Dark Reads of the Month: May


This is a series that I started on Goth Amino in December and decided to add to my proper blog. It isn’t really a wrap up, I just read a pile of books (9 this month) and then pick out 3 of the darkest and most interesting. It gives me the chance to discuss and recommend classics or older books which might not get full reviews.

This month I had an accidental reading theme. I read a lot of books about people being kept locked up against their will or in situations they can’t escape. I don’t know what caused that theme, my to read pile just lined up that way. It was an intense month of reading.

The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum

This is a fiction novel based on the real life torture and murder of Sylvia Likens. A young girl and her sister are left in the care of a woman who locks her in the basement, beats her and tells neighbourhood children to abuse her.

This book was so upsetting that I had to take a break from reading for two days, and that is impressive because I’m not normally bothered by things I read. It was just so intense. It is hard to say you enjoyed a book about someone being tortured to death but this is a great book. Well written and atmospheric. I will warn you though, this book has ALL of the trigger warnings. Rape, torture, abuse, general very adult content, it is all there. So if you are easily upset maybe this isn’t the book for you. Maybe read the wiki page on the real crime so you know what you are in for.

Read my full review here

Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

If you don’t know what this book is about I am going to do you a favour and not tell you. Rosemary’s Baby is pretty famous so I already knew everything about it when I started reading and  I feel like it ruined the ending for me, so that is why I am not telling you anything. Don’t even read the blurb because that contains spoilers too. If you know what this book is about please don’t be a twat and write spoilers in the comments.
I have read a few of Levin’s books now and  I think this one is my favourite. Since I refuse to give out spoilers I can’t say why. Levin just does a brilliant job with writing horror that takes place in a normal every day situation. It makes you wonder if things are real or not. This is the worst review because I refuse to spoil things. Just read Rosemary’s Baby and enjoy it. A bit of a warning, this book is very much a product of its time so some of the attitudes to things like marital rape are a bit worrying by today’s standards.

Flowers in the Attic by V.C Andrews


This is an American gothic horror novel about 4 children who are told to stay in the attic of a grand mansion for a few days so their mother can claim an inheritance, but 3 years later they are still there.

I discovered this book through Tea with Mermaids blog. She has great taste, go check her out. We disagree on this book though because I enjoyed it and she didn’t. I read a lot of upsetting literature so I was a bit more immune to this novel and its upsetting plot twists.

This is a book that has been banned in several places due to its content, and banned books are always fun to read. I have read a few books about people in this situation but this book stands out because I have never seen one set in a large mansion where the captives get nice clothes and gifts when they are not being horribly abused. It also packs plenty of plot twists and mystery which is just the cherry on top of an already great novel. This book contains incest, abuse and sexual themes. The incest is the reason why it has been banned.

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8 comments on “Dark Reads of the Month: May

  1. The now have The Girl Next Door on my TBR thanks to your review. I know it won’t be an easy read but I’m looking for something seriously dark and scary lately and that might fit what I’m looking for!

    • The Spine Cracker says:

      Yay! I love it when people add my books onto their TBRs. It might cause a massive book hangover due to how upsetting and dark it can be though.

      • I may have to prepare myself for that. But I don’t want to look into the true story of it. At least not until I’m done reading it. I think knowing it’s based on true events is going to be disturbing enough!

      • The Spine Cracker says:

        I heard of the true story before I had even heard of the book based on it so when I started reading I was wondering why it all seemed really familiar. I think knowing that it is based on a real life crime just makes it so much worse.

      • Oh for sure! Knowing that someone actually experienced it would be just awful. I’ll look into the true story once I’ve read it. I don’t need any vivid pictures or faces to go with the horror

      • The Spine Cracker says:

        That is a good idea. I heard a lot of complaints about the book due to its content but I think if it is based on a true story you can’t blame the book for what happened. Part of reading is reading about different events, and not everything is sunshine and rainbows.

      • 😂 no it’s definitely not! It’s not an easy topic, but it’s life (unfortunately) and getting those events out in the world is important. WWII wasn’t sunshine and rainbows but the stories need to be told! It’s good for people to be forced out of their safe protected bubble. I love hard hitting emotional reads!

  2. Sarah says:

    There’s a movie adaptation of the Sylvia Likens story starring Ellen Page called An American Crime. It’s an intense movie and I cried every time I watched it, but I remember it being very good! I have to add the book to my TBR.

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