October is my favorite month. Not just because I get to take out my comfy cardigan collection and an excuse for more coffee, it is because of the spotlight on the horror genre. Horror seems like a collection of Stephen King novels and a few other books. This is far from the truth. There is a lot of gorgeous horror novels that will chill you.
Although I have read a lot, I wanted expert advice. I asked my friend Shane Keene from the inkheist.com website and podcast. He knows things. If you have any interest in the horror genre, you should check out his website.
Break the Bodies Haunt the Bones
By Micah Dean Hicks
Swine Hill was full of the dead. Their ghosts were thickest near the abandoned downtown, where so many of the town’s hopes had died generation by generation. They lingered in the places that mattered to them, and people avoided those streets, locked those doors, stopped going into those rooms . . . They could hurt you. Worse, they could change you.
Jane is haunted. Since she was a child, she has carried a ghost girl that feeds on the secrets and fears of everyone around her, whispering to Jane what they are thinking and feeling, even when she doesn’t want to know. Henry, Jane’s brother, is ridden by a genius ghost that forces him to build strange and dangerous machines. Their mother is possessed by a lonely spirit that burns anyone she touches. In Swine Hill, a place of defeat and depletion, there are more dead than living.
When new arrivals begin scoring precious jobs at the last factory in town, both the living and the dead are furious. This insult on the end of a long economic decline sparks a conflagration. Buffeted by rage on all sides, Jane must find a way to save her haunted family and escape the town before it kills them.
The Good House
By Tananarive Due
Tananarive Due, author of The Living Blood won the American Book Award and is praised as Stephen King’s equal by Publishers Weekly. In The Good House, Due sets a story of ancient powers and modern retribution in a small Pacific Northwest town. When a young woman returns to her grandmother’s empty mansion, she is pitted against demonic forces that have poisoned her family for generations.
By Peter Straub
Peter Straub’s chilling Blue Rose Trilogy comes to an astonishing close—secrets unearthed, demons revisited, and mysteries solved.
The Throat. Tim Underhill, now an acclaimed novelist, travels back to his hometown of Millhaven, Illinois after he gets a call from John Ransom, an old army buddy. Ransom believes there’s a copycat killer on the loose, mimicking the Blue Rose murders from decades earlier—he thinks his wife could be a potential victim. Underhill seeks out his old friend Tom Pasmore, an aging hermit who has attained minor celebrity as an expert sleuth, to help him investigate. They quickly discover that Millhaven is a town plagued by horrifying secrets and there is a twisted killer on the loose who is far more dangerous than they ever imagined.
Expertly tying together the events of Koko and Mystery, The Throat proves Peter Straub to be the master of the suspense novel.
By Jack Ketchum
The old man hears them before he sees them, the three boys coming over the hill, disturbing the peace by the river where he’s fishing. He smells gun oil too, too much oil on a brand-new shotgun. These aren’t hunters, they’re rich kids who don’t care about the river and the fish and the old man.
Or his dog. Red is the name of the old man’s dog, his best friend in the world. And when the boys shoot the dog — for nothing, for simple spite — he sees red, like a mist before his eyes. And before the whole thing is done there’ll be more red. Red for blood…
A Clockwork Orange
By Anthony Burgess
In Anthony Burgess’s influential nightmare vision of the future, criminals take over after dark. Teen gang leader Alex narrates in fantastically inventive slang that echoes the violent intensity of youth rebelling against society. Dazzling and transgressive, A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil and the meaning of human freedom. This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition, and Burgess’s introduction, “A Clockwork Orange Resucked.”
The Luminous Dead
By Caitlin Starling
A thrilling, atmospheric debut with the intensive drive of The Martian and Gravity and the creeping dread of Annihilation, in which a caver on a foreign planet finds herself on a terrifying psychological and emotional journey for survival.
When Gyre Price lied her way into this expedition, she thought she’d be mapping mineral deposits, and that her biggest problems would be cave collapses and gear malfunctions. She also thought that the fat paycheck—enough to get her off-planet and on the trail of her mother—meant she’d get a skilled surface team, monitoring her suit and environment, keeping her safe. Keeping her sane.
Instead, she got Em.
Em sees nothing wrong with controlling Gyre’s body with drugs or withholding critical information to “ensure the smooth operation” of her expedition. Em knows all about Gyre’s falsified credentials, and has no qualms using them as a leash—and a lash. And Em has secrets, too . . .
As Gyre descends, little inconsistencies—missing supplies, unexpected changes in the route, and, worst of all, shifts in Em’s motivations—drive her out of her depths. Lost and disoriented, Gyre finds her sense of control giving way to paranoia and anger. On her own in this mysterious, deadly place, surrounded by darkness and the unknown, Gyre must overcome more than just the dangerous terrain and the Tunneler which calls underground its home if she wants to make it out alive—she must confront the ghosts in her own head.
But how come she can’t shake the feeling she’s being followed?
Whispers in the Dark
By Laurel Hightower
Rose McFarland is a trained killer–a Memphis S.W.A.T. sniper with a secret. Her team knows about the burn scars that lurk under her clothes, a legacy of the house fire that killed her father and brother sixteen years before. Her supervisors know that she spent two years in a rehabilitative facility, healing and learning to cope with the emotional trauma of the fire. But no one knows about the visions that drove her there, angry spirits that consumed her childhood, alienated her from her family and made her doubt her own sanity–the Whispers.
When Charlie Akers, a half-brother she never knew, ends up on the wrong side of Rose’s rifle, she unwittingly sets off a chain of events that puts her family in the middle of increasingly dangerous paranormal visitations. Charlie won’t stay dead, and soon ghosts from Rose’s past are creeping back into her life. People she’s killed in the line of duty, family she thought long buried, every one of them under the influence of Rose’s greatest fear, the Whispers themselves.
As the walls between our world and the world of the dead grow thin, Rose will have to face her old nightmares to stop the Whispers from breaking free. If she can’t, it won’t just be Memphis that falls to the dead–there will be no safe place left on earth for the living.
By Jonathan Janz
“A perfect choice for those missing old-school Stephen King.” –The Library Journal on Children of the Dark
“A horror storyteller on the rise.” –Booklist
“One of the best writers in modern horror to come along in the last decade. Janz is one of my new favorites.” –Brian Keene
Chicago is gripped by terror. The Sweet Sixteen Killer is brutally murdering young women, and the authorities are baffled.
When the police are called to an affluent home in the middle of the night, they learn that a seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy has attacked his family. The boy exhibits signs of demonic possession, and even more troublingly, he knows too much about the Sweet Sixteen killings. Father Jason Crowder, a young priest assigned to the case, must marshal his courage in order to save the boy and the entire city from the forces of evil.
But this is a darkness mankind has never encountered before. It craves more than blood. And it won’t rest until it possesses Father Crowder’s soul.
Jonathan Janz’s brand new release brings the original novella that started it all—Exorcist Road—and a brand-new full-length novel (Exorcist Falls) together for a shattering experience in supernatural terror.
By Stephen Graham Jones
A spellbinding and darkly humorous coming-of-age story about an unusual boy whose family lives on the fringes of society and struggles to survive in a hostile world that shuns and fears them.
He was born an outsider, like the rest of his family. Poor yet resilient, he lives in the shadows with his Aunt Libby and Uncle Darren, folk who stubbornly make their way in a society that does not understand or want them. They are mongrels, mixedblood, neither this nor that. The boy at the center of Mongrels must decide if he belongs on the road with his aunt and uncle, or if he fits with the people on the other side of the tracks.
For ten years, he and his family have lived a life of late-night exits and close calls—always on the move across the South to stay one step ahead of the law. But the time is drawing near when Darren and Libby will know if their nephew is like them or not. And the close calls they’ve been running from for so long are catching up fast, now. Everything is about to change.
A compelling and fascinating journey, Mongrels alternates between past and present to create an unforgettable portrait of a boy trying to understand his family and his place in a complex and unforgiving world. A smart and innovative story—funny, bloody, raw, and real—told in a rhythmic voice full of heart, Mongrels is a deeply moving, sometimes grisly novel that illuminates the challenges and tender joys of a life beyond the ordinary in a bold and imaginative new way.
Carnivorous Lunar Activities
By Max Booth III
Ted and Justin were once best friends, but over the years they’ve seen less and less of each other. Now, something’s wrong with Justin. He can’t sleep, he can’t think straight, and he certainly can’t explain why he keeps waking up naked and covered in blood. Ted might be the only person who can save him– assuming he’s okay with shooting his childhood BFF with a silver bullet. But that’s what friends are for, right?
From Max Booth III and FANGORIA comes Carnivorous Lunar Activities― the ultimate werewolf bromance. It’s a toxic cocktail of An American Werewolf in London, Old School, and Bubba Ho-Tep that dives deep into the well of childhood nostalgia, blood soaked horror, and irredeemable dick jokes to bring readers a slice of Southern Fried horror that proudly wears its heart―not to mention a few other internal organs―on its sleeve.
“Booth’s book is a breakthrough, from the conceit to the delivery. It’s funny but mean, smart but smartass, and it just might be your favorite werewolf story in the world. CARNIVOROUS LUNAR ACTIVITIES starts out like a play, Grand Guignol, a couple of very compelling characters locked in a helluva conversation, before transforming into a blood-bright explosion of horror joy. Fucked up love, fucked up friendship, and how maybe you shouldn’t live past the best night of your life. Oh, how I loved this book.” — Josh Malerman, author of Bird Box and Unbury Carol