Horror gets a bad rap. Ask most people what they picture when they think of the genre, and you’ll likely hear about masked maniacs with sharp knives and demonic children giggling in the darkness. That’s not to say thatHorror gets a bad rap. Too often it’s ignored by people assuming it’s filled with masked maniacs and demonic children giggling in the darkness. That’s not to say that horror isn’t full of bloody blades and grotesque collections of body parts, but it’s so much more than its frightening parts. From the truly terrifying to the hilarious, horror is a broad genre full of mystery, magic, and even romance. Potentially more surprising, it’s not necessarily out to keep you up at night. With Halloween right around the corner, it’s time to stop skipping over books that go bump in the night and open yourself up to everything horror has to offer.
If this is your first time cracking the spine of a chilling story, you may be wondering how to navigate through the darkness to pick your first book. Do you question reality and lose yourself in a twisted psychological tale? Or do you prefer the heart-pumping suspense of a thriller? With so maybe sub-genres and authors to choose from, the best option is to explore the dark side of a genre you already enjoy. While horror is all about exploring the unknown, you don’t want to jump off the path too quickly and run headfirst into a book that doesn’t align with your interests. If you’re not into blood, as an example, you may the slashers, but that doesn’t mean you won’t fall in Leo with the slow burn of a gothic ghost story.
A little bit of prep work can be the difference between continuing to believe you don’t like horror and having an entire new genre to devour. So, if you’re someone who thought horror isn’t for you, or if you’re curious but don’t know where to start, here are horror books that are perfect for fans of other genres.
For Fans of Fantasy
The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht is a haunting fairytale gone wrong. Don’t expect to find any heroes within these wretched walls, just monsters. Shadow-steeped alleys are the perfect backdrop for a story about revenge, obsession, and secret magic. The Monster of Elendhaven is hard to summarize, so I’ll leave you with Giesbrecht’s warning about coming to this twisted place: ‘A thing without a name stalks the city, a thing shaped like a man, with a dark heart and long pale fingers yearning to wrap around throats.’
For Fans of Dystopian Novels
In Agusta Bazterrica’s twisted future, a virus has eradicated most of the animals on earth and those that remain are toxic to humans. Instead of putting science to work and finding other sources of protein, humans are now on the menu – because a world where humans have to go one day without bacon is unimaginable. Raised as cattle once were, this haunting depiction of human detachment will leave you feeling queasy and uneasy.
Tender is the Flesh may be extreme for those new to horror and the squeamish, but if you’re brave and want to jump right into the deep end, pick up a copy today.
For Fans of Thrillers
Say it with me, nothing good ever comes from trying to solve the mystery behind a loved one’s disappearance. It’s a common mistake often repeated in fiction and it’s the center of The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James. Perfect for someone looking to be kept on the edge of their seat, Sun Down Motel will make your pulse race while chills run down your spine. The eerie, claustrophobic is the perfect setting to help you get to the bottom of what happened to Carly’s aunt Viv.
For Fans of Suspense and Action
Nothing compares to a book that makes you continuously read ‘just a few more pages’ once you’ve decided to call it quits for the night. Ararat by Christopher Golden oozes suspense, tension, and unease, effortlessly keeping you captivated from beginning to end. Is mass hysteria gripping the group of excavators who believe they’ve found Noah’s Ark in the mouth of Mount Ararat? Or have they unearthed something evil in the mountain, something that was better left sleeping? You’ll be left guessing until the very end, unsure if you can even trust your own judgement about what’s happening on Mount Ararat.
For Fans of Apocalyptic Novels
For many of us, the apocalypse conjures images of traffic jams and fires ravaging cityscapes and neighborhoods. We’ve seen the carnage play out time and time again, producing an enjoyable, if predictable, experience. Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice brings a fresh perspective into the mix by asking what does the the end of the world look like when you’ve already lost everything. Viewing from an indigenous lens, Rice showcases exactly why diversity in horror is so important.
For Fans of Mysteries
I’ll be honest, I love everything Tananarive Due writes, but that love affair started with The Good House. Something sinister lurks inside Angela’s family home. After her son commits suicide, she has to uncover the mystery of what has been stalking her family for generations. The Good House is a multigenerational story about loss, healing, and the ties that bind a family together.
For Fans of Science Fiction
It’s a tragedy that there isn’t much overlap between science fiction and horror because the possibilities are ripe with opportunity. Thankfully, the Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling helps bridge the gap while enveloping readers in a claustrophobic setting that will undoubtedly make you feel like your air supply is running out. Set in a dystopic future, The Luminous Dead follows Gyre after she’s trapped underground when a caving expedition goes wrong. You’d think that getting stuck would be the worst of Gyre’s problems but there are much more dangerous things stalking her in the dark.