In need of a spine-chilling new book? The horror genre is so vast that it can be a pretty daunting task to track down your next great read. Though there are so many voices in the world of horror, it’s ironically never been more difficult to navigate the seemingly never-ending corridors of horror novels and short stories to track that new narrative that will haunt you for nights on end. Well, we're here to help, horror fans. May this list serve as the door that leads you straight into a thrilling realm of bold new horror fiction by diverse authors you haven't yet discovered. Happy reading.
Author Gabino Iglesias has been active in the crime fiction community for years, and he’s been publishing some of the most original, textured narratives to come to mind. His fourth novel, Coyote Songs, combines the best of both horror and crime fiction. It takes place at “La Frontera”—the border between the United States and Mexico, where lawlessness reigns supreme. Chapters switch character perspectives to depict one of the most relatable forms of horror: poverty and homelessness, displacement and self-destruction. With varied characters that include a boy who loses his father to gang violence, a woman who gives birth to a monster every night, and even a coyote that helps children cross the border, Coyote Songs is a must-read novel that will imprint itself in your mind.
We Cast a Shadow
This novel has drawn comparisons to Jordan Peele’s breakthrough film Get Out, and with good reason—Ruffin explores the nefarious effects of racism, escalating a devastatingly simple premise to the point of pure horror. In this case, he narrows in on the idea of mixed-race people “passing” as white. In a not-too-distant future, segregation has returned, and people of color sign up for insane surgeries to fit in with Western beauty standards. In this terrifying world, Brian Redfield is the father of a biracial child, Nigel. Nigel could pass for white, if it wasn’t for a black birthmark that continues to grow each day. Unfortunately, the only solution is a demelanization procedure...
The Pulse Between Dimensions and the Desert
This debut collection from author Rios de la Luz runs the gamut of fiction, nonfiction, fantasy, and horror. With time travel, alien visitations, heartbreak, and everything in between, there’s a little something under every rock and corner of the vast narrative territory navigated by de la Luz. Perhaps the one book on this list that ventures beyond outright horror into poetic territory, the stories most definitely dial up an inward sense of horror and dread, the sort that creeps up on you as you turn the pages.
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How’s this for a premise: A teacher seeking revenge on the students who killed her daughter locks them in a classroom to deliver one last “lecture.” Minato goes right for the jugular with Confessions, a horrifying yet intricate story that recalls classics like Rashomon. Full of twists and turns, Confessions reads like a lecture being delivered to the reader, and its confrontational atmosphere is where the true horror lies. This book will shock even the most seasoned readers, mostly because the sort of terror being told is less about gore and violence and more about guilt and despair.
Wrath James White specializes in brutally dark fiction. The Resurrectionist takes disparate concepts like resurrection and home invasion to spin a tale about someone that can raise the dead—but abuses the power to heinous and truly skin crawling heights by murdering his next-door neighbor night after night. This one’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
Adlerberg’s debut novel is a voyeuristic horror-thriller about a strange love triangle and a man who lives across the street from a graveyard. Kurt’s mother pressures him to write her memoir post-haste, an act that lends the narrative distinct claustrophobia and oddity. While in the midst of this massive undertaking, Kurt begins to notice a mysterious woman visiting the same grave over and over again. Toss in twin obsessions and murder and you have a quick-moving novel that gets under your skin.
This one’s dripping with dread and despair. Ogi wakes up from a coma, paralyzed and badly disfigured. A fatal car accident took his wife’s life and broke his body. To make matters even worse, his caretaker is his mother-in-law, who is battling her own grief. She blames Ogi for her daughter’s death and neglects his care in an act of revenge. Soon his entire life is no larger than his bedroom, and he only has his memories to occupy him. The novel was a bestseller in Korea but ended up largely unknown in the states. It’s a weird blend of Silent Hill and Misery, a choice read for fans of exploring the psychological depths of the addled human mind.
Let's Play White
Chesya Burke’s amazing collection explores the African American experience, blending the fantastical with real world prejudices. “Walter and the Three-Legged King” is about a man living in a rundown apartment who begins to have conversations with the rat that shares his space. In “CUE: Change,” Burke tries on the well-worn zombie apocalypse concept, exploring it from the refreshing perspectives of those that have already been living in a dystopia of their own. One of the best stories in the collection, “Purse,” is only a few pages long. However, Burke accomplishes a lot with such little space, telling the tale of a woman on the New York City subway who’s battling paranoid thoughts.
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Are you into movies like Godzilla and Pacific Rim? If so, you probably know of the term “kaiju,” the giant monster narratives popularized by Japan. Though a niche subgenre here in the States, there are countless fun and frightening books in the kaiju tradition. For instance, Hiroshi Yamamoto’s campy and creepy MM9 offers a unique world where kaiju are as common as inclement weather. A special anti-monster unit acts as a regulatory body for the creatures, becoming increasingly desperate as the kaiju increase in frequency and size.
Certain Dark Things
Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Certain Dark Things is more than just another vampire novel. In this dark fantasy gangster noir set in Mexico City, Moreno-Garcia fully fleshes out the folklore of Mexico to create a world where the cartels are run by vampires. Domingo meets one such vampire, the stunningly beautiful Atl, and becomes her servant in an odd and strangely refreshing romantic twist. However, this isn’t your typical Twilight-esque style vampire fare; instead, it’s full of darkness and blood and gore. It’s also the sort of book that gets your adrenaline flowing.
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Laura Romero is wandering the streets of Spain when she encounters a young boy sprawled across the asphalt. His name is Fidel, and has no past or present. The mystery surrounding the boy sends Laura on a dark path for the truth in this quiet tale of motherhood and isolation, with tinges of surrealism and poetry.
Victor LaValle’s extraordinary epic deserves to be included here. Unlike many of the books on this list, this award-winning novel is one you may have already encountered—and with good reason. The Changeling tells the story of Apollo Kagwa, whose life seems normal enough, until his wife begins acting odd. Emma seems distant and lost, and disappears after a horrific act that sends Apollo into a nightmarish tale of hope and redemption. Oh, and there are goblins in this one too. And not the cute-funny ones. More like the baby-kidnapping kind.
Available on September 8, 2020
“What if the apocalypse already happened and you just didn’t notice?” It’s the question attached to this book’s official jacket copy, and the one that anchors Shavers’ novel, Silverfish. In a mirror reality to our own, the Incorporated States of America is a dizzying nation of commerce and branding. There, people are born into failure, and the country has evolved so quickly that its citizens have lost the ability to communicate—a truly horrifying concept. Silverfish will be released on September 8, 2020, and is available for preorder now.