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Halloween Reads

Spooky season is upon us once again! It's the perfect time to dive into the dark side of fiction if it's not your usual cup of tea. So if you're in the mood for escapism (aren't we all right now?) that happens to be seasonal, check out these horror titles released in 2020. Horror comes in many forms, so these selections include gory, supernatural, gothic, and more for whatever style of scares you prefer.

                     

  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Already in development for a Hulu limited series, this gothic suspense is a mix of Mexican folklore, horror, and science including the theory of evolution.
  • Devolution by Max Brooks: From the author of World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide, Devolution is a faux scientific journey into the discovery of Bigfoot after it goes on a rampage.
  • The Haunting of Rookward House by Darcy Coates: Coates has been popular in her native Australia for a while, and her books have now been released in the US throughout 2020. Check out this haunted house tale or any of her others for a good, chilling tale.
  • The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher: Mysterious words discovered in a bunker behind a hole in a wall lead Kara to discover a portal to alternate realities, with each place haunted by threatening creatures that seem to hear her thoughts.
  • Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay: Massachusetts is quickly overrun by a rabies-like virus that has an incubation period of only an hour or less. Those infected quickly lose their minds and are driven to bite and infect as many others as they can before they inevitably succumb.

 

                    

  • Home Before Dark by Riley Sager: Sager has been publishing a novel every summer for a few years now, each taking on a different horror subgenre. This one is his take on the haunted house story.
  • The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones: Following a disturbing event in their youth, four American Indian men are tracked by an entity bent on revenge. The men are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.
  • The Hollow Ones by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan: Horror masters Del Toro and Hogan team up again (after writing The Strain trilogy together). An FBI agent is led to a mysterious figure who might be a madman or might be her only hope in defending humanity against a horrific evil.
  • The Bright Lands by John Fram: Described as Friday Night Lights with a horror twist. Students go missing in Bentley, Texas (including star football players), some seem to know far more than they’re letting on, and a group of men use any means necessary to ensure their secrets stay buried.
  • Don't Move by James S. Murray & Darren Wearmouth (October 20 release date): Things go horribly wrong on a church camping trip and the group ends up in an area never before surveyed by humans, which happens to house a prehistoric arachnid who begins hunting them.

 

                    

  • The Remaking by Clay McLeod Chapman: A historical witch hunt becomes the basis for a 1970s movie, then a 1990s remake, with the experiences ruining the life of a star actress. The witch hunt is cyclical, being remade time and again.
  • 666 Gable Way by Dani Lamia with Frederick H. Crook: The House of Seven Gables is a temple to an ancient evil, a terrifying power unleashed by its inhabitant and a coven of friends. This dark entity haunts the stones of the old mansion, plotting its revenge upon the living.
  • The Return by Rachel Harrison: Julie reappears two years after she disappeared with no memory of where she's been or what happened to her. Her closest friends reunite with her at a remote inn but immediately realize the Julie who vanished is not the same Julie who came back. But then who--or what--is she? 
  • The Boatman's Daughter by Andy Davidson: Miranda Crabtree ferries contraband for a mad preacher and his declining band of followers to make ends meet and to protect an old witch and a secret child from harm. But dark forces are at work in the bayou, both human and supernatural, conspiring to disrupt the rhythms of Miranda's life.
  • The Garden of Bewitchment by Catherine Cavendish: In 1893, Evelyn and Claire leave their home in a Yorkshire town for a rural life on the moors. But when a strange toy garden mysteriously appears, a chain of increasingly terrifying events is unleashed.

 

                    

  • Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth (October 20 release date): Metafiction in multiple timelines about a cursed New England school for girls.
  • The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix: Billed as Steel Magnolias meets Dracula. A Charleston women’s true crime book club decides their new neighbor is a vampire who must be stopped before he harms their children.  
  • The Reddening by Adam L.G. Nevill: One million years of evolution didn't change our nature. Nor did it bury the horrors predating civilisation. Ancient rites, old deities and savage ways can reappear in the places you least expect.
  • The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson: In the lands of Bethel, witches were once killed by the Prophet. A young woman named Immanuelle is shocked to discover her mother consorted with the witches, but goes on to discover the darkness might be the Church itself.
  • The Chill by Scott Carson: In the early 20th century, a village was drowned in order to create a reservoir to bring water to the area, or so the story goes. A century later, the dark waters begin to rise and more than the village is hidden below.  

 

Special mentions- books that did not come out in 2020 but had related projects released this year.

          

  • Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff: The story examines the line between racism in the Jim Crow era and the work of H.P. Lovecraft, following a Black military vet looking for his missing father with the help of a friend and his uncle. The new HBO series is currently airing.
  • Locke & Key by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez: Following the murder of their patriarch, the Locke family returns to his childhood home, where the children discover the magic contained within and take on the forces of evil threatening their family and new town. The Netflix series premiered earlier this year.
  • The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (included in James's complete stories) : Henry James's chilling ghost tale about a governess hired by a charming bachelor to look after two young children in a grand mansion in rural England where sinister events place their lives in jeopardy. The film The Turning is now on DVD and The Haunting of Bly Manor just premiered on Netflix. Both are based on The Turn of the Screw, while not direct re-tellings.