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16 Horror Novels To Look Out For in 2022


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Last year, dear crime friends, I got super into horror—what other genre could be better at capturing our current doom-laden era, or our numerous discomforts and accommodations with modern life? It turns out that horror and crime fiction often enough aren’t so different after all, and like last year, 2022 brings with it a host of crossovers perfect for readers of either genre. As a service that perhaps will reveal my own ignorance of the wider genre, I bring to you 12 upcoming horror novels sure to please fans of thrillers, noir, and psychological suspense.

(Notice something missing? I want your recommendations too! Please leave a comment with any other titles you want us to know about and cover from the horror genre that are coming out this year).

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Kristi Demeester, Such a Pretty Smile
(St Martin’s, January 18
)

Such a Pretty Smile is getting rave reviews from all my fave horror authors, including the amazing emily m. danforth, and for the right reasons—it has a perfect setup to explore the ways that young women are broken into the ways of the world. Adolescent girls on the cusp of womanhood are being found slaughtered and mutilated by a presence that feels too malevolent to be human, and is drawn to those whose fierce independence makes them a target for enforcing the status quo.

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John Darnielle, Devil House
(MCD/FSG, January 25)

In Darnielle’s brooding, atmospheric new thriller, a successful true crime author in search of a new project decides to move to a Northern California town, into a house that was the site of a notorious murder decades before, connected to the so-called Satanic Panic. Darnielle’s storytelling is pitch perfect and the dread comes seeping through in measured portions until suddenly the weight of it overwhelms. –Dwyer Murphy, CrimeReads Editor-in-Chief

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Simon Jacobs, String Follow
(MCD/FSG, February 1)

According to Lit Hub’s Deputy Editor Emily Firetog, this book is very creepy, and that’s all the recommendation I need to dive into Simon Jacob’s haunting suburban gothic. In String Follow, described by the publisher as a “darkly comic suburban Gothic” (which is a highly accurate description), a bunch of ne’er-do-wells, misfits, and lonely teenagers fall prey to dark impulses placed in their minds by a mysterious set of voices. This is both a really good horror novel and an absurdist commentary on radicalization via internet-induced paranoia.

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​​Delilah S. Dawson, The Violence
(Ballantine, February 1)

The Violence continues a trend in dystopian thrillers concerned with gendered violence, including Vox and The Power. In The Violence, a new pandemic arrives—this one with the power to infect its hosts into committing unstoppable acts of savagery against all those nearby. It isn’t long, however, before some begin to see their infection as their savior, for finally those with the Violence can fight back against those who are bigger and stronger than they are. Throw in a bat-shit professional wrestling plot arc, and this one is not to be missed.

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Bethany C. Morrow, Cherish Farrah
(Dutton, February 8)

Cherish Farrah is a stunning one-two punch of social horror and psychological thriller. When Farrah’s family loses their home, they face a stark choice for their daughter: either bring her with them to a new job in a new state, or leave her to stay with her best friend Cherish in their wealthy country club community. Compared to Farrah’s hard-edged parents, Cherish has the kindest, most loving parents imaginable, but do they really love Farrah the way they love their own daughter? Or is Farrah just playing a bit part in the Story of Cherish?

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Gretchen Felker-Martin, Manhunt
(Tor Nightfire, February 22)

I dub this the great Terf-pocalypse novel. A found family must navigate complex dynamics between themselves, also while killing a whole lot of feral men and TERFs. In a dystopian scenario where a plague attacks testosterone levels, trans women are able to successfully keep the disease at bay by hunting the now feral men and eating their balls, as well as processing various plants for estrogen. Meanwhile, the TERFs are spreading hate against trans women by warning of the dangers of what happens when testosterone gets high enough to activate the plague, despite so many successfully fending it off. Oh, and a rich girl in a bunker does some really weird shit. I cannot underscore enough how much I love this novel.

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Catriona Ward, Sundial
(Tor Nightfire, March 1)

While I was blown away by Ward’s The Last House on Needless Street, I’m even more obsessed with the next Ward novel to travel across the pond. In Sundial, the story of a toxic marriage and a mother’s fears becomes so much more when Ward’s heroine begins to suspect her preteen daughter of otherworldly influences. The title refers to the family compound in the desert in which Ward’s anxious protagonist spent her childhood, and where she returns when her daughter begins to manifest strange, yet uncomfortably familiar, behavior.

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S.A. Barnes, Dead Silence
(Tor Nightfire, February 8)

S. A. Barnes has crafted a masterful horror thriller in space with Dead Silence. A small communications team at the edge of colonized space following a distress signal stumbles upon the wreck of the most luxurious space vessel in history, missing for decades. The team decides to claim their right to salvage the abandoned ship, but when they go on board, they’re not as alone as they think…An absolutely terrifying space horror.

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Ally Wilkes, All the White Spaces
(Atria, March 29)

In this historical thriller, set just after the end of the Great War, a young stowaway heads for Antarctica, determined to have the adventure of a lifetime while finally living as the man he’s always known himself to be. Tensions rise and dangers arrive as the voyagers find themselves wintering on a piece of land not marked on any map. Did they merely stumble there, or were they lured to their own dooms?

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Alma Katsu, The Fervor
(Putnam, April 25)

Alma Katsu’s latest historical horror thriller takes us into the internment camps of WWII, where Meiko Briggs and her daughter Aiko wait for news of her husband at war, and find themselves at the center of a strange new pestilence, and in confrontation with folkloric monsters. No one does historical gothic horror better than Katsu!

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Jason Rekulak, Hidden Pictures
(Flatiron)

I am always down to read a new take on the perennially-creepy “child freaks out nanny” story (I watched The Innocents a LOT as a child). In Hidden Pictures, Jason Rekulak has crafted a beautiful, terrifying, and surprisingly kind take on this classic setup. Mallory Quinn, newly sober and ready to get her life back together, takes a live-in job caring for a delightful five-year-old, who just so happens to draw increasingly disturbing pictures of a murder that may or may not have happened on the property long before. Can Mallory save her charge? And will this turn into the next “momo”? Only time (and my ability to read very very quickly) will tell.

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Paul Tremblay, The Pallbearers Club
(William Morrow, July 5)

An awkward teenage boy looking to add some extracurriculars to his college application decides to start a club. But not just any club: a club for pallbearers to attend the funerals of the indigent and forgotten. There are few members of the club to start with, and each has their own particular interpretation of the club’s short history. As a delightful way of presenting the warring narratives, The Pallbearers Club is written from the perspective of one member, and increasingly slashed through with red pen asides and corrections from another. Definitely one to read in a physical edition (the real horror is what happens to formatting in e-books).

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Grady Hendrix, How to Sell a Haunted House
(Berkley, July 12)

I am not exaggerating when I say that Grady Hendrix’s Paperbacks from Hell newsletter saved me from losing my sense of humor during the pandemic. His hilarious, metatextual horror fiction is absurdly entertaining, and his new novel, How to Sell a Haunted House, promises to skewer the tropes of hauntings while paying homage to a long history of supernaturally possessed homes. And in a country beset by widely aging housing stock, this book is probably more practical than any of us would like to admit.

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Stephen Graham Jones, Don’t Fear the Reaper 
(Gallery/Saga Press, August 2)

In the summer of 2015 a rough beast slouched out of the shadows and into the waking nightmares of an unsuspecting world. His name was Dark Mill South, but that wasn’t the only name he went by.

That’s a taste of Stephen Graham Jones’ new and brilliantly crafted horror novel, Don’t Fear the Reaper (here’s a full excerpt). In this highly anticipated (by me and literally everyone else) follow-up to the immensely entertaining My Heart is a Chainsaw, Jade returns to her small town the same day that indigenous serial killer Dark Mill South sets off to seek vengeance for the Civil War-era killings of a number of innocent souls. Oh, and all the revenge must be completed by Friday the 13th. Because that is how horror works. Too bad we have to wait for August to read this one, but like last year’s late summer hit, Don’t Fear the Reaper is best enjoyed at the end of a long, hot summer.

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Gabino IglesiasThe Devil Takes You Home
(Mulholland, August 2)

2022 is poised for a breakout from crime world favorite Gabino Iglesias, author of Coyote Songs and Zero Saints. His newest is an intoxicating story of a man in desperate financial straits who turns himself into a hitman and accepts a highly dangerous contract on a cartel transport operation. The job takes him and two others across Texas and further into an abyss of violence, existential dread, and paranormal happenings. –DM

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Katrina Monroe, They Drown Our Daughters
(Poisoned Pen Press, August 12)

There are few things in this world more terrifying than having our memories taken from us, and with them, the power to own our stories. At the once-popular vacation spot Cape Disappointment, rumors of hauntings and a number of disappearances have led to the decline of tourism. When one of the Cape’s daughters returns home after an acrimonious divorce to care for her aging mother, suffering from Alzheimer’s, she refuses to believe in the legends (at first). But her mother’s dire warnings of danger don’t seem to vibe with her medical condition, and Monroe’s heroine begins to fear the call of the waves, both for herself and her young daughter.

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Michael Neff
Algonkian Producer
New York Pitch Director
Author, Development Exec, Editor

We are the makers of novels, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

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