another—and at night, she enticed me to sleep with the promise of a story. Most often, she read Grimm’s fairytales to me. Full of darkness and also hope (!), they were, and still are, some of my very favorites. And they inspire what I most enjoy writing and reading.


I wrote...

The Plentiful Darkness

By Heather Kassner, Iz Ptica (illustrator),

Book cover of The Plentiful Darkness

What is my book about?

In Warybone, twelve-year-old Rooney de Barra collects precious moonlight, which she draws from the evening sky with her (very rare and most magical) lunar mirror. All the while she tries to avoid the rival roughhouse boys, and yet another, more terrifying danger: the dreaded magician that's been disappearing children in the night.

When Trick Aidan, the worst of the roughhouse boys, steals her lunar mirror, Rooney will do whatever it takes to get it back. Even if it means leaping into a pool of darkness after it swallows Trick and her mirror. Or braving the Plentiful Darkness, a bewitching world devoid of sky and stars. Or begrudgingly teaming up with Trick to confront the magician and unravel the magic that has trapped Warybone’s children.

The Nest

By Kenneth Oppel, Jon Klassen (illustrator),

Book cover of The Nest

On my first read of Oppel’s spare masterpiece, I thought, I haven’t been this scared by a book in a long time. It’s a middle-grade novel, but don’t let that stop you from picking it up. Steve is anxious about his baby brother, who was born with severe health problems. When an otherworldly creature offers to help, he assumes he’s communicating with an angel. The creature can fix Steve’s brother—a normal baby certainly would be a huge relief for his whole family. But what does it mean to fix him? And what is “normal,” anyway? This is a haunting, beautifully constructed novel. 


Who am I?

I enjoy shadowy histories, both in my reading and writing. Having experienced anxiety and depression, I know very well the feeling of darkness entering my mind, consuming it, doling out spirals of negative thoughts. My fascination with devils is two-fold: would I have made a deal with a devil to release myself from those spirals? Or, could the spirals themselves be the devil, invading my mind? Reading books like these gives me a glimpse into dark psyches, which have helped me better understand and accept my own.


I wrote...

The Blood Confession

By Alisa M. Libby,

Book cover of The Blood Confession

What is my book about?

The only heir of a powerful Hungarian count, Erzebet Bizecka’s birth is marked by a prophecy that she will die young or live forever. Determined to survive despite the grim prediction, Erzebet becomes obsessed with preserving her youth and beauty. Only the enigmatic Sinestra understands Erzebet's mania, pulling her into a dark world of blood rituals. Luring her victims to her tower room, Erzebet is determined to thwart God's plan for her life and create her own. How far will she be willing to go to protect herself? A gothic horror exploring beauty and power, The Blood Confession is inspired by the legendary crimes of Erzebet Bathory, a seventeenth-century countess who believed that bathing in human blood would keep her forever beautiful.

The Boughs Withered

By Maura McHugh,

Book cover of The Boughs Withered: When I Told Them My Dreams

Reminiscent of Ray Bradbury at his very finest, this absorbing collection of supernatural tales has it all: fascinating characters, palpable atmosphere, and delicious, chewy plots. McHugh brings the uncanny into the every day, most often through the experiences of women, and often using a distinctly Irish lens. From the Irish countryside, in all its windswept, boggy, or tangled forms, to modern office life, this is a glorious kaleidoscope of experiences that feel real even as the surface of human experience is punctured to expose the void beneath.  Each story in this collection has a lot to offer, and - another thing this writer has in common with Bradbury - you’ll find yourself returning time and again for rereading 


Who am I?

I was a weird kid. Often accused of ‘thinking too much’, I cut my literary teeth on Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Phillip K Dick, and Shirley Jackson. Raised on their dark milk, I grew up wanting more than hollow scares and mindless eviscerations. Don’t just give me a scary story, give me a scary story that resonates, one that raises a lens to our world, our history, the rules we’re asked to live by. Unsettle me, make me think. Most of all, give me characters worth my precious time. These are the kind of stories I endeavor to write and the ones I most enjoy reading. I hope you enjoy this small selection as much as I have.


I wrote...

Resonance

By Celine Kiernan,

Book cover of Resonance

What is my book about?

Ireland, 1890: two ruthless immortals prowl Dublin’s theatre district. Ancient, pitiless, and caring for none but their own twisted family, they will stop at nothing to maintain their grip on life.

A hardworking seamstress, the young man who loves her, and a penniless American magician soon find themselves ensnared. Trapped in a snowbound country estate, the latest additions to a warped collection, they are nothing to their kidnappers but food, nothing but entertainment. Soon they will be nothing at all. But, miles from home and unlikely to survive, Tina, Joe, and Harry understand that far more is at stake than their own small lives.

Who Fears the Devil (Planet Stories 24)

By Manly Wade Wellman, Mike Resnick, Karl Edward Wagner

Book cover of Who Fears the Devil (Planet Stories 24)

Silver John, a balladeer with a silver-stringed guitar, crisscrosses rural USA encountering all manner of supernatural entities, and does it with a song in his heart. There's a deep love of ancient folklore that shines through in this wonderful collection. It's far removed from Carnacki or Silence's cozy sitting rooms and libraries, but every bit as tied to a desire to get to the root of ancient mysteries. There's an almost Bradburyesque sense of wonder in these tales that lifts you up and carries you alongside John on his travels.


Who am I?

Even before I found Lovecraft and Stephen King and my world turned, I was raised on Doyle, Wells, Hodgson, and Robert Louis Stevenson which gave me both a love of the "gentleman detective" era and a deep love of the late Victorian/early Edwardian historical period in general. Once you merge that with my abiding interest in all things weird and spooky, you can see where a lot of my stories come from. There seems to be quite a burgeoning market for this kind of mixing of detection and supernatural, and I intend to write more... maybe even a lot more.


I wrote...

Carnacki: Heaven and Hell

By William Meikle,

Book cover of Carnacki: Heaven and Hell

What is my book about?

This is my first (of four) collections of stories featuring William Hope Hodgspon's Carnacki: Ghostfinder. Carnacki resonated with me immediately on my first reading many years ago. Several of the stories have a Lovecraftian viewpoint, with cosmic entities that have no regard for the doings of mankind. The background Hodgson proposes fits with some of my own viewpoints on the ways the Universe might function, and the slightly formal Edwardian language seems to be a "voice" I fall into naturally. I write them because of love, pure and simple.

Doll

By Miracle Austin,

Book cover of Doll

I’m a big fan of young adult fiction and I’m also a big fan of supernatural stories that take place in the “real” world. Doll follows a trio of high school students, who, tired of being bullied, seek out the assistance of Tomie’s cousin… who just happens to be a witch. As far as young adult horror goes, Miracle Austin is the best of the best. 


Who am I?

I am an independent author, photographer, wildlife advocate, paranormal enthusiast, and cat mom living in Dallas, Texas. In 2012, I earned my Master's Degree in Art and Performance from the University of Texas at Dallas and have been pursuing my writing career ever since. I published my first book, Cemetery Tours, in 2013 and it will forever be the book that changed my life.


I wrote...

Cemetery Tours

By Jacqueline E. Smith,

Book cover of Cemetery Tours

What is my book about?

Do You Believe in Ghosts? Michael Sinclair does. At twenty-seven, he has spent his entire life pretending that the ghosts he encounters on a daily basis do not exist. Now, if only the dead would let him rest in peace.

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem likely, especially after Kate Avery and her ailing brother, Gavin, move in next door. Kate and Gavin are haunted, and not by a dearly departed loved one. This spirit is aggressive, menacing, and harboring a dark resentment toward Gavin. In spite of every instinct advising him to walk away, Michael finds himself seeking to uncover the mysteries of Gavin's past… and falling for the bright and lovely Kate.

Gita on the Green

By Steven J Rosen,

Book cover of Gita on the Green: The Mystical Tradition Behind Bagger Vance

I have always been interested in Vedic philosophy and have greatly enjoyed the film The Legend of Bagger Vance. While there has been much watering down of ancient truths to fit with our 21st Century lifestyle (the plethora of mindfulness apps being one example) the author of this book has a depth of literary and spiritual knowledge that helps unlock the mysteries of golf and allies them with the epic tale, The Bhagavad Gita. Rosen explains that Rannulph Junuh, (played by Matt Damon in the film) is really Arjuna, the charioteer who is instructed by the Supreme Being, Bhagavan (Bagger Vance, the caddie played by Will Smith). It is an approach to the game that brings us face to face with the eternal battles within and how to overcome them. 


Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by the link between golf and the Eastern arts since I heard the great Jack Nicklaus say that golf is played with the feet. This immediately struck a chord with me as my background spans over thirty years of Tai Chi training and I have understood from this art that all movement comes from the ground upwards. The early training of Nicklaus in fact echoes that of the ancient warriors who understood the link between intention and action, which is a very different approach to the modern way of over-thinking technique. The simplicity of flow cancels out the need to separate the golf swing into individual positions. 


I wrote...

Connected Golf: Bridging the Gap between Practice and Performance

By Jayne Storey,

Book cover of Connected Golf: Bridging the Gap between Practice and Performance

What is my book about?

Golf is a game that’s deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.” These words, by Arnold Palmer, are as true today as they have always been. In fact, golf has become even more complicated in the modern era with so many variations on technique and differences of opinion among teaching professionals. 

Jayne Storey’s Connected Golf offers a new approach; one that is simple, proven, and trusted by hundreds of players who’ve been frustrated at their inability to improve, despite all the latest innovations and technology. This book takes you back to the Eastern practises which have long been known to bring mind and body into a seamless whole and applies them specifically to the game, helping you develop movement skills to raise enjoyment and performance levels.

The Perfect Guests

By Emma Rous,

Book cover of The Perfect Guests

I’m a huge fan of the board game Clue. The “present” timeline in this story provides an excellent tip of the hat when lead character Sadie, a bit actress, agrees to assume the role of “Miss Lamb” at an old mansion known as Raven Hall. She attends with a collection of others (who take on roles like Miss Mouse, Professor Owl, Colonel Otter, etc.) as part of a trial run for a business that hosts murder mystery parties. Great set-up, right?

Three time periods twine in the plot, one which includes a bizarre game of a different sort that has far-reaching consequences, stretching from past to present. The author does a brilliant job of foreshadowing, planting subtle clues that deliver staggering surprises by the end of the story.


Who am I?

I’ve loved mysteries since childhood. That passion started with silly attractions like Scooby-Doo, Dark Shadows, and Nancy Drew. As I grew older, my love of mystery expanded to include the “what if” elements of folklore and urban legends. I’ve written two, 3-book series employing dual timelines, each wrapped in multiple layers of folklore. Crafting separate plotlines then weaving them into a tidy ending takes patience. I enjoy reading books that are well-executed and if they include a touch of the supernatural, all the better. My passion for urban legends has led me to give presentations to local community groups and also to engage in travel when needed for on-site research.


I wrote...

Cusp of Night

By Mae Clair,

Book cover of Cusp of Night

What is my book about?

Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster responsible for several horrific murders. The Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth, along with one of the creature’s first victims—a nineteenth-century spiritualist. Lucida Glass was known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition.

When several new attacks occur, rumors abound the Fiend has returned. It isn’t long before Maya becomes caught up in piecing together a puzzle where past and present collide in a world of twisted secrets, insanity, and an evil that refuses to die—all tied to the mysterious Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill.

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