We're halfway through 2023! To try to avoid thinking about the endless void that is time, let's focus on the spookiful horror books that are coming up in the second half of this year.
The majority of these upcoming releases are from independent publishers and delve into horror or other dark speculative genres. Enjoy!
The Black Tree Atop the Hill - Karla Yvette
RELEASE DATE: September 26th
If the gripping title and dreamy cover weren't enough to hook you, The Black Tree Atop The Hill is a fast-paced horror novella that takes place on an isolated ranch.
"What came first, the ghosts or The Black Tree Atop the Hill? That is the question of this gothic western. Marisol is the first to see the tree on the hill, but that’s only to be expected. She is the witch of Jack Boyd’s ranch and her job is to notice threats, even amid a disastrous calving season. No one seems to remember the tree was not there yesterday.
The forest begins to spread, and it is up to Marisol and the ranch’s ghost to work together to stop the trees from taking over their ranch, California, and the entirety of the country. But, all magic requires sacrifice, and Marisol is not certain she is prepared to accept the consequences of what she must do to stop the trees’ advance. T
he Black Tree Atop the Hill is set in an alternate American old-west that is hauntingly familiar yet strangely off-putting. This is a story about believing in intuition against the rain, about the violence of nature and of those who inflict it. Gothic gardeners explore the question of nature’s home in a progressing world, leaving readers with conflicting resolutions and twisty insides."
I Died Too, But They Haven't Buried Me Yet - Ross Jeffery
RELEASE DATE: October 31st
Want a gut-punching, immersive horror tale on the dark pit that is grief? Then look no further.
"Henry was burying his again, but the thing is...she just won’t stay buried. Elsie, Henry’s daughter was fourteen when she went missing and he’s been burying pieces of her ever since, on the anniversary of her ‘death day.’
Each totem Henry places in the ground are memories of his daughter’s life he’s desperate to forget, attempting to do all he can to rid himself of his mistakes and his part in her disappearance and more than likely death.
All is not lost though when a stranger appears at Henry’s grief counseling group with a dark and disturbing proposition for him. “Have you ever tried to make contact your daughter, to see if she’s passed?” What follows is a tale of deception and possession like no other.
From the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of ‘Tome’ and ‘The Devil’s Pocketbook’ comes a new terrifying nightmare about the dangers and pitfalls of not seeing your child for the person they were born to be before it’s too late and how grief can climb inside us and make our heart its home."
Unholy Terrors - Lyndall Clipstone
RELEASE DATE: October 17th
Fresh off her World of Lakesedge Series, Lyndall presents us with a new dark fantasy / romance that holds enough lush imagery and gripping plot to entertain any reader.
"A bloodstained tale of a girl torn between her vows and her heart, where falling in love may be the deepest sin of all…
Everline Blackthorn has devoted her life to the wardens—a sect of holy warriors who guard against monsters known as the vespertine.
When a series of strange omens occur, Everline disobeys orders to investigate, and uncovers a startling truth in the form of Ravel Severin: a rogue vespertine who reveals the monsters have secrets of their own.
Ravel promises the help she needs— for a price. Vespertine magic requires blood, and if Everline wants Ravel to guide across the dangerous moorland, she will have to allow him to feed from her.
It’s a sin for a warden to feed a vespertine— let alone love one— and as Everline and Ravel travel further across the moorland, she realizes the question isn’t whether she will survive the journey, but if she will return unchanged. Or if she wants to."
Silencia - Vivien Rainn
RELEASE DATE: October 31st
Vivien's first novel Solita is a perfect read for fans of romance-filled gothic horror. It's sequel, entitled Silencia, is bound to be filled with the same sense of dread and madness as we continue Sadie's dark journey.
"Sadie’s once grief-ridden nightmares have twisted into dreams darker than she’s ever known now that her life is forever entwined with the demon named Silas who bears the weight of countless sin.
Sin she longs to upturn.
Sin he longs to bury.
For every secret of his past he refuses to surrender, Sadie is driven deeper into these sinister dreams. Deeper and deeper she delves until she finds the greatest temptation of them all; the open arms of the only soul who knows the truth.
A phantom. A woman. A murdered lover.
She offers Sadie everything her heart desires to see, and names only one
Let me in.
The temptation is too great, and Sadie enters into this garden of earthly delights, tasting, drinking, feasting upon all of Silas’ sin until she is blinded by fragrant blooms—but she must beware the serpents coiled beneath.
For a snake cleaved in two can still sink its fangs deep into the veins; and once the venom of desire has spread through the blood, a deadly dance follows suit.
And there is no cure, there is no balm, there is no escape from death’s desire."
I Feed Her To The Beast And The Beast Is Me - Jamison Shea
RELEASE DATE: August 29th
For fans of slow-burn, LGBTQ+ horror, this is the book for you. Jamison's debut presents us with an impactful and gut-punching novel that is not to be missed.
"There will be blood.
Ace of Spades meets House of Hollow in this villain origin story.
Laure Mesny is a perfectionist with an axe to grind. Despite being constantly overlooked in the elite and cutthroat world of the Parisian ballet, she will do anything to prove that a Black girl can take center stage. To level the playing field, Laure ventures deep into the depths of the Catacombs and strikes a deal with a pulsating river of blood.
The primordial power Laure gains promises influence and adoration, everything she’s dreamed of and worked toward. With retribution on her mind, she surpasses her bitter and privileged peers, leaving broken bodies behind her on her climb to stardom.
But even as undeniable as she is, Laure is not the only monster around. And her vicious desires make her a perfect target for slaughter. As she descends into madness and the mystifying underworld beneath her, she is faced with the ultimate continue to break herself for scraps of validation or succumb to the darkness that wants her exactly as she is—monstrous heart and all. That is, if the god-killer doesn’t catch her first.
From debut author Jamison Shea comes I Feed Her to the Beast and the Beast Is Me , a slow-burn horror that lifts a veil on the institutions that profit on exclusion and the toll of giving everything to a world that will never love you back."
The Belladonna Invitation - Rose Biggin
RELEASE DATE: July 18th
Rose blesses us with this beautifully written gothic horror novel that will leave you guessing until the last page. The unique setting is also hypnotising as the story takes place 1890s Paris and the deadly society that inhabits it.
"Soprano, socialite, queen of the demimonde—the enigmatic Belladonna is the undisputed ruler of 1890s Parisian society. At her highly exclusive salons it’s an open secret that she plays poisonous games with select clientele. A printer’s apprentice, longing to enter this glamorous world, works her way through the Opera House ranks to become Belladonna’s indispensable assistant. But when a troubling affair with the wrong lover goes too far, the consequences turn deadly.
A luxurious gothic drama where everything is performance and illusion, The Belladonna Invitation asks: how far will we go to get what we want, and how much are we willing to let it change us?"
Dark Woods, Deep Water - Jelena Dunato
RELEASE DATE: September 19th
This Slavic folklore-inspired gothic fantasy novel is certain to captivate and stun with its brutality and beauty. A must-read debut!
"In the depths of a remote forest, an enchanted castle preys on unwary travellers. The servants of the Goddess Morana sacrifice to their dark mistress every soul who crosses its threshold . One terrible night, three people who should never have met find themselves trapped there: a spoiled lady escaping an unwanted marriage, an aging warrior-prince on a deadly mission, and a resourceful rogue caught up in a botched heist. As their destinies entwine and the dawn approaches, the solution to the castle’s riddle becomes clear: if they want to escape, one of them must die.
A dark fantasy tale inspired by Slavic folklore, Dark Woods, Deep Water is the debut novel by Croatian author Jelena Dunato. Set in an intricately imagined world that staggers the line between fairytale and brutality, this novel will appeal to fans of Katherine Arden and Naomi Novik, as well as lovers of classic Gothic fiction."
Winter Harvest - Ioanna Papadopoulou
RELEASE DATE: November 21st
If dark historical retellings and Greek goddesses are your vibe than Winter Harvest is the book for you! Demeter is a character that doesn't get the spotlight often, yet we get to see her in all her glory in this captivating feminist tale.
"From the moment of her birth, Demeter, the second born daughter of Kronos and Rhea, lived in darkness, trapped inside her father’s stomach, always fearing that inside her body a monster lived and she had to keep it caged. This rage inside her didn’t cease or grow any weaker when she was freed by her youngest brother, nor when she and her siblings defeated Kronos and his allies during the Titanomachy, the war that forever changed Greece. It stayed under her skin, always reminding her of its presence but never gaining control.
All that changed when her precious only child, Kore, vanished from the face of earth and Demeter found herself alone in her quest to regain her daughter. Unable to contain her rage, she gives in to all she tried so hard not to become and begins a period of starvation that brings humanity to the brink of extinction as she embarks on a journey to find Kore, filled with humiliation, further betrayal and desperation which reshapes her Godhood and changes her in a way she never expected nor wanted.
Winter Harvest is a stand-alone feminist mythology retelling which explores Demeter’s place in the Dodecatheon and her harsh and painful life as she becomes a chthonic Goddess, linked with both death and life. The novel combines various myths about Demeter, shaped like a fantasy novel which focuses on Demeter as a female goddess, struggling to fit into the patriarchal status quo of Olympus while she is constantly changing her identity in an attempt to find her place in the world and what it means to be female."
Hey! Want to read a gothic tale about a mortician who can see ghosts?
On the outskirts of London, 1855, mortician and funeral director Helena Morrigan struggles with her limited finances and the heavy burdens of her past. Desperate to secure herself, she takes up residence in an aged house closer the graveyard, closer to the lost souls that sense her torment and are determined to take her place in the mortal world.
As she tries to tame and free the ghostly figures around her, she becomes acquainted with the owners of the home, the recently orphaned siblings, Eric, Audrey and Christian Tarter. Yet, the souls she wants to save are on edge as a horrific serial killer runs rampant, giving Helena a boost in business and suspicion.
Against her best efforts, Helena is suddenly thrown into a bloody mystery where new and old friendships are tested, innocents are maimed and a horrific family secret that threatens her chance at a peaceful existence and her existence itself.