Supernatural horror has long been part of storytelling. Demons and ghosts, vampires and werewolves. They were our attempt to understand the darker sides of ourselves and to explain the mysterious. As these stories moved across continents and over time, they evolved and changed to fit the hopes and fears of the people. Today, we’re seeing a resurgence in horror with more diverse voices bringing their own culture, perspective, and history to the genre. We gathered nine supernatural horror books with fresh, new takes on tropes, lore, and creatures.
Such Sharp Teeth
Rory Morris doesn’t plan on being home long. It’s only until her sister has her baby and then she’s back to the big city. Not even running into her almost-boyfriend Ian can change her mind. After a night out, she hits something with her car and is attacked. Somehow her memory of the night and her injuries don’t add up. And things are different. She’s stronger, for one, and the moon has an unusual allure. Rory is terrified she’s becoming a monster. It’s not the first monster she’s faced. And she’s determined that it won’t be the last.
Such Sharp Teeth is a fiercely feminist werewolf story for every woman who’s ever been told they’re not allowed to be angry. It’s an intimate look at how deeply trauma impacts us and the horror women endure as our bodies change, sometimes against our will.
Certain Dark Things
Mexico City is a supposed to be safe from vampires. It’s also the perfect place for a vampire on the run to lie low. Domingo collects garbage. He’s just another street kid trying to survive. But when he spots Atl, a beautiful, mesmerizing descendent of Aztec blood drinkers, he insists on helping her. Atl just needs to get as far from the narco-vampire clan hunting her. That plan doesn’t include Domingo. But as cops and criminals close in, Atl realizes she needs Domingo if either one of them hope to escape alive.
Moreno-Garcia weaves a vivid and complex new world of vampires that is gritty and irresistible. The ancient Aztec mythology makes for a stunning new take on vampiric lore filled with captivating characters and a violent plot.
The Final Girl
My Heart Is a Chainsaw
Jade Daniels knows everything about slasher movies. They’re her comfort. As an angry, half-Indian avoiding her abusive father and absent mother, horror films are the one thing she can count on. But when a killer starts slashing their way through her small town, Jade knows she’s in the middle of one her movies brought to life. Relying on her encyclopedic knowledge of bloody rampage killers, she tries to stay one step ahead and help the final girl stay alive.
The final girl is so much more than the last girl alive. Through Jade, we see how trauma turns every day into survival, but also the heartbreaking strength it takes to actually live.
The Year of the Witching
The word of the Prophet is law in Bethel. Immanuelle Moore’s mother cast her family in disgrace by joining with an outsider of a difference race. Her existence is blasphemy, so she does her best to be quiet, devote, and subservient. But when she’s lured into the forbidden forest, she meets the four powerful witches the Prophet killed. They give her a gift: her mother’s journal revealing that she once took sanctuary in the forest. As the truth about the Church and their history comes to light, Immanuelle sees the darkness in Bethel. And to change it, she must change first.
Dark, gory, and suspenseful, The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson confronts gender and race in this feminist reclamation of the witch.
In the midst of World War II, Meiko Briggs and her daughter just want to go home. It doesn’t matter that Meiko’s husband and Aiko’s father is an Air Force Pilot. Or that Aiko is American-born. They’re Japanese. And according to the American government, that means they’re a threat. Now, they’re in an internment camp, counting down the days until the war is over. But when a mysterious disease spreads through the camp, it reminds Meiko of a demon from her childhood. What starts as a cold turns into something else. Something violent. Something angry. And time is running out.
Seeped in historical fact and Japanese mythology, Alma Katsu weaves a story that is chillingly real. It’s impossible to forget that the real monsters are the people and events pulled from reality.
Urban Indian Kari James lives a quiet life. She works, takes care of her father, and hangs out at the White Horse bar. When her cousin Debby finds an ancient bracelet that belonged to her mother, it opens the door for her mother’s ghost to step through. And she’s not alone. Haunted by memories that aren’t her own and hunted by a monster ravenous for her flesh, Kari has to uncover the truth of what actually happened to her mother over thirty years ago.
White Horse brings Denver to life through visceral details and the Native American lore is woven into every aspect of the story. It immerses you in a story that reminds you that our secrets are often the things keeping monsters alive.
The Haunted House
Just Like Home
Vera never wanted to go back to the home where her serial killer father buried the bodies of his victims. But when her mother asked her to come home, she did. Being back is hard enough, but there’s an artist living in the guest house devouring her childhood trauma. He insists he isn’t leaving notes for Vera in her father’s handwriting, but he’s the only one who could. The longer she’s home, the more secrets she discovers, forcing her to face her entire past or be destroyed by them.
Crowder House is not just a setting, it’s a whole character in this intense story. Just Like Home is the perfect blend of Gothic horror in a house that’s creepier than the Overlook Hotel. One word of advice while reading: don’t look under your bed.
No Gods for Drowning
As monsters threaten to drown the city of Valentine, a ritual killer is on the loose. Lilac Antonis is trying to protect the city after the old gods left. But to call her mother, a blood god, she has no choice but to kill. Her friends Alex and Cecil have been assigned the case, not knowing they’re hunting their friend. But the gods may not have left on their own. As floodwaters rise, Lilac’s offerings reveal that the price of the gods’ protection was higher than anyone realized. And Alex and Cecil are running out of time to find the truth behind the god’s disappearance before an ancient plot kills them all.
By blending ancient mythology in modern times and wrapping it within a serial killer detective noir, Piper creates a genre-blending story that’s unlike anything you’ve read.
Erin needs boundaries. Especially when it comes to her ex-boyfriend, Silas. He’s charming but reckless and keeps pulling Erin back into his orbit. After she bails him out of rehab—again—she knows she needs to cut ties. But then Silas overdoses in his hometown and Erin is consumed by grief. A friend tells her about a new drug Ghost, that lets the user see the dead. Desperate for closure, Erin agrees to the drug-induced séance. But this drug has side effects. And once you take it, you can’t go back.
There are a multitude of layers in this ghost story that highlight the way we are haunted in life: addiction, grief, bad choices, guilt, lingering relationships. It’s claustrophobic, emotional, and intense.