The slight chill in the air signals the arrival of fall and of course, Halloween, and so now is the perfect time to engage in a spooky read or two.
Here are some new fiction titles from this year with strong elements of horror, spookiness or the paranormal, to put you in the right mood for October.
When estranged siblings Jonah and Nell Talbot head out on a cross-country road trip back to their hometown of Albuquerque in the wake of Jonah’s divorce, the last thing they expect to discover in the Nevada desert is an abandoned industrial site built around a hole in the earth that seems to go on and on forever. Exploring it, they soon discover an underground cavern filled with corpses both fresh and ancient, indecipherable writing covering the stone walls, and a ghastly altar square in the middle of it all.
All The White Spaces : A Novel by Ally Wilkes
Something deadly and mysterious stalks the members of an isolated polar expedition in this haunting and spellbinding historical horror novel. After World War I, Jonathan Morgan sneaks onto a ship heading off on an Antarctic expedition with celebrated explorer James “Australis” Randall aboard. A trans man, Jonathan is excited to be in a man’s world, living out his true gender, but it’s not so much fun when the expedition lands in an unmapped region of Antarctica, freezing cold, cut off from the world, and pursued by supernatural forces.
A virus transforms those it infects into violently unreliable narrators in this dystopian novella. Spence was working as a dishwasher in a pizzeria when most of the staff and patrons suddenly turned into rotting, ravenous monsters, forcing Spence and his friend Macey to kill their attackers and set the place on fire. Over months scavenging for food and supplies while defending himself and other survivors from the ravenous “Others,” Spence gradually awakens to the truth: He and his compatriots are afflicted with an illness that makes them see the uninfected as monsters when in reality they are just innocent people living their lives.
Inspired by Frankenstein, McMahon presents a number of “monsters” linked to a psychiatric hospital in the 1970s—and one contemporary monster hunter who must confront her past.
Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes
Investigating a strange distress signal, Claire Kovalik and her crew discover a luxury space-liner that vanished 20 years prior and board the vessel to find words scrawled in blood, strange movements and whispers in the dark.
Erin and her friends from college, now in their mid-twenties, are shaken by the death of Silas, one of their own. They are plunged into a waking nightmare when they take a pill Silas learned of that allows them to see-and interact with-ghosts.
Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca in this debut supernatural suspense novel, set in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence, about a remote house, dark secrets, and the woman pulled into their clutches.
Hide : A Novel by Kiersten White
Fourteen contestants gather to compete in a weeklong hide-and-seek competition at an abandoned amusement park with a dark history. A dangerous mix of ambition and desperation has each hoping to win the promised $50,000 prize, but the stakes quickly become higher than they could possibly imagine. As the competitors are eliminated under increasingly suspicious circumstances, they realize that they are connected by more than just coincidence and begin to question just who—or what—is seeking them.
Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey
Vera Crowder, the protagonist of this superior novel of psychological suspense from Gailey, returns to her childhood home, Crowder House, after 12 years to reunite with her dying mother, a fraught visit that reawakens dark memories. It gradually emerges that Vera’s father, who frequently reassured her as a child that there were neither monsters nor murderers under her bed, and told her their basement was off-limits, was himself a murderer. Years after her father’s arrest, Vera still believes the house has secrets to reveal, a belief supported by the chance discoveries of fragments from his journal.
Thirty-three-year-old Maeve was born into a cult. After escaping and surviving a series of traumatic events, she’s adopted by a kind couple and grows up to have an ordinary, solitary life in New York City. Her painful past has remained mostly forgotten until she receives a message from her estranged cousin, who’s now a wealthy entrepreneur and life coach with a mansion in the Catskill Mountains. The reunion is more than she could’ve ever imagined, finally giving her a chance to heal from her trauma and bond with somebody, but the new-found Andrea has a hidden agenda, and Maeve finds herself wondering how much to give without losing her identity. Heltzel’s adult debut is a fast-paced, creepy, and unpredictable adventure that shines an unsettling light on motherhood and family ties.
Mary is content to live a quiet life in New York City, working at a bookstore and sharing her apartment with the porcelain figurines she refers to as “Loved Ones.” But lately, something strange has been happening to Mary when she looks in the mirror or at other women her age—they rot and decay before her very eyes. A call from Mary’s aunt brings her back to the small town of Arroyo, a place she barely remembers but has inexplicable ties to. Mary learns that she was born the day infamous serial killer Damon Cross was killed by police, and now that she’s returned to town, the killings have started again. In order to discover the truth, Mary must revisit her past and learn long-forgotten secrets of her life and of Damon Cross’ victims, all the while dodging angry spirits, a bloodthirsty cult, and an FBI agent who is determined to learn the truth
The Pallbearers Club : A Novel by Paul Tremblay
A cleverly voiced psychological thriller about an unforgettable–and unsettling–friendship, with blood-chilling twists, crackling wit, and a thrumming pulse in its veins-. In high school, decidedly not-with-it Art Barbara is befriended by a girl who’s the epitome of chic when she joins the volunteer pallbearers club he has formed to assist at funerals. That she takes pictures of the corpses is one of many unsettling things about her that boil over decades later when Art writes a memoir about the club.
A stunning supernatural thriller set in Siberia, where a film crew is covering an elusive ghost story about a highway built on top of the bones of prisoners of Stalin’s gulag. when documentarian Teigland and his cameraman, Prentiss, reach Akhurst, the coldest inhabited place in the world, they find the settlement abandoned save for a catatonic young girl, and it becomes clear that something is gravely wrong. Desperate to uncover the mystery of Akhurst’s abandonment, Teigland and Prentiss are thrown headlong into a tense game of cat and mouse with a mysterious shaman lurking on the edges of the settlement.
Demeester blends realistic descriptions of dissociation and schizophrenia with the horror of a serial killer preying on young girls in this chilling probe into gender-based violence.
They Drown Our Daughters by Katrina Monroe
In the shadow of an old lighthouse on the Pacific coast, seven generations of women have all been affected by a family curse in their own ways. They are drawn to and terrified of the ocean, the source of heartbreak and tragedy for women of their line.
What Moves The Dead by T. Kingfisher
A gripping and atmospheric retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic “The Fall of the House of Usher.” When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania. What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.
-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian