If you're looking for some bone-chilling reads this spring, look no further! From body horror to ghost stories, this list of horror book recommendations will keep you on the edge of your seat. From the latest releases to indie gems, these books offer a unique perspective on the genre and explore themes of family, grief, cult mentality, and more. So grab a coffee (or reading beverage of your choice) and get ready to be scared out of your mind with these spine-tingling tales.
Chlorine is a novel that blends coming-of-age themes with elements of body horror. The story follows a teenage girl who identifies as a mermaid, and the author portrays her in a remarkably authentic manner, making her a compelling character despite her occasional annoying tendencies. As you can see the book cover is gorgeous and it effectively captures the nature of the protagonist's transformation perfectly. This is a fast-paced read that would be ideal for both horror aficionados and those new to the genre, especially as spring begins.
The Haunting of Alejandra
In V. Castro’s latest novel, Alejandra battles an inner darkness that her family cannot comprehend. When she explores her family’s history, she discovers a link to Mexican legend, La Llorona, whose demonic ghostly figure begins to haunt her. With the strength of her ancestors, Alejandra must confront the apparition and defeat it. V. Castro's narrative style is riveting and has vivid descriptions of supernatural horror that are both well-crafted and gruesome.
Linghun is a gothic ghost story set in a town called HOME, where the restless dead feed off the community's grief. Written from multiple perspectives, Ai Jiang’s beautiful writing style is evident throughout. While not all of the characters are likable, the story offers a unique take on the ghost story subgenre. The plot follows Wenqi's family, and the book's sadness will leave a lasting impact on readers. Overall, Linghun is a haunting and memorable read.
Natural Beauty tells the story of a concert pianist who is forced to quit her promising career to care for her parents after they get into a terrible accident. To pay the bills, she begins to work at Holistik, a beauty and wellness company in New York. The book explores themes of body horror and cult mentality while also being a queer novel. The sinister and creepy atmosphere of the story builds up to some major horrific reveals that will keep readers on edge. This is a disturbing and unsettling look into the darker aspects of beauty culture.
Beleth Station is set in a seedy Pennsylvania town, two hours away from any other location, that was left without many jobs when an old paper mill went out of business. The authors present two novellas that provide different perspectives on the same story about this creepy town, where people with sinister intentions reside. Kolesnik, a beloved writer in the indie horror scene, and Smith, a new discovery for me, both offer unique and compelling takes on this unsettling place.
Wehunt's latest foray follows his well-received short story collection, Greener Pastures. There’s not much information about his latest collection but that just adds to the intrigue. However, we do know that it features illustrations by spooky artist extraordinaire, Trevor Henderson. Readers will encounter well-drawn characters who struggle with desires as intense and personal as the monsters that haunt them from the fringes of their awareness.
The Insatiable Volt Sisters
Moulton’s follow-up to Tinfoil Butterfly is a captivating novel that takes place on Fowler Island, located in Lake Erie. The story revolves around two sisters who grew up on the island but were separated when their parents divorced. After their father's death, one of the sisters must return to the island to attend the funeral. The novel is narrated from the perspective of four female characters and primarily focuses on the bond between the two sisters. The book explores themes of island horror, and dark family history, and features flawed but relatable characters. Overall, The Insatiable Volt Sisters is a haunting and poignant read that delves into the complexities of sisterhood, family, and grief.
The Wishing Pool and Other Stories
Tananarive Due's latest collection, The Wishing Pool and Other Stories is a must-read for fans of horror and speculative fiction. Divided into four sections, the book covers a wide range of themes including gothic horror, life in a swampy Florida town, science fiction, and post-apocalyptic terror. Due's writing is captivating and the cover art perfectly captures the book's springtime vibe. Overall, this collection is a testament to Due's incredible talent and a must-read for any horror fan.
Liz Kerin offers a fresh perspective on the classic vampire tale, centering on a toxic relationship between a mother and daughter. Izzy, the mother, suffers from Saratov syndrome, a disease that turns her into a vampire, and relies on her daughter Mia to care for her and provide her with sustenance. Mia has been under her mother's manipulative control since she was ten years old. Now in her twenties, Mia wants to break free from her mother's grasp and starts to explore life outside of their twisted relationship. Along the way, she meets Jade, a rebellious figure who challenges Mia's perceptions of herself and her mother. The novel offers a unique take on the vampire genre, with a focus on the dark and disturbing dynamics of familial abuse.
In this violent and brutal book, filled with gore and sexual content, we follow Maeve, an unlikeable but captivating character, as she loses her moral compass and becomes a nightmare. The LA setting and literary references add to the feminist rage that permeates the book. Fans of Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho and Chuck Palahniuk's Haunted will appreciate Leede's vivid prose, but readers should be warned that this book is extreme and not for the faint of heart.
Obsolescence, edited by Alan Lastufka and Kristina Horner, is a collection of short stories featuring popular authors such as Kealan Patrick Burke, Adam Cesare, Clay McLeod Chapman, and Eric LaRocca, among others. The anthology delves into the terrifying and fantastical intersections of technology, exploring the darker aspects of our digital world. With stories that evoke the eerie and unsettling tone of the popular TV show Black Mirror, this collection promises to captivate readers with its chilling tales of tech-induced horror.
I adore vacation horror. In Narcissus, four friends looking for adventure hike to a subterranean reflecting pool where their reflections become infected by an evil force. Sharp dialog and strong characters will keep the reader breezing through the short 110 pages.
Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird
Tender is the Flesh is one of my favorite horror novels so I immediately had to read this short story collection. With each tightly crafted story, Bazterrica delves into themes of death, loss, murder, and suicide. Her writing is evocative and haunting, drawing the reader into macabre worlds that are still strangely relatable. This book is a must-read for fans of diverse and dark fiction, showcasing Bazterrica's exceptional ability to shock and provoke while capturing the complexities of the human experience.
Everything the Darkness Eats
Everything the Darkness Eats by Eric LaRocca is an exquisitely written story of magic, darkness, and the human condition. The story takes place in a small idyllic town in Connecticut where evil lurks. You will be sucked into an abyss of both horror and beauty, never to come out the same again.
Sisters of the Lost Nation
A haunting and atmospheric novel that follows Anna Horn, a member of the Takoda tribe living on a reservation that is slowly changing due to a new casino. Medina skillfully weaves tribal mythology into the narrative, creating a unique and unforgettable reading experience. This is a compelling and important read that will appeal to fans of Tommy Orange's There There and inclusive horror thrillers.
A House With Good Bones
In T. Kingfisher’s light-hearted haunted house story, she combines dry humor with an eerie atmosphere. Sam Montgomery is charming, and her profession is a mouthful, but fun to explore. On a return visit to her childhood home to check on her mother she finds that things have gotten a bit strange. Although there are a few creepy moments, it's not overly scary, making it a great read for horror beginners
The Salt Grows Heavy
Inspired by the fairytale The Little Mermaid, this novella is about the enduring power of love in a macabre but beautiful setting. Forget everything you think you know about this story because it features a plague doctor, a cult, and bloodthirsty children. Cassandra Khaw's writing is masterful and every word has a purpose, making this a captivating read.