2022 Horror You Do Not Want to Miss
Quick shoutout once again to Emily Hughes of Tor Nightfire, who does the (dark) Lord's work compiling the horror fiction we can anticipate in the year ahead. You can find ALL THE HORROR WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT IN 2022 on the Tor Nightfire Website. Bonus, you can revisit the list from last year and catch up on titles you might have missed. It's a great resource and I use it regularly. For this article, I am showcasing some titles written by women that I am especially eager to get my hands on. You'll notice as you read that I have mentioned which ones I have read and reviewed already, and where you can find those write-ups.
This is a curated list of books I am personally excited about, so I didn't include tropes or sub-genres I'm not as keen on. The thoughts and opinions are my own. I expressed "Why you need it" for each book in the hopes that I can entice you to pre-order some titles. It's clearly going to be another exceptional year in horror fiction. We're on a roll, people!
Special note, there are books I'm anticipating later in the year, but the publishers don't have an official page dedicated to the release and there is not an available synopsis or cover artwork quite yet, so I will likely revise this list over the summer as more titles receive updated information. Here we go!
"Mestiza Blood' by V. Castro
I just finished this short story collection and reviewed it for Cemetery Dance Online.
Why you need it: V. Castro is a rising star in horror; one to watch. Castro draws on her heritage and cultural influences as well as the female experience to tell original and interesting stories.
"Such A Pretty Smile' by Kristi DeMeester
You can read my review at Mystery & Suspense Magazine.
Why you need it: Kristi DeMeester's intoxicating, oftentimes lyrical prose is emphatically feminine and provocative. A refreshing change of tone and pace for readers looking for something new.
"Trouble the Waters: Tales From the Deep Blue" edited by Sheree Renée Thomas, Pan Morigan, Troy L. Wiggins
Speculative short stories from all over the world about ancient waters in all forms.
Why you need it: First, that cover is a work of art and you need it for your library. Secondly, that unique theme about ancient, ritualistic waters sounds like a whole mood ,and lastly, the TOC boasts a myriad of talented voices.
"The Book of the Most Precious Substance" by Sara Gran
"A new thriller for Sara Gran about a book dealer hoping for the sale of a lifetime. The Book of the Most Precious Substance is a 17th century manual on sex magic, rumored to be the most powerful occult book ever written—if it really exists at all."
Why you need it: SEX MAGIC. OCCULT. And we've been anticipating a new book from the author of Come Closer.
"Jawbone: A Novel" by MÓnica Ojeda, translated by Sarah Booker
"Jawbone is an ominous, multivocal novel that explores the terror inherent in the pure potentiality of adolescence and the fine line between desire and fear."
Why you need it: Hits the sweet spot of novels under 300 pages. That cover! That synopsis! And we always need more translated horror.
"Dead Silence" by S.A. Barns
"Claire Kovalik is days away from being unemployed—made obsolete—when her beacon repair crew picks up a strange distress signal. With nothing to lose and no desire to return to Earth, Claire and her team decide to investigate."
Why you need it: It sounds like a story with a very Event Horizon vibe, which is one of my favorite horror movies.
"Manhunt" by Gretchen Felker-Martin
"A found family of survivors must navigate murderous TERFs, a sociopathic billionaire bunker brat, and awkward relationship dynamics—all while outrunning packs of feral men, and their own demons."
Why you need it: I reviewed this for GrimDark Magazine, look for that February 15th. I can tell you this book is so fresh and so original, reading it felt like I was on a trail forged by an author hell-bent on leading readers away from everything and anything mainstream in order to adventure in new horror territories. I'm here for it.
"Sundial" by Catriona Ward
"Running from her past has led her directly back to it — what’s buried at Sundial could never stay a secret forever, and Rob must risk one last trip out there to protect her family, and her future."
Why you need it: Look for my review in an upcoming issue of Rue Morgue. Catriona Ward exploded on the scene with her 2021 release, The Last House on Needless Street. She is an author to collect.
"Under Her Skin" edited by Lindy Ryan and Toni Miller
"Poetry Showcase, featuring the best in never-before-published dark verse and lyrical prose from the voices of Women in Horror."
Why you need it: Horror poetry is thought provoking and accessible. At least that has been my experience. This collection showcases dozens of poems from women (cis and trans) and non-binary femmes in horror. I love to read poetry between longer works.
"The Children on the Hill" by Jennifer McMahon
"...inspired by Mary Shelley’s masterpiece Frankenstein, that brilliantly explores the eerie mysteries of childhood and the evils perpetrated by the monsters among us."
Why you need it: I always show up for Jennifer McMahon. Her storytelling is tried and true. I don't want to miss her unique brand of suspense.
"The Fervor" by Alma Katsu
"A new psychological and supernatural twist on the horrors of the Japanese American internment camps in World War II."
Why you need it: Some horror fans might not have selected Katsu's 2021 spy thriller release, Red Widow, for their TBRs, but The Fervor seems to be a return to supernatural elements and suspense. Plus, I know this project is near and dear to Katsu's heart. I also have it on recommendation from Becky Spratford.
Get The Fervor at Amazon
"Below" by Laurel Hightower
"Will she abandon the stranger who kept her safe—or will she climb down below, where reality has shapeshifted into a living nightmare?"
Why you need it: The anticipated follow up to Hightower's 2020 release, Crossroads. I have it on good authority that this one is scary. Plus, that Trevor Henderson cover!
"When Other People Saw Us, They Saw the Dead" edited by Lauren T. Davila
"...an anthology of dark, unsettling writing from some of the most exciting contemporary BIPOC writers. Blending Gothic, horror, folklore, fantasy and fairy-tales."
Why you need it: Looking over the TOC, I'm reminded how important it is for readers to expand their awareness of new voices in the genre instead of practicing the tunnel-vision tactics of scanning for recognizable names. The only way to find new favorites is to read authors you have never tried before.
'The Hacienda" by Isabel CaÑas
"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…"
Why you need it: Gothic. Haunted. House. Need I say more? I got this title from NetGalley, and it still might be available.
Get The Hacienda at Amazon
"The Doctor's Demons" by Maria Abrams
"The denizens of Hell are angry with Hannah. And they sent one of their leaders to destroy her."
Why you need it: The Lynne Hanson cover artwork. Maria Abrams is a new, fresh voice in horror, and I've read it and loved it so much, we may have acquired it for a certain horror subscription company.
Get The Doctor's Demons at Amazon
"Just Like Mother" by Anne Heltzel
"Anne Heltzel’s suspenseful modern gothic debut."
Why you need it: I love a splashy debut, and if Tor Nightfire says I need it, then I need it. I also grabbed this one from NetGalley, and I'm eager to read it. I love book covers with dolls on them, too; kinda my thing.
Get Just Like My Mother at Amazon
"Hide" by Kiersten White
"The challenge: Spend a week hiding in an abandoned amusement park and don’t get caught. The prize: enough money to change everything. Fourteen competitors. Seven days. Everywhere to hide but nowhere to run."
Why you need this: Are you kidding me? I need this right fucking now. It sounds like everything I want. That cover, too.
Get Hide at Amazon
"What Moves the Dead" by T. Kingfisher
"A gripping and atmospheric retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic: “The Fall of the House of Usher.”
Why you need it: I need it because I haven't read any T. Kingfisher, and I already feel like once I try one, I'll buy them all—so this is getting purchased and read immediately. Also, another banging cover. ALSO, Mike Flanagan is doing a House of Usher series, so...this book calls me.
"The Daughter of Doctor Moreau" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
"A dreamy reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau, set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Mexico."
Why you need it: Because Silvia Moreno-Garcia knocked it out of the park with Mexican Gothic, and I also think The Island of Doctor Moreau is creepy, and I'd love to see Moreno-Garcia take a turn on this. Sounds lush.
"Reluctant Immortals" by Gwendolyn Kiste
"A novel inspired by the untold stories of forgotten women in classic literature—from Lucy Westnera, a victim of Stoker’s Dracula, and Bertha Mason, Mr. Rochester’s attic-bound wife in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre—as they band together to combat the toxic men bent on destroying their lives, set against the backdrop of the Summer of Love, Haight-Ashbury, 1967."
Why you need it: This sounds like a super original, trippy story idea and I will show up to anything Kiste puts her pen to.
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