Do you hear that? It’s the sound of Halloween approaching, which means it’s time to start choosing your horror novels for autumn. You only have 75 days left to pick a scary read!
With so many horror novels out there, it can be hard to choose. Don’t worry though, because I always come prepared with great recommendations. If you’re looking for a horror classic to curl up with, I got you covered with my Classic Spooky Reads or Modern Horror Classics post. If you’re looking for a unique female voice to keep you up at night, my female horror writer litspo post is worth a look. And you can always check out my blog on new horror releases from the first half of 2018.
Even better news—I noticed that tons of intriguing, spooky sounding horror novels were slated for release in the latter half of 2018. Since I hadn’t covered any of these books in my previous post, I thought they merited a whole new post, and just in time for those of us looking to find the perfect scary fall read.
There’s so much to choose from. October sees new horror novels by Anne Rice (The Vampire Chronicles) and John Ajvide Lindqvist (Let The Right One In), some big names in horror. The fall also sees new horror novels from up-and-coming horror names, like Grady Hendrix (My Best Friend’s Exorcism), Dathan Auerbach (Penpal), and Welcome to Night Vale’s Joseph Fink. And then there’s the exciting stuff, like a prequel to Dracula and several impressive short fiction collections.
Bad Man by Dathan Auerbach (August 7, 2018)
Synopsis: “A young man is forced to take a job at the store where his kid brother disappeared into thin air, and strange and creepy events soon escalate into terror.”
If this is even half as creepy as Penpal, based on Auerbach’s legendary creepypasta “Footsteps,” then Bad Man will be a compelling horror novel.
Epidemic of the Living Dead by John Russo (August 28, 2018)
Synopsis: “Russo, screenwriter of the 1968 film Night of the Living Dead, writes of a zombie plague spread through infected needles and passed along to the next generation in the womb.”
Baby zombies? Sure, why not? *Shudder* Zombie fans, prepare to be delighted!
We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix (September 18, 2018)
Synopsis: “Faust meets heavy metal in this novel of supernatural horror and pop culture. In this hard-rocking, spine-tingling supernatural thriller, the washed-up guitarist of a ‘90s heavy metal band embarks on an epic road-trip across America and deep into the web of a sinister conspiracy.”
Confession: I haven’t read My Best Friend’s Exorcism yet (it’s on my Kindle), but I very much enjoyed Hendrix’s debut novel Horrorstör, about an IKEA-like furniture store that sits atop a nightmarish portal into another world. Hendrix has a keen grasp of pop culture and other mainstream touchstones, which lends a realistic and compelling dynamic to his fiction.
Eight Ghosts: The English Heritage Book of Ghost Stories (September 18, 2018)
Synopsis: “Eight authors were given after hours freedom at their chosen English heritage site. Immersed in the history, atmosphere, and rumors of hauntings, they channeled their darker imaginings into a series of extraordinary new ghost stories.”
British authors have quite the gift when it comes to ghost stories and haunted houses, just think of The Turning of the Screw, The Woman in Black, White is for Witching, or any of the British gothic ghost stories. I can’t wait for this collection!
Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat by Anne Rice (October 2, 2018)
Synopsis: “Rice returns to the series that made her name with a new novel of Prince Lestat reminiscing about his early years and how he came to rule the vampire world. Blood Communion continues the saga of Prince Lestat as he tells how he came to rule the vampire world and recalls his eternal struggle to find a place in the universe for the undead.”
13-year-old me is STOKED for more of the Vampire Lestat and his histrionic ways (even if the later books in The Vampire Chronicles aren’t as good as the first few).
Devil’s Day by Andrew Michael Hurley (October 2, 2018)
Synopsis: “Every autumn, John Pentecost returns to the farm where he grew up, to help gather the sheep down from the moors for the winter. Very little changes in the Endlands, but this year, his grandfather—the Gaffer—has died and John’s new wife, Katherine, is accompanying him for the first time. Each year, the Gaffer would redraw the boundary lines of the village, with pen and paper but also through the remembrance of tales and timeless communal rituals, which keep the sheep safe from the Devil. But as the farmers of the Endlands bury the Gaffer and prepare to gather the sheep, they begin to wonder whether they’ve let the Devil in after all.”
Another of the acclaimed British horror novels, Devil’s Day promises the kind of spooky environments and small community paranoia I can’t get enough of.
Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker (October 2, 2018)
Synopsis: “Dracul is a supernatural historical thriller in which a young Bram Stoker locks himself inside a desolate tower to face off against a vile and ungodly beast and scribbles notes that become the legendary Dracula.”
I’m not usually a fan of novel prequels written by different authors decades after the fact, but I’m interested to see how this one turns out. It helps that Dacre Stoker is the great-grand-nephew of Bram Stoker.
The Best of the Best Horror of the Year: 10 Years of Essential Short Fiction edited by Ellen Datlow (October 2, 2018)
Synopsis: “Preeminent horror editor Datlow selects the darkest and most gleaming gems from 10 years of her outstanding annual horror anthologies.”
In case you’ve never had the pleasure of flipping through one of these anthologies, The Best Horror Of the Year series is fantastic. Instead of trying to catch up on ten years of wonderfully written horror short fiction, now you can read the cream of the crop in one collection. This collection is not to be missed!
In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey (October 9, 2018)
Synopsis: “In this contemporary fantasy, the grieving biographer of a Victorian fantasist finds himself slipping inexorably into the supernatural world that consumed his subject.”
Gothic horror is definitely a theme for horror novels this fall, and this tale of a couple who moves into an almost certainly haunted house after the death of their young daughter promises to be a quick but satisfying read.
I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist (October 16, 2018)
Synopsis: “A horror novel from Lindqvist is always a treat, and this one ventures deep into the metaphysical and metaphorical. Four families wake up one morning in their trailer on an ordinary campsite—but everything outside the camping grounds has disappeared. As the holiday-makers try to come to terms with what has happened, they are forced to confront their deepest fears and secret desires.”
Known as the Stephen King of Sweden, Lindqvist wrote one of my favorite horror novels of all time – Let the Right One In. I can’t wait to read his latest novel. I hope he includes the same fantastic use of scenery and disturbing characterization he employed to bring alive Let The Right One In.
In the House in the Dark of the Woods by Laird Hunt (October 16, 2018)
Synopsis: “In this horror story set in colonial New England, a law-abiding Puritan woman goes missing. Or perhaps she has fled or abandoned her family. Or perhaps she’s been kidnapped, and set loose to wander in the dense woods of the north. Alone and possibly lost, she meets another woman in the forest. Then everything changes. On a journey that will take her through dark woods full of almost-human wolves, through a deep well wet with the screams of men, and on a living ship made of human bones, our heroine may find that the evil she flees has been inside her all along.”
Yaaaas! There’s something so appropriate about a Halloween horror novel release set in Puritan New England. I love a good horror period piece, especially if it has loads of dark fairy tale elements.
Garden of Eldritch Delights by Lucy A. Snyder (October 18, 2018)
Synopsis: “Master short story author Lucy A. Snyder is back with a dozen chilling, thought-provoking tales of Lovecraftian horror, dark science fiction, and weird fantasy. Her previous two collections received Bram Stoker Awards, and this one offers the same high-caliber, trope-twisting prose. Snyder effortlessly creates memorable monsters, richly imagined worlds and diverse, unforgettable characters. Open this book, and you’ll find a garden of stories as dark and heady as black roses that will delight fans of complex, intelligent speculative fiction.”
If haunted houses, creepy locales, or undead vampires aren’t your thing, check out Garden of Eldritch Delights. In this short story collection, Snyder flexes her award-winning horror muscles and picks up the torch left behind by H.P. Lovecraft himself.
Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink (October 30, 2018)
Synopsis: “Keisha Taylor lived a quiet life with her wife, Alice, until the day that Alice disappeared. After months of searching, presuming she was dead, Keisha held a funeral, mourned, and gradually tried to get on with her life. But that was before Keisha started to see her wife, again and again, in the background of news reports from all over America. Alice isn’t dead, and she is showing up at every major tragedy and accident in the country.
Following a line of clues, Keisha takes a job with a trucking company, Bay and Creek Transportation, and begins searching for Alice. She eventually stumbles on an otherworldly conflict being waged in the quiet corners of our nation’s highway system—uncovering a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.”
Based on the popular podcast, Alice Isn’t Dead sounds like a fast-paced, addicting thriller for readers who crave action-packed horror novels. You can read an excerpt here.
What horror novels are you planning on reading this fall? Do you recommend any horror novels I should know about? Let me know in the comments!