It’s the bright, shiny New Year. That magical time when your reading goals are new and your TBR feels (kind of) manageable. You swear that this year, you will tackle the backlist. This year, you’ll finally read all the books you own.
But then...you also just got some new bookstore gift cards, and the temptation is just too much. You're a book collector, after all.
Luckily, we here at The Lineup have a solution: the best novellas of 2022. Sure, you might have to buy some new books, but we’re almost positive you had your eye on these already. Plus, novellas are typically pretty fast reads. So by smashing through these stories, you’ll jump-start your 2023 reading goals—and set yourself up for success!
We found nine of the absolute best horror novellas released in 2022 that we promise you do not want to miss.
What Moves the Dead
Madeline Usher is dying. When her childhood friend, Alex Easton finds out, they rush back to the Usher ancestral home. But what they find is a baffling nightmare. Madeline walks in her sleep, speaking in strange voices. Her brother is suffering from a mysterious nerve disease. And surrounding a dark lake, fungus grows and wildlife seems possessed. If Alex can’t untangle the secrets afflicting the House of Usher, it will turn on them, and devour them all.
A brilliant retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. Kingfisher’s take is lush and atmospheric, maintaining all the gothic notes and creating captivating characters you can’t walk away from.
Jodi Wu only wants to see her daughter one more time. And the night of the Hungry Ghost Moon might be her chance. She sneaks into the Portland Chinese Garden with her best friend to leave offerings at the pond her toddler drowned in one year ago. The friends tell themselves ghost stories to pass the time, but at the main display, while studying the story behind a pair of ancient lotus slippers, Jodi hears her daughter. But as Jodi desperately searches the garden for her daughter, it becomes obvious there’s something else awake. And it’s following her.
A gorgeous story about motherhood, loss, and grief wrapped in Chinese folklore and legend. It’s heartbreaking and haunting with an ending that will stay with you long after you close the cover.
The Legacy of Molly Southbourne
When Molly Southbourne bleeds, a murderer is born. Each new Molly is drawn to her, their only focus on killing her. But somewhere along the way, the Molly’s got mixed up. With the original gone, the copies try to become sisters and build a home. They should have known that whoever created them would eventually come back. They should have known that the violence of their past could only lead to a bloody, brutal end.
The Legacy of Molly Southbourne is the thrilling conclusion to a gory trilogy filled with Thompson’s signature twists and sharp prose.
Your Mind is a Terrible Thing
After an ill-advised hookup, communications specialist Alto wakes up to an empty starship. Not the best of situations one can expect at the start of a ship, but then things get even worse. The ship isn’t as empty as it appeared. Something sinister is on board. Something that can reach into your thoughts and control what you see, what you feel. It’s violent. Destructive. And anxiety-ridden Alto is the only one who can stop it.
A spectacular story that delves deep into anxiety and isolation through sublime body horror while weaving an intense mystery that crawls under your skin and into your brain.
On her way to a horror convention, Addy finds herself in the middle of a snowstorm. That’s bad enough, but then she almost hits a van sitting in the middle of the road. She pulls into a truck stop to collect herself where she’s comforted by a kind truck driver who saw the near miss. But as she follows behind him, his truck suddenly jackknifes off a bridge, Addy has to make a choice. Does she drive away from the stranger who helped her? Or does she climb down into the dark abyss? And what about the strange creature with red eyes that mysteriously appeared?
An absolutely captivating take on Mothman complete with jump scares and terrifying moments that make this creature feature unputdownable.
This Is Where We Talk Things Out
After Miller’s father dies, the only family she has left is her mother. She agrees to a girls’ trip away from the city to reconnect, but she can’t help but worry that her mother sees this as nothing but a fun weekend—not their last chance to repair their relationship. When Miller has an accident, she hopes her mother will take care of her. But she quickly discovers that her mother is stuck in the past. And if Miller isn’t careful, she’ll be stuck there too.
A modern take on Misery with a toxic mother-daughter dynamic, This is Where We Talk Things Out is a deft exploration of familial trauma that lingers long after the last page.
They Were Here Before Us
“The only thing more brutal than nature is love.” That’s the only description you get before diving into this grotesque novella in pieces. Made up of six separate stories that weave together in tone and theme, They Were Here Before Us is beautiful and horrific, disturbing and bizarre. You will be swept away by his exquisite prose that somehow pushes you away while drawing you deeper into the pages. LaRocca pushes boundaries and challenges norms, but in the end, these stories penetrate your soul and make you experience a sublime range of emotions.
When Jess McMachen gets the job caring for elderly Flo Gardner, she thinks it’s exactly what she needs to start over. Raising her daughter by herself after fleeing her ex, she desperately needs a new life. Nerthus House is a dark labyrinth filled with pagan artifacts. But what starts as interesting soon turns sinister. There’s a malevolent force pushing Jess to the edge of sanity. And now Flo is influencing her daughter, slowly eating away Jess’s control of her. The moment they stepped over the threshold an ancient ritual was triggered, and they’ll be pushed until all is lost—or saved.
An intricate story with a deftly plotted mystery, The Vessel is an eerie folk horror novella that will sink its teeth into you and never let go.
Sisters Betty, Ann, and Pee-Wee live in a small parish in Louisiana in 1889. After school lets out, they go to stay with her hoodoo-practicing aunt, Theodora. They enjoy learning hoodoo until tragedy strikes involving the wicked town sheriff. Not only does this change the girls lives, it changes the girls themselves, sending them in entirely different directions.
A fast-paced coming-of-age horror novel about love, folk magic, redemption, and family, Rootwork will transport you to the bayou—where ghosts linger and magic lives.