The annual horror fiction summer gold rush is upon us, and the next few months will bring a bounty of new scares to shelves near you. This month, look out for three–three!!–new Nightfire titles, as well as Holly Black’s adult debut, the final installation of Tade Thompson’s Molly Southbourne trilogy, the buzzy gothic debut from Isabel Cañas, a new sci-fi horror novella from Hailey Piper, a fresh collection from John Langan, and much more.
From Nightfire, don’t miss Dark Stars, John F.D. Taff’s anthology of 12 all-new novelettes from some of horror’s finest, created as an homage to the 1980 classic horror anthology Dark Forces. Anne Heltzel’s psychological gothic novel Just Like Mother spins a terrifying tale of cults and motherhood, and KC Jones’ cosmic horror debut Black Tide will make your worst-ever walk of shame seem like a walk in the park.
May’s new horror titles:
- Book of Night, Holly Black (May 3): #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black makes her stunning adult debut with Book of Night, a modern dark fantasy of shadowy thieves and secret societies in the vein of Ninth House and The Night Circus.
- The Hacienda, Isabel Cañas (May 3): Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca in this debut supernatural suspense novel, set in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence, about a remote house, a sinister haunting, and the woman pulled into their clutches…
- Orphans of Bliss: Tales of Addiction Horror, ed. Mark Matthews (May 4): Orphans of Bliss is the follow-up anthology to the Shirley Jackson Award-nominated Lullabies for Suffering and features stories from Cassandra Khaw, Gabino Iglesias, John FD Taff, S.A. Cosby, Josh Malerman, and many more.
- The Exorcist’s House, Nick Roberts (May 6): Psychologist Daniel Hill and his family buy a rustic farmhouse nestled in the rolling hills of West Virginia. All hell breaks loose when they discover a hidden room and learn about the previous owner’s predilection for performing exorcisms.
- Your Body is Not Your Body, various (May 6): A New Weird Horror anthology to benefit trans youth in Texas. EXTREME CONDITIONS DEMAND EXTREME RESPONSES: twenty-seven writers from the trans/gender nonconforming communities come together to voice their rage, defiance and fearlessness in the face of the Texas government’s recent attempts to criminalize trans/GNC youth and their families. Featuring Hailey Piper, Joe Koch, LC von Hessen, M. Lopes da Silva, Bitter Karella and many more.
- Your Mind is a Terrible Thing, Hailey Piper (May 7): Communications specialist Alto’s shift aboard the starship M.G. Yellowjacket turns hellish after waking from a tryst to learn every crewmate has vanished. Worse, a sinister presence has crawled aboard the ship. It’s violent, destructive, and it can reach into your thoughts to make you see and feel what it wants.
- All These Subtle Deceits, C.S. Humble (May 10): Lauren Saunders moved to Black Wells, Colorado to escape a toxic relationship that stole three years of her life. But her hopeful optimism of a fresh start is dashed after a brutal, supernatural attack sends her screaming from a nightclub into the cold, winter night. Her journey toward recovery leads her to the doorstep of William Daniels—a professional spiritual intercessor and occult consultant. Together they will descend into an occult labyrinth of dark forces and oppressive spirits.
- Dark Stars, ed. John F.D. Taff (May 10): Dark Stars, edited by John F.D. Taff, is a tribute to horror’s longstanding short fiction legacy, featuring 12 terrifying original stories from today’s most noteworthy authors, with an introduction by bestselling author Josh Malerman and an afterword by Ramsey Campbell. (A Nightfire title)
- Friend of the Devil, Stephen Lloyd (May 10): From acclaimed television writer Stephen Lloyd comes a devilishly good debut: a lightning-fast horror/noir mash-up for fans of Jim Butcher and Joe Hill.
- Hidden Pictures, Jason Rekulak (May 10): From Jason Rekulak, Edgar-nominated author of The Impossible Fortress, comes a wildly inventive spin on the classic horror story in Hidden Pictures, a creepy and warm-hearted mystery about a woman working as a nanny for a young boy with strange and disturbing secrets.
- Siren Queen, Nghi Vo (May 10): From award-winning author Nghi Vo comes a dazzling new novel where immortality is just a casting call away. Luli Wei is beautiful, talented, and desperate to be a star. But in Luli’s world, the worst monsters in Hollywood are not the ones on screen. The studios want to own everything from her face to her name to the women she loves, and they run on a system of bargains made in blood and ancient magic, powered by the endless sacrifice of unlucky starlets like her. For those who do survive to earn their fame, success comes with a steep price. Luli is willing to do whatever it takes—even if that means becoming the monster herself.
- Howls From the Dark Ages: Tales of Medieval Horror, ed. Howl Society (May 12): An anthology of medieval horror stories including original fiction from Hailey Piper, Cody Goodfellow, Brian Evenson, Molly Bronstein, and others.
- The Cherry Robbers, Sarai Walker (May 17): The highly anticipated second novel from Sarai Walker, following her “slyly subversive” (EW) cult-hit Dietland—a feminist gothic about the lone survivor of a cursed family of sisters, whose time may finally be up.
- Just Like Mother, Anne Heltzel (May 17): Rosemary’s Baby meets The Return in Anne Heltzel’s suspenseful modern gothic debut. The last time Maeve saw her cousin was the night she escaped the cult they were raised in. For the past two decades, Maeve has worked hard to build a normal life in New York City, where she keeps everything—and everyone—at a safe distance. When Andrea suddenly reappears, Maeve regains the only true friend she’s ever had. Soon she’s spending more time at Andrea’s remote Catskills estate than in her own cramped apartment. The more Maeve immerses herself in Andrea’s world, the more disconnected she feels from her life back in the city; and the cousins’ increasing attachment triggers memories Maeve has fought hard to bury. But confronting the terrors of her childhood may be the only way for Maeve to transcend the nightmare still to come… (A Nightfire title)
- The Legacy of Molly Southbourne, Tade Thompson (May 17): Arthur C. Clarke Award-winner Tade Thompson completes his chilling series. Whenever Molly Southbourne bled, a murderer was born. Deadly copies, drawn to destroy their creator, bound by a legacy of death. With the original Molly Southbourne gone, her remnants drew together, seeking safety and a chance for peace. The last Molly and her sisters built a home together, and thought they could escape the murder that marked their past. But secrets squirm in Molly Southbourne’s blood—secrets born in a Soviet lab and carried back across the Iron Curtain to infiltrate the West. What remains of the Cold War spy machine wants those secrets back, and to get them they’re willing to unearth the dead and destroy the fragile peace surrounding the last copies of Molly Southbourne.
- Sair Back, Sair Banes, Anthony Engebretson (May 17): A woman is prey to a loch-dwelling creature of Scottish folklore in this debut dark fantasy novella by author Anthony Engebretson.
- Uncommon Charm, Kat Weaver and Emily Bergslien (May 17): In the 1920s gothic comedy novella Uncommon Charm, bright young socialite Julia and shy Jewish magician Simon decide they aren’t beholden to their families’ unhappy history. Together they confront such horrors as murdered ghosts, alive children, magic philosophy, a milieu that slides far too easily into surrealist metaphor, and, worst of all, serious adult conversation.
- Helpmeet, Naben Ruthnum (May 24): It’s 1900, and Louise Wilk is taking her dying husband home to Buffalo where he grew up. Dr. Edward Wilk is wasting away from an aggressive form of syphilis. But it’s becoming clearer that his disease isn’t exactly a disease, but a phase of existence. A powerful work of possession and transformation.
- Hide, Kiersten White (May 24): A high-stakes hide-and-seek competition turns deadly in this dark supernatural thriller from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.
- Twenty Years Dead, Richard Farren Barber (May 27): After twenty years in the ground, the dead briefly rise. At his father’s grave, this is Dave’s last opportunity to discover why a man would abandon his wife and young son.
- Black Tide, KC Jones (May 31): A character-driven science fiction/horror blend, KC Jones’ Black Tide is Stephen King’s Cujo meets A Quiet Place. It was just another day at the beach. And then the world ended. Mike and Beth didn’t know each other existed before the night of the meteor shower. Chance made them neighbors, a bottle of champagne brought them together, and a shared need for human connection sparked something more. After a drunken and desperate one-night stand, the two strangers awake to discover a surprise astronomical event has left widespread destruction in its wake. But the cosmic lightshow was only part of something much bigger, and far more terrifying. (A Nightfire title)
- Corpsemouth and Other Autobiographies, John Langan (May 31): John Langan returns with one new and ten previously uncollected tales of cosmic horror. In these stories, Langan continues to chart the course of 21st century weird fiction, from the unfamiliar to the familial, the unfathomably distant to the intimate. Includes extensive story notes and an introduction by Sarah Langan.
- Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters, John Langan (May 31): A new edition of Bram Stoker Award-winning author John Langan’s long out-of-print debut collection, featuring the addition of an all-new story. Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters is a collection of tales both elegant and macabre, steeped in the tradition of the literary weird.
- When Other People Saw Us, They Saw the Dead, ed. Lauren T. Davila (May): An anthology of dark, unsettling writing from some of the most exciting contemporary BIPOC writers. Blending Gothic, horror, folklore, fantasy and fairy-tale, these eerie short stories will disturb, move and humor you. Death is ever-present in these pages, blending with notions of home, memory, grief and belonging, as well as gentrification, white supremacy and colonization.
As always, if we missed anything, let us know in the comments!