TOP 10: Winter Horror Reads

Looking for something spooky to keep you warm these winter months? Mark Goddard – host of the Bloody Good Reads podcast – has got you covered…

As a book podcaster I’ve had the pleasure of delving into some amazing titles over the years. From boys and their monsters to backwoods creatures and a final race against a masked villain, these titles will give you a horror fix through these dark nights and haunt your soul for much longer.

10. Boy Parts by Eliza Clark

What drives a person to perform violent acts for the sake of their art? Boy Parts, by the highly talented Eliza Clark, goes out if its way to explore this in slow-build horror that takes you on a journey though the psyche of Irina as she follows her passion for explicit photography to horrific ends. A dark look into one woman’s taboos and the lengths she will go to battle the ghosts of her past.

9. Deadknobs and Doomsticks 2 by Joe Pasquale

Yes, your eyes do not deceive you: it is indeed that Joe Pasquale. The squeaky voiced comedian is also the twisted mind behind this amazing collection of very dark horror shorts.

We don’t always have the time to sit with a book, but on those small moments you can easily delve into these stories. For a comedian known for his more family-friendly material Pasquale takes you to to places that will shock . From Frankenstein style home science to scooping out your father’s brains for food, you’ll love this macabre collection.

8. Survivor by J.F. Gonzalez

One for the extreme horror fans, and not for the faint of heart. Gonzalez’s novel asks how far someone would go to survive, and makes Hostel and Saw look like Playdays as we follow the harrowing tale of Lisa, a pregnant woman who is kidnapped to be the star of her captors’ sickening snuff film. The plan is for them to torture Lisa as brutally and graphically as possible, and she must fight for her life – and that of her unborn baby.

In the same circle as authors like Jack Ketchum and Wrath James White, if you’re a fan of extreme horror this is a must read.

7. Slash by Hunter Shea

One of the most likeable writers in horror fiction – and one sick puppy – Hunter Shea has given us some treats, but a book that has particularly caught me this year is this slasher-film-inspired gem. The story follows the partner of a final girl who is looking for revenge after she hangs herself in their basement. As he heads back to the crumbling resort where the killings originally happened, Todd finds himself face-to-face with The Wraith… but he is more than what he seems.

Shea is an author who deserves to get as much praise as possible, and this story is perfect for the slasher fans out there.

6. Off Season by Jack Ketchum

If you have ever listened to Bloody Good Reads you will know one of my all time favourite authors is the amazing Jack Ketchum. Off Season is as brutal as any other Ketchum novels and is my second favourite of his works (The Girl Next Door is for another list): it’s a blood-soaked cannibal horror which follows five friends to a cabin in the woods (never a smart idea) who are being hunted by a family of savages living in the surrounding forest. Think The Hills Have Eyes meets Wrong Turn.

5. Petra’s Ghost by C.S. O’Cinneide

Prepare to face the ghosts of your past as we join Daniel, an Irish expat, tackling the Camino Trail to spread the ashes of his dead wife. On the way he meets a young woman who could be the ray of light he needs on this lonely trek: however a dark figure begins the stalk the duo as the sinister truth behind Daniel’s wife’s death is revealed.

C.S O’Cinneide is a rising star in horror-thrillers and an author to 100% keep your eye on. Petra’s Ghost is the perfect haunting tale for those gloomy winter nights.

4. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

More of a psychological horror, The Wasp Factory is a gothic tale with a final act guaranteed to shock. It’s the story of Frank, a slightly bizarre teen who to turns to violent acts to vent his family frustrations as he uncovers their dark past. Will keep you glued until the very end.

3. Dweller by Jeff Strand

Toby first met the creature in the woods as a young boy, something his parents thought was just his active imagination. But when he meets the creature again as a lonely, bullied teen Toby embraces the beast. The creature is his friend, and he will get rid of those bullies…. he needs to eat after all.

Dweller is a gory tale of a boy and his monster and was one of the three books that got me into the horror genre as an adult, being both sweet and brutal.

2. The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

I am a life long slasher movie fan, so when the latest novel by Grady Hendrix landed on my desk to review earlier this year I got stuck right in.

The story follows the final girls of serial killer attacks, all survivors based on genre favourites (from Elm Street and Friday the 13th) as the try to get their lives back on track. The women have been a huge part each others lives since their horrific experiences in the form of a final girl support group, but as they look to try and get on with their lives they start being picked off by a killer who knows their darkest secrets.

1. Deity by Matt Wesolowski

There could only be one book for my number one spot, and that’s the brilliant Deity by Matt Wesolowski, the fifth book in his documentary-style “Six Stories” series.

Podcaster and journalist Scott King has made it his job to interview and investigate people associated with the world’s most shocking and unexplained tales. In this book Scott is investigating the truth behind the death of disgraced singer Zach Crystal, someone who is just as famous for his bizarre lifestyle as he is for his music. But what was Crystal hiding? And what was the truth behind the rumoured supernatural goings-on in his woodland estate which the cameras couldn’t see. Scott interviews six different people connected to the Crystal case and tries to uncover the horrifying truth.

This book will keep you guessing till the very end, and is very much like a true-crime podcast (such as Sweet Bobby) or a Netflix docu-series. The conclusion still stays with me with a sickening queasiness. I highly recommend it, and the other books in the series.

Mark Goddard

For more of Mark’s recommendations make sure to follow him on Twitter and subscribe to the Bloody Good Reads podcast.

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