A Natural History of Hell: Stories by Jeffrey FordUsing humor, literary allusions, folklore tropes, and science fiction settings, this collection of stories satirizes parenting in an account of a teenager's exorcism ("The Blameless"), portrays young children who meet a wise woman ("Mount Chary Galore"), and chillingly depicts an open-carry high school ("Blood Drive").
Fans of Kevin Brockmeier and Ray Bradbury, especially, will enjoy these twisty, creepy, and disturbing thrills.
Pressure by Brian KeeneFollowing a tremendous undersea disturbance of the earth's crust, scientists rush to discover the cause, only to find that it's not just an earthquake. Further investigating the phenomenon, diver Carrie Anderson encounters an enormous predatory creature that would dwarf Jules Verne's giant squid from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Combining a corrupt corporation's enforcers and a growing ecological disaster with the monstrous, malevolent entity, Pressure delivers chilling terror that will captivate fans of Nick Cutter's The Deep.
The Port-Wine Stain by Norman LockThis novel focuses on Edgar Allan Poe as one of a group of people who are fascinated by death. The young Fenzil's association with surgeon Thomas Dent Mütter brings him into the occultist society, where he also becomes acquainted with Poe. Blending historical fiction with horror, Lock bleakly depicts obsession and psychological manipulation.
If you like this novel's layered tale infused with literary history, try its standalone predecessors in Lock's American Novels series, The Boy in His Winter and American Meteor.
The Prisoner of Hell Gate by Dana I. WolffKaralee Soper, a graduate student in public health, is descended from Dr. George Soper, who identified and locked up "Typhoid Mary." While boating on the East River with some friends, Karalee is drawn to the ruins of Riverside Hospital on North Brother Island, where Mary was isolated for two decades. The group decides to explore, but their light-hearted excursion turns dark when they meet an old woman named Mary who seems to be alive and well.
If the subject of Typhoid Mary has gotten you excited, check out Fever by Mary Beth Keane and Deadly by Julie Chibbaro.
Great Books You Might Have Missed
The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy CoffeyThe Appalachian village of Crow Hollow is way off the beaten track -- so far off that strangers find it only by accident. Maybe its isolation has something to do with the fearsome events associated with Alvaretta Graves, who some people think is a witch. Or maybe the mysterious symptoms afflicting teenaged girls are just a case of mass hysteria.
While not all of Coffey's books are scary, for additional chills try his supernatural suspense in The Devil Walks in Mattingly and When Mockingbirds Sing.
Styx by Bavo Dhooge with Josh PachterA serial killer is on the loose in Ostend, Belgium. Nicknamed "The Stuffer," the mysterious killer fills his victims full of sand and poses them as public art installations. Rafael Styx, a corrupt, middle-aged cop with a bum hip and ties to the Belgian underworld is on the case.
Styx will captivate both horror fans and lovers of gloomy, noir-style murder mysteries such as Fever City by Tim Baker and The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson.
When We Were Animals: A Novel by Joshua GaylordA small Midwestern community boasts a peculiar tradition: for one year starting at puberty, every teenager runs wild during the full moon, wreaking havoc as they go. Narrator Lumen Ann Fowler detests the practice, called "breaching," and promises she'll never do it. Later, as a middle-aged suburban mother, she goes back to her hometown to revisit that time in her life and learns more about herself and her community than she expected.
Lyrical, slightly old-fashioned language builds suspense in Lumen's story that should appeal to fans of Carrie by Stephen King and House of Reckoning by John Saul..
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValleIn 1920s New York City, a young African American named Charles Thomas Tester struggles to feed and house himself and his dying father, employing a variety of hustles while treading on the borders of an occult realm.
LaValle explores social and racial issues of the 1920s and the present while producing an atmospheric and stylistically complex tale of supernatural horror. If this sounds interesting, check out The Strivers' Row Spy by Jason Overstreet.
Travelers Rest: A Novel by Keith Lee MorrisOn their way home from collecting their Uncle Robbie from a stint in rehab, a tremendous blizzard overwhelms the Addison family just as they arrive in Good Night, Idaho. Taking refuge in a grandiose but crumbling hotel called Travelers Rest, they get separated. It's up to mom, Julia, to save her family from the ghosts of Travelers Rest and the trap of Good Night.
For other spooky houses, read The Right Hand of Evil by John Saul or Creepers by David Morrell.
Lost Souls by Seth PatrickJonah Miller finds himself in the path of an ancient evil. Miller, a reviver, can temporarily wake up people who have recently died. As a forensic reviver, he collected testimony from murder victims while giving loved ones a last chance to say goodbye. Having left the police department after a conflict over a revival, he stumbles into a serial killer investigation that reveals a gigantic conspiracy driven by the dead themselves.
If you enjoyed the previous volume, Reviver, you're in for more to love with this one.