Skip to main content


December 22, 2015

Ania Ahlborn: The Best Books are Like Bonbons Laced with Arsenic

Posted by emily

Bestselling horror author Ania Ahlborn has always been drawn to the darker, mysterious and sometimes morbid sides of life. Her latest book, BROTHER, is a terrifying tale about a teenager determined to break from his family’s unconventional --- and deeply disturbing --- traditions. Some traditions, though --- like giving and receiving books --- can be a little less sadistic. Here, Ania describes her favorite books to find under the tree, books that are dark and menacing and provide a much-needed shock of adrenaline during the wholesome holiday season.

Giving and receiving books has changed quite a bit in the past decade. Sometimes it’s difficult to gift a piece of literature to someone who can buy it electronically with the tap of a finger, delivering it to their reading device five seconds later. But there’s something about the thick and glossy pages of a picture book that gets me. People argue that eBooks will never truly replace print, and that can be debated. But eBooks replacing oversized tomes full of intricately detailed images? Never ever. That’s why I was absolutely thrilled when I found Brom’s THE CHILD THIEF beneath my Christmas tree years ago.

If you aren’t familiar with Gerald Brom --- simply known as Brom in the art and writing world --- do yourself a favor and check out his work, be it reading his books or simply poring over his stunning artwork online. His books --- full of dark, wicked and oftentimes sincerely chilling images --- are, perhaps, a bit unorthodox when it comes to the festival of lights. But then again, so is the tale of Krampus, a demon-like anthropomorphic character who whips (and sometimes kidnaps) disobedient children, making Saint Nicholas’ job of delivering glittering gifts to the good boys and girls of the world that much easier. Forget the coal. Krampus is coming.

As a lover and author of horror, I pine to find books like these beneath the tree, wrapped in colorful holiday paper like bonbons laced with arsenic; like Krampus crawling in through your window with a whip and wagging tongue. Dark and wicked, disturbing in their sheer existence, these are the types of books that quicken my own twisted imagination. They are a shot of horror during an otherwise delightful, kid-friendly holiday.