This Month in New Horror Books: October 2021

October is here at last! It’s another strong month for horror fiction, unsurprisingly – on the Nightfire side, we’ve got Cassandra Khaw’s Nothing But Blackened Teeth arriving on 10/19 (lock your doors and turn the lights on – trust me). Beyond that, look for new titles this month from authors like Rachel Harrison, Caitlin Starling, Christopher Golden, James Han Mattson, Josh Malerman, Zin Rocklyn, and many more.

Also, a note: we’re continuously updating release dates and newly announced books both here and on our 2021 horror releases master post.


October’s new horror titles:

  • Fit For Consumption, Steve Berman (Oct 1): In Berman’s newest short story collection, the phrase “you are what you eat” is taken to heart; these are stories of men facing strange appetites within their own physicality, within a lover or, perhaps, a stranger’s hungers. A young athlete attends an exclusive wrestling camp, but some of the campers are more focused on the unwelcome boys they claim lurk inside their bellies. A fixit man on a mission to retrieve a runaway finds himself forced into impersonating a pulp hero by her captor. Life as a pledge at a New Orleans fraternity is made all the worse when a magical–perhaps cursed?–flask that fills with whatever the bearer desires, yet also causes the drinker to desire the pledge. With stories inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and Ramsey Campbell, the menu has thirteen tales that range from the weird to the humour noir to the monstrous. No digestif is necessary.
  • The Between, Tananarive Due (Oct 5): A man risks his soul and his sanity to save his family from malevolent forces in this new edition of the brilliant first novel of horror and the supernatural from the award-winning pioneer of speculative fiction and author of the classic My Soul to Keep.
  • Cackle, Rachel Harrison (Oct 5): A darkly funny, frightening novel about a young woman learning how to take what she wants from a witch who may be too good to be true, from the author of The Return.
  • The City Beautiful, Aden Polydoros (Oct 5): Death lurks around every corner in this unforgettable Jewish historical dark fantasy about a city, a boy, a dybbuk, and the shadows of the past that bind them together.
  • The Death of Jane Lawrence, Caitlin Starling (Oct 5): From the author of The Luminous Dead comes a Crimson Peak-inspired gothic horror novel about a young woman who makes a marriage of convenience and soon finds herself trapped in her new husband’s decrepit and possibly haunted mansion, and spirals down a dangerous path of ritual magic in an effort to save them both.
  • The Gold Persimmon, Lindsay Merbaum (Oct 5): Haunted by specters of grief and familial shame, Jaime, a nonbinary writer, and Cly, a cloistered check-in girl, find themselves trapped in dual narratives in this gripping experimental novel that explores sexuality, surveillance, and the very nature of storytelling.
  • The Lighthouse Witches, C.J. Cooke (Oct 5): Two sisters go missing on a remote Scottish island. Twenty years later, one is found–but she’s still the same age as when she disappeared. The secrets of witches have reached across the centuries in this chilling Gothic thriller from the author of the acclaimed The Nesting.
  • Reprieve, James Han Mattson (Oct 5): A chilling and blisteringly relevant literary novel of social horror centered around a brutal killing that takes place in a full-contact haunted escape room—a provocative exploration of capitalism, hate politics, racial fetishism, and our obsession with fear as entertainment.
  • Bones Will Roll: A Zombicide Novel, Josh Reynolds (Oct 12): Hordes of zombies threaten to wipe out all of mankind in this first action-horror novel set in the exciting (yet horrifying) world of the Zombicide games.
  • The Ghosts of Who You Were, Christopher Golden (Oct 12): In this chilling new collection from Bram Stoker Award-winner Christopher Golden, the author takes you on a tour of his darkest nightmares. From a little door inside an elevator to a hellish prison for stolen children, from a terrifying future where nightfall means death to a fairy tale past in which lies and illusion enrage the ghosts all around us. The Ghosts of Who You Were collects some of Golden’s finest stories, tales of bad fathers and ancient monsters, the promises of strangers, parties that never end, and a collection of Hollywood curses.
  • The Haunting Season: Eight Ghostly Tales for Long Winter Nights, Various Authors (Oct 5): Eight bestselling, award-winning writers return to the time-honored tradition of the seasonal ghost story in this spellbinding collection of new and original haunted tales. Taking you from the frosty fens of the English countryside to the snow-covered grounds of a haunted estate to a bustling London Christmas market, these mesmerizing stories will capture your imagination and serve as your indispensable companion to cold, dark nights. So curl up, light a candle, and fall under the ghostly spell of winters past…
  • Pearl, Josh Malerman (Oct 12): From the New York Times bestselling author of Bird Box comes the legend of a strange new monster unlike any other in horror. Go to the farm just outside of town and you’ll hear it. A voice. Inside your head. Or is it? Come to me… A voice that makes you want to pick up that axe over in the corner of the barn. And swing it. And kill. Feed us. Feed us now. It is the voice of Pearl. Sing for me. Sing for your precious Pearl…
  • This Thing Between Us, Gus Moreno (Oct 12): A widower battles his grief, rage, and the mysterious evil inhabiting his home smart speaker, in this mesmerizing horror thriller from Gus Moreno.
  • Little Sister, Elana Gomel (Oct 15): A dystopian historical fantasy set in the Soviet Era. Presenting a richly imagined alternative history world, this is a tale of friendship, survival, and heartbreak. Fans of The Book Thief and The Wolfhound Century will enjoy this striking fantasy rooted in Russian fiction.
  • Rookfield, Gordon B. White (Oct 15): Written and set during the pandemic, Rookfield follows not-so-attentive father Cabot Howard as he tracks down his ex-wife and their son to the titular town after they flee their city home to avoid the plague. Once in Rookfield, however, Cabot finds that he isn’t particularly welcome, and that the residents there take masking very, very seriously…
  • Beyond the Veil, ed. Mark Morris (Oct 19): Beyond the Veil is the second volume in an annual, non-themed horror series of entirely original stories, showcasing the very best short fiction that the genre has to offer, and edited by Mark Morris. This new anthology contains 20 original horror stories, 16 of which have been commissioned from some of the top names in the genre, and 4 of which have been selected from the 100s of stories sent to Flame Tree during a 2-week open submissions window.
  • Body Shocks: Extreme Tales of Body Horror, ed. Ellen Datlow (Oct 19): Bestselling editor Ellen Datlow delivers world-class body horror in all its gruesome, psychological, and shocking glory. Contributors include Carmen Maria Machado, Richard Kadrey, Seanan McGuire, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Tananarive Due, and many more.
  • Faithless, Hunter Shea (Oct 19): How do you survive hearing your family being brutally murdered over the phone? For Father Raul Figeuroa, all faith and hope are lost. Turning away from the priesthood behind, he retreats to his aunt’s empty farmhouse in upstate New York, hoping to drink himself to oblivion. But he’s not alone in the house. Something is trying to reach out to him. Or is he losing his grip on reality? When his childhood friend Felix comes to visit, things take a darker turn. The deeper they dig into the mystery, the closer they get to hell literally breaking loose.
  • Flowers for the Sea, Zin E. Rocklyn (Oct 19): Survivors from a flooded kingdom struggle alone on an ark. Resources are scant, and ravenous sea beasts circle. Among the refugees is Iraxi: a commoner who refused a prince, she’s pregnant with a child that might be more creature than human. Her fate may be darker and more powerful than she can imagine.
  • The Ghost Sequences, A.C. Wise (Oct 19): A collection of stories about ghosts and hauntings, from the author of The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories, Wendy, Darling, and more.
  • Nothing But Blackened Teeth, Cassandra Khaw (Oct 19): Cassandra Khaw’s Nothing But Blackened Teeth is a gorgeously creepy haunted house tale, steeped in Japanese folklore and full of devastating twists. (A Nightfire title)
  • The Restoration, J.H. Moncrieff (Oct 19): Inspired by the author’s overnight stay in a historical haunted house, The Restoration is a thrilling tale of intrigue, murder, and family secrets that refuse to stay buried.
  • October Nights, Kevin Lucia (Oct 22): Halloween is a night when anything seems possible, where mystery lingers and the air is pregnant with the expectation of transformation. Nowhere is this truer than in the strange town of Clifton Heights, New York, where you’ll encounter things both wondrous and terrifying.
  • Born of No Woman, Franck Bouysse, trans. Lara Vergnaud (Oct 19): In this gothic tale reminiscent of Faulkner’s Light in August, a young woman’s journals divulge the horrible secrets of a wealthy family in late nineteenth-century rural France. The English-language debut of critically acclaimed author Franck Bouysse, this exquisitely written novel is both a keen commentary on class and a chilling horror story.
  • Comfort Me With Apples, Catherynne M. Valente (Oct 26): A terrifying new thriller from bestseller Catherynne M. Valente, for fans of Gone Girl and Spinning Silver. Sophia’s life is perfect. Her husband is perfect. Their home together in Arcadia Gardens is perfect. Everything is perfect. But sometimes Sophia wonders about things. Dark things. Like the locked basement she is never allowed to enter. And whenever she asks the neighbors, they can’t quite meet her gaze…
  • Don’t Push the Button, John Skipp (Oct 26): In this intensely personal collection of short stories, screenplays, and essays, horror legend John Skipp walks you through the light and the dark with an unflinching eye. Revealing both the best and worst of us, one laugh and scream at a time. It ain’t pretty. But it’s beautiful. Once you go all the way.
  • The Secret Skin, Wendy N. Wagner (Oct 26): The Secret Skin by Wendy N. Wagner is a sawmill gothic that begins with June Vogel’s return to Storm Break, her family’s estate. Things in the great house aren’t what they used to be. Doors slam in the night. Faucets turn on, untouched. Something is always watching, whatever June does. And when her brother returns with his new bride, deceit and betrayal threaten to destroy everything she loves.
  • The Unheard, Nicci French (Oct 26): In this new heart-pounding standalone from the internationally bestselling author that People calls “razor sharp,” a single mother suspects her young daughter has witnessed a horrible crime when she draws a disturbing picture—but the deadly path to unravel the truth could cost her everything.
  • Where They Wait, Scott Carson (Oct 26): A new supernatural novel about a sinister mindfulness app with fatal consequences from the New York Times bestselling author of The Chill.
  • Boys in the Valley, Philip Fracassi (Oct 31): St. Vincent’s Orphanage for Boys. Turn of the century, in a remote valley in Pennsylvania. Here, under the watchful eyes of several priests, 30 boys work and learn and worship. Peter Barlow has made a new life here. Then, late one stormy night, a group of men arrive at their door, one of whom is badly wounded, his body covered with occult symbols carved into his flesh. Upon his death, an ancient evil is released that infests St. Vincent’s and the children within. Now Peter and those dear to him must choose sides of their own, each of them knowing their lives — and perhaps their eternal souls — are at risk.

As always, if we missed anything, let us know in the comments!

View our 2021 new horror release masterlist here, and view previous monthly new releases posts here.



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