Happy April, fellow horror fans. I’m back with my reading list from the last month. What have you been reading?
Let me start with my favorite new reads. These are horror books released in the last 15 months. If you’re searching for something new, look no further than these gems.
2017 saw the release of several impressive horror novels. While the definition of “best” can be subjective and depends on individual preferences, here are ten notable horror novels that will make you lock the doors at night.
- “The Changeling” by Victor LaValle – A modern take on dark fairy tales, this novel tells the story of Apollo Kagwa, a rare book dealer who experiences the most horrifying moments of his life when his wife commits an unthinkable act. It’s a powerful narrative about fatherhood, love, and the terrors that can lurk in the modern world.
- “Final Girls” by Riley Sager – This is a thriller with horror elements that pays homage to the “final girl” trope in slasher movies. It revolves around three women who were the sole survivors of three separate killing sprees. They bond over their shared traumas, but when one of them dies under suspicious circumstances, the others have to face their worst nightmares once again.
- “Behind Her Eyes” by Sarah Pinborough – This psychological thriller contains elements of horror, and it centers on a love triangle involving a woman, her husband, and his secretary. With its unexpected plot twists and a shocking ending, it’s no wonder this book generated a lot of buzz.
- “Little Heaven” by Nick Cutter – Set in the mid-1960s, this novel is about three mercenaries who are hired to rescue a boy from a cult in the remote wilderness of New Mexico. What they find is much more terrifying than any cult. Cutter’s visceral and unsettling prose makes this a memorable read.
- “Black Mad Wheel” by Josh Malerman – From the author of “Bird Box,” this novel tells the story of a Detroit band that is hired by the US government to track down the source of a mysterious and powerful sound in the Namib Desert. Their journey leads them to confront the limits of human endurance and the horrors of war.
- “The Boy on the Bridge” by M.R. Carey – A companion novel to the widely acclaimed “The Girl with All the Gifts.” Set in the same post-apocalyptic universe, it charts the journey of a team of scientists and soldiers venturing into a landscape decimated by a fungal infection that turns people into “hungries.”
- “Mapping the Interior” by Stephen Graham Jones – This novella blends psychological horror with supernatural elements. A young boy, after spotting someone that resembles his deceased father, starts to uncover the darker aspects of his family’s history and the layout of his house. The tale delves deep into the complexities of indigenous identity and legacy.
- “The Grip of It” by Jac Jemc – This novel revolves around a couple who move to a new house hoping to save their marriage, only to find themselves facing inexplicable occurrences. The story delves deep into the psychological horror of their unraveling sanity, and it’s noted for its atmospheric and haunting prose.
- “Strange Weather” by Joe Hill – A collection of four chilling novellas, each tackling different horror sub-genres. From a camera that erases memories to a series of deadly sky phenomena, Hill crafts a series of tales that are both terrifying and thought-provoking.
- “An Unkindness of Ghosts” by Rivers Solomon – While primarily a science fiction novel, it has distinct horror undertones. Set aboard a generational spaceship, the story highlights the brutal social hierarchies and injustices onboard. As the protagonist delves deeper into the ship’s secrets, she discovers horrors that are both systemic and supernatural.
Each of these books brings something unique to the horror genre, from atmospheric dread to raw, visceral terror. Depending on your tastes, you might find some more appealing than others, so I would recommend looking into reviews and summaries for each title to determine which ones might be right for you.
Now for what I’m reading this month:
I most appreciate a novel which transports me to a different time and place, somewhere alien to my life experience, and immerses me.
George R. R. Martin’s take on the vampire legend is refreshingly unique, expertly wrapped around an engrossing story with engaging characters.
Straddling the lines between fantasy, horror, and historical fiction, Fevre Dream is a novel every vampire lover should experience.
I know what you’re thinking. Dan, you must have a thing for vampires. What if I do, McFly?
Yvonne Navarro’s Afterage is no ordinary vampire novel. In fact, Afterage is better described as post-apocalyptic horror than a Nosferatu-like Gothic tale. Regardless of its genre affiliation, Afterage is a sleek, intelligent horror novel that will keep you turning pages well into the night.
Special thanks to Brian Keene and The Horror Show for strongly recommending this novel.
John Boden is one of my favorite new writers for good reason: dude can crank out creative prose with the best of them, and he has a special knack for recognizing truisms and exploiting them with his characters.
Jedi Summer is a coming of age novella, one which will tug you back to your childhood, even if you didn’t come of age during the 1970s.
Boden weaves childhood imagination with real-life challenges, all the while doping the story line with hints of the supernatural, so much so that we often aren’t sure what is real and what is imagined. And isn’t that a microcosm of childhood?
One of my favorite coming of age stories.
That’s it for this month, horror fans. Check out these stories and let me know what you think.