Haunting and scary with a touch of evil, books that delve into the sinister realm tend to have a particular character about them. Even though they venture into the depths of the human psyche, to a place that is often dark and dangerous, they attract readership, be it for the thrill, the jumps, or the mysterious suspense that hangs permanently throughout a good story. Here are five excellent sinister books that guarantee a memorable experience, especially when read on a chilly and murky night.
If you thought the hit TV series Riverdale is a dark representation of the loveable Archie comics, you're in for a surprise when it comes to Afterlife with Archie. This is Riverdale like never before, a place where murder and mayhem run rampant due to a fast-spreading virus that is turning the inhabitants of his happy-go-lucky town into zombies. Humour and love take a backseat as brains and gore rule, with disastrous surprises aplenty, some that will forever change your opinion about Archie and the gang.
The 1998 novel by Sydney Sheldon is as thrilling today as it was when first released. The story that follows three different women, whose lives cross paths in the most unfortunate way possible, is brimming with exciting moments, mystery, sex, murder, and secrets of a complex mind. The revelation that all three of the women are the same, only different personalities of the main protagonist Ashley Patterson, is an expected shocker, but only the start of what becomes a courtroom drama followed by a more in-depth look at the issue of multiple personalities and its cause. As for the devilish ending of the book, it's no less sinister than that of Psycho.
Shirley Jackson's last book is a masterclass in suspense told through the voice of an 18-year-old innocent-sounding Merricat Blackwood, who is living in a large mansion with her sister Constance and their fragile and old Uncle Julian. As the story develops, the reader falls deeper into the grim and hidden world of the Blackwood sisters, their tragic past, and a mysterious present. Jackson's narration is tense with a sense of psychological dread and the uneasiness of truth lingering throughout the pages. As a result, every occurrence and the subsequent reveal, till the very end, comes as a shock. Compelling, with brilliantly etched-out characters, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a classic read not to be missed.
Made into a movie with Nicole Kidman in the lead, Before I Go to Sleep is the story of Christine, a survivor of a vicious attack that has resulted in a special kind of amnesia that doesn't let her form new memories. Thus, Christine depends on a journal she keeps and her husband to manage and remember every day. Things begin to take a turn when she starts having flashes of what could be her past, eventually leading her to investigate further in search of the truth. Before I Go to Sleep is a slow burn and monotonous at times, but that helps creates a feeling of claustrophobia, similar to what Christine's character experiences. However, S. J. Watson puts in enough twists after every few chapters that ought to keep readers hooked on till the end.
Shattered Moon raises several questions leading to thought-provoking introspection about love and its toxicity, and why sometimes individuals continue to be with people who hurt them. What makes the book an even more impactful sinister read is that it is based on actual events. The story starts on a dreamy note with Maddy, a 40-something mother of one going to Sri Lanka and falling in love with Kiri, a young and dashing local. However, this torrid holiday romance soon turns into a nightmare as Maddy and Kiri's relationship, plagued with jealousy and control, engulfs her entire life. Shocking and thrilling, Lanzoni writes in a simple language which helps keep the focus on Maddy and her unbelievable plight. Shattered Moon is an essential read for it makes us look at the wickedness of falling in love with the wrong person.