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Terrifying Horror Books We Can't Wait to Read in The Second Half of 2021

From transcendent trope-tastic terrors to suspenseful psychological screams.

horror books coming in the second half of 2021

This year started off strong with some great releases, from Rose Szabo's What Big Teeth to Darcy Coates's The Whispering Dead. But as the weather cranks up in the heat of August before the leaves crumble away into the fall months, what does the horror genre have in store for us? Even more must-read spine-chilling books, of course.

Related: The Scariest Horror Books We're Most Looking Forward to in 2021

Whether you love the your horror with a serving of quirky dark humor, doused in layers of metafiction, or colored with rich and cultured folklore, there's bound to be a perfect book waiting for you on this list. So without further ado, here are the horror books coming in the second half of 2021 that we just can't wait to read.

July 13th

the final girl support group

The Final Girl Support Group

By Grady Hendrix

Grady Hendrix is known for his unique, humorous, and crackling concepts, and this soon-to-be-released novel is no exception. Everyone knows and loves a final girl—the young woman whose is left alive after a slaughter, limping away as the credits roll at the end of the film. But this book take a look at what happens after the screen fades to black.

Related: Grady Hendrix and His Final Girl Support Group

Paying homage to essential horror flicks like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream, Hendrix manages to both embrace and subvert the tropes of beloved slashers. Lynette Tarkington made it out of the worst night of her life, alive against all odds. For the past decade or so, she's been part of a support group of other finals girls, meeting with a therapist to try and piece their lives back together. But when one of the women misses a meeting, and their nightmares spring back to life as it becomes clear someone knows about their gatherings—someone determined to shatter all the progress they've made.

August 3rd

a lesson in vengeance

A Lesson in Vengeance

By Victoria Lee

Dalloway School is a centuries-old boarding school with a dark past—a past which doesn't seem to leave the ivy-covered school alone. In the school's first 10 years, it experienced five brutal deaths. Even now the scent of blood still lingers in the air.

Felicity has returned to Dalloway to finish her senior year, her heart heavy after the death of her girlfriend. But as much as things change, they also stay the same. She's still in her old room in Godwin house, the dormitory everyone whispers about being haunted by the five dead Dalloway girls. Girls rumored to have been witches.

Related: 14 Witchcraft and Occult Books to Inspire Your Inner Witch

But it's 17-year-old Ellis Haley's first year at the boarding school, and her eccentric personality draws Felicity to her like nothing else. When Ellis asks for help looking into the Dalloway Five for a novel, Felicity is helpless to refuse. But as the past rises to the present, the scent of blood is thick on all sides.

August 17th

chasing the boogeyman

Chasing the Boogeyman

By Richard Chizmar

It's the summer of 1988, and in a small town in Maryland the excitement of the warming weather gives away to the horror of the discoveries of several bodies of mutilated girls. The police begin their search for a serial killer stalking through the suburb—but rumor begins to trickle around town about an evil that is beyond human. The local police and the FBI rage at a madman toying with their heads, while the once peaceful community spirals into paranoia and suspicion.

Related: Silverwood: The Door Is Your Next Serialized Horror Obsession

Freshly out of college, Richard Chizmar arrives in his hometown at the swell of the panic. A curfew has been put in place, a neighborhood watch formed. His life is just beginning—a wedding looming on the horizon and a writing career kicking into gear—and this real-life horror story will haunt him for years to come. Heart-pounding horror and gripping true crime collide in this remarkable work of metafiction.

August 31st

my heart is a chainsaw

My Heart Is a Chainsaw

By Stephen Graham Jones

Jade Daniels is a half-Indian loner, and with an abusive father, an absent mother, and a town that has turned its back on her, she is full of rage. She finds her comfort in horror movies, immersing herself in worlds where a masked killer wreaks vengeful havoc on the towns that failed them. And as she walks through her very real town of Proofrock, narrating its strange history as if it were one of these very horror-wrought towns, people actually begin to die. With her encyclopedic knowledge of slasher plots, Jade predicts exactly how this narrative will unravel.

Related: Stephen Graham Jones: Where to Begin with the Award-Winning Horror Author

At once a scathing commentary on American colonialism, Indigenous displacement, and gentrification, My Heart Is a Chainsaw also offers a heart-wrenchingly intimate look at a girl who is more than her anger. A girl who hurts, loves, and longs to belong. And in this genre-transcending work, a story of revenge and triumph unfolds.

September 14th

white smoke

White Smoke

By Tiffany D. Jackson

In this YA psychological thriller, Marigold is at the center of a modern ghost story. Haunted by the phantoms of her old life, moving to the Midwest with her newly blended family is supposed to be a fresh start. The family even gets a free house through Mari's mom's new job at the Sterling Foundation.

The home on Maple Street is strangely perfect even as it sits amidst run-down homes and wary neighbors. But though it looks beautiful, it is full of secrets, and inside belongings vanish, doors open on their own, lights turn off, shadows wander, voices mutter through the walls, and a terrible odor lingers through the vents. But only Mari seems to notice. And then her stepsister Piper tells her about her new friend who wants Mari gone...

September 28th

the seven visitations of sydney burgess

The Seven Visitations of Sydney Burgess

By Andy Marino

Sydney has worked hard to leave her past behind and build a good life for her and her son. She has a good job, a good home, and a good boyfriend. And then one day a masked intruder shatters everything.

After the intruder knocks her unconscious, Sydney wakes up in the hospital. She recalls her escape—running out of a broken window and running to her neighbors' to call the police. But the authorities have a different version of events—a version which includes the intruder dead in her guest room. Sydney can't remember killing him. Not that anyone believes her.

Related: 14 Psychological Horror Books That Will Mess with Your Head

When she returns home terrifying memories trickle back. And a darkness creeps in to whisper in her ear encouragements back to her old addictions and a past she's tried to bury. The more she reaches for the truth, the closer the darkness sneaks in.

October 5th



By James Han Mattson

Quigley House is a full-contact haunted escaped room in Lincoln, Nebraska. It's known for monstrous terrors, booby-traps, and actors in impressive costumes. Any group that makes it through the fearsome home without uttering the safe word, "reprieve," wins a hefty monetary prize. Only one group in history has finished Quigley House. On April 27th, 1997, four contestants almost make it out—until a man breaks in and murders one of them.

The survivors—teenage Kendra Brown who has been uprooted after the death of her father; hotel manager Leonard Grandton, bouncing from one toxic relationship to the next; and Jaidee Charoensuk, a gay student from abroad who came to America to amorously trail after his English teacher—are left to grapple with how they contributed to that awful night. As the story unfolds with taught psychological tension, author James Han Matton explores the nuances of capitalism, hate politics, racial fetishism, and our obsession with fear as entertainment.

October 19th

nothing but blackened teeth

Nothing But Blackened Teeth

By Cassandra Khaw

A skin-crawlingly eerie haunted house story meets Japanese folklore in this devastating novel by Cassandra Khaw. A mansion from the Heian era stands tall and abandoned. Beneath it lie the bones of a bride. Inside its walls are what's left of the girls sacrificed to keep her company.

Related: Horror Books Based on Legend and Myth

For a group of thrill-seeking friends, the mansion is the perfect place to reunite to celebrate a wedding. Of course, their party quickly falls apart into a relationship-testing nightmare. And the bride is waiting for them with her dark smile and ravenous heart.

November 9th

the hidden

The Hidden

By Melanie Golding

A toddler is discovered abandoned one night in a small seaside town, and once her mother finally comes to take her home, the police let them freely go. Why would they think it's anything other than a cut-and-dry case of a toddler running off? But when Gregor is found bludgeoned to death in his apartment, questions arise at the discovery of children's toys in the seemingly single man's home.

Ruby peers into Gregor's apartment each night, until she discovers the man's secret family. His daughter is eerily silent. His wife, Constance, is unstable in her insistence that she's a descendant of mythological Selkies. And she pleads to Ruby to help her find the sealskin Gregor has taken from her so that she may return to her true home.