Hey there horror fans, I’m Jessica Avery and I’ll be delivering your weekly brief of all that’s ghastly and grim in the world of horror. Whether you’re looking for a backlist book that will give you the willies, a terrifying new release, or the latest in horror community news, you’ll find it here in The Fright Stuff.
Happy May, folks! Though I can barely believe it here we are again: it’s new releases day. Time flies when you’re having scary fun! Every month so far this year has been jam packed with amazing new horror books, and May is proving to be no exception. I’ve picked out my top must-have titles for the month, and I can’t wait to share these exciting forthcoming titles with you!
Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado (May 3)
THIS BOOK, ya’ll. If you order one horror book in May (not that I expect most of you are one new book a month readers) I highly recommend it be Tirado’s forthcoming YA horror. Behind that oh-so-gorgeous neon cover is a story about the horrors of the past and how they bleed into the present. When sixteen-year-old Raquel’s life is suddenly upended by an attack that puts her mother in a coma, she finds herself teaming up with her once childhood friend Charlize, whose missing cousin might be tied to both Raquel’s mother and the other disappearances that have plagued the Bronx for the last year. Tied to the Echo Game. An urban legend, the fodder of Creepypasta-esque reddits, a stupid dark of the night challenge undertaken by the drunk or the brainlessly bold. But it’s a game that the two girls may have to play themselves if they hope to save their loved ones and their home.
The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas (May 3)
So most of us are by now aware that any synopsis in which a heroine ignores the rumours about the “sudden demise” of her husband’s first wife is probably not a story that’s going to end well for her. At least not without fight. But Beatriz can’t be blamed for the choice she made. Her father was executed in the overthrow of the Mexican government and her home destroyed, so when a handsome and wealthy Don proposes, she takes her chances with financial security and an estate tucked safely away in the country side. Of course, when is Convenient Husband’s Country Estate every really the safe haven that a Gothic heroine expects? San Isidro, for instance, is filled with strange voices, strange goings on, and plenty of helpful familial gaslighting. Cue the entrance of the young (and probably handsome) priest who comes to the rescue, and you’ve reached peak tropey Gothic delight.
When Other People Saw Us, They Saw the Dead ed. by Lauren T. Davila (May 5)
New anthology alert! This forthcoming BIPOC horror anthology from Haunt Publishing features the work of a host of amazing authors, blending elements of the Gothic, horror, fantasy, folklore and more. Anthologies like When Other People Saw Us, They Saw the Dead not only give voice to marginalize authors, they also offer readers an opportunity to experience a wide variety of authors all in one place. Many of whom might be new to them! I’ve found so many authors whos work I love by reading anthologies like this one, so if you’ve been looking to expand your must-buy authors list When Other People Saw Us, They Saw the Dead is a great place to start.
Can you say space horror?! I never get tired of horror books set in the vast expanse of space. All that nothingness, all that darkness, all those pressure-locked confined spaces? Mmm so good. So obviously the cherry on the new book sundae here is that Hailey Piper’s forthcoming Your Mind is a Terrible Thing is set in space! I love that Piper’s horror is always weird in the most delightful and unexpected ways (hello Queen of Teeth), so I can’t wait to see where she takes us next. When every crew member on board the starship M.G Yellowjacket suddenly disappears except for communications specialist Alto, what should have been an ordinary shift in an ordinary workday takes a frightening turn. Something has made its way onboard the Yellowjacket, something with the ability to dig into the minds of crewmembers and control what they think and feel. Alto’s only chance is to risk a journey through the now infected passages of the Yellowjacket to reach the bridge and reunite with what remains of the crew before things get even worse.
Hide by Kiersten White (May 24)
I’ve been a fan of Kiersten White’s work ever since her historical YA horror The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, and I’m so excited find out what she does with one of the best and most classic of horror settings: the abandoned amusement park/creepy carnival. Abandoned places are already inherently creepy, and if you add rides that play eerie songs and entirely too many clowns in the decoration motifs, you get prime horror fodder. Hide, is about a high stakes game of – you guessed it – hide and seek. The goal: successfully hide for one whole week, playing least in sight in an abandoned amusement park in hopes of winning enough money to change your entire life. For Mack, to whom hiding to survive is second nature, it sounds too good and too easy to be true. Until the other contestants of the game start disappearing, forcing the survivors to band together if they hope to make it out alive.
Fresh From the Skeleton’s Mouth
If you’re looking for even more May new releases, make sure to check out Nightfire’s fantastic list of all the horror books they’re excited about in 2022.
And for backlist TBR additions, Addison Rizer has pulled together a fabulous list of genre blending horror novels for Book Riot.
As part of their ongoing celebration of National Poetry Month, Ladies of Horror Fiction interviewed Jessica McHugh (A Complex Accident of Life) about her gorgeous blackout poetry.
Fantasy Café interviewed S.A. Barnes for Women in SF&F Month about her recent novel, Dead Silence, and her love of messy, imperfect heroines.
As always, you can catch me on twitter at @JtheBookworm, where I try to keep up on all that’s new and frightening