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If, for you, autumn means snuggling up with one of the world’s millions of pumpkin-spiced products and a scary book or two, it can be hard to know what is and isn’t worth your time. But there is more to modern horror reading than Stephen King. Here are six upcoming horror novels sure to give you anxiety, night terrors and, of course, the intellectual satisfaction of great literature.
'Come Closer' by Sara Gran (Sept. 26)
Gran’s cult classic but tragically underappreciated 2003 demonic possession novella is getting an updated edition. In the tradition of Gus Moreno’s unstable narrator in “This Thing Between Us,” this story traces one woman’s descent into madness — or possession, depending on how you interpret the book’s events. When Amanda is unable to remember leaving her boss a hilariously profane note or burning her husband with a cigarette, she begins to suspect that a demon named Naamah might be slowly possessing her. Gran’s novel plunges the reader directly into Amanda’s perplexing nightmare, until neither she, nor we, know exactly what is going on. Preorder here.
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'A Haunting on the Hill' by Elizabeth Hand (Oct. 3)
Mike Flanagan’s Netflix horror empire first revived interest in the Shirley Jackson canon with the 2018 release of “The Haunting of Hill House.” Now Elizabeth Hand will deliver the first new and authorized work of fiction set in the "Hill House" universe. Holly, a down-on-her-luck playwright invites her girlfriend Nisa to spend the weekend at Hill House, and discovers that, like so many struggling writers in horror novels before her, Hill House is going to be the cause of, rather than the solution to, her troubles. Jackson’s creation is in capable hands with Hand, whose unclassifiable 2022 novel “Hokuloa Road” was a deserved best-seller. Preorder here.
'Brainwyrms' by Alison Rumfitt (Oct. 10)
Rumfitt’s groundbreaking 2021 novel “Tell Me I’m Worthless” was very much of the moment — a bleak haunted house story that also tackled TERFs, transphobia, incipient British fascism, and the unreliability of traumatized memories. In “Brainwyrms,” an anti-trans workplace bombing in the U.K. sends Frankie into a destructive spiral ... until she meets the mysterious, non-binary Vanya, who reveals something horrifying about what’s really inside the heads of “gender-critical” activists like the formerly beloved children’s author Jennifer Campbell. Hint: It’s much more sinister than “just asking questions” contrarianism. Preorder here.
'The Reformatory' by Tananarive Due (Oct. 31)
The latest from the American Book Award-winning Due is set in a Jim Crow-era Florida reform school, to which 12-year-old Robbie has been sent after kicking a white boy in defense of his younger sister. But Robbie, who can see ghosts, or “haints,” discovers that all is not right at The Reformatory, as his family rushes to figure out a way to bring him home in a parallel narrative. Already drawing rave reviews, Due’s hefty novel tackles tough themes of racism and America’s troubled past and present while still bringing the scares. Preorder here.
'Nestlings' by Nat Cassidy (Oct. 31)
Haunted apartments don’t get as much love as haunted houses in the horror canon, but that might change with this new novel from Cassidy (“Mary: An Awakening of Terror”). After a horrific delivery leaves her partially paralyzed, Ana, her husband Reid and their infant daughter Charlie win the housing lottery for a swank flat in an iconic Manhattan building, The Deptford. The building has “some of the city’s most famous gargoyles.” But there are noises on the baby monitor and someone is banging on the window in Charlie’s room. The gargoyles suddenly vanish. As is the case in “Rosemary’s Baby,” the building’s residents are in cahoots and clearly hiding something sinister. Preorder here.
'Where the Dead Wait' by Ally Wilkes (Dec. 5)
Wilkes’ 2022 breakout novel “All The White Spaces” was a polar horror masterpiece, and she ventures back to the bitterly cold well for her follow-up. Thirteen years after an arctic voyage that went horribly wrong — starvation, cannibalism and all — 19th-century explorer William Day brings his wife and a reporter on his next expedition. Reader, we can tell you with great confidence that this adventure is going to go about as well as the first one. Preorder here.
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