Dracula's Child by J.S. BarnesWhat it's about: Years after they vanquished Count Dracula in Transylvania, Jonathan and Mina Harker discover their old foe is plotting his return -- and he's got nefarious plans involving their teenage son, Quincy.
Why you might like it: This fast-paced "sequel" to Bram Stoker's 1897 gothic classic unfolds via diary entries, newspaper clippings, and letters, offering a clever epistolary homage to the original.
Ring Shout by P. Djèlí ClarkThe premise: In 1920s Macon, Georgia, sorcerer D.W. Griffith's film The Birth of a Nation has unleashed an army of racist demonic monsters known as Ku Kluxes.
Starring: a trio of battle-hardened Black women ready to protect their town from the cosmic horrors lying in wait: sword-wielding Maryse; sharpshooter Sadie; and World War I veteran Chef.
Who it's for: This gruesome and darkly humorous alternate history will appeal to fans of Black-authored stories that interrogate the racist tropes of H.P. Lovecraft's fiction, like Victor LaValle's The Ballad of Black Tom.
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth; illustrated by Sara LautmanThen: In early 20th-century Massachusetts, a series of mysterious deaths at a girls' boarding school are linked to the provocative (and real) 1902 queer memoir The Story of Mary MacLane.
Now: On the set of a high-profile horror film about the incident, creepy phenomena begin plaguing the cast and crew.
Read it for: a sardonic metafictional storyline that blurs the lines between past and present; evocative black-and-white illustrations that capture the novel's eerie gothic tone.
The Loop by Jeremy Robert JohnsonWhat it is: a fast-paced techno-thriller set in the small Oregon town of Turner Falls, where a biotech company loses control of an experiment with devastating potential fallout for the town and the entire human race.
For fans of: apocalyptic stories that combine elements of horror with social satire, such as Wanderers by Chuck Wendig or Mira Grant's Newsflesh series.
Reviewers say: "unputdownable" (Publishers Weekly); "heart-pounding and deeply unsettling" (Booklist).
The Low, Low Woods by Carmen Maria Machado; illustrated by DaniWelcome to... Shudder-to-Think, Pennsylvania, a small coal-mining community beset by an illness that causes women to forget the grotesqueries they've witnessed.
Starring: best friends El and Vee, two queer teenage girls investigating the bizarre goings-on in their town.
Art alert: Dani's darkly expressive and scratchy artwork complements the graphic novel's creepy tone.
Books You Might Have Missed
Stake by Kevin J. AndersonVampire slayer...or serial killer? Bosnian War vet turned vampire hunter David Grundy captures the attention of strait-laced detective Todd Carrow, who believes the man is actually killing humans. Meanwhile, freelance journalist Alexis Tarada believes Grundy is the real deal.
Who it's for: Readers who prefer their vampire stories with less bite will enjoy this witty mystery/horror hybrid told from multiple perspectives.
Want a taste? "The only way to stop a bad guy with fangs, is a good guy with a stake."
The Wise Friend by Ramsey CampbellWhat it's about: When his son Roy becomes interested in occult art painted by a late family member who died under suspicious circumstances -- and makes a mysterious new friend who encourages his fascination -- Patrick Torrington worries that the 15-year-old may be in danger.
Is it for you? Fans of leisurely paced folk horror will want to check out this menacing latest from Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award winner Ramsey Campbell.
Final Cuts: New Tales of Hollywood Horror and Other Spectacles by Ellen Datlow (editor)What it is: a collection of 18 short stories exploring the sinister side of the film and TV industry.
Featuring: original tales from genre heavyweights Josh Malerman, Kelley Armstrong, Stephen Graham Jones, Garth Nix, and more; new stories from up-and-comers including Cassandra Khaw and A.C. Wise.
Don't miss: Gemma Files' epistolary "Cut Frame," which uses interview transcripts and emails to investigate the fate of a 1950s B-movie actress.
The Unsuitable by Molly PohligStarring: Iseult Wince, a young Victorian woman who communicates with her dead mother; Iseult's cruel father Edward, who is determined to marry off his "old maid" daughter at any cost; and Jacob Vinke, a damaged young man and Iseult's most likely marriage prospect -- if Iseult can quiet her mother's increasingly worried voice.
For fans of: darkly humorous gothic fiction such as Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye or Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy.
Reviewers say: "Bloody and bizarre" (Kirkus).
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