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A Year of Terror: Take a Look Back at the Best Indie Horror Books of 2023

From folklore frights to creepy collections, we've had 12 months of screams.

2023 indie horror book roundup
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  • Photo Credit: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

2023 has been a hell of a year. The SAG and WGA strikes lasted months. Rihanna dominated the Super Bowl halftime Show, while Taylor Swift and Beyonce's tour took the world by storm. We lost icons like Tina Turner and Matthew Perry. Gwyneth Paltrow's ski trial kept us endlessly entertained. And an endless slog of war has divided the globe.

From pop culture mayhem to international crisis, we've had books to keep us company through it all. They're the great escape—the ultimate catharsis for all that weighs on our hearts. We at The Lineup love horror in all its forms. But our favorite? Indie horror!

Join us on a nostalgic trip through all of the best indie horror books of 2023.

The Indie Books We Most Anticipated for 2023

everything the darkness eats

Everything the Darkness Eats

By Eric LaRocca

LaRocca’s highly anticipated debut novel, Everything the Darkness Eats, tells the story of a small New England village amid a disturbing wave of disappearances acting as a harbinger for a sinister and hateful cosmic force that threatens to change—or possibly destroy—the town and its community. LaRocca knows a thing or two about examining the darkness, just like he knows that in order to survive its menace, one needs to reveal how humanity can overcome its multitude of terrors.

The Best Indie Horror Books From February 2023

a blackness absolute

A Blackness Absolute

By Caitlin Marceau

If short story collections are more your speed, this chilling compendium of works by Caitlin Marceau is one to look out for. In atmospheric, dread-inducing tales, Marceau touches upon the terror of vulnerability, the natural world around us, and the fragility of sanity. The titular story takes readers through the claustrophobic horrors of getting lost in a cave system, while the closing story explores one woman's unusual funeral rites.

This book is available now from Ghost Orchid Press!

The Best Indie Horror Books From March 2023

The Shoemaker's Magician by Cynthia Pelayo

The Shoemaker's Magician

Paloma has been watching the Grand Vespertilio Show for as long as she can remember. The classic horror showcase is hosted by Grand himself, complete with a tuxedo and a dramatic flair. But one day Paloma notices there's something ever more peculiar about Grand than his Gothic visage.

When Paloma's homicide detective husband finds a corpse at the Chicago Theater with an obscure movie posture pinned to its chest, it seems like Grand is the only one that can solve this dark mystery. As another body turns up at a historic movie palace, the clues point to a connection to a silent film that has been somehow linked to numerous local tragedies. Paloma soon learns that Grand is more than a host of a beloved horror show, and this mystery may put her young son at risk.

This book is available now from Agora/Polis Books!

The Best Indie Horror Books From April 2023



By Ai Jiang

The debut novel of Chinese-Canadian author Ai Jiang weaves a gripping gothic ghost story set in the strange town of HOME. Here, the grief of the population has conjured the spirits of those they lost. As Wenqi Liam and Mrs. travel to this mysterious locale, they encounter the dead grasping their second chance at "life." Includes two two bonus short stories: "Yǒngshí" and "Teeter Totter."

This book is available now from Dark Matter Ink!

The Best Indie Horror Books From May 2023

the stradivarius

The Stradivarius

By Rae Knowles

Escaping her repressed life via elopement, Mae and her new husband hope for a fresh start in her childhood home. However, the crumbling Victorian seems to be haunted by more than just the wicked rumors that continue to surround her father's unsolved murder...

As Ollie, a genderqueer outsider, takes it upon themselves to solve the old murder case, Mae is relentlessly taunted by a feminine specter, disembodied voices, and melodies of the priceless Stradivarius violin stolen the night her father died. Is it madness? A message from beyond? Or something more malevolent?

This book is available now from Brigids Gate Press!

The Best Indie Horror Books From June 2023

les petites morts

Les Petites Morts

By Evelyn Freeling

This anthology collects 14 sensual tales of erotic horror. Each of these titillating reads is inspired by fairy tales, folklore, and mythology. From a steamy reframing of Snow White to a hot and heavy tale about Hecate, these stories will have you as unsettled as you are excited. Find work from authors like Hailey Piper,  Sonora Taylor, Sara Tantlinger, Joe Koch, Steve Neal, and more!

This book is available now from Ghost Orchid Press!

The Best Indie Horror Books From July 2023

the screaming child

The Screaming Child

By Scott Adlerberg

Mystery meets horror in this gripping new work. A woman overcome with grief busies herself writing a book about an explorer who was murdered in the remote wilderness. But when she hears the distant screams of her own missing child from somewhere deep in the woods, she is catapulted into her own dangerous journey.

This book is available now from Ghoulish Books!

The Best Indie Horror Books From August 2023

her teeth like waves

Her Teeth, Like Waves

By Nikki R. Leigh

When her twin brother, Mitch, disappears during a diving expedition, Kat sets out to find him. She takes her girlfriend, Jules, with her to his last known destination, and prepares to face the unknowable dangers of the deep ocean. A weird horror romp that's heavy on emotion, this novelette will delight lovers of creature features.

This book is available now from Spooky House Press LLC!

The Best Indie Horror Books From September 2023

the black lord

The Black Lord

By Colin Hinckley

In Colin Hinckley's debut new weird folk horror novella, Eddie's infant brother has gone missing. Yet as his parents argue over Danny, Eddie is left to face something terrible all alone. A strange figure is waiting for Eddie outside—a figure that promises little Danny is perfectly safe. And all Eddie has to do to get his brother back is open the window.

While Eddie's father is stuck in a guilty spiral over his relationship with his own lost brother, Eddie's mother is left to sink into her grief all alone. Meanwhile, Eddie's grandmother is harboring a dark secret about their family, and the fabric of the very universe is disintegrating as they all flounder through terror.

This book is available from Tenebrous Press!

The Best Indie Horror Books From October 2023

green fuse burning

Green Fuse Burning

By Tiffany Morris

When her estranged father dies, artist Rita sinks into a spiral of mourning and regrets. She is drowning in all the things she never got to ask him about, from his childhood, to their family, to the Mi'kmaq culture which Rita feels so far away from. But she may get a chance to reconnect with parts of what she's lost—her girlfriend, Molly, submitted her to an artist's residency taking place where her father grew up, and Rita's been accepted to the week-long painting getaway.

Rita is awoken, her first night at this isolated cabin, by peculiar sounds. It's almost as if a body is being dragged through the woods… Later, she asks the locals about the cabin's history, but receives only suspicion in return.

As dark visions roll in from the forest, the lake, and its swamp Rita gives into the dark pull. She's filled with an energy she's never felt before, driving her to paint. But as the strange visions become more disturbing and uncontrollable, Rita soon finds that in the swamp, the end of life is merely the beginning of something new.

This book is available now from Stelliform Press!

The Best Indie Horror Books From November 2023

a dark roux

A Dark Roux

By Blaine Daigle

A world of sinister mysticism lurks below the murky waters of the Louisiana Bayou, tearing family legacies to shreds with steadfast superstition. After a tragic summer 15 years ago, Rhiannon LeBeau left that life behind. But after their mother dies, Rhiannon and her younger brother, Rhett, are dragged right back to their ancestral home in the heart of Terrebonne Parish's sugarcane farms. More than just family secrets and buried memories are waiting for them here. Something has been bound to the bayou in blood, and it has a debt to collect…

This book is available now from Wicked House Publishing!

The Best Indie Horror Books From December 2023



By Anthony Engebretson

In Nebraska City in 1901, a curse hangs over Arbor Lodge. This well-respected home is being reclaimed by a dangerous demon, and the desperation of statesman J. Sterling Morton is a big opportunity for lumberjack Neville. Neville wants nothing more than to prove himself as a man, and if he can hunt down and slaughter this elusive creature, he will become a legend. If he fails, he'll lose much more than just his pride.

This book is available now from Tenebrous Press!

Featured image: Annie Spratt/Unsplash