Scary stories aren’t just for around the campfire or during Halloween. The familiar haunted house story gets turned on its head with these fresh, sinister angles that reimagine the spooky. Outside, a virus wrecks chaos on humanity, propelling survivors to use everything in their arsenal to survive. Parasitic monsters need to be tamed if a city wants to continue living. But these creatures and circumstances may not be the most fearful. Instead, these books are going to show characters tested to their limits and reckon with the darkest parts of themselves if they want to make it out alive. Here are some upcoming horror novels that will keep you up late at night and continue to haunt you beyond these pages.
Louise finds out her parents have died and has to return home to deal with their house. She doesn’t want to leave her daughter with her ex nor want to learn how to live without the two people who loved her best in the world. Mostly, she doesn’t want to deal with Mark, her brother, who has never left their hometown and resents her for her success. They’ll need to work together to get the house ready for sale. But some houses don’t want to be sold and their home has other plans for both of them.
Jade Daniels is released from prison right before Christmas when her conviction is overturned. As soon as she returns to Proofrock, her life takes a dangerous turn. Dark Mill South, convicted serial killer, escapes his prison transfer just outside of Proofrock and now seeks revenge for the thirty-eight Dakota men hanged in 1862. Dark Mill South’s Reunion Tour began on December 12, 2019. On Friday the 13th—twenty bodies later—it would be over.
Matt and Claire Kirklin are the husband and wife duo in the newest ghost hunting reality TV show, Fade to Black. They investigate weekly hauntings with a dedicated team of ghost hunting experts. For episode thirteen, they explore every ghost hunter’s holy grail—the Paranormal Research Foundation, a brooding mansion that holds secrets about bizarre experiments that took place in the 1970s. It’s also famously haunted. With their scientific techniques and high-tech gear, the team hopes to prove it. Told in broken pieces, tapes, journals, and correspondence, this is a story about how this episode went horribly wrong and that proof of an afterlife may not be what they dreamed of.
The world is collapsing as a virus tears across the globe, transforming its victims in monstrous ways. A small group of women is pulled together. Erin, quiet and closeted, gains an appetite for a woman and her brain. Savannah, a professional BDSM switch, uncovers a new turn-on, committing brutal murders for her eldritch masters. Mareva, plagued with chronic tumors, is to overcome the impending apocalypse to acknowledge her divine role. These women will need to turn to one another if they want to survive this nightmare.
Two years ago, a small part of the population went through a transformation known as the Hollowing, leaving them with no choice but to consume human flesh to survive. People who went without quickly turned on their friends and family. Fortunately, scientists were able to make a synthetic version of human meat to satisfy their hunger. Zoey, Celeste, Valeria, and Jasmine are four hollow girls who decide to attend a music festival as a last hurrah before graduation. But Val goes feral on the first night and eats a boy in one of the bands. Soon, other festival guests start disappearing and the girls discover someone is targeting people like them. They’ll need to find out who it is, otherwise, no one is getting out alive.
Sam Montgomery can’t get her brother’s words out of her mind as she drives to see her mother. For this rare extended visit, it’ll just be the two of them drinking boxed wine and watching murder mystery shows. But once she goes home, it’s not what she remembered it to be. The walls are painted a sterile white and her mother jumps at the smallest noises. When Sam steps out for a breather, she finds a jar of teeth hidden beneath bushes and cultures circling the garden. Sam will need to go digging for the truth to find out what’s frightening her mom in her own home.
Devastated by the death of his wife, a young father and his son set out on a road trip. They trek to her ancestral home where they have to reckon with the terrible legacy she has bequeathed, a family called the Order that commits the unspeakable in search of immortality. The Order tries to pull Gaspar, the son, into their evil and they take flight, trying to outrun a powerful clan that will do anything to ensure its survival. Can Gaspar escape his fate? How far will his father go to protect his child?
In this dark haunted house story, Alice and her friends Ila and Hannah, spent one night in an abandoned house three years ago. Since then, Alice’s life has spiraled, living a haunted existence selling videos of herself for money and going to parties she hates. Memories of that night torment Alice, but then Ila asks her to return to the house. Together, they must face the horrors that happened there and put their differences aside to rescue Hannah, who the House has chosen to make its own.
Since “the great consumption”, humanity has been devoured by the ravenous Shivers—terrifying, shapeless parasites that latch onto their hosts and agonize them over time before consuming them all at once. The last of civilization now lives in the crumbling city of Atlas. Anthem, the city Exilist, is tasked with trapping and banishing Shivers to the Deadlands. But Anthem is dying and destined to soon fall victim to his own Shiver. An unexpected threat appears and Anthem will have to travel into the Deadlands for a remedy to tame these creatures. But no Atlas dweller has made it back alive and Anthem will have to confront his own darkness before civilization is forever lost to these monsters in their shadow.
Laura Warren, a journalist, arrives in L.A. to visit the set of a new streaming horror series. She ends up witnessing a man jump from a bridge, landing right behind her car. The series she’s reporting on is a remake of a cursed ‘90s horror flick she starred in as a child. In The Guesthouse, she played the little girl with a terrifying gift of telling people how the Needle Man would kill them. Eight of the cast and crew died in ways similar to the movie’s on-screen deaths. The film became a cult classic but ruined her life. Now, years later, the body count rises again and Laura finds herself on the run with a couple others as they try to stay out of the Needle Man’s lethal reach.
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Emily Hoang is a writer and editor, who is obsessed with haunted houses, ghosts, and dreams. More info can be found on her website.