If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I just started reading RAGDOLL by Daniel Cole, a gruesome and gripping novel that pits controversial detective William Fawkes, aka “The Wolf,” against a deranged killer. RAGDOLL opens with the discovery of a corpse, as many crime books do—but this is no ordinary dead body. This corpse is made of body parts from six dismembered victims, all sewn together into one grotesque puppet.
RAGDOLL doesn’t release until April 4, 2017, which is such a long time to wait. To tide you over, I’ve compiled a fairly arbitrary list of books inspired by my experience reading RAGDOLL so far. Each of these books features a central crime or central character that left me seriously creeped out, yet addicted to its story, which is exactly how I'm feeling about RAGDOLL so far. These books don’t necessarily have a lot in common except that they all got under my skin and genuinely scared me, whether for their violence or subtly terrifying characters. I have a feeling RAGDOLL will belong on this list as soon as I finish it.
1. THE CROW GIRL by Erik Axl Sund. Okay, you caught me—I’ll take any chance to talk about this book, but that’s because it really is that good. THE CROW GIRL is a relentlessly brutal glimpse into the minds of both victims and perpetrators of emotional and physical abuse. It’s violent, horrific, mind-bending, and deeply insightful. Arguably my all-time favorite book. I’ve got lots of CROW GIRL content on CBTB (yes, I’m obsessed): read my review here and read about my interview with authors here. Amazon info here.
2. PERFECT DAYS by Raphael Montes. Undoubtedly one of the most unnerving and shocking books I read this year. Readers delve inside the mind of Teo, a young medical student and a verifiable psychopath whose best friend is a cadaver. When Teo falls in love, readers can rightly assume things will turn very dark, very fast. Montes writes with clinical precision about some truly sickening topics. Read my review here; Amazon info here.
3. IRENE by Pierre Lemaitre. The ultimate literary serial killer novel. Book 1 in a trilogy, IRENE pits series protagonist Camille Verhoeven against a twisted killer who is perpetrating crimes inspired by literature. Gory, shocking, and brimming with the prose that made me fall in love with Lemaitre’s writing in BLOOD WEDDING. (Side note: BLOOD WEDDING is incredible. Pick that one up, too.) Amazon info here.
4. YOU by Caroline Kepnes. Kepnes’ debut introduces readers to Joe: bookstore employee and obsessive stalker. When Joe meets Guinevere Beck in a chance encounter, he instantly fixates upon her, and begins orchestrating and executing a plan to become her boyfriend. This book is shocking not so much for violence, although it does contain violent scenes, but for its psychopathic and oddly charming main character. Amazon info here.
5. SECURITY by Gina Wohlsdorf. This is not going to be a book for everyone, but SECURITY was an instant favorite for me. This book reads like a cross between THE SHINING and an action movie featuring futuristic, Big Brother-like surveillance. Inventive, original, and brimming with equal parts opulence and gore, Wohlsdorf's debut is bold and polarizing, but not one you'll soon forget. Read my review here; Amazon info here.
I hope these books will help pass the time until RAGDOLL releases in April! What books would you add to this list?