Cackle by Rachel HarrisonWhat it's about: After being dumped by her boyfriend, Annie Crane decides to make a fresh start in a quaint small town in upstate New York.
But then... Annie develops a codependent friendship with the enigmatic Sophie, a witch who holds the townspeople in her thrall. When Sophie begins exerting too much control over Annie's life, Annie discovers she may have a few powers of her own...
Read it for: a fast-paced blend of chick lit and mild horror; a darkly humorous portrait of a complex female friendship.
Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow by Christina HenryWhat it is: an atmospheric "sequel" to Washington Irving's 1820 short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," set 20 years after the original.
Starring: transgender teen Ben Van Brunt, the grandson of "Brom Bones" Van Brunt and Katrina Van Tassel, who's been having visions of the Headless Horseman. Has he returned?
For fans of: adaptations that put a fresh spin on classic tales, like Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker's Dracul.
Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra KhawWhat it is: a menacing haunted house novella set in an isolated Heian-era mansion in Japan during a modern-day couple's wedding celebrations.
Read it for: the spine-tingling appearances of Japanese mythological creatures, including the bake-danuki and the ohaguro-bettari.
Who it's for: Readers who enjoy creepy folklore-tinged horror stories like Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Mexican Gothic will want to check out this suspenseful latest from rising horror author Cassandra Khaw.
Pearl by Josh MalermanStarring: Pearl, a vengeful telepathic pig who exerts terrifying mind control over humans and commands other pigs to do her bidding.
What happens: When the body count starts to rise, it's up to the residents of the small farming community of Chowder, Michigan, to put a stop to Pearl's gory machinations once and for all.
Book buzz: Originally published in 2019 as On This, the Day of the Pig, Pearl is a "strange, un-put-down-able thriller" (Kirkus Reviews) that is "not to be missed" (Library Journal).
Summer Sons by Lee MandeloWhat it's about: Grief-stricken after the unexpected suicide of his best friend, Eddie, Vanderbilt graduate student Andrew, who's plagued by visions of ghosts (including Eddie's), begins to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding his friend's death.
Read it for: Andrew's immersion into a heady world of academic intrigue, drag racing, and dangerous secrets.
For fans of: queer Southern gothics, dark academia, and The Fast and the Furious.
Reprieve by James Han MattsonWelcome to... Quigley House, a full-contact haunted escape room in Nebraska where contestants who endure the brutal attraction without shouting the safe word ("Reprieve!") have a chance at a $60,000 prize.
What happens: In 1997, four contestants successfully make it to the final cell of Quigley House -- but then one of them is brutally murdered. Was this act of violence part of the game...or something more?
Why you might like it: Beginning at the "end" of the story, this thought-provoking blend of psychological suspense and social horror unfolds in disturbing vignettes as the survivors reflect on their game experiences.
This Thing Between Us by Gus MorenoWhat it's about: When strange occurrences begin happening in the Chicago condo of newlyweds Vera and Thiago Alvarez, Vera suggests the couple purchase a smart speaker, Itza, as a fun distraction. But Itza's arrival only makes things worse...and then Vera dies in a freak accident.
What happens next: Fleeing to a cabin in Colorado, a grief-stricken Thiago hopes to put the past behind him. Yet Itza's presence lingers...
For fans of: creepy cosmic horror; 2001: A Space Odyssey's villainous HAL 9000.
The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin StarlingHow it begins: Pragmatic Jane Shoringfield suggests a marriage of convenience to doctor Augustine Lawrence, who agrees, but on one condition -- Jane can never set foot in Lindridge Hall, his ancestral home.
But then... On their wedding night, an accident strands Jane outside Lindridge Hall. Entering the crumbling manse, she soon learns there's something more terrifying to the seemingly mild-mannered Augustine -- and his mysterious home -- than meets the eye...
Book buzz: Reminiscent of Rebecca and Crimson Peak, this compelling gothic horror/fantasy is "an immersive delight" (Library Journal) that's "impossible to put down" (Publishers Weekly).
Contact your librarian for more great books!
Santa Clarita Public Library
23743 Valencia Blvd.
Santa Clarita, California 91355