16 Best Horror Books of 2023 | TheReviewGeek Recommends

Since 2021, the horror genre has experienced a remarkable resurgence, leaving spine-chilling tales and haunting narratives in its wake. For avid fans seeking an adrenaline rush and an immersive experience, the genre has provided a treasure trove of fresh and captivating stories.

Adding to the appeal is the improved accessibility of horror fiction thanks to platforms like TikTok, YouTube and Instagram, which have brought forth a wide range of readers.

As we delve into the intriguing world of horror literature, it begs the question: has 2023 continued this upward trajectory of spine-tingling tales? And what are the avid readers indulging in this year? The answer to the first question is simply yes. And the answer to the second question? That’s what we’re here to talk about. In no particular order, we decided to list some of the best horror novels of 2023 and what readers thought about them. Here are the 16 best horror books of 2023:

Out There Screaming Edited by Jordan Peele
and Written by Various Authors

Building upon this momentum, Out There Screaming: An Anthology of New Black Horror promises to be a spine-chilling contribution to the world of horror literature. Edited by Jordan Peele, this anthology brings together a captivating collection of tales from emerging and established Black authors, providing a platform for their unique voices to thrive within the horror genre.

The stories within Out There Screaming delve into existential dread, psychological torment, supernatural horrors, and societal anxieties that resonate with marginalized communities. Each author explores the interconnections between the horror genre and the experiences of being Black, delivering narratives that challenge expectations and subvert conventions in thrilling and unexpected ways.

Everything the Darkness Eats by Eric LaRocca

Everything the Darkness Eats tells the story of a rural New England Village that is threatened by an insidious darkness, where occult forces are conjured and bigotry is left unrestrained. The protagonist, a grieving widower hiding a grim secret, becomes entangled in a dangerous ritual of dark magic amidst a recent string of disappearances.

Everything the Darkness Eats has been described as emotionally devastating, filled with unflinching violence, lost souls and cosmic horror. The novel garnered positive reviews solidifying LaRocca’s reputation as a prominent author in contemporary horror fiction.

Maeve Fly by C.J. Leede

Maeve Fly is an extreme horror novel by debut author C.J. Leede. It follows Maeve, who lives with her grandmother in L.A. By day, Maeve works at a theme park, where she performs as a popular ice princess. By night, it’s a completely different story. The only person she connects with is her friend Kate, but that is until Gideon, Kate’s brother, arrives in town. Gideon makes Maeve feel things she never felt before, and soon she slips into a world of dark desires and impulses.

This novel is praised for its dark topics and exploration of the human psyche. Think Patrick Bateman in American Psycho for the modern era.

Don’t Fear the Reaper (The Indian Lake Trilogy #2)
by Stephen Graham Jones

Don’t Fear the Reaper is the second book in the Indian Lake Trilogy, following My Heart is a Chainsaw. The novel follows Dark Mill South, a convicted serial killer, who escapes during a prison transfer and seeks revenge for the hanging of thirty-eight Dakota men in 1862. The story takes place in a blizzard while Dark Mill South embarks on a violent rampage.

Holly by Stephen King

Holly is the latest release in King’s Interconnected World. The story features Holly Gibney, a character who made her first appearance in King’s novel Mr. Mercedes. Holly also appeared in a few other novels such as Finders Keepers and The Outsider. We watch this character progress from a shy timid woman in Mr. Mercedes to a headstrong private detective in The Outsiders.

In Holly, we follow the titular character as she reluctantly takes on a missing person’s case, and the case might be connected to an elderly academic couple that lives close by. Holly has been well-received by readers and critics alike.

The September House by Carissa Orlando

The September House is the debut horror novel of Carissa Orlando. The story revolves around Margaret and her husband, Hal, who can’t believe their luck when they find and buy their perfect home. A large Victorian house. It was a weird but surprisingly reasonable price too. However, the house turns out to be haunted. But, this won’t stop Margaret; she bought this house and now she’s going to live in it.

The September House has received positive reviews with readers praising its unique premise, immersive storytelling, and mystery that isn’t what you think it is.

How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix

How to Sell a Haunted House was a unique surprise this year. Grady Hendrix is often known for his campy horror novels, and How to Sell a Haunted House is a campy haunted house story with a twist. The story follows Louise and her brother Mark as she receives a call informing her about their parents’ death. Reluctantly leaving her daughter with her ex, Louise goes back to their family home, running into her younger brother, Mark. As they try to clear out their parents’ home for sale, they uncover more than just old things from their family’s past.

How to Sell a Haunted House, like many of Grady Hendrix’s books, is a lot more than what appears on the surface. The book has been praised for its exploration of grief. It’s a great mix of campy, creepy and unexpectedly dark with a thrilling atmosphere.

Lone Women by Victor LaValle

Set in 1915, we’re following Adelaide, and she’s in trouble. She has a secret sin that killed her parents, and it’s forced her to flee California and make her way to Montana to become a homesteader. Adelaide is full of grief, a lone woman in this haunting vision of the American West.

This book explores themes of horror and secrets in the vast American wasteland. Lone Women was well-loved and popular for its depiction of the American West as a haunting atmospheric backdrop. Readers have praised the engaging narrative, which kept them hooked from the very first sentence.

The Reformatory by Tananarive Due

The Reformatory is set in Jim Crow-era Florida, telling the captivating story of Robert Stephen Jr., who is sent to a segregated reform school where he witnesses the horrors of racism and injustice, both in the living and the dead.

Readers praise The Reformatory for its tackling of important topics such as racism, abuse, and the power of love and resilience, seamlessly blending the supernatural with real-world issues which add depth to the story. Another aspect that readers and reviewers have appreciated is the atmospheric and haunting tone that creates a chilling and immersive reading experience.

Vampire of El Norte by Isabel Canas

Vampires of El Norte combines elements of horror, romance and historical fiction. Set during the Mexican War in 1846, the story revolves around Nena, a curandera striving to prove her worth, and Nestor, a member of the Auxiliary cavalry. Childhood sweethearts, their journey together forces them to confront not only the war but also the threat of vampires.

Readers loved that it mixed historical events and supernatural elements with the incorporation of vampires in a historical Mexico.

They Lurk by Ronald Malfi

They Lurk is a collection of five horror novellas, featuring a variety of terrifying stories that delve into themes of monstrous entities lurking in the shadows. The latest in Malfi’s work, these novellas captivated readers and kept them on the edge of their seats as they explored the dark and mysterious narratives presented within the pages.

They Lurk has been well-received by fans of horror fiction, as it showcases Malfi’s talents for creating memorable characters and engaging plots.

Camp Damascus by Chuck Tingle

Chuck Tingle is known for blessing us with more light-hearted funny stories, but his first step into full horror brings us Camp Damascus. This novella is set in Neverton, Montana, a God-fearing community that is home to a heart of gold, and is come to the summer camp known as Camp Damascus, where young people of the local church attend to explore their spirituality and strengthen their faith.

Tingle’s signature satire and humour and how he uses them in his social commentary on the queer community is present in this novel. So many readers loved this novel this year, especially its ability to blend humour, horror and romance together to make a thrilling read.

Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez

Our Share of Night follows Jaun Peterson, a recent widower, and his six-year-old son, Gasper, as they travel to visit his late wife’s family after her accidental death. As they immerse themselves in family, they encounter a web of mystery, with the dark secrets that surround them.  

Mariana Enriquez received critical acclaim for their stunning way of weaving together a well-crafted tale of horror and the occult to create a bewitching and atmospheric narrative.

Dead Eleven by Jimmy Juliano

Dead Eleven takes readers to the eerie Clifford Island, where the residents have a peculiar fixation on the year 1994. The story revolves around a newcomer who arrives on the island hoping to uncover the truth behind her son’s death, but she soon finds herself drawn deeper into the enigmatic community and its complex rules.

This debut novel from author Jimmy Juliano has been well-received, with positive reviews highlighting its ability to create a chilling atmosphere and deliver a compelling island horror tale.

The Spite House by Johnny Compton

Another haunted house tale, The Spite House follows Sarah Redmon, a journalist who moves into the Spite House with hopes of uncovering the truth behind its haunting reputation. As she dives deeper into the house’s past, she is drawn into a web of terror and must confront the supernatural forces that reside within.

The Spite House has received positive reviews for its suspenseful plot, building a sense of dread, paranoia and grief.

Episode Thirteen by Craig DiLouie

The last entry for 2023 is Episode Thirteen by Craig DiLouie. This novel takes readers on a spine-tingling journey through the world of ghost-hunting reality TV. Fade to Black is the newest hit ghost-hunting TV show led by husband and wife team Matt and Claire Kirklin.

Each week they bring viewers the latest in haunting investigation, and for their 13th episode they set out to investigate the paranormal events that occur in the notorious Foundation House. A mansion that holds secrets about weird experiments that took place in the 1970s.  

Readers loved Episode Thirteen for taking a unique spin on the haunted house genre, as well as the author’s imaginative approach to revealing the story to the readers.

And there we have it–just a few of the best horror books of 2023.

Have you read any of these books? Do you like horror? Are there any horror novels coming out in 2024 that you’re looking forward to? Comment below and let us know!

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