Each month the Ladies of Horror Fiction team posts all of the books we are aware of that will be releasing during that month. If you are involved in the process of publishing a horror book written by a female author, please reach out to us and let us know so we can help to spotlight the book’s release!
Abjectification: Stories & Truths by C. Kubasta
Abjectification mines our most intimate moments to flesh out the horrors of human interaction. In the isolated system of these stories, the past is animate and tangible, located in the body, fantasy & nightmare intertwined.
Like matter, what we’ve loved isn’t destroyed, it merely changes forms. A man thinks he’s found a haven from the past with a new love in “Freak Show”; Meghan seems sensitive to exposure, but she isn’t the woman Jeff imagines he’s been sleeping with at all. A small family begins remodeling their home in “Shedding,” but their six-year-old daughter Emmy discovers unsettling things in the walls. In “Hand-Me-Down,” Carly Jo welcomes her high school boyfriend back into her life after he moves home to care for his dying mother; she’s haunted by the mother’s presence in their lives and in their bed. Old friends reconnect, disregarding “Boundaries,” only to discover a force is whittling the group down, their new spouses and partners in lethal danger. Kubasta’s collection is creepy, haunting, and unapologetically sexy.
Published October 1, 2020 by Apprentice House | Amazon
The Midnight Circus by Jane Yolen
Welcome to the Midnight Circus – and watch your step. The dark imaginings of fantasy icon Jane Yolen are not for the faint of heart. In these sixteen brilliantly unnerving tales and poems, Central Park becomes a carnival where you can – but probably shouldn’t – transform into a wild beast. The Red Sea will be deadly to cross due to a plague of voracious angels. Meanwhile, the South Pole is no place for even a good man, regardless of whether he is living or dead.
Wicked, solemn, and chilling, the circus is ready for your visit – just don’t arrive late.
Name Game: A collection of Horrific Short Stories by Karmellah Howlett
Do you fear what you cannot see?
Are you afraid of what’s lurking in the waters depth?
Do urban legends send shivers down your spine?
Name Games is a collection of horrific short stories that will be sure to keep you up at night.
Under Another Sun by D.M. Siciliano
A crack in time saves 99
But what do those ominous words mean?
Ray is about to find out, whether he’s ready or not. His ‘deceased’ twin sister, Ravynn, is warning him of impending disaster, but Ray can’t seem to convince himself, or his wife, that he’s not crazy.
But Ray isn’t the only one communicating with his sister. Ravynn’s surviving daughter, Amelia, seems to know things that defy reason, in a time when reason is slowly slipping away.
When Ray’s brother-in-law offers evidence of something terrible coming in the form of prophetic journals Ravynn wrote before her death, Ray can’t doubt the truth any longer. The world is falling down.
The family struggles to hold themselves together as the world they once knew and understood begins to collapse all around them, leading up to a cataclysmic end.
Can Ray save his family in time?
Halloween Season by Lucy A. Snyder
Halloween is the most wonderful part of the year for many of us. For dedicated fans, the season begins when the leaves start turning autumn colors and doesn’t finish until Hallowtide ends in November. With it comes a whole lot of fun: scary movies and stories, haunted houses, seasonal sweets, spooky decorations, costume parties, and of course trick or treat. But Halloween is also a deeply spiritual time for some; it’s an opportunity to remember and honor loved ones who have passed on.
Master storyteller Lucy A. Snyder has filled her cauldron with everything that Halloween means to her and distilled it into a spell-binding volume of stories. Within these pages you’ll find thrills and chills, hilarity and horrors, the sweet and the naughty.
One of the best things about Halloween is you don’t have to be yourself. So go ahead and try on a new mask or two… you may discover hidden talents as a witch, a pirate, a space voyager, a zombie fighter, or even an elf. This is the perfect collection to celebrate the season of the dead or to summon those heady autumn vibes whenever you like. You may even find a couple of tales that evoke a certain winter holiday that keeps trying to crowd in on the fun.
In the worlds within this book, every day is Halloween!
Burials by Jessica Drake-Thomas
What is buried can return. Those who are dead can still speak. A witch can be burned, but not silenced. When the abattoir is opened, the dead will rise. Burials is the narrative of those whose voices have been taken away-murdered women, witches, ghosts. It’s about speaking one’s truth, and using magic to heal or to banish, even from beyond the grave.
Cardiff, by the Sea: Four Novellas of Suspense by Joyce Carol Oates
From one of the most important contemporary American writers, Cardiff, by the Sea is a bold, haunting collection of four previously unpublished novellas. In the titular novella, an academic in Pennsylvania discovers a terrifying trauma from her past after inheriting a house in Cardiff, Maine from someone she has never heard of. Mia, the protagonist of “Miao Dao,” is a pubescent girl overcome with loneliness, who befriends a feral cat that becomes her protector from the increasingly aggressive males that surround her.
A brilliant but shy college sophomore realizes that she is pregnant in “Phan-tomwise: 1972.” Distraught, she allows a distinguished visiting professor to take her under his wing, though it quickly becomes evident that he is interested in more than an academic mentorship. Lastly, “The Surviving Child” is Stefan, who was spared when his mother, a famous poet, killed his sister and herself. Stefan’s father remarries, but his young wife is haunted by dead poet’s voice dancing in the wind, an inexplicably befouled well, and a compulsive draw to the same gar-age that took two lives.
In these psychologically daring, chillingly suspenseful pieces, Joyce Carol Oates writes about women facing threats past and present.
The Demon Tailor by Susan McCauley
After being erased from history for over 400 years, a historical serial killer returns to terrify readers.
In sixteenth-century France, seventeen-year-old Marie dreams of leaving behind her life at a rural inn for the excitement of Paris. But she grows anxious when her brother vanishes and then a girl from her village disappears. Rumors spread of a dangerous creature lurking near the city. Some say the villain is a crazed man. Most say werewolf. Marie refuses to be cowed by either. Then she is snatched—and discovers true evil.
Marie finds herself in the grips of a ruthless monster, and giving up would be easy. Trapped in her brutal captor’s deadly game, Marie must stay strong during agonizing brutality before she becomes his next victim.
Filled with supernatural twists and characters from nightmares, The Demon Tailor is a chilling horror novella.
Heartbeat by Maria Llovet
IF NO ONE IS INNOCENT, IS ANYONE TRULY GUILTY? Eva, a high school outcast, finds herself witness to a horrible secret: the most popular boy in school enjoys the taste of blood and will kill to get his hands on it. Horrified and intrigued, Eva lets herself be pulled into Donatien’s macabre world. He offers the escape she has been looking for…but how much is Eva willing to betray her moral code in order to find something that gives her life meaning? And will she—or Donatien—ever find redemption? Acclaimed writer and artist Maria Llovet (Faithless) presents a dark, violent, decadent, and disturbing story in which life and death, blood and love are inextricably intertwined. Collects Heartbeat #1-5 for mature audiences.
The Hole by Hiroko Oyamada
Winner of the Akutagawa Prize, The Hole is by turns reminiscent of Lewis Carroll, David Lynch, and My Neighbor Totoro, but is singularly unsettling.
Asa’s husband is transferring jobs, and his new office is located near his family’s home in the countryside. During an exceptionally hot summer, the young married couple move in, and Asa does her best to quickly adjust to their new rural lives, to their remoteness, to the constant presence of her in-laws and the incessant buzz of cicadas. While her husband is consumed with his job, Asa is left to explore her surroundings on her own: she makes trips to the supermarket, halfheartedly looks for work, and tries to find interesting ways of killing time.
One day, while running an errand for her mother-in-law, she comes across a strange creature, follows it to the embankment of a river, and ends up falling into a hole—a hole that seems to have been made specifically for her. This is the first in a series of bizarre experiences that drive Asa deeper into the mysteries of this rural landscape filled with eccentric characters and unidentifiable creatures, leading her to question her role in this world, and eventually, her sanity.
The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher
A young woman discovers a strange portal in her uncle’s house, leading to madness and terror in this gripping new novel from the author of the “innovative, unexpected, and absolutely chilling” (Mira Grant, Nebula Award–winning author) The Twisted Ones.
Pray they are hungry.
Kara finds the words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring this peculiar area—only to discover that it holds portals to countless alternate realities. But these places are haunted by creatures that seem to hear thoughts…and the more one fears them, the stronger they become.
With her distinctive “delightfully fresh and subversive” (SF Bluestocking) prose and the strange, sinister wonder found in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, The Hollow Places is another compelling and white-knuckled horror novel that you won’t be able to put down.
Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter by Brea Grant
Angsty teenager Mary Shelley is not interested in carrying on her family’s celebrated legacy of being a great writer, but she soon discovers that she has the not-so-celebrated (and super-secret) Shelley power to heal monsters, just like her famous ancestor, and those monsters are not going to let her ignore her true calling anytime soon.
The Shelley family history is filled with great writers: the original Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, the acclaimed mystery writer Tawny Shelley, cookbook maven Phyllis Shelley…the list goes on and on. But this Mary Shelley, named after her great-great-great-great-great grandmother, doesn’t want anything to do with that legacy. Th2020en a strangely pale (and really cute) boy named Adam shows up and asks her to heal a wound he got under mysterious circumstances, and Mary learns something new about her family: the first Mary Shelley had the power to heal monsters, and Mary has it, too. Now the monsters won’t stop showing up, Mary can’t get her mother Tawny to leave her alone about writing something (anything!), she can’t tell her best friend Rhonda any of this, and all Mary wants is to pass biology.
Monstress, Vol. 5: Warchild by Marjorie M. Liu
The next volume in the best-selling Eisner, Hugo, Harvey & British Fantasy Award winning series by MARJORIE LIU and SANA TAKEDA!
There’s no turning back from the long dreaded war between the Federation and Arcanics – a massive human army gathers, ready to destroy the frontier city of Ravenna and enslave its inhabitants. Maika must decide whether to finally embrace her destructive power in the hopes that it can protect her friends – but what will be the consequences of no longer fighting her hunger? Will the repercussions be too much to bear?
Collects MONSTRESS issues #25-30
Roseneath by Dana McSwain
Georgia Pritchard’s dream house has a dead child in the attic and a monster in the basement but she can’t tell her husband because she’s not sure it’s really him anymore.
Silence in the Shadows by Darcy Coates
he stark world continues to change. Each passing day twists it further, pushing the surviving humans closer to the brink of extinction. But, for the first time, there is hope.
Clare and Dorran have set their sights on returning home to Winterbourne Hall. It’s a daunting journey, but vital. Humanity needs more refuges—safe areas where food can be grown without attracting the attention of the hollow ones—and the old gothic manor is their best bet.
But their home is no longer a sanctuary. It’s become a trap: carefully crafted for them, lying in wait for their return. By the time they realize just how dangerous Winterbourne has become, it’s already too late.
The fight for survival is far from over.
We Hear Voices by Evie Green
An eerie debut about a little boy who recovers from a sickness and inherits an imaginary friend who makes him do violent things…
Kids have imaginary friends. Rachel knows this. So when her young son, Billy, miraculously recovers from a horrible flu that has proven fatal for many, she thinks nothing of Delfy, his new invisible friend. After all, her family is healthy and that’s all that matters.
But soon Delfy is telling Billy what to do, and the boy is acting up and lashing out in ways he never has before. As Delfy’s influence is growing stranger and more sinister by the day, and rising tensions threaten to tear Rachel’s family apart, she clings to one purpose: to protect her children at any cost–even from themselves.
We Hear Voices is a mischievously gripping near-future horror novel that tests the fragility of family and the terrifying gray area between fear and love.
Blue Light of the Screen by Claire Cronin
Blue Light of the Screen is a memoir about the author’s obsession with horror and the supernatural.
Blue Light of the Screen is a creative-critical memoir of the author’s lifelong obsession with the horror genre. To that end, the book explores depression, visual culture, trauma, religious belief, and ideas of spectrality. It sits between autobiography and cultural criticism and also contains lists and hand-drawn illustrations of horror movie scenes.
Importantly, Blue Light of the Screen is not only a book about horror, it is itself a work of horror. It aims to unsettle readers through its status as a memoir that is also a ghost story, and therefore follows the formal tendencies of the Victorian ghost story and twentieth-century “weird” tale. The book employs fragmentation and narrative omissions, inset stories, shifting viewpoints and temporalities, and ambiguous conclusions. Blue Light of the Screen embeds its criticism within a larger personal story about growing up in a devoutly Catholic family, overcoming suicidal depression, uncovering intergenerational trauma, and encountering real and imagined ghosts.
As an experimental memoir, Blue Light of the Screen positions the author as a protagonist who is haunted by what she watches and reads, like an antiquarian in an M.R. James ghost story whose sense of reality unravels through her study of arcane texts and cursed archives. In this way, Blue Light of the Screen tells the story of the author’s conversion from skepticism to faith in the supernatural.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Vol. 4 by Jordie Bellaire
THERE’S A NEW SLAYER IN SUNNYDALE. After the shocking conclusion to the Hellmouth event, The Slayer must defend Sunnydale…AND IT’S KENDRA? Welcome to the next era of the Buffy-verse…the Ring of Fire! That’s right, there’s a New Slayer in Sunnydale must confront an all-new threat to the ENTIRE WORLD and she’ll need to pull the Scooby gang together once more after what happened to Buffy… WAIT…WHAT HAPPENED TO BUFFY? Eisner Award-nominated writer Jordie Bellaire (Redlands) and artist Julian López (X-Men: Blue) kick off a new era for Slayers and Scoobies by revealing a secret that will change everything you think you know about Buffy! Collects Buffy the Vampire Slayer #13-16.
Dracula, Motherf**ker! by Alex de Campi, Erica Henderson
Vienna, 1889: Dracula’s brides nail him to the bottom of his coffin. Los Angeles, 1974: an ageing starlet decides to raise the stakes. Crime scene photographer Quincy Harker is the only man who knows it happened, but will anyone believe him before he gets his own chalk outline? And are Dracula’s three brides there to help him… or use him as bait? A pulpy, pulse-pounding graphic novel of California psych-horror from acclaimed creators ALEX DE CAMPI and ERICA HENDERSON.
Helena by Claire L. Smith
On the outskirts of London, 1855, mortician and funeral director Helena Morrigan struggles with her limited finances and the heavy burdens of her past. Desperate to secure herself, she takes up residence in an aged house closer the graveyard, closer to the lost souls that sense her torment and are determined to take her place in the mortal world.
As she tries to tame and free the ghostly figures around her, she becomes acquainted with the owners of the home, the recently orphaned siblings, Eric, Audrey and Christian Tarter.
Yet, the souls she wants to save are on edge as a horrific serial killer runs rampant, giving Helena a boost in business and suspicion. Against her best efforts, Helena is suddenly thrown into a bloody mystery where new and old friendships are tested, innocents are maimed and a horrific family secret that threatens her chance at a peaceful existence and her existence itself.
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.
But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.
There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.
Perish by L.C. Barlow
Jack Harper is a dangerous woman, capable of death and resurrection. Raised and utilized by Cyrus, the leader of a mystical religion, she was once a fearless and brilliant weapon against all who blasphemed. Now, having destroyed Cyrus, Jack is free to be more.
While starting anew, Jack begins receiving letters from children trapped in Infinitum who beg for rescue, and she soon discovers that Cyrus’s cult is alive and thriving, with tendrils branching across the world. One of these tendrils leads Jack to Patrick, a man who speaks of a contraption that “bleaches anything white.” Yet another tendril stretches beyond death, where the Builder and Jack’s brother, Alex, reside. Jack must now seek to permanently destroy the following she once escaped by fixing her sights on a higher target―the infamous demonic Builder, who once supplied Cyrus with overwhelming power.
Potential aid arrives from an unusual source when Jack encounters Jonathon Roth and his kill-for-hire outfit. Combined, they hope to become an unstoppable force, but only the future will tell. Jack may be falling into her old acolyte ways, and Roth may have found in Jack the very thing that made Cyrus so powerful―his own magical being.
Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire edited by Nicole Givens Kurtz
Mocha Memoirs Press is proud to present Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire – a revolutionary anthology celebrating vampires of the African Diaspora. Slay is a groundbreaking, unique collection and will be a must-have for vampire lovers all over the world. Slay aims to be the first anthology of its kind. Few creatures in contemporary horror are as compelling as the vampire, who manages to captivate us in a simultaneous state of fear and desire.
Drawing from a variety of cultural and mythological backgrounds, Slay dares to imagine a world of horror and wonder where Black protagonists take center stage – as vampires, as hunters, as heroes. From immortal African deities to resistance fighters; matriarchal vampire broods to monster hunting fathers; coming of age stories to end of life stories, Slay is a groundbreaking Afrocentric vampire anthology celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the African Diaspora.
They Never Learn by Layne Fargo
From the author of the “raw, ingenious, and utterly fearless” (Wendy Walker, USA TODAY bestselling author) Temper comes a dynamic psychological thriller about two women who give bad men exactly what they deserve.
Scarlett Clark is an exceptional English professor. But she’s even better at getting away with murder.
Every year, she searches for the worst man at Gorman University and plots his well-deserved demise. Thanks to her meticulous planning, she’s avoided drawing attention to herself—but as she’s preparing for her biggest kill yet, the school starts probing into the growing body count on campus. Determined to keep her enemies close, Scarlett insinuates herself into the investigation and charms the woman in charge, Dr. Mina Pierce. Everything’s going according to her master plan…until she loses control with her latest victim, putting her secret life at risk of exposure.
Meanwhile, Gorman student Carly Schiller is just trying to survive her freshman year. Finally free of her emotionally abusive father, all Carly wants is to focus on her studies and fade into the background. Her new roommate has other ideas. Allison Hadley is cool and confident—everything Carly wishes she could be—and the two girls quickly form an intense friendship. So when Allison is sexually assaulted at a party, Carly becomes obsessed with making the attacker pay…and turning her fantasies about revenge into a reality.
Featuring Layne Fargo’s trademark “propulsive writing style” (Kirkus Reviews) and “sinister, of the moment” (Chicago Review of Books) suspense, They Never Learn is a feminist serial killer story perfect for fans of Killing Eve and Chelsea Cain.
The Tindalos Asset by Caitlín R. Kiernan
A rundown apartment in Koreatown. A Los Angeles winter. A strung out, worn out, wrecked and used government agent is scraped up off the pavement, cleaned up, and reluctantly sent out into battle one last time.
Ellison Nicodemo has seen and done terrible things. She thought her only remaining quest was for oblivion. Then the Signalman comes calling. He wants to learn if she can stop the latest apocalypse. Ellison, once a unique and valuable asset, can barely remember why she ever fought the good fight.
Still, you don’t say no to the Signalman, and the time has come to face her fears and the nightmare forces that almost destroyed her. Only Ellison can unleash the hound of Tindalos. . .
Tiny Nightmares: Very Short Stories of Horror edited by Nadxieli Nieto and Lincoln Michel
A collection of horror-inspired flash fiction, featuring over 40 new stories from literary, horror, and emerging writers—edited by Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto, the twisted minds behind Tiny Crimes: Very Short Tales of Mystery and Murder (Black Balloon, 2018).
In this playful, spine-tingling collection, leading literary and horror writers spin unforgettably chilling tales in only a few pages. Tiny Nightmares brings to life broken-hearted vampires, Uber-taking serial killers, mind-reading witches, and monsters of all imaging, as well as stories that tackle the horrors of our modern world from global warming and racism to social media addiction and online radicalization. Writers such as Samantha Hunt, Brian Evenson, Jac Jemc, Stephen Graham Jones, Kevin Brockmeier, and Rion Amilcar Scott expand our understanding of horror fiction with inventive and blood-curdling new tales. We suggest reading with the hall light on and the bedroom door open just a crack.
A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong
Thorne Manor has always been haunted…and it has always haunted Bronwyn Dale. As a young girl, Bronwyn could pass through a time slip in her great-aunt’s house, where she visited William Thorne, a boy her own age, born two centuries earlier. After a family tragedy, the house was shuttered and Bronwyn was convinced that William existed only in her imagination.
Now, twenty years later Bronwyn inherits Thorne Manor. And when she returns, William is waiting.
William Thorne is no longer the boy she remembers. He’s a difficult and tempestuous man, his own life marred by tragedy and a scandal that had him retreating to self-imposed exile in his beloved moors. He’s also none too pleased with Bronwyn for abandoning him all those years ago.
As their friendship rekindles and sparks into something more, Bronwyn must also deal with ghosts in the present version of the house. Soon she realizes they are linked to William and the secret scandal that drove him back to Thorne Manor. To build a future, Bronwyn must confront the past.
Swamp Thing: Twin Branches by Maggie Stiefvater
Twins Alec and Walker Holland have a reputation around town. One is quiet and the other is the life of any party, but they are inseparable. For their last summer before college, the two leave the city to live with their rural cousins, where they find that the swamp holds far darker depths than they could have imagined.
While Walker carves their names into the new social scene, Alec recedes into a summer school laboratory, because he brought something from home on their trip—it’s an experiment that will soon consume him. This season, both brothers must confront truths, ancient and familial, and as their lives diverge, tensions increase and dormant memories claw to the surface.
Whiteland by Rosie Cranie-Higgs
‘You’re only going to get burned.’
‘Monsters,’ she calls into the night. ‘And girls who go looking for them.’
In a lonely Swiss mountain village, Kira’s holiday erupts. It’s winter, it’s eerie, and out in the woods, something imbeds its claws into her sister.
When Romy returns, she’s different. She’s violent, inhuman, and by rights, should be dead. But all their parents care about is that she’s still alive. That is…until their parents disappear.
In the otherworldly forest, Kira starts to pry, but secrets like to be kept. Alongside sarcastic Scotsman Callum, Kira stumbles upon the folkloric world of Whiteland, eating all she knows.
Something has changed.
It’s all but imperceptible, but present nonetheless; a change in the air, or a shift in her perceptions.
She stills, listening, sensing.
If Kira runs away, she’ll be safe. If she doesn’t, her family might not survive. In the end, there’s no mercy in revenge.
Expected publication: October 15th 2020 by BHC Press | Amazon | Goodreads
Critters from the Poo Lagoon by D.M. Guay
One loser, one talking cockroach, and one karate-chopping bombshell stand between YOU and the creatures who just crawled out of the toilet at Jennifer Wallace’s charity luau. Wait, what? Back up.
It’s Friday night, and the Wallace family is hosting a charity pool party at Caroline Ford Vanderbilt’s super snooty Country Club. The daiquiris are frozen, the coconut bras are in place, and the shrimp cocktail is suitably primped and prawned. What could go wrong? Everything. Absolutely everything.
When mysterious monsters emerge from the watery depths, and Grandma Linda’s backwoods moonshine mixes with a duo of trailer park mermaids, this party literally goes down the tubes. The Demon Mart crew face what might be their stinkiest foes yet. Can they best the creatures from the poo lagoon? Or is this party literally gonna be an epic turd? Find out in this horror comedy creature feature!
Critters from the Poo Lagoon is a companion to 24/7 Demon Mart, a humorous dark fantasy and horror-comedy book series for fans of Christopher Moore (Pine Cove series), Mark Cain (Circles in Hell), Heide Goody (Oddjobs/Clovenhoof) and Rick Gualtieri (Bill the Vampire).
Critters from the Poo Lagoon can be read at any time AFTER The Graveyard Shift: 24/7 Demon Mart #1. It is the second book in the “24/7 Demon Mart Stories” series, a bunch of bonus stories set in the 24/7 Demon Mart universe.
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Twelve by Ellen Datlow
From Ellen Datlow (“the venerable queen of horror anthologies” (New York Times) comes a new entry in the series that has brought you stories from Stephen King and Neil Gaiman comes thrilling stories, the best horror stories available.
For four decades, Ellen Datlow has been at the center of horror. Bringing you the most frightening and terrifying stories, Datlow always has her finger on the pulse of what horror readers crave. Now, with the twelfth volume of the series, Datlow is back again to bring you the stories that will keep you up at night. Encompassed in the pages of The Best Horror of the Year have been such illustrious writers as: Neil Gaiman, Kim Newman, Stephen King, Linda Nagata, Laird Barron, Margo Lanagan, and many others.
With each passing year, science, technology, and the march of time shine light into the craggy corners of the universe, making the fears of an earlier generation seem quaint. But this light creates its own shadows. The Best Horror of the Year chronicles these shifting shadows. It is a catalog of terror, fear, and unpleasantness as articulated by today’s most challenging and exciting writers.
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth
The award-winning author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post makes her adult debut with this highly imaginative and original horror-comedy centered around a cursed New England boarding school for girls—a wickedly whimsical celebration of the art of storytelling, sapphic love, and the rebellious female spirit.
Our story begins in 1902, at The Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it The Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, The Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way.
Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer, Merritt Emmons, publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded-Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, opposite B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern heroines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.
A story within a story within a story and featuring black-and-white period illustrations, Plain Bad Heroines is a devilishly haunting, modern masterwork of metafiction that manages to combine the ghostly sensibility of Sarah Waters with the dark imagination of Marisha Pessl and the sharp humor and incisive social commentary of Curtis Sittenfeld into one laugh-out-loud funny, spellbinding, and wonderfully luxuriant read.
The Haunting of Hacket House by Astrid Addams
Some places don’t let go….
Offered a lucrative job at the mysterious Hacket House, Jane agrees to travel across country to live at the mansion. After all, a fresh start is just what she needs. Besides, the remote house is a long way from the past she is still running from.
Arriving at her new home, she finds a strange red house set in a wood of red, gnarled trees. The same trees used to build the house and the grandfather clocks that haunt every room and dark corridor.
Jane quickly realises that there is something very wrong at Hacket House and the village of Bramley.
Why is there a graveyard in the garden of Hacket House? Who are the people in hoods who haunt the house at night? What are they doing with the old man in the bed? Why is somebody moving the grandfather clocks? Who is the strange woman no one will admit exists? What are the shadows that scoot across the walls like cockroaches? Who is Erazmus Nark whose grave nothing will touch?
As the sinister behaviour of the village escalates and her own past closes in around her, Jane learns that just because something is dead, doesn’t mean that it’s gone.
Antioch by Jessica Leonard
Antioch used to be a quiet small town where nothing bad ever happened. Now six women have been savagely murdered. The media dubs the killer “Vlad the Impaler” due to the gruesome crime scenes of his victims. Clues are drying up fast and the hunt for the monster responsible is hitting a dead end.
After picking up a late-night transmission on her short-wave radio, a local bookseller named Bess becomes convinced a seventh victim has already been abducted. Bess is used to spending her nights alone reading about Amelia Earhart conspiracy theories, and now a new mystery has fallen in her lap: one she might actually be able to solve.
Assuming she doesn’t also wind up abducted.
Antioch, a cross between Session 9 and Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, is an eerie mind-bending debut horror novel guaranteed to leave you drowning in paranoia.
The Five Turns of the Wheel by Stephanie Ellis
Published October 27th 2020 by Silver Shamrock Publishing
Women’s Weird 2. More Strange Stories by Women, 1891-1937 by Melissa Edmundson
Women’s Weird 2 contains thirteen remarkably chilling stories originally published from 1891 to 1937, by women authors from the USA, the UK, New Zealand, Canada, India and Australia. Read thoroughly frightening fiction by the most unexpected of Weird authors: Stella Gibbons, L M Montgomery and Katherine Mansfield.
Offstage Offerings by Priya Sridhar
Vivian starts her summer counseling gig at the Haunted Basilio Theater, hoping all the ghosts are harmless. At first, the kids under her wing are more trouble than any random winds rustling the costumes or funny noises from rats. Then her mentor gets the boot, and the kids vanish into the dark recesses. The pigeons on the roof are hostile.
The boss says ‘don’t ask questions,’ but Vivian wants answers. She just needs the courage to enter locked doors with the right keys.
The Easton Falls Massacre: Bigfoot’s Revenge by Holly Rae Garcia, Ryan Prentice Garcia
US Army Veteran Henry Miller embarks on a hunt at the edge of the Black Forest, but strays from the path and finds himself too close to the East Cascade Mountain Range.
Something lurks in the forest on the other side of those mountains. An ancient race of Bigfoot that have kept to themselves for centuries, until one of them defies the warnings and roams too far from the safety of their home.
When these two intersect, alliances are broken and events set in motion that will leave residents of the town of Easton Falls, Washington, fighting for their lives.
The Ancient Ones by Cassandra L. Thompson
When David stumbles upon a tragic young woman in a sordid Limehouse pub, he has no idea she’d recognize him as the last vampyre alive, nor that she’d be the one to pull out his story. Yet as he recalls his life from the sweltering vineyards of Ancient Rome to the cold horrors of Medieval Romania – as well as his tumultuous past with the mad and mysterious Lucius – he realizes she is much more than what she seems.
Gothic horror and mythological fantasy blend seamlessly together in this thrilling adventure, breathing new life into vampire lore as it reveals its true origins. The Ancient Ones is a tale of myth, mayhem, and magic … with a dash of romance that bites.
Beguiled by Night: A Vampire Tale by Nicole Eigener
Louis de Vauquelin is an ancient French vampire created in 1668 and now living in modern-day Los Angeles. His life in self-imposed exile has become peaceful and relatively carefree until time suddenly begins to unravel, forcing him to navigate the already chartered waters of his past.
Vauquelin fumbles his way through history in reverse, ripping the scabs off of old wounds and mourning the loss of his futurepast joys, while attempting to keep certain skeletons firmly locked in their closets where they belong.
But the past has a way of making its presence known, especially when one is reliving it. Vauquelin’s mundane modern existence is systematically erased, compelling him to confront all his missteps over the last three centuries and acknowledge his defeats.
As he regresses through time, he surrenders to his brutal nature and faces an unexpected choice that could alter his life completely, and in turn, extinguish the only true happiness he ever knew.
BEGUILED BY NIGHT is a complex tapestry of time, horror, and beauty deftly woven with gore and redemption, returning the vampire genre to its proper roots of elegant violence.
Cradleland of Parasites by Sara Tantlinger
Bram Stoker Award-winner Sara Tantlinger delivers her CRADLELAND OF PARASITES, a harrowing and darkly gorgeous collection of poetry chronicling the death and devastation of one of history’s greatest horrors: The Black Plague.
Expected publication: October 31st 2020 | Goodreads
Not All Monsters by Sara Tantlinger
Strangehouse Books, in association with Rooster Republic Press, is proud to present Not All Monsters, a new anthology of horror fiction edited by Bram Stoker Award-winning author Sara Tantlinger.
Women have dealt with monsters throughout countless films, books, media, and certainly in real life. With this anthology, we wanted to give women the chance to take something back to show their skills and storytelling abilities, but to also create striking stories that resonate profoundly with readers: Protagonists who take no shit; women who save themselves; women who slay the beast; women who become the monster.
Published 2020 by Strangehouse Books | Goodreads
Gothic Blue Book VI: A Krampus Carol edited by Cynthia Pelayo, Gerardo Pelayo
Expected publication: October 31st 2020 by Burial Day| Amazon
Have we missed any October 2020 LOHF titles you are excited about? Let us know in the comments!
Jen is one of our LOHF admins. Jen manages the technical side of the Ladies of Horror Fiction website. She also keeps a spotlight on middle grade and young adult horror each month.