Top Ten Tuesday: Backlist Horror Books on My TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is “Halloween Freebie. I am really enjoying this Halloween season. I am watching scary movies and reading horror books, which is all around great. This week for our Halloween Freebie topic I am sharing ten backlist horror books on my TBR. I am riding a horror high and will probably pick up several of these before the end of the year. Covers linked to Goodreads.

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1. The Good House by Tananarive Due

“Working to rebuild her law practice after her son commits suicide, Angela Toussaint journeys to the family home where the suicide took place, hoping for answers, and discovers an invisible, evil force that is driving locals to acts of violence.”

2. Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor

The Witch is dead. And the discovery of her corpse—by a group of children playing near the irrigation canals—propels the whole village into an investigation of how and why this murder occurred. Rumors and suspicions spread. As the novel unfolds in a dazzling linguistic torrent, with each unreliable narrator lingering on new details, new acts of depravity or brutality, Melchor extracts some tiny shred of humanity from these characters that most would write off as utterly irredeemable, forming a lasting portrait of a damned Mexican village.

Like Roberto Bolano’s 2666 or Faulkner’s greatest novels, Hurricane Season takes place in a world filled with mythology and violence—real violence, the kind that seeps into the soil, poisoning everything around: it’s a world that becomes more terrifying and more terrifyingly real the deeper you explore it.”

3. Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas

“Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world’s best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price. Students are required to give the House three years—summers included—completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises a future of sublime power and prestige, and that its graduates can become anything or anyone they desire.

Among this year’s incoming class is Ines Murillo, who expects to trade blurry nights of parties, cruel friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline—only to discover an environment of sanctioned revelry. Even the school’s enigmatic director, Viktória, encourages the students to explore, to expand their minds, to find themselves within the formidable iron gates of Catherine. For Ines, it is the closest thing to a home she’s ever had. But the House’s strange protocols soon make this refuge, with its worn velvet and weathered leather, feel increasingly like a gilded prison. And when tragedy strikes, Ines begins to suspect that the school—in all its shabby splendor, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence—might be hiding a dangerous agenda within the secretive, tightly knit group of students selected to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.

Combining the haunting sophistication and dusky, atmospheric style of Sarah Waters with the unsettling isolation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Catherine House is a devious, deliciously steamy, and suspenseful page-turner with shocking twists and sharp edges that is sure to leave readers breathless.”

4. Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

“Walking through his own house at night, a twelve-year-old thinks he sees another person stepping through a doorway. Instead of the people who could be there, his mother or his brother, the figure reminds him of his long-gone father, who died mysteriously before his family left the reservation. When he follows it he discovers his house is bigger and deeper than he knew.

The house is the kind of wrong place where you can lose yourself and find things you’d rather not have. Over the course of a few nights, the boy tries to map out his house in an effort that puts his little brother in the worst danger, and puts him in the position to save them . . . at terrible cost.”

5. Wonderland by Jennifer Hillier

Welcome to Wonderland. By day, it’s a magical place boasting a certain retro charm. Excited children, hands sticky with cotton candy, run frenetically from the Giant Octopus ride to the Spinning Sombrero, while the tinkling carnival music of the giant Wonder Wheel—the oldest Ferris wheel in the Pacific Northwest—fills the air. But before daybreak, an eerie feeling descends. Maybe it’s the Clown Museum, home to creepy wax replicas of movie stars and a massive collection of antique porcelain dolls. Or maybe it’s the terrifyingly real House of Horrors. Or…maybe it’s the dead, decaying body left in the midway for all the Wonder Workers to see.

Vanessa Castro’s first day as deputy police chief of Seaside, Washington, is off to a bang. The unidentifiable homeless man rotting inside the tiny town’s main tourist attraction is strange enough, but now a teenage employee—whose defiant picture at the top of the Wonder Wheel went viral that same morning—is missing. As the clues in those seemingly disparate crimes lead her down a mysterious shared path of missing persons that goes back decades, she suspects the seedy rumors surrounding the amusement park’s dark history might just be true. She moved to Seaside to escape her own scandalous past, but has she brought her family to the center of an insidious killer’s twisted game? Acclaimed author Jennifer Hillier’s bone-chilling thriller is masterful and fast-paced, hurtling toward a shocking, bloody conclusion.”

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6. The Children by Carolina Sanín

“A haunting fable of fantasy, mystery and bureaucracy from one of Colombia’s most talented young writers.

One day, as she enters her local supermarket, Laura Romero has a startling encounter with a beggar, who seems to offer her a child. A short while later, in the middle of the night, she discovers a mysterious young boy on the pavement outside her apartment building: Fidel, who is six years old, a child with seemingly no origins or meaning. With few clues to guide her as she tries to discover his real identity, Laura finds herself swept into a bureaucratic maelstrom of fantastical proportions. From the National Institute for the Welfare of Families to the Hearth & Home Centre, from imagined worlds to lost loves, The Children explores the limits of isolation and intimacy, motherhood, neglect and compassion, filtered through the lives of two lonely people, whose coming together is less for company and more to share their loneliness.”

7. Deer Woman: An Anthology edited by Elizabeth LaPensée and Weshoyot Alvitre

“Produced by Native Realities (Tribal Force, Tales of the Might Code Talkers, The Wool of Jonesy, DemiCon) and co-edited by Elizabeth LaPensée (Honour Water, Sequential Survivance, Indigenous Love) & Weshoyot Alvitre (Umbrella Academy, Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, Native American Graphic Classics), DEER WOMAN: AN ANTHOLOGY brings together more than a dozen Native and Indigenous women artists and illustrators to present stories of resistance, survival, empowerment and hope.

Drawing from the inspiration of traditional Deer Woman stories, DEER WOMAN: AN ANTHOLOGY will be a powerful collection of stories by Native women to bring determination and healing to those in need and those willing to listen with their hearts.”

8. Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias

“In Gabino Iglesias’ second novel, ghosts and old gods guide the hands of those caught up in a violent struggle to save the soul of the American southwest. A man tasked with shuttling children over the border believes the Virgin Mary is guiding him towards final justice. A woman offers colonizer blood to the Mother of Chaos. A boy joins corpse destroyers to seek vengeance for the death of his father.

These stories intertwine with those of a vengeful spirit and a hungry creature to paint a timely, compelling, pulpy portrait of revenge, family, and hope.”

9. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.

Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they’re more likely to discuss the FBI’s recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she–and her book club–are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.”

10. Latinx Screams edited by V. Castro and Cynthia Pelayo

“An anthology of Latinx horror stories from some of the most stellar voices writing today.”

Have you read any of these or are you planning to read any of these? Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave me a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit!

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