Does this blog title not sound like the world’s worst one-night stand?

Anyway, I have a couple of books to tell you about. One is Lessons of Evil, which my aunt wrote and recently self-published. If you have a Nook or Kindle, I think you should support an independent author and buy it for the very affordable price of $3.99, and I’m not just saying that because I love her very much—it’s a great read. The story deals in part with the condition of multiple personality disorder, which makes an awfully effective subject for a suspense novel. Her book is dark and fast-paced and occasionally really funny (right when you need it to be, sometimes), and I think she did a hell of a job. You can read an excerpt here, and buy the Kindle or Nook version here.

lessons

The second recommendation I have for you is on the polar opposite side of the reading spectrum: Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? My friend Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is one of the authors, and she was kind enough to send me an advance copy. (Not only that, she included a package of Pop Rocks, and you should have SEEN the boys’ faces when I dumped some on their tongues. Man, I wish I would have had a camera handy.) This book is a sort of trip down pop culture memory lane from the 70s and 80s, and if you’re around my age (thirtyHARRRRUMMPPHHseven), every single page will remind you of something from your childhood. Sea Monkeys! That’s Incredible! Lik-M-Aid! What a fun way to revisit all of that stuff, with over 200 pages that include entertaining short descriptions and info on what actually DID happen to the item. The book hits stores on June 7th, and is currently available for pre-order.

puddingpops

And now it’s your turn to tell me what I should be reading, okay? After I finished The Passage I read The Strain and then moved on to a Sookie Stackhouse book and what I’m saying is I think I need a break from vampires. I’d like something kind of creepy, though, so if you’ve read anything lately that freaked you right the hell out, tell me all about it.

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Sahara
11 years ago

GodDAMMIT. Now I want a peanut butter Bopper (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J5–um0x6E).

After Jonna mentioned it, I read Stephen King’s Bag of Bones, which gave me the creeps on more than one occasion. Including one night when I was alone in the house and hopped into bed to prevent anything from grabbing at my ankles.

Kelsey
11 years ago

Both books look awesome!

My friend, Jen Violi, just had her first novel published. Putting Makeup On Dead People, I don’t think it is as creepy as it sounds though. I often think of you when I think about her book (which I haven’t read yet, it was JUST released today) because I have a vague recollection of you having some experience w/ a mortician? Am I wrong?

I suppose I should mention it is technically a young adult novel, but I think lots of adults read ARCs and really enjoyed them.

Trina
Trina
11 years ago

I am a huge fan of your Aunt (you linked to her blog years ago and I’ve been hooked ever since)!
I have already read the book and if you like suspense, you will LOVE this book! You can’t put it down and when you are done you will want more. BUT! A warning, it is dark and might have you squirming a little in a few places. I think there is a warning in the discription on the Nook page.

Megan Lynae
Megan Lynae
11 years ago

Cherie Priest has a pretty great novel about zombies called “Boneshaker.”

Tara
11 years ago

Fiction:
-The Likeness by Tana French (really, any of her three novels are incredible and kinda strange/creepy/off
-Spiral by Paul McEuen
-Under the Dome by Stephen King

On the non-fiction side:
-The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston
-Eating Animals by Jonathan Safron-Foer.

Rochelle
Rochelle
11 years ago

Have you read The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy by Carrie Ryan? I feel like maybe you’ve mentioned it, but I can’t really remember. If you haven’t, you very much should. It’s really good.

Bekki
Bekki
11 years ago

If you’re in the mood for non-fiction, Mary Roach has some fun stuff. Spook is a bit creepy, Bonk is fun, and Packing For Mars is just kind of cool.

sarah
sarah
11 years ago

have you read any barbara vine? she’s a brit suspense/mystery author whose real name is ruth rendell, but she writes these super intense psychological thrillers under the pseudonym…anyway they are all excellent, and very LITERARY, i guess you could say. creepy mysterious shit for smart people. and a second for tana french – i loved her stuff as well.

Ness at Drovers Run
11 years ago

I have no idea what pudding pops are but I do remember that explosive candy stuff that was crumbs until you put it in your mouth! There was a kid in our town who was stupid enough to eat seven bags of it, and then downed a can of coke. Yep. He didn’t make it. Sorry, didn’t mean to be a downer – but I do remember it being the reason I stopped eating it!

Melissa
Melissa
11 years ago

Right now I’m working on House of Leaves (Mark Z. Danielewski). I’d heard it was a really disturbing book, so I thought I’d pick it up. I’m not far enough in to vouch for that yet, though. I think it’s not vampires-creepy but more like existential-crisis-creepy.

JudithNYC
JudithNYC
11 years ago

Just got your aunt’s book. Now I won’t be cleaning my apartment today like I had planned. It’s all your fault.

As for book recommendations, I second the person who suggested Tana French. And of course, anything by Stephen King. I am his number one fan.

Laura
11 years ago

Oh my dog, I love that people are still taking about death by pop rocks. Also, I met this girl named Ladasha last week and she was killed by poisoned aspirin.
Also recommend Tana French- her books are a different kind of creepy (modern day crime, set in Ireland) but really really good.

Amber
Amber
11 years ago

I’m reading the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness, and if you haven’t read it I say give it a go. They are totally enthralling. It’s a sci-fi dystopian YA kind of thing, but it is completely original and SO VERY creepy (thanks to some nutso characters). Easy reading, too, so BONUS. No vampires: DOUBLE BONUS.

Zoot recommended Divergent a while back and I thought that was awesome, too.

Ris
Ris
11 years ago

For something kinda creepy, I recommend The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. For something not creepy at all but actually hilarious, Bossypants by Tina Fey.

Whitney
Whitney
11 years ago

I second Bekki’s Mary Roach recommendation, and add her book Stiff to the list.

Also, am reading World War Z. Mmmmmmzombies!

jonniker
11 years ago

I just started A Visit from the Goon Squad, and I can’t say much about it, as I’m on, like, page five. But did you read Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson? I loved it, and if you haven’t, I’d totally read that, because it’s creepy, but in a, HOLY SHIT, this actually HAPPENED?-kind of way. (Serial killer under everyone’s nose, etc.)

I mention it because he just came out with another book that I’m pretty geeked about, only because I think he’s an amazing writer, and it’s fiction and set in WWII and we’ll see.

Tana French has been on my list FOREVER, and now I feel like I have to put off Goon Squad to pick up her first one. Geez.

Angharad
Angharad
11 years ago

I was unaware that there was a third Tana French book! Off I go to add it to the ever-growing Tower of Pisa of books I’ve got lined up to read…

I’ve recently read the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series that the HBO show Game of Thrones is based on. Basically Ye Olde Wire. Awesome, if somewhat time-consuming,reads. Doesn’t really fall into the “freaky” genre but there are certainly quite a few moments in the series that did cause that type of reaction.

Kris H.
11 years ago

Have you read any Jack Kilborn? Afraid was the first one of his that I read…very good! Endurance was my favorite…VERY CREEPY!!!

Laura
Laura
11 years ago

Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist (same guy who wrote Let the Right One In). This is a zombie book but there is more suspense and discomfort then straight up Night of the Living Dead although there is a part at the end that damn near made me soil myself.

Nora
Nora
11 years ago

You may have read them but if not, the Hunger Games series is totally fantastic. Futuristic and suspenseful, not necessarily creepy. But you’ll fly through. And the movie is filming now, so you should read it before the movie ruins it!

jonniker
11 years ago

I just went and flicked through my massive to-read list, and two that recently came highly recommended to me are The Raising and The Reapers Are the Angels. Both promise to be creepy, albeit in different ways (first one murder/afterlife?; second I believe is zombies).

Jess
11 years ago

How about the Omnivore’s Dilemma? It’s pretty creepy thinking about how highly processed and genetically modified our food is… Seriously though, I don’t usually like vampire/zombie books, but my husband did persuade me to read the Sookie Stackhouse series (and watch True Blood) as well as the Twilight series.

Brooke
11 years ago

I second the The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. Also The Book Thief. My favorite modern-day gothic novel I’ve read recently is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I took it on vacation to London and as much as I loved that city, I actually looked forward to getting back to the hotel and having a few minutes to read each night. It was that good.

MRW
MRW
11 years ago

Pudding pops! Had forgotten all about those!

Well I can provide a number of suggestions from Geekville (population: me). Highly recommend Richard Kadrey’s two Sandman Slim books – man sent to hell and comes back – really good page turning reads – excellent action. Also recommend Altered Carbon – a good detective/sci fi/tech type novel (also lots of action). I recently thoroughly enjoyed The Name of the Wind – a fantasy novel with adventure and all of that stuff. Also have been enjoying a streak of noir L.A. detective stuff by Robert Crais (no fantasy just detecting and violence and all of that stylized noir stuff).

MRW
MRW
11 years ago

Sorry to multiple comment but also really like Horns by Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son). Creepy and exciting. OK now I’m done exposing my total geekiness to you and everyone else.

caleal
caleal
11 years ago

I don’t really have any books to add… I recently read “Look me in the Eye” which is in no way creepy, but very interesting. I do think, however, that you should compile a reading list. You’re the one who turned me onto Room and The Hunger Games trilogy, and I could not be more grateful.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

The book I read in recent history that “freaked me right the hell out” was Monster Love.

But I hesitate to recommend it to anyone because it not the deliciously spine chilling kind of freak out you get from watching Candyman in the dark… It’s the kind of horrified you feel when you realize that serial killers exist outside of CSI episodes. It left me feeling unsettled for weeks after I finished it.

But, it fits your requirement, so I am listing it.

Sophie Hannah writes a detective mystery series that I love. And each book is amazingly creepy.

And if you want something humorous as well as a little gross, I will jump on the Mary Roach bandwagon. She’s amazing, and Stiff is one of my all-time favorite non-fiction books.

Karen
Karen
11 years ago

This may not be contemporary, or maybe you’ve read it already, but the scariest book I have ever read was The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. It kept me awake at night for about a week, and it is so beautifully written.

Kristin
11 years ago

Tana French for sure, Denise Mina (the Garnet Hill series is one of my favorite series of books ever), and if you want super creepy but unbelievably good, try Gillian Flynn. I also liked Ravens, by George Dawes Green. I’m kind of on the fence about Sophie Hannah…but some of hers are good. I’ve included a link to my blog where I’ve written short reviews of these authors in the past. (http://makeanote.typepad.com/make_a_note/2010/08/a-thrill-a-minute.html)

Noemi
11 years ago

I really liked the Keep by Jennifer Egan, and LO and BEHOLD, Mira Grant’s follow-up to Feed comes out at the end of this month. Deadline: http://www.amazon.com/Deadline-Newsflesh-Book-Mira-Grant/dp/031608106X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306426165&sr=8-1

annie
annie
11 years ago

I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman was a good read for me. I’ve heard all of her books are great, but that’s the only one I’ve read.

Andrea
Andrea
11 years ago

Oh, I agree with Bekki – Mary Roach. “Stiff” (I believe) is her first book. She researches what cadavers are often used for. Her others are great too.

Jessie
Jessie
11 years ago

Have you read the Dark Tower series by Stephen King? A friend recommended it to me, I have read the first one so far and it’s pretty interesting.

I’m a big fan of JD Robb for more of a quick read, I love homicide type books and hers are good for just blowing through on a weekend/late night. If you like the show Castle, the “Niki Heat” books released in tandem with the show aren’t too bad, super quick reads for me.

Two authors I have wanted check out are crime writer Lawrence Block and author Edward Conlon, the latter of which is actually still working as a cop as he writes his novels.

If you ever feel in the mood for more supernatural-ish reads again down the road, I HIGHLY recommend Patricia Briggs “Mercy Thompson” series and Ilona Andrews “Kate Daniels” series. Ilona is “Urban Fantasy with a post-apocalyptic flavor” and Patricia is……… well, just amazing, but it’s main character is a shapeshifter.

kim
kim
11 years ago

I haven’t finished this, so I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, exactly, but I strongly suspect vampire (which might make it ineligible), but it’s creepy and something odd, clearly, is going on. Beautiful prose. So, I strongly suggest THE RAISING, by Laura Kasischke.

This is an old book that certainly you have read already, but just in case you haven’t, THE SECRET HISTORY by Donna Tarte remains one of my recent favorite reads.

Let us know what you read & what you think!

Kirsty
11 years ago

If you like kind of scary/creepy and definitely totally weird, I’d recommend just about anything by Will Self – How the Dead Live, for example, or The Book of Dave. His writing intrigues me, repulses me, makes me laugh and keeps me up at night…

kathleen
kathleen
11 years ago

joining the chorus: tana french! she’s my absolute favorite. start with her first In The Woods.

Also– The Secret History by Tarte is amazing too!

Let us know what you choose and what you like!

Flesworthy
11 years ago

I recently finished The Swarm:
http://amzn.to/jiAmIX
Long & involved, so you feel like you deserve a trophy after finishing (like reading The Stand or The Passage). But good!

I haven’t read Room by Emma Donoghue yet, but it’s on my list–supposed to be super disturbing.

Nikki
Nikki
11 years ago

I join the Tana French chorus, and I’ll toss in some Kate Atkinson… she’s got a series– or really, it’s more a few books with a recurring character– that’s kind of fun and mysterious, very interesting. The first one is ‘Case Studies’.

scantee
scantee
11 years ago

I’ve been enjoying older mystery books from Agatha Christie and Raymond Chandler. They’re very quick reads but a good break from the current crop of suspense novels where the repetitive themes (vampires!) get a little old.

Lawyerish
11 years ago

Ahh, Nikki beat me to it.

I highly recommend Kate Atkinson’s series featuring Jackson Brodie — it goes Case Studies; One Good Turn; When Will There Be Good News?; and the most recent, Started Early, Took My Dog.

So good. Suspenseful, great character development, solid writing.

Courtney
Courtney
11 years ago

If you haven’t read it yet I highly recommend Room. I found it FASCINATING and could not put it down.

Anneli Barnes
Anneli Barnes
11 years ago

ANYTHING by Laura Lippman and Karin Slaughter.

Megan
11 years ago

I’m with Karen from up there in the comments! Anything by Shirley Jackson, especially “The Haunting of Hill House” but also “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” … and there’s always “The Lottery.”

Jessica
Jessica
11 years ago

I thought The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold was creepy as heck.
I love Tana French although I don’t find her books to be creepy.

Leslie
Leslie
11 years ago

Since someone has already mentioned Douglas Preston’s nonfiction *The Monster of Venice,* I’ll chime in and recommend his Pendergast series written with Lincoln Child that begins with *Relic.*

The novels are thrillers with a natural-science core; Pendregast is a FBI agent with a dark, dark past that unravels as the series progresses. You should read them in order since there are recurring characters, but they’re easy enough to pick up used.

As a disclaimer, the last three or four have been hit or miss, but you can’t go wrong with the first three, and by then you’re hooked.

I also just ordered Michael Parker’s *The Watery Part of the World* on a glowing recommendation if you’re interested in something from your native coast.

MadCityMammie
MadCityMammie
11 years ago

I second the Gillian Flynn suggestion. Also, Steven King has a son who writes under the pseudonym Joe Hill, he has a collection of short stories and two novels.

Kate
Kate
11 years ago

I highly recommend : Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God
by Joe Coomer

I ran into it while on my honeymoon and loved the story, the characters and the implications that things aren’t always what they seem. Enjoy!

Diane M.
11 years ago

Tana French for sure. Also highly recommend Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger for ghosts and creepiness.

Julie
Julie
11 years ago

Lisey’s Story and Duma Key by Stephen King. Both creepy and I read them over 6 months ago and some of the images/dialogue are still rattling around in my head producing shivers.