For many people, the horror genre is synonymous with bloody fangs and slasher flicks. Joe Monti, editorial director at Saga Press, thinks it’s time for an image update. “Horror is really about internal confrontation,” he says, and new titles bear that out. When real life—loved ones who aren’t what they seem, communities that fall into severe dysfunction—becomes too terrifying to contemplate, readers can turn to the books rounded up here for a fictional fright.
Burn the Dark
S.A. Hunt. Tor, Jan. 2020
In this series launch, a minor YouTube celebrity is keeping a dangerous secret: her indie series about witch hunting is based on reality. Bent on revenge against the witches who ruined her mother’s life, she returns to her rural hometown, only to find that neighbors with unusual powers have their eyes on her, too.
Alma Katsu. Putnam, Mar. 2020
In this retelling of the sinking of the Titanic—a follow-up to Katsu’s supernatural revamp of the Donner Party story, the 2018 Bram Stoker and Locus–nominee The Hunger—a young maid finds that the odd happenings onboard the ill-fated ship, and the terror of its descent into the icy waters, are nothing compared to the evil that surfaces when she meets another survivor who seems almost, but not quite, familiar.
Jason Arnopp. Orbit, Oct.
A Tinder user’s worst nightmare comes to life in this novel, “a magnificently twisted and utterly unnerving tale that taps the rawest of our collective fears about social media,” according to PW’s review. After a whirlwind romance, a young woman arrives at the apartment she and her new boyfriend are moving into, only to find it empty except for his phone. By snooping through his social media accounts and texts, she learns that the man she’d fallen in love with is not who she thought he was.
The Night Weaver
Monique Snyman. Vesuvian, Oct. Ages 14–up
In this 2018 Bram Stoker nominee for best YA novel, which was originally self-published, a teenager comes to realize that her town isn’t normal. Children disappear, the nearby forest whispers, and the town’s adults are oblivious and acting stranger by the day. Can Rachel save them, and herself?
The Only Good Indians
Stephen Graham Jones. Saga, Apr. 2020
Four men on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation are being stalked by someone—or something—that wants revenge for a decade-old transgression. Jones’s previous novels include the 2017 Bram Stoker Award–winner Mapping the Interior.
Rachel Harrison. Berkley, Mar. 2020
A close-knit quartet of college friends reunite at a remote hotel, celebrating the return of one of their number, who has reemerged after a two-year disappearance. Trapped inside by bad weather, the other three begin to realize that the person who’s returned might not be the friend they lost.