Reading suggestions
June 14, 2005 11:25 AM   Subscribe

I recently read Chuck Palahniuk's Diary and loved it. I'm looking for suggestions for similarly mysterious/creepy novels...

I know that a number of his other novels are much more gruesome than Diary, which isn't exactly my cup of tea. I'm looking for something more along the lines of a psychological thriller/horror novel that is well written. Blood and guts are fine but I'd rather it not be as descriptive as, say, American Psycho. Another book I read and loved that was creepy/disturbing but not gruesome was The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Any suggestions are welcome!!
posted by fabesfaves to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
the history of luminous motion by scott bradfield.

apparently also made into a movie.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:29 AM on June 14, 2005

i really enjoyed palahniuk's Lullaby. Did you read that one?
posted by freudianslipper at 11:44 AM on June 14, 2005

I haven't read Lullaby.... I was sort of worried about it maybe being too creepy, since it's about babies dying and all... I will have to give it a chance.
posted by fabesfaves at 11:47 AM on June 14, 2005

I enjoyed Palahniuk's Invisible Monsters and Choke very much, but neither is a psychological thriller/horror novel. I've found his work to be pretty consistent in tone and theme, though, so if you liked one it seems you'd like the rest.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:19 PM on June 14, 2005

I havn't really found anything written like Chuck, so hey, read his whole library :).
posted by Mach5 at 12:23 PM on June 14, 2005

Lullaby isn't too creepy (there's no direct baby death, just mention of SIDS), though I guess it's less gruesome then Diary. Survivor is my favorite of Palahniuk's. A really amazing novel with fantastic elements of a 'psychological thriller' is Danielewski's House of Leaves. It is a metafiction, so you really get into it. I read a lot of Palahniuk's stuff because I liked that style, but House of Leaves is on another level. Here's a link to, where you can find extensive reviews. But if you liked Diary, you should really dig House of Leaves.
posted by farishta at 12:29 PM on June 14, 2005

Not supernatural exactly, but it turns out The Manchurian Candidate is an excellent psychological thriller whose pleasures are almost entirely different than those of the movies it spawned. Christopher Hurt's audiobook of it is also terrific.

Diary was pretty patently patterned after the novels of Ira Levin (you can read all of CP's essay "Dear Mr. Levin" from "Stranger Than Fiction" on Amazon using their Search Inside function, although I would swear that I found it on some newsweekly's website a month or so ago). I've only read Sliver, which was good but not great, so I can't speak to his other work.

In a totally different vein, Sean Stewart's Perfect Circle is pretty great, and you can read the first four chapters on Salon.
posted by blueshammer at 12:55 PM on June 14, 2005

I'm not familiar with Diary, but lately I've been working my way through House of Leaves. If you've got the patience for it, it's an interesting mindscrew.

On preview: what farishta said...and I guess I should check out "Diary".
posted by ArsncHeart at 1:24 PM on June 14, 2005

Tourmaline by Joanna Scott is good, and creepy in a Hitchcockian way.
posted by lalalana at 1:25 PM on June 14, 2005

I've read Lullaby and don't remember it being too graphic.

As for other suggestions, I really liked Orson Scott Card's Lost Boys and I remeber it being pretty creepy. I'd also suggest Ray Bradbury's Illustrated Man. It's not all creepy, but some of it is, and either way it's a good book :)
posted by geeky at 1:32 PM on June 14, 2005

I've been getting into crime novels again: Raymond Chandler, Dashiel Hammett, James Ellroy. Ellroy's American Tabloid is a real page-turner.
posted by AlexReynolds at 1:42 PM on June 14, 2005

Try My Idea of Fun by Will Self. Extremely perverse and very funny.
posted by wryly at 4:37 PM on June 14, 2005

I really liked Under the Skin by Michel Faber. Unsettling and strange yet completely engrossing.
posted by Miastar at 6:21 PM on June 14, 2005

Just A Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito showed up on my recommendations list. It has gotten excellent reviews on there and a few comparisons to Chuck but I haven't had a chance to read it yet.

I don't know how disturbing Diary is but the most disturbing book that I've ever read was American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis.
posted by dgeiser13 at 7:44 PM on June 14, 2005

I don't know if this is a stretch, but how about Paul Auster's New York Trilogy? (The novels, that is, not the funnybook versions.)
posted by Absit Invidia at 9:02 PM on June 14, 2005

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