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For Readers: Blog

Something wicked this way comes

by Book Geniuses on 2021-10-26T11:41:18-05:00 | Comments

Despite what seemed like never-ending summer weather, fall is fully here. Whether you’re already a fan of chilling tales or only dabble when Halloween rolls around, this month is the perfect excuse to pick up a gothic or horror-inspired title. Just in case you’re not a die-hard horror fan, these reads run the gamut from fresh voices in horror to Southern Gothic vibes to horror-mystery hybrids. Even if you can only pick up these titles in the daylight (guilty as charged!), make sure you give these atmospheric reads a shot.

Covers of Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia; Chasing the Boogeyman by Richard Chizmar; When the Reckoning Comes by LaTanya McQueen

A staff favorite and one of our Gift Guide picks in 2020, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a creative and creepy take on the gothic classic: the crumbling, isolated, and not-quite-right mansion. Restless socialite Noemí reluctantly leaves the parties of 1950s Mexico City to check on her newly married cousin after receiving increasingly worrying letters about life at High Place, her husband’s remote ancestral home. Noemí tries to uncover the truth about her cousin’s well-being and the menacing residents of High Place, building up to an unique and unsettling reveal about what the estate is hiding. [print | e-book]

No stranger to the genre with plenty of works to his own name and a co-writing credit with Stephen King, Richard Chizmar veers off into new horror territory with Chasing the Boogeyman. Combining the photos, documentary feel, and addictive nature of true crime with the thrills and pacing of horror, this “true crime novel” will have you second-guessing what is fact and what is fiction. Drawing on a real-life spate of home invasions in his hometown, Chizmar paints a picture of a small town terrorized for years by a killer on the loose. Artfully combining the nostalgia of coming of age in the '80s with the suspense and atmosphere of a thriller, this piece of metafiction is a wholly original read. [print | e-book]

Less heart-pounding and more thought-provoking, LaTanya McQueen’s When the Reckoning Comes is a slow-burn mix of Southern fiction and horror-lite. Returning home after years of trying to forget her past, Mira is reunited with her childhood trio of friends at an extravagant and uncomfortable wedding at the local plantation, feeling out of place as the only Black guest. As Mira is confronted with her own traumatic history, the wedding guests are unaware that the literal ghosts of slavery have been biding their time and the blood-soaked ground of the plantation is about to become a place of terror once again. [print | e-book]

Covers of The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James; The Lighthouse Witches by C. J. Cookie; Ghostland by Colin Dickey

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is a creepy thriller for anyone who doesn’t mind a little ghostly activity. Hoping to solve a family mystery as well as several unsolved murders, a young woman takes the graveyard-shift clerk job at a dilapidated motel in upstate New York, the same position her aunt held before vanishing into thin air. Jumping between 1982 and 2017, both women narrate the increasingly eerie events at the motel and in the secretive small town, leaving readers to hope that at least one of them will escape unscathed. [print | e-book]

Another dual timeline story but with a chillingly gothic atmosphere, The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke is a tale of an old lighthouse, a witches’ curse, and a missing girl. Years after the disappearance of her sisters and mother, Luna returns to their lighthouse home to fill in the gaps of her foggy memory. When she hears that one sister has been located, the last thing she expects is to come face-to-face with an unaging child, trapped in time. Luna tries to weave together the dark history of the lighthouse, the disturbing local superstitions, and her own repressed past to separate fact from fiction. [print | e-book]

If you think real life is scarier than any made-up monster, we’ve got a nonfiction pick just for you. Colin Dickey takes readers on a haunted road trip through America’s murky and sometimes macabre history in Ghostland. Dickey visits some of America’s most notorious haunted spots, sharing the ghoulish tales of these locales but also delving deeper into our country’s fascination with ghost stories. How do our tragedies, social histories, morals, and consumerism contribute to our myths and hauntings? Mixing the fascinating and the frightful, Ghostland is a satisfying ghost tour for the curious. [print | e-book]


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