[Top 15] Best Lovecraftian Books

Best Lovecraftian Books, Best Lovecraft Books
The Great Dreamer

We've all heard of Lovecraft, but who else is worth looking at to fill that cosmic horror void in your life?


H. P. Lovecraft was a master of the horror genre. Not only did he write some of the most unnerving and iconic cosmic horror stories to date, he was also able to create not just his Lovecraftian mythos but also an entire sub-genre of horror. On this list, we won’t be looking at the works of the Master of Madness himself but in no particular order the best of those that his tales inspired.

15. The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

The Library at Mount Char Cover

After an unexplained catastrophe, twelve children are taken in by an ancient being known as Father. Together they live in “the Library”  a building containing all the knowledge of the universe, separated into twelve sections. Each child is tasked by Father with mastering one of these sections but are violently punished if they try to learn one of the others. One day, they are ejected from the library and cannot regain entry. Has Father been killed or captured by his enemies? The children must organise themselves in an attempt to solve the mystery.

This incredibly original work of fiction is filled with supernatural beings and gruesome consequences. While being a little hard to categorise, if you’re a fan of Lovecraft you’ll love the mystery and weirdness in this story.

14. The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavalle

The Ballad of Black Tom Cover

Revisiting Lovecraft’s story “The Horror at Red Hook” but told from the perspective of Tommy Tester, a black small-time hustler in 1924 Harlem.

The Ballad of Black Tom was well received critically and was celebrated for turning “The Horror at Red Rock” into an “actual story”. This is a beautifully creepy addition to the Lovecraftian mythos.


13. 14 by Peter Clines

Cover for 14

Nate has no girlfriend, no money and he hates his job. That’s why he doesn’t have too much time to think about the odd things in his new apartment. Padlocked doors and strange light fixtures are a small price to pay for low rent and the apartment itself is liveable. That is until he starts to notice strange things about his neighbour’s apartment. And the apartments of his friends in the building too….

Often compared to Lost for its compelling mystery plot, this book leans more into cosmic horror towards the end of the book but the eerie build-up throughout all adds to the rising tension.

12. The Fold by Peter Clines

The Fold Cover

Mike Erikson is an English teacher with a genius-level I.Q who is invited to consult on some mysterious DARPA level technology that enables the transportation of physical matter. After an accident leaves one of the scientists dead and the rest in shock, Mike realises that all may not be as it seems.

A loose sequel to “14” both books deserve to be on this list as they tick all the right boxes for fans of Lovecraftian horror. Sharing the same universe as his previous novel, there is only minimal overlap between the two but the references there are, are worth it as they paint an overall larger picture.

11. The Fisherman by John Langan

Cover for The Fisherman

Two widowers find solace and friendship in fishing after their wives die. Hearing of the too-good-to-be-true Dutchman’s Creek in upstate New York, the two end up investigating the claims only to discover cultists, horror, and the promise of that which they desire most.

Think Lovecraft in the vein of The Dunwich Horror, this unsettling read isn’t just about the terror or the haunting community in which it takes place. It is also a story of immense grief and sadness. Couple that with unspeakable horror and unsettling revelations and this  makes for a compelling read.

10. The Croning by Laird Barron

The Croning Cover

Donald Miller, geologist and academic, discovers dark secrets about his wife, their adult twins and the things that lurk on the periphery of our existence. Black magic, cults and worse abound in this chilling story.

This is a hauntingly beautiful novel with some exceptional prose and a story that is as complex as it is enthralling. Starting with a retelling of the story of Rumpelstiltskin, I was hooked from the first. By the time you reach the stunning climax of this book, everything just makes so much more sense than it did on your initial read through and the story will stay with you for days after finishing.

9. A Colder War by Charles Stross

An intriguing take on the Cold War

Merging the Cold War and the Elder God mythos, this is one of the more interesting books on this list. In this version of the Cold War, NATO and the U.S are falling behind the USSR in dark arts with their only countermeasures being nuclear weapons.

This book blends history and the Elder Gods in a terrifying and thrilling alternate reality where the world is on edge and the Cthulhu mythos is very, very real - the implications of which are capable of shredding the protagonist's sanity to pieces.

8. Darkness on the Edge of Town by Brian Keene

A chilling tale that shows how civilisation can break

The residents of Walden, Virginia wake one morning to find the rest of the world gone. Surrounded by a wall of darkness, the town is sent into a perpetual night. Any who try to leave are never seen again - but their screams are heard. Stuck in this world of night, the residents must contend with thirst, starvation and each other as well as something far worse out in the darkness.

I love stories where the very fabric of civilisation starts to crumble and this one was no exception. Think “Under the Dome” but with Elder Gods. The ending may frustrate some but the story as a whole is well worth your time.

7. The Dunfield Terror by William Meikle

Lovecraftian horror that doesn't shy away from its influences

A glowing fog that arrives at the height of a snowstorm. A terror from the past that has returned. The stories tell of a post-war experiment gone wrong. A team of workmen are the town's last hope to survive against horrors unimaginable.

William Meikle wears his influences on his sleeve with this one with Lovecraft being especially evident in the title and the sanity shattering events that unfold for the characters involved. Arguably easier to read than Lovecraft, this book is fast paced, fun and unputdownable.

6. Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys

A refreshing take on the Lovecraftian mythos

In an alternate history where The Deep Ones are real Aphra and Caleb Marsh, along with the other people of Innsmouth, have been taken by the US government and placed into camps in the desert, far from the sea and their god Cthulhu. After surviving the camps, Aphra is approached by an FBI agent who believes Communist spies are stealing dangerous magical secrets. Aphra must return home, gather the pieces of her history and face the worst of human nature.

This book is special in the way it turns Lovecraftian literature on its head and, for lack of a better word, humanises the surviving Deep Ones. There’s some real sophistication around how gender and race are portrayed in this book with a strong female lead that you can’t help but care about. The mysticism is written in an interesting and intriguing way and fans of Lovecraft won’t be disappointed.

5. Everything That’s Underneath by Kristi Demeester

A creepy collection of short stories

This beautifully written book contains eighteen weird and unsettling tales in a collection that is sure to leave you thinking about its contents long after you’ve finished.

The terror that Kristi builds within these pages finds a way to get its hooks into you and doesn’t let go. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily out and out horror, but it certainly leaves you having to clear your head to truly comprehend what you’ve just read.

4. Carter & Lovecraft by Jonathan L. Howard

A modern take on Lovecraft

Daniel Carter was a homicide detective until his last case went wrong in strange and unexpected ways. Now he’s trying to work as a private investigator and trying to live a quiet life. That is until he inherits a book shop from someone he’s never heard of. Along with the shop comes Emily, the last known descendant of Lovecraft himself. As people start dying in impossible ways, he becomes to suspect that Lovecraft's stories may have been more than just fiction.

This book is perfect for people who enjoy the Cthulhu mythos but don’t enjoy Lovecraft’s writing style. A modern writing style with modern references crossed with all the sanity tearing madness of Lovecraft’s work, it’s easy to see why Warner Bros have optioned this for a TV adaptation.

3. Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Lesser used Lovecraftian monsters get the right treatment in this tale

A government agent known only as The Signalman is haunted by a past event. A cult leader gathers up the weak and susceptible to usher in a new age. An interplanetary probe from beyond Pluto goes dark after something makes contact with it. And a woman outside of time looks to both the past and the future for answers on how to save humanity.

In this tale of madness, government dealings and alien fungus we see conspiracy and Lovecraft combine in one of the most disturbing novellas I’ve read in a while. It’s mysterious, creepy and wonderfully chilling.

2. Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw

Lovecraftian Noir abounds in this intriguing story

John Persons is a private investigator who has been hired by a ten-year-old boy to kill his abusive stepfather. His stepfather also just happens to be an ancient monster. Being an ancient being himself, this makes Persons the ideal candidate for the job. Being no stranger to the Occult, can he bring down the abusive monster without breaking the restraints on his own potential?

This is a fairly short novella but boy does it fit a lot into those pages. With Elder Gods and detective noir, why wouldn’t this be an intriguing read? The detective elements are woven incredibly well with Lovecraftian mythos and the door is left open for another intriguing adventure in the series.

1. Songs of a Dead Dreamer by Thomas Ligotti

From the mind of one of the greatest horror writers of recent years

Another collection of horror stories, it is highly regarded as one of the seminal collections of modern weird horror fiction. The influences of H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe are on display for all to see but the work contained within never becomes contrite because of it. 

Thomas Ligotti is a master of the genre and while his earlier writings may lack the finesse of later work, there is enough weirdness and horrifying details in this collection to appeal to any fan of the genre.


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As an avid gamer and reader, I have spent the vast majority of my life exploring darkened tombs, vast mountain ranges and crumbling wizards towers. I do the hard work so you don't have to.
Gamer Since: 1995
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