Earlier this year, I rounded up 16 horror novels coming out this year, and now I’m back, this time with more intestines, more fungi, and most importantly, more books. Here are 23 new and upcoming nightmarish reads that will keep you awake long into the night, even as they dissect and reinvent the very elements of fear itself. Whether you’re looking for eerie folk horror, atmospheric gothics, gruesome thrillers, twisted noirs, or mind-blowing metafiction, there’s sure to be a title below to please. Or terrify.
Andrew Joseph White, Hell Followed With Us
(Peachtree Teen, June 7)
Body horror meets apocalypse noir meets queer love story in Andrew Joseph White’s viscera-filled YA novel, Hell Followed With Us, perfect for those who appreciated Manhunt earlier this year but wished it came with more intestines. In White’s debut, trans boy Benji is on the run from his fundamentalist mother and her apocalyptic cult when he finds shelter with the kind denizens of a LGBTQ Center, and budding romance with the mysterious and deadly Nick. He’d love to just be happy with his new friends, but his old community is in hot pursuit—they’ve injected him with a transformative virus that gives him control over the many monsters created by a deadly plague, and they’re not about to let him go. In order to escape for good, Benji must embrace his terrible new powers in a perfect metaphor for coming-of-age that is also a disgusting pile of blood and viscera (and I mean that in the best possible way).
Riley Sager, The House Across the Lake
(Dutton, June 21)
Riley Sager’s latest takes place on the banks of a lake, the most disturbing of all bodies of water as readers of this site should well know. The House Across the Lake reads like a psychological thriller version of the Great Gatsby, featuring binoculars for more accurate across-the-lake spying, smaller gatherings for a shorter list of suspects, and a truly bat**** twist for more satisfying consumption. So basically the Great Gatsby, but better. I know, them’s fightin words. Shout-out to this one for the mid-story reversal—I love a good shift in gears to somewhere wholly unexpected.
Paul Tremblay, The Pallbearers Club
(William Morrow, July 5)
An awkward teenage boy looking to add some extracurriculars to his college application decides to start a club. But not just any club: a club for pallbearers to attend the funerals of the indigent and forgotten. There are few members of the club to start with, and each has their own particular interpretation of the club’s short history. As a delightful way of presenting the warring narratives, The Pallbearers Club is written from the perspective of one member, and increasingly slashed through with red pen asides and corrections from another. Definitely one to read in a physical edition (the real horror is what happens to formatting in e-books).
Katrina Monroe, They Drown Our Daughters
(Poisoned Pen Press, July 12)
There are few things in this world more terrifying than having our memories taken from us, and with them, the power to own our stories. At the once-popular vacation spot Cape Disappointment, rumors of hauntings and a number of disappearances have led to the decline of tourism. When one of the Cape’s daughters returns home after an acrimonious divorce to care for her aging mother, suffering from Alzheimer’s, she refuses to believe in the legends (at first). But her mother’s dire warnings of danger don’t seem to vibe with her medical condition, and Monroe’s heroine begins to fear the call of the waves, both for herself and her young daughter.
Elizabeth Kilcoyne, Wake The Bones
(Wednesday Books, July 12)
Wednesday Books has been publishing some of the best YA mysteries and thrillers around, and now I’m excited to report they are also publishing some excellent new horror. Wake the Bones follows a college dropout turned taxidermist whose return home doesn’t exactly go as planned.
T. Kingfisher, What Moves The Dead
(Tor, July 12)
Set in that 19th century placeholder for obscure nations, Ruritania, T. Kingfisher’s What Moves The Dead slyly reinvents The Fall of the House of Usher as a fungalpunk reckoning. An old soldier heads to a dilapidated castle to attend to their dying friend, but strange occurrences in the decaying manor distract from the mission of comfort and raise specters from past battles. Perfect for those who enjoyed Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic and thought, “I’d like to read some more horror involving mushrooms.”
Nat Cassidy, Mary
(Tor Nightfire, July 19)
Another menopause thriller! Except this one’s got serial killer undertones. And who doesn’t want to read the book equivalent of vampire Kathy Bates killing some hipsters in the fifth season of American Horror Story? Middle-aged women’s rage is in this year, and I couldn’t be happier.
Other Terrors: An Inclusive Anthology, edited by Vince A. Liaguno and Rena Mason
(William Morrow, July 19)
An essential new addition to the reading list of any horror lover or queer fiction aficionado, Other Terrors features some of the finest minds in writing with their takes on embracing “the other” within. Horror fiction has oft been a place where difference = fear, whether that’s fatphobia in Stephen King, transphobia in Silence of the Lambs, or xenophobia in the works of H. P. Lovecraft, and it’s refreshing to read a collection focused on inclusivity, not cheap, offensive thrills.
Ashton Noone, Vicious Creatures
(Scarlet, July 19)
Vicious Creatures is bound to be one of the best debuts of the year. In this moody, atmospheric thriller, a woman returns to her hometown, hoping her ex-husband’s fear of the dark creatures that live in the woods surrounding will protect her and her daughter from his wrath. There, she reconnects with her best friend from high school, and the two grow closer to acknowledging their intense attraction to each other. Rural noir meets folk horror with queer characters? Sign me up!
Silvia Moreno-Garcia, The Daughter of Doctor Moreau
(Del Rey Books, July 19)
I can’t get enough of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s playful takes on classic genres. In her latest, the Island of Doctor Moreau gets a Yucatan-set treatment, steeped in sultry atmospherics and set during the lead-up to the Mexican Revolution as the hacienda system begins to crumple. Carlota Moreau loves her scientist father, whose injections keep her alive; she loves her fur-covered playmates, whose ailments can be ascribed to their mishmash of human and animal genes; she even cares for the drunken plantation overseer who facilitates the gruesome experiments. But her character was raised to be pampered, not tested, and her loyalties will soon face a breaking point as the goals of her father, his patron, and those they torture pull Carlota in opposite directions.
Sarah Gailey, Just Like Home
(Tor, July 19)
Sarah Gailey’s newest difficult-to-categorize novel attempts to answer an impossible question: how do you stop loving someone who’s done irreparable harm to others, but always treated you well? The narrator of Just Like Home has returned to her infamous house to care for her dying mother, and to remember her serial killer father. Perfect for those who enjoyed Megan Collins’ The Family Plot or Jennifer Hillier’s Jar of Hearts.
Nina Nesseth, Nightmare Fuel: The Science of Horror Films
(Tor Nightfire, July 26)
Ever wondered why your favorite horror movies keep you up at night? Why some characters freeze instead of fight? What the science is behind a jump scare? You can learn all that and more in this highly accessible scientific take on how films activate our most basic fears—and why we keep coming back for more.
Stephen Graham Jones, Don’t Fear the Reaper
(Gallery/Saga Press, August 2)
In the summer of 2015 a rough beast slouched out of the shadows and into the waking nightmares of an unsuspecting world. His name was Dark Mill South, but that wasn’t the only name he went by.
That’s a taste of Stephen Graham Jones’ new and brilliantly crafted horror novel, Don’t Fear the Reaper (here’s a full excerpt). In this highly anticipated (by me and literally everyone else) follow-up to the immensely entertaining My Heart is a Chainsaw, Jade returns to her small town the same day that indigenous serial killer Dark Mill South sets off to seek vengeance for the Civil War-era killings of a number of innocent souls. Oh, and all the revenge must be completed by Friday the 13th. Because that is how horror works. Too bad we have to wait for August to read this one, but like last year’s late summer hit, Don’t Fear the Reaper is best enjoyed at the end of a long, hot summer.
Gabino Iglesias, The Devil Takes You Home
(Mulholland, August 2)
2022 is poised for a breakout from crime world favorite Gabino Iglesias, author of Coyote Songs and Zero Saints. His newest is an intoxicating story of a man in desperate financial straits who turns himself into a hitman and accepts a highly dangerous contract on a cartel transport operation. The job takes him and two others across Texas and further into an abyss of violence, existential dread, and paranormal happenings. –DM
Emma Seckel, The Wild Hunt
(Tin House, August 2)
I cannot wait to read Emma Seckel’s folk-horror-infused new island thriller, The Wild Hunt. The sluagh, or birds rumored to carry the souls of the dead, fly thick above the Scottish islands in October, the skies heavy with the souls of the dead, and in this immediate-post-war-set novel, the spookiest month of the year comes with unique dangers.
Ramona Emerson, Shutter
(Soho, August 2)
Shutter is impossible to classify, gorgeously written and ingeniously constructed. An indigenous crime scene photographer who hears the voices of the dead finds her careful existence shattered by the pleas of a murdered young woman to find her killer. If you like this, check out Fuminori Nakamura’s Last Winter, We Parted for more photography noir.
Catherine Ryan Howard, Run Time
(Blackstone, August 16)
Set in the Irish film industry, this playful novel is another signature high-concept thriller from a new master of the genre. A struggling actress heads to a remote village to shoot a low budget indie horror film, and the director is ready to whatever it takes to achieve a realistic look of terror on her face. Unfortunately for the actress, the director isn’t the only one trying to scare the crap out of her…But is the set haunted, or are there more human culprits at fault? Shoutout to the year’s best title (double meaning category)!
Tiffany D. Jackson, The Weight of Blood
(Katharine Tegan Books, September 6)
Tiffany D. Jackson takes the already brilliant story of Carrie and turns it into a commentary on American racism in this perfect social thriller. Maddy Washington is mousy, frequently bullied, and passing as white. When her mixed parentage becomes known to the school, the bullying turns into outright racism. Meanwhile, Maddy’s school has held two proms—a Black prom and a white prom—since the 1960s, and the bad press from videos of racist incidents surfacing convinces a popular white girl with a Black boyfriend to propose integrating the prom. Because this book is based on Carrie, we all know what happens at the prom…but how do they get there? Jackson blends old and new elements impeccably for what might be the most entertaining and thought provoking work of the season.
R.J. Jacobs, Always the First To Die
(Sourcebooks Landmark, September 13)
Another hurricane thriller! Nothing sets up the perfect conditions for a locked room mystery like being trapped in the Florida Keys, especially if you’re there to rescue your daughter from your horror film producer father-in-law, who’s trying to repeat both the success and sacrifices of his most famous production. Also, there’s an unstable actress ready to sue the production and convinced that someone’s trying to kill her. And that husband who went missing a year back? Maybe you’re about to find out why. Fans of horror cinema will enjoy the meta-textual elements of the novel, as the characters frequently discuss not just scary movies, but the nature of fear itself.
Ainslie Hogarth, Motherthing
(Vintage, September 27)
What happens when your nightmarish mother-in-law does what she’s been threatening to do and dies in a very messy manner? First, you clean up the blood. Second, you try to convince your husband to move. And third, when he refuses, you settle down to a new life doing battle with the vengeful spirit of said mother-in-law who is now haunting the house.
Hiron Ennes, Leech
(Tordotcom, September 27)
In a post-apocalyptic future, health care is free for all—and provided by human bodies controlled by alien minds, who meld their knowledge to serve their patients. One has died a mysterious death in the far northern mining towns, and another has been dispatched to learn the cause of death. When the doctor plucks a worm from behind the eye socket of his predecessor, he realizes he is dealing with no raw pathogen, but instead, a sophisticated competitor.
Vinaya Bhagat, The Girl in the Mist
(Agora, October 4)
This spooky supernatural thriller dives deep into India folklore with a modern update to the legend of the Chakwa, a kind of shape-shifting trickster that can bring blessings—or curses. After Vinaya Bhagat’s narrator loses her parents to a tragic car accident, she heads to India to get to know her distant family, but soon finds herself at the center of a web of mysterious attacks and even more mysterious legends.
Grady Hendrix, How to Sell a Haunted House
(Berkley, January 2023)
I am not exaggerating when I say that Grady Hendrix’s Paperbacks from Hell newsletter saved me from losing my sense of humor during the pandemic. His hilarious, metatextual horror fiction is absurdly entertaining, and his new novel, How to Sell a Haunted House, promises to skewer the tropes of hauntings while paying homage to a long history of supernaturally possessed homes. And in a country beset by widely aging housing stock, this book is probably more practical than any of us would like to admit.