Revelator by Daryl GregoryHow it begins: In 1930s Cades Cove, TN, young Stella Birch Wallace communes with Ghostdaddy, the mountain god her family worships. Upon learning the mysterious entity's sinister plans, she flees.
What happens next: Returning home after the death of her grandmother in 1948, Stella must reckon with her family's past and put a stop to their destructive religious practices.
For fans of: Southern Gothic stories starring strong female characters.
My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham JonesStarring: misanthropic Blackfeet teen Jade Daniels, who lives her life like she's in a slasher movie -- and she's long suspected that her rapidly gentrifying Idaho town is the perfect setting for one.
What happens: When a series of strange deaths begin making the local news, Jade pins all her hopes on new-in-town Letha to be the "final girl" who will save their community from an impending massacre.
What sets it apart: This gory meta-horror novel from Stephen Graham Jones (The Only Good Indians) blends searing social commentary with a thought-provoking subversion of the genre's well-worn tropes.
When the Reckoning Comes by LaTanya McQueenYou're invited: Returning to her small North Carolina hometown for the plantation wedding of a childhood friend, Black high school teacher Mira reluctantly steps foot on the same grounds where she once encountered the ghost of an enslaved person.
'Til death... With the antebellum-themed nuptials underway, the spirits of the enslaved begin seeking revenge on the descendants of their tormentors, and it's up to Mira to confront the plantation's haunted history and her own connection to it if she wants to survive.
Getaway by Zoje StageWhat it is: a menacing blend of horror and psychological suspense starring three women on an ill-fated hiking trip in the Grand Canyon.
What could possibly go wrong? What begins as a tense endeavor to mend the trio's friendship morphs into an outmatched fight for their lives against an unrelenting stalker in this slow-burn nightmare from Baby Teeth and Wonderland author Zoje Stage.
For fans of: girls' trips gone wrong, like Rachel Harrison's The Return; white-knuckle survival stories, like James Dickey's Deliverance.
Books You Might Have Missed
The Searching Dead by Ramsey CampbellWhat it's about: In 1952 Liverpool, 15-year-old Dominic Sheldrake learns that his teacher, Mr. Noble, can commune with the dead. When Mr. Noble's plans take a sinister turn, Dominic and his friends embark on a dangerous investigation of horrors both human and supernatural.
Read it for: an epic coming-of-age cosmic horror story reminiscent of Stephen King's It.
Series alert: Originally published in author Ramsey Campbell's native England in 2016, The Searching Dead is the immersive 1st entry in the Three Births of Daoloth trilogy.
Near the Bone by Christina HenryThe premise: Isolated from the outside world by her abusive husband, William, unreliable narrator Mattie finds mutilated animal carcasses on the couple's mountaintop property -- and a trio of hikers hot on the predator's trail.
What happens next: Awakening the wrath of both the creature and William, Mattie and her new acquaintances must battle threats both human and supernatural if they want to make it off the mountain alive...
Featuring: fast-paced and suspenseful writing; a compelling twist.
Monsters by Barry Windsor-SmithWhat it's about: In 1964, hapless Bobby Bailey is recruited for the United States Army's Prometheus Project, a top-secret super-soldier program that causes his body to morph into an unrecognizably monstrous form.
Art alert: Richly detailed black and white illustrations capture the volume's unrelenting violence and disturbing body horror.
Book buzz: Originally conceived as a Hulk comic in the 1980s, this sci-fi/horror saga from Eisner Award winner Barry Windsor-Smith is being touted as the influential illustrator's "magnum opus" (Library Journal).
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