Silvia Moreno-Garcia recommends 6 horror and speculative novels
The best-selling author recommends works by Shirley Jackson, Amparo Dávila, and more
Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the best-selling author of Gods of Jade and Shadow. In Mexican Gothic, her new novel and second this year, a 1950s Mexico City debutante answers a call for help by traveling to a remote estate that harbors dark secrets.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (1959).
Possibly the best haunted house novel ever written — starting with one of the best opening lines you'll ever read. Jackson's beautiful prose delivers a series of subtle yet chilling encounters with the supernatural. A discontented and lonely woman is invited to participate in a parapsychological experiment at a haunted mansion. Or is the haunting inside her head?
The Houseguest and Other Stories by Amparo Dávila (2009).
Only recently translated, Mexican horror writer Amparo Dávila was known for combining the mundane and the macabre in her short fiction, offering stories of a world that seems subtly wrong and disquieting. If you like Jackson, you'll like Dávila.
Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline (2019).
In this novel set in western Canada (and arriving here in July), a woman searches for her missing husband and stumbles upon a preacher who looks just like him but doesn't recognize her. The mystery of his identity becomes more complex as her quest mingles with the folklore of the Rogarou, a werewolf-like creature from Métis stories.
A Spectral Hue by Craig Laurance Gidney (2019).
Several African-American artists, working at different times in the same town, are haunted by a spirit and a certain purple hue that appears in their artwork. A Spectral Hue is as much about art as it is about horror and the unwashable legacy of racism in America.
The Cipher by Kathe Koja (1991).
A video-store clerk and his girlfriend discover a small hole that seems to lead to another universe. They begin experimenting with their discovery, sending a camera down to film what's inside and placing a jar with insects next to it. The insects come back slightly mutated. The footage seems to change with each viewing. A bleak and strange spiral of obsession develops.
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones (2020).
Fans of Stephen King's It and Peter Straub's Ghost Story should find plenty to love in this tale of friends who are haunted by a supernatural entity they first encountered in their youth. But Jones' novel is no carbon copy and comes with a fresh, energetic perspective. Did I mention the killer elk?
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