My Favourite (non-trashy) True Crime/Horror Books

Today is Friday 13th, so I thought I’d do a little throw-back to Spooktober and do a spooky-themed post for today! During October last year, I attempted Blogtober (although ultimately failed) and I put most of my effort into my posts for the week leading up to Halloween, including buying a bumper pack of spooky books that came well-recommended from the Internet. In the end, I only finished and reviewed one for my blog (which will be appearing later on in this post too) but my interest in all things spooky and supernatural was already peaked by this point, so I’m excited to write this post (and even more excited than it can still be classed as relevant due to the date!) I’m a relatively superstitious person, so I tend to take extra care on Friday 13th, so here’s hoping today is a good day for all of us! Thankfully it’s my day off today, so I’ll likely be turning off my phone and staying under the covers until at least midday! I’ll be trying not to break any mirrors or walk under any ladders, that’s for sure. In the meantime, here are my favourite spooky/nasty/creepy books that I’ve read:



Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvent

This was one of the books I bought last October, and the only one of those to make it onto this list! I’ve done a full review of this book before (read it >here<) but it definitely deserves a place on this list as well. From the very first chapter, this book gave me chills, and there were multiple times I had to stop reading, as I was getting too scared! Full disclosure: the ending is fairly rubbish, but there are enough scares along the way that I’m willing to forgive the author.


The Adversary by Emmanuel Carrere

At first, I wasn’t expecting too much from this book, having picked up a spare reading copy from my staff room (I work in a bookshop, so this scenario happens a lot). However, within about an hour of reading, I was hooked. I could have read it in a day (but managed to stretch it out to two days). It’s literary, as Carrere’s fiction is usually extremely high-brow, but he unfolds the story at breakneck pace, which doesn’t leave any room for you to lose interest. The book is the true story of a man who fooled the entire world into thinking he was a doctor at the World Health Organisation until the day he murdered his parents, wife and children from fear that his lies were beginning to unravel. It’s absolutely riveting and almost stranger than fiction, even more so due to the fact that it’s all true.



Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Okay, so perhaps this doesn’t entirely belong on this list, but parts of this book are truly terrifying, even though it’s classed as Middle Grade Fiction (9-12 to you and me). Take for instance, the scene where Coraline is trapped in the basement with her Other Father, who is slowly melting away into some horrible monster, and hunts Coraline like an animal by scent alone after she tears out his eyes. That entire scene was left out by the film, I’d imagine because it was too scary. The film is truly a disgrace to this book, so I’d advise against watching it, but the book is incredible. Coraline (NOT Caroline) discovers a tunnel in her new house which leads to another world, which seems similar to ours, except stranger, and everybody has buttons instead of eyes. Here she meets her Other Mother, who will do anything to keep Coraline with her and convince Coraline to replace her own eyes with buttons.


The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe

Because at least one book on this list had to be an old classic. Anything by Poe would be classed as old-school gothic fiction, but I’m particularly fond of The Tell-Tale Heart. Poe has such a lyrical style of writing where even his longer pieces of prose sound as if they might suddenly become poetry. I’d also recommend The Cask of Amontillado, which centres around a man being buried alive in the walls of a cellar, which is just as creepy as it sounds.

By Edwin H. Manchester – LoC “Famous People” collection [1], Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-10610, Public Domain,

The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins by John George Pearson

This is the book that inspired the film Legend, which is one of my favourite films, and I read it immediately after seeing the film in the cinema for the first time. Pearson started writing it whilst the Kray twins were alive, and he distinctly got the impression that what he said would be monitored and perhaps have to be doctored, if he wanted to maintain his personal safety. However, luckily for us, Pearson held off on publication until after the twin’s death, which makes this perhaps the best biography of the Kray twins around. He had met them, and so knew their take on their history, but was also able to tell the truth of their brutal crimes. I think, however, the magic of this particular book is down to Pearson’s skill as a writer. I’ve since tried to read other books about the Kray twins, but I’ve never managed to finish any other volume. If you’re after somewhere to start with true crime, I’d highly recommend this book.



Let me know what other spooky stories or true crime books you’ve read and enjoyed – I’m going to need to read some more before next Blogtober comes around, I can tell! I hope you all stay safe this Friday 13th and I’ll see you again after the weekend. Peace out. P.

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