Columns > Published on May 19th, 2022

10 Horror Books Perfect for Summer

When I think of summer, I think of long, lazy, weekend days hanging out in the backyard. I like to make some kind of refreshing drink and have some fruit salad or potato salad on hand so that when the BBQ gets started, there's not much else to do but chill in the hammock with a good book. These are the books I'm visualizing for all you summertime horror readers out there. I see you! 

You like to drag your lounge chair into the shady spot under the tree and while everyone else is getting rowdy in the pool or the lake, you're over there with your nose in a book. Me too! I'm excited. Let's do this.

In no particular order:

1. "The Daughter of Doctor Moreau" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Jul 19)

"For Moreau keeps secrets, Carlota has questions, and, in the sweltering heat of the jungle, passions may ignite."

The last line of the synopsis has me SOLD! A reimagining of The Island of Dr. Moreau set in the heat of Mexico. Sign. Me. Up. I can't imagine a book promising more spice, more fire, more enchantment, than Silvia Moreno-Garcia putting her spin on this classic tale. 

Get The Daughter of Doctor Moreau at Bookshop or Amazon


2. "Suburban Hell" by Maureen Kilmer (Aug 30)

This one releases a little late in the summer, but it sounds like so much fun. A group of women living next door to each other on a cul-de-sac are planning to build a "she-shed" for their weekend wine club (like a treehouse for women in the backyard. No husbands or kids allowed). Their DIY project somehow releases a demon that enters the body of their friend, Liz. All hell breaks loose. I think summertime is the perfect atmosphere for this horror comedy. I want to sip on chilled Moscato and read this in my hammock. 

Get Suburban Hell at Bookshop or Amazon


3. "A Child Alone with Strangers" by Philip Fracassi (August 16th? *Maybe Sep 27th?)

*This book date got pushed to the Fall, but I don't want to choose another one because I like it. 

A young boy is kidnapped and held captive in a farmhouse surrounded by a dense forest. His presence draws the attention of a strange entity or power that lives in the woods. The boy can use the power against his captors, but what will happen to him once he is free of them? Fracassi blew me away with his coming-of-age horror, The Boys in the Valley, so I am eager to read this new story with another child protagonist in peril. This sounds positively chilling, even if you're taking in the summer sun.

Get A Child Alone with Strangers at Bookshop or Amazon


4. "Number One Fan" by Meg Elison (Aug 30)

Another release later in August, but hot damn, this one sounds like a summer blockbuster to me. Bestselling author, Eli Grey, hops in a cab after a speaking engagement and then wakes up in a stranger's basement. Her captor knows everything about her books and the worlds she has created which would be flattering under normal circumstances, but there is obviously a reason he is holding her against her will. This sounds like the perfect book to bring on vacation or read poolside—an excuse to never get up out of the sun or have any responsibilities. 

Get Number One Fan at Bookshop or Amazon


5. "Anybody Home?" by Michael Seidlinger (Aug 16)

You will all hate me for recommending this book for the summer, when everyone likes to leave their windows open at night. If you read this book, you'll likely never sleep again, and you won't feel safe in your own home. *giggles*

BUT this is truly a scary book and scary books are fun right? Consider this like a summer horror movie blockbuster and don't blame me if you have to update your home security system. 

Get Anybody Home? at Bookshop or Amazon


6. "Reluctant Immortals" by Gwendolyn Kiste (Aug 23)

What better way to spend the dog days of summer than to immerse yourself in the tales of two women from classic literature, Lucy Westnera from Bram Stoker's Dracula and Bertha Mason from Jayne Eyre. The two women are immortalized and living during the Summer of Love era in San Francisco. These historical characters join together to take back their destiny. This book sounds positively buzzing with feminine energy.

Get Reluctant Immortals at Bookshop or Amazon


7. "The Devil Takes You Home" by Gabino Iglesias (Aug 2nd)

Fans of fast paced thrillers, especially during the summer months, should add The Devil Takes You Home to their Hot Horror TBR stack. A man with nothing to lose decides to take action in order to pay the medical bills piling up from his daughter's illness. Mario takes a job as a hitman. He finds himself in an impossible situation where he will either end up with a lot of money, or dead. I love a quality, intricately plotted heist book in the summer! This sounds FIESTY!

Get The Devil Takes You Home at Bookshop or Amazon


8. "Black Mouth" by Ronald Malfi (July 19)

Malfi's book Come With Me was one of my favorite books last year, so when I learned he had two releases is 2022, my anticipation was at a 10/10. It's my opinion that Malfi is one of the most consistently great modern horror authors working today. Black Mouth sounds like a return to the storytelling style that hooked me on his work in the first place in December Park. Nobody does coming of age like Ronald Malfi and summer is one of the best times to get all up in your nostalgic feelings of childhood and growing up. "A group of friends return to their hometown to confront a nightmare they first stumbled on as teenagers in this mesmerizing odyssey of terror." I'm in!

Get Black Mouth at Bookshop or Amazon


9. "The Women Could Fly" by Megan Giddings (Aug 9)

I'm currently reading and enjoying Lakewood by Megan Giddings, so it's exciting to be able to look forward to something new from her this summer. And we are always in need of more horror involving witches. This is a dystopian novel where witches are real, so any unconventional behavior exhibited by a woman is closely monitored, and she can be accused and tried for witchcraft. "Megan Giddings explores the limits women face—and the powers they have to transgress and transcend them." I'm ready!

Get The Women Could Fly at Bookshop or Amazon


10. "The Pallbearers Club" by Paul Tremblay ( July 5)

Who doesn't want to read book set in the 1980s this summer? That's not an actual question, because the answer is: everyone does. Everyone wants to read about Art Barbara, an uncool teenager who starts a weird club that nobody is really interested in except this older, college age woman. Trust me when I say this is THE summer book of your dreams. It's quirky, nostalgic, creepy, and in classic Paul Tremblay fashion, brutal on your emotions. Find a quiet place under a tree where you can be alone with this book and ugly cry. 

Get The Pallbearers Club at Bookshop or Amazon


Any scary summer reads you are looking forward to this year? I'm always looking for more!

About the author

Sadie Hartmann, “Mother Horror” reviews horror fiction for Cemetery Dance Online and Scream Magazine. She is a co-owner of a curated, horror fiction book subscription company called Night Worms. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, kids and Frenchie.

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