I’m a bad person.
A hideous person.
A person desensitised to reading about things that are supposed to make your skin crawl with how revolting and shocking they are.
OK, I lied a bit. They do sometimes make me shiver and cringe and snap all my limbs towards my torso like someone is physically about to attack me, but that’s only when the stories I’m reading are real.
I used to be a chick lit kinda gal. I’d pick them up from the charity shop and read them whilst spread out in a lil striped bikini from Peacocks in my grandparents’ garden, daring the sun to turn me 57657856365 shades darker whilst being serenaded by snacks.
It was a good life. A basic bitch kinda life. A life without Instagram or Twitter or y’know, general internet addiction.
And now? Now it takes something really heavy and gripping and OMFG DID HE KILL HER to keep my away from the computer. So I thought I’d round-up my faves, in case you fancied something a bit dark and seriously bloody creepy to get lost in whilst drinking a whole bottle of red wine to yourself under a duvet on the sofa this autumn.
Some are old and some are new, so yeah HAVE FUN FELLOW DARK PEOPLE.
1 & 2. DARK PLACES & SHARP OBJECTS
These two little slices of heaven are from the same author as Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn. I read them both within a few days, they were as utterly mesmerising and full of surprising heinous twists that even my brain couldn’t have conjured up. In fact, I’d say I preferred them both to Gone Girl. They’re easy to read and the sort of books where you have to put your hand over the next page so that your eyes don’t skip ahead to the juicy WHAT THE EFF moments you know are just creeping there waiting for you.
No but seriously, so many twists. ALL THE TWISTS.
I reckon I’ve read this book about three times in my life, and without a doubt it was the most recent reading – probably when I was 24 – that affected me the most and left me sobbing into my battered copy and Mario pyjamas.
I guess it’s a different kind of darkness to the other books on this list – but a darkness that you kind of need to be reminded of because it utterly humbles you and reminds you of how insanely lucky you are. It hits something deep within you because HOW was this basically in our lifetime, how?
When this came out like four or five years ago it caused quite a stir and I really, really struggled to get into it because of the way it’s written. It’s not an easy read, but boy, when you get into it and get used to the turns of phrases, you are in for quite a summin’ summin’.
It’s basically about a school massacre and yeah, it’s well worth trundling through the first few chapters to get used to the language and the way it’s structured.
(Or y’know, you can just watch the film if the idea of reading it makes you want to snip your own eyeballs out).
This is that book that everyone’s reading at the moment. Like everyone. The whole of Twitter. The whole of Bloglovin’. Yup.
It’s a good book. It’s easy. It’s based in England. My only comment would be that I didn’t feel like I could relate to the characters that much, and I get that in books about people like child murderers and serial killers it would be kinda weird to relate, but you know what I mean?
Like, the characters didn’t grip me as much as I’d have loved. Good storyline though.
6. THE WIDOW
This was the last book I read, and as usual, it was finished within 24 hours. No biggie, I’ve just been a fast reader since reception when I was whizzing through them bad boy Kipper The Dog books way quicker than you were. Soz.
I love that this book was taken from a different angle to your usual set-up – the wife of the suspected murderer and paedophile. It has you unsure the whole way through and constantly suspecting other characters. Although admittedly there is some police faff about two-thirds of the way through which kinda lost me for a bit, but meh, swings and roundabouts.
It’s out in January, boos.
Just like The Widow this book focuses in on someone suspected of murder and it takes a little while to work out if maybe they did it or not.
The thing that made me OMG THIS BOOK, THIS ONE HERE about Dear Daughter is the way it’s written – it made me feel as though I could have written it. It was witty and cool and written like someone’s chatting to you, rather than it being all serious and grown-up and blah. The main character is also a sassy twenty-something, so y’know that helps.
It’s got similar kinda vibes to Gillian Flynn’s novels, if that sways you.
8. THE LOST BOY
I snapped this up the day it came out to whisk away to Spain with me for a summer holiday with my uni pals a few years back. I mean no, the families around the pool probably didn’t appreciate me reading extracts out loud to my group, but y’know, can’t help these things when you’re with a group of journalists.
(We are always, ALWAYS, those people sat in the corner at parties discussing unsolved cases. And yes, we text weekly about missing planes and missing children. I hate us.)
Anyway, this book is based on interviews in prison with Myra Hindley before she died and contains a pretty full story about her life from birth to prison, including her relationship with Ian Bradey and the Moors Murders.
Dark, obviously, but fascinating too.
I guess this book kinda has a double tragedy or a quadruple tragedy or whatever. Basically, a lot of bad shit happens. Some accidents, some well, not accidents.
It’s set in the Falkland Islands which I think subconsciously put me off a little to begin with, because hey, I’ve never been there and I don’t understand. But actually, the small town mentality is exactly what makes this work as much as it does.
This guy was a 24-hourer, I’m not even ashamed.
HAVE FUN BEING A BAD PERSON, I’M OFF TO START ELIZABETH IS MISSING. BYE.