9 Hideously Dark Books To Cosy Up To This Autumn


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.



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.



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.



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.




  • Lauren

    Great article, Hannah! I’ve been looking for some good autumn reading after I totally devoured Gone Girl a couple of weeks ago. I think I’m going to start with some more Gillian Flynn.

    • Tammy Nyman

      Hannah have you ever read James Patterson? The women’s Murder Club series is awesome. The stories will keep you glued until the murder is solved. It is a series that has to be read in order and currently there are 14. I have read through 4. The main character is a woman Linsday Boxer. I think you might really like this series

  • I have just finished Dark Places and I was looking for something new to read so these tips are great! Thank you so much 🙂

    – Paperblooming

  • Great post! I love nasty books and at the moment I’m loving Karen Rose, she writes about murderers, rapists and paedophiles too, you never quite know the whole story until the end x

    • Kym

      I feel so jealous that you’re able to experience Karen Rose novels as a newbie. I’ve been in love with her writing for about 5 years now and I would do anything to go back and read them all again for the first time <3

      • OOOh thanks for the tip gals – might have to order a little summin’ summin’ for Mykonos.

  • Amy

    I’m definitely the same – I can read books about things that in movies or on TV would have me hiding under the covers and sleeping with the lights on for weeks.

    I recently read ‘You’ by Caroline Kepnes, which I think you’d really like – it’s absolutely gripping. It’s about a stalker, but told from the stalker’s perspective, which is kinda unusual. It’s creepy because he basically uses her social media accounts to get close to her…

    Definitely adding a few of these to my never-ending to-read list!

  • I finished Elizabeth Is Missing the other day! Such an amazing book but the style in which it’s written is quite different too so it was a little slow to get into. One of those books where you actually become really attached to the main character and get aaaaall dem feels! X

  • Kym

    Love this post. There’s nothing better than getting yourself lost in a book. I’ve added the ones from this list that I’ve not read to my wishlist. Some recommendations for you of books I’ve enjoyed over the last few months:
    The Accident and The Lie both by C L Taylor
    Anything by Liane Moriarty
    The Ice Twins by S K Tremayne
    The Boy that never was by Karen Perry
    I’ve just started The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood and so far it’s really captivating.

    Enjoy 🙂 xxx

    • Beth

      The Husband’s secret was amazing! Love these recommendations x

    • Ahhh thanks! x

    • I absolutely loved The Ice Twins!! x

      Christina Marie – xtinagsays.blogspot.co.uk

  • Fay

    Say You’re Sorry by Michael Robotham is absolutely brutal too – make sure you have a read.

    Glad I’m not the only one that likes twisted books 😉 Love this post x

  • I was just thinking I need a good book to read this Autumn! Something a little bit dark and twisty and challenging.

    I think you would love ‘Little Girl Lost’ by Brian McGilloway. It’s along that vein and based on a true story.

    Laura | WhatSheWroteBlog x

  • Joy

    I have already read half the books on this list, and the rest I just added to my Goodreads list. Seems like you are not the only person who likes dark books. I recently read Private Berlin by James Patterson and would recommend it.

  • I’m not usually one for dark and twisted books but I loved reading this post and feel like I should definitely give one of these a read now! Happy Monday! xx

  • Jaz

    Great post, more to add to my ridiculously long book wish list!

    I’m recently read The Farm by Tom Rob Smith which is very dark with lots of twists. X

  • Eve

    Loved this post, can’t wait to read a few! Esp the Gillian Flynn ones- I loved Gone Girl!

    Eve xo | http://anorganisedscatterbrain.blogspot.co.uk/

  • I really enjoyed Gone Girl but Sharp Objects was incredible. Like woah, incredible. I can’t wait to get started on Dark Places now. x

  • I’ve never read Anne Frank’s Diary but I think this post is a signal indicating that it’s high time I do!


  • I just finished reading Girl On A Train, I liked it but it didn’t blow me away. You should try reading books by Harlen Cohen, he’s one of my favourite authors and writes really great crime thrillers!



  • I love snuggling up with a good chick lit book on a cosy night like the next girl, but oh god I also love a good dark book. Thanks for some great recommendations!

    Beka. xo

  • Lauren G

    I am obsessed with Dear Daughter and feel at such a loss since I finished it!

  • Leona

    This is just what I’ve been needing! I’ve been through three books in the past 5 days and am running out of recommendations. Will definitely have a look at the ones i’ve not already read.

    You will LOVE Elizabeth is Missing.
    The only reason I had to put it down was because it made me feel like I was the one with dementia. So so cleverly written with great humour about such a sad disease.

    Yet another fab list Hannah. xx

  • Sophie

    I really liked Gone Girl. Crazy people. The Girl on the train was not my thing, but i finished it, of cause i did.
    I just read The good Girl by Mary Kubika. The ending blew me away!

  • Lauren

    I LOVE these kinds of books and I just finished one yesterday so thanks for the recommendations! x


  • This is so me. I am a bad person, too. I actually didn’t know We Need to Talk About Kevin was a book, I watched the film a while back and enjoyed it so I might give the book ago. Definitely going to read the first two on the list, I need something to aid in my university work procrastination…

    Teri-May | http://www.acupofT.co.uk

  • Kat

    Here’s another book that I think you would enjoy… It’s dark and I literally could NOT put it down! It’s called Three Rules by Marie Drake. This is her first published book (I kinda can’t wait for more), and seriously worth the $13!!! 🙂


  • I have read most of these and love that I have found this post! Now I have some good winter reads for my commute to download! Thanks for doing my research for me and glad we share a similar taste in books!


  • Don’t give me more for my reading list! But these sounds so dark and juicy and exciting. Help


  • I’m a sucker for a crime novel – will definitely be adding this to my reading list! x


  • Jessica

    Omg absolutely love your blog!! I really want to get into reading exciting books, I only really do it on holiday but definitely need some good thrilling ones for commuting to uni, so thanks for sharing!

    Jess xxx

  • Kerry

    I’ve just started Gone Girl and so far I am enjoying it. But I highly recommend The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne. If you like a book with twist sand turns and really dark then I think you will certainly enjoy this one. Let me know what you think? Happy reading :o)

  • Amy

    Love this post I’m reading the grant county series by Karin Slaughter at the moment and I’m on the last book which I am trying to savour because their so good! So many twists and just fucked up things to be honest which is my guilty pleasure!

  • Dark Places and Sharp Objects were really good. You have got to read Between Shades of Gray! I finished it last night and I can’t bare to write a review yet…

    Nihaad – the little blog of STUFF

  • I read the lost boy a few years back. One of my favorite to date. Thank you for your article xxx

  • Rachel

    I’m now halfway through The Lost Boy on your recommendation and it’s brilliant! Please make this a regular feature, xxxxxxxxxxx

  • First up, I LOVE THE WAY YOU WROTE THIS BLOG POST (creepy moment over).

    Also, these all sound so good! I’ve read TGOTT and do agree that the characters weren’t really likeable, I’ve also read Anne Frank’s diary and it was so, so sad!

    I think The Lost Boy sounds so good and I may have to add it to my ‘to read’ pile (along with Christ knows how many others).

    Thanks for sharing! x

  • Haha I’ve been away from Gruesome books for over a year now,currently loving young adult/romance,and I love it,and with all the description I think I’d be able to tolerate #7 dear daughter,should you want something funny “crazy rich asians” and the sequel “China rich girlfriend ” are sooo entertaining,take note of the character Oliver Tsien if you decide to read both,xoxo


  • Okay, so now that I’ve actually read your post, I still maintain that it’s a great post 😉
    I loved Gone Girl, but as soon as I read Dark Places and Sharp Objects I couldn’t understand why Gone Girl was the one that hit it big time. I’ll definitely check out The Widow now, if it’s similar. We Need to Talk About Kevin was epically creepy. I wasn’t that sold on The Girl on the Train, despite (or perhaps because of) the hype. Have you tried The Lovely Bones? Another good creeper 🙂

  • Nothing is better than cuddling up with a good, dark book and listening to the autumn-rain outside. Thanks a lot for the tips! I will definitely be reading some of those books this autumn.

  • Brilliant! New titles for my TBR list!

    I liked the Gillian Flynn books, although was a tad too squeamish for Sharp Objects, and absolutely loved We Need To Talk About Kevin.

    Am now intrigued by The Widow and Little Black Lies. Thanks for blogging about them 🙂

    Stephanie Jane

  • Hillary

    Hannah, what did you think of Elizabeth is Missing?? I read it and I have to say that I was disappointed!

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