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Friday, June 5, 2020

Bloody Disgusting’s Summer Reading Guide: 11 New Horror Novels to Read in the Months Ahead

Summer is typically blockbuster season at the box office, but this year has proven to be anything but typical. The theatrical release calendar might be looking sparse right now, but that’s okay because there’s still a wealth of great horror to check out in literary form.

The leisurely feel of summer makes it a great time to catch up on your reading, whether nestled inside in the a/c or stretched out under the sun. There’s plenty of new reads on the horizon, serving up thrilling chills during the warm weather. This handy guide to current and upcoming works of horror should keep you busy over the summer months.

The Art of Junji Ito: Twisted Visions – Junji Ito

Released in April, The Art of Junji Ito is the first-ever collection of Junji Ito’s artworks. Featuring over 130 pieces, from well-known comics to rarities, it’s broken down into three sections: TomieUzumaki, and Other Works. More than just a curated art collection, the book contains an in-depth interview with a heavy focus on the art techniques, as well as commentary by Junji Ito on each piece. The book finds new ways to present even the most familiar of the artist’s works. It’s a gorgeous book that utilizes three different paper types to showcase the art within.

In other words, it’s a must for fans of Junji Ito’s work.

Lovecraft Country – Matt Ruff

With the HBO series adaptation on the way soon, there’s no better time than now to catch up on this read. Ruff marries historical fiction with noir and Lovecraftian cosmic terror, applying supernatural horror to the terror of life under Jim Crow laws. Set in 1954, the narrative follows 22-year-old Army veteran Atticus Turner, who embarks on a road trip to New England in search of his missing father. Accompanied by his Uncle George and childhood friend Letitia, they encounter horrors both real and imagined along the way.

Even if the HBO series wasn’t just around the corner, there’s still no better time than now to read Ruff’s novel.

Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter – Author David Dastmalchian, Illustrator Lukas Ketner (June 9)

The first four issues of this comic book are available individually now, but the graphic novel that collects all four issues will release on June 9. Aspiring journalist Jerri Bartman finds herself hosting a creature feature show at a small-town TV station thanks to a demotion. Her humiliation quickly gets overshadowed when she dons her missing predecessor’s costume for her first shift and finds it comes with a side gig of monster hunting.

Set in 1983, Count Crowley is perfect for fans of B-horror and horror hosts. 

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre – Max Brooks (June 16)

The author of World War Z is back with a title that’s an absolute mouthful. This time, he trades zombies for Bigfoot. In Brooks’ style, Devolution recounts the tale of the Greenloop massacre through the journals of resident Kate Holland, recovered from the town’s wreckage. Also interweaving interviews and news clippings, a story unfolds of the horror that descends upon Holland’s community, supernatural and otherwise, after Mt. Rainier erupts.

Expect an intense survival horror tale, with the lines between man and beast blurring.

Wonderland – Zoje Stage (June 16)

The latest by the author of Baby Teeth has been described as “Shirley Jackson meets The Shining.” In other words, expect creeping dread and horrors of the psychological kind. As for the plot, Orla and Shaw Bennett move their two children to an isolated, rural farmhouse a mile away from any neighbors. Their new home offers plenty of room to live out their dreams, except something seems to be calling out to them from the adjacent woods.

Only Orla seems to realize something is very wrong, and a race to save her family ensues.

Mexican Gothic – Silvia Moreno (June 30)

Moreno’s latest novel takes on gothic horror, perfect for fans of classic gothic tales like Rebecca. In it, protagonist Noemí Taboada receives a desperate letter from her newly-wed cousin, begging to be saved from certain doom. She sets out for her cousin’s home to get to the bottom of things and finds a mystery awaiting. Expect all the trademarks of gothic fiction, the sprawling estates, mysterious suspects, dark family secrets, ghostly warnings, and more.

Set in the Mexican countryside, also expect Moreno to infuse this gothic story with Mexican folklore.

Survivor Song – Paul Tremblay (July 7)

With unnerving timing, Tremblay’s latest is set amidst an apocalyptic viral outbreak. More specifically, Survivor Song takes place in a Massachusetts overrun by a strain of rabies that incubates in a terrifyingly quick period, causing the infected to spread it faster and wider. Society breaks down, and the government’s attempts to contain it fail. Tremblay’s chilling tale centers around Dr. Ramola Sherman’s attempt to get her infected, pregnant friend across hostile territory to receive the vaccine before it’s too late for the unborn child.

Tremblay’s style of horror tends to leave a mark, so tread carefully.

The Only Good Indians – Stephen Graham Jones (July 14)

With Jones’ distinct voice, The Only Good Indians chronicles four American Indian men haunted by a disturbing event from their youth, on Thanksgiving. The traditions and culture they abandoned long ago come back to bite them in a terrifying way, as an entity bent on revenge tracks them down one by one. Shifting effortlessly between perspectives, The Only Good Indians deftly blends social commentary with new horror and engaging characters.

Jones isn’t afraid to get gruesome, either.

Malorie – Josh Malerman (July 21)

Set twelve years after the events of the first book-turned-Netflix adaptation, this Bird Box sequel continues Malorie’s story. Long after she rowed her children to safety, the monster threat still looms large, and blindfolds remain the only thing that spares someone from insanity. There’s still no hope, resolution, or answers to the beings that invaded the world. There are, however, rumors that people have caught and experimented on the creatures, stories that they’ve evolved into something worse, and news that someone Malorie held dear may still be alive. Malorie must choose to venture back out into the world or cling to her safety net of survival rules.

Judging by the success of Netflix’s adaptation, it’s likely a safe bet we’ll see this get adapted, too.  

The Living Dead – George A. Romero, Daniel Kraus (August 4)

Romero’s passing cut his work short, including an unfinished manuscript. His family hand-picked author Daniel Kraus to complete that manuscript, turning it into the novel Romero envisioned. This is the result. An epic, sprawling book about a zombie apocalypse, chronicling the days leading up to it through fifteen years later. Emphasis on epic, with a page count clocking in around 650.

 The Living Dead could be considered as much a tribute to Romero as it is a final gift to his fans, from the king of zombies himself.

Clown in a Cornfield – Adam Cesare (August 25)

For the young horror fan, or simply the young at heart, Cesare’s latest is a great retro slasher in the guise of YA horror. High schooler Quinn has just moved to the town of Kettle Springs with her father, only to find it caught in a generational battle of tradition and progress. The town’s mascot, creepy clown Frendo, decides to defuse the mounting tensions with a murderous culling of unruly teens. Cesare applies an ’80s style slasher to a modern setting, complete with social relevancy, making the small town setting just as eerie as its homicidal, creepy clown. In other words, this author doesn’t water the horror down for its YA demographic, making it an enjoyable read for any horror fan.

Even more reason to read this? It’s already optioned for a film adaptation.


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