Head below for the full list of horror and genre-bending titles heading your way in October!
Keep track of all the new releases here. You can also find a list of other horror titles scheduled for 2020 here. All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher. Note: Release dates are subject to change.
WEEK ONE (October 6)
Magic Lessons (Practical Magic)—Alice Hoffman (Simon & Schuster)
Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Unnamed Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back. When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.
Bright and Dangerous Objects—Anneliese Mackintosh (Tin House)
Commercial deep-sea diver Solvig has a secret. She wants to be one of the first human beings to colonize Mars, and she’s one of a hundred people shortlisted by the Mars Project to do just that. But to fulfil her ambition, she’ll have to leave behind everything she’s ever known—for the rest of her life. As the prospect of heading to space becomes more real, thirty-seven-year-old Solvig is forced to define who she really is. Will she come clean to James, her partner, about her plans? Or will she turn her back on the project, and commit to her life on Earth? Maybe even try for a baby, like James is hoping? Is there any way she can start a family and go to Mars? Does she even want both things?
Earthlings—Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori (Grove Press)
As a child, Natsuki doesn’t fit into her family. Her parents favor her sister, and her best friend is a plush toy hedgehog named Piyyut who has explained to her that he has come from the planet Popinpobopia on a special quest to help her save the Earth. Each summer, Natsuki counts down the days until her family drives into the mountains of Nagano to visit her grandparents in their wooden house in the forest, a place that couldn’t be more different from her grey commuter town. One summer, her cousin Yuu confides to Natsuki that he is an extraterrestrial and that every night he searches the sky for the spaceship that might take him back to his home planet. Natsuki wonders if she might be an alien too. Back in her city home, Natsuki is scolded or ignored and even preyed upon by a young teacher at her cram school. As she grows up in a hostile, violent world, she consoles herself with memories of her time with Yuu and discovers a surprisingly potent inner power. Natsuki seems forced to fit into a society she deems a “baby factory” but even as a married woman she wonders if there is more to this world than the mundane reality everyone else seems to accept. The answers are out there, and Natsuki has the power to find them.
The Devil and the Dark Water—Stuart Turton (Sourcebooks Landmark)
It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent. But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered. Anyone could be to blame. Even a demon. And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel. With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent can solve a mystery that connects every passenger. A mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.
Consensual Hex—Amanda Harlowe (Grand Central)
When Lee, a first year at Smith, is raped under eerie circumstances during orientation week by an Amherst frat boy, she’s quickly disillusioned by her lack of recourse. As her trauma boils within her, Lee is selected for an exclusive seminar on Gender, Power, and Witchcraft, where she meets Luna (an alluring Brooklyn hipster), Gabi (who has a laundry list of phobias), and Charlotte (a waifish, chill international student). Granted a charter for a coven and suddenly in possession of real magic, the four girls are tasked by their aloof Professor with covertly retrieving a grimoire that an Amherst fraternity has gotten their hands on. But when the witches realize the frat brothers are using magic to commit and cover up sexual assault all over Northampton, their exploits escalate into vigilante justice. As Lee’s thirst for revenge on her rapist grows, things spiral out of control, pitting witch against witch as they must wrestle with how far one is willing to go to heal.
Alexandria—Paul Kingsnorth (Graywolf)
One thousand years from now, a small religious community lives in what were once the fens of eastern England. They are perhaps the world’s last human survivors. Now they find themselves stalked by a force that draws ever closer, and that seems to have brought them to the brink of extinction. A force that offers them a promise and a threat: a place called Alexandria. Set in a time on the far side of an apocalypse, and perhaps on the verge of another, Paul Kingsnorth’s radical new novel is a work of matchless, mythic imagination. It is driven by elemental themes: community versus the self, the mind versus the body, machine over man—and the tension between an unstable present and an unknown, unknowable future.
We Were Restless Things—Cole Nagamatsu (Sourcebooks Fire)
Last summer, Link Miller drowned on dry land in the woods, miles away from the nearest body of water. His death was ruled a strange accident, and in the months since, his friends and family have struggled to make sense of it. But Link’s close friend Noemi Amato knows the truth: Link drowned in an impossible lake that only she can find. And what’s more, someone claiming to be Link has been contacting her, warning Noemi to stay out of the forest. As these secrets become too heavy for Noemi to shoulder on her own, she turns to Jonas, her new housemate, and Amberlyn, Link’s younger sister. All three are trying to find their place—and together, they start to unravel the truth: about themselves, about the world, and about what happened to Link.
The Hole—Hiroko Oyamada, translated by David Boyd (New Directions)
Asa’s husband is transferring jobs, and his new office is located near his family’s home in the countryside. During an exceptionally hot summer, the young married couple move in, and Asa does her best to quickly adjust to their new rural lives, to their remoteness, to the constant presence of her in-laws and the incessant buzz of cicadas. While her husband is consumed with his job, Asa is left to explore her surroundings on her own: she makes trips to the supermarket, halfheartedly looks for work, and tries to find interesting ways of killing time. One day, while running an errand for her mother-in-law, she comes across a strange creature, follows it to the embankment of a river, and ends up falling into a hole—a hole that seems to have been made specifically for her. This is the first in a series of bizarre experiences that drive Asa deeper into the mysteries of this rural landscape filled with eccentric characters and unidentifiable creatures, leading her to question her role in this world, and eventually, her sanity.
The Hollow Places—T. Kingfisher (Saga Press)
Kara finds the words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring this peculiar area—only to discover that it holds portals to countless alternate realities. But these places are haunted by creatures that seem to hear thoughts…and the more one fears them, the stronger they become.
WEEK TWO (October 13)
Tiny Nightmares: Very Short Tales of Horror—ed. Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto (Black Balloon Publishing)
In this playful, inventive collection, leading literary and horror writers spin chilling tales in only a few pages. Each slim, fast-moving story brings to life the kind of monsters readers love to fear, from brokenhearted vampires to Uber-taking serial killers and mind-reading witches. But what also makes Tiny Nightmares so bloodcurdling—and unforgettable—are the real-world horrors that writers such as Samantha Hunt, Brian Evenson, Jac Jemc, Stephen Graham Jones, Lilliam Rivera, Kevin Brockmeier, and Rion Amilcar Scott weave into their fictions, exploring how global warming, racism, social media addiction, and homelessness are just as frightening as, say, a vampire’s fangs sinking into your neck. Our advice? Read with the hall light on and the bedroom door open just a crack. Featuring new stories from Samantha Hunt, Jac Jemc, Stephen Graham Jones, Rion Amilcar Scott, and more!
WEEK THREE (October 20)
Where the Wild Ladies Are—Matsuda Aoko, translated by Polly Barton (Soft Skull)
A busybody aunt who disapproves of hair removal; a pair of door-to-door saleswomen hawking portable lanterns; a cheerful lover who visits every night to take a luxurious bath; a silent house-caller who babysits and cleans while a single mother is out working. Where the Wild Ladies Are is populated by these and many other spirited women—who also happen to be ghosts. This is a realm in which jealousy, stubbornness, and other excessive “feminine” passions are not to be feared or suppressed, but rather cultivated; and, chances are, a man named Mr. Tei will notice your talents and recruit you, dead or alive (preferably dead), to join his mysterious company. In this witty and exuberant collection of linked stories, Aoko Matsuda takes the rich, millenia-old tradition of Japanese folktales—shapeshifting wives and foxes, magical trees and wells—and wholly reinvents them, presenting a world in which humans are consoled, guided, challenged, and transformed by the only sometimes visible forces that surround them.
Finding Faeries—Alexandra Rowland (Tiller Press)
From the musty corners of libraries to the darkest depths of urban sewers, faeries, boggarts, redcaps, and other fantastical species can be found all around us—but only if we know where to look. And like every other being in the modern world, these wonderous creatures have been forced to adapt to the climate, industrial, and cultural changes of the modern era. Many formerly common creatures from akeki to cave trolls have been driven out by the urban sprawl, technological advancements, and climate change while others, including ether sprites and brownies, have been able to thrive in abundance, creating homes within electrical hotbeds and massive landfills. Featuring descriptions of magical creatures from around the globe, this encyclopedic collection details the history and adaptability of more than fifty different species of fae. Describing little-known and fascinating creatures such as the Luck Pigeon of Baltimore, the akaname of Eastern Asia, and the konderong of South Africa, this book will expose readers to fantastical species from a variety of cultures and communities.
Jillian in the Borderlands—Beth Alvarado (Black Lawrence Press)
Jillian Guzmán, who is nine years old at the beginning of the book, communicates through drawings rather than speech as she travels with her mother, Angie O’Malley, throughout the borderlands of Arizona and northwestern Mexico. Later she creates survival maps for border crossers and paints murals at the Casa de los Olvidados, a refuge in Sonora run by the traditional healer Juana of God. These darkly funny tales, focusing on Mexican-American, Euro-American, and Mexican characters, feature visionary experiences, ghosts, faith healers, a deer’s head that speaks, a dog who channels spirits of the dead—and a young woman whose drawings begin to create realities instead of just reflecting them.
Plain Bad Heroines—Emily M. Danforth (William Morrow)
Our story begins in 1902, at the Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it the Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, the Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way. Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer Merritt Emmons publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, opposite B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern heroines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Twelve—ed. Ellen Datlow (Night Shade)
For four decades, Ellen Datlow has been at the center of horror. Bringing you the most frightening and terrifying stories, Datlow always has her finger on the pulse of what horror readers crave. Now, with the twelfth volume of the series, Datlow is back again to bring you the stories that will keep you up at night. Encompassed in the pages of The Best Horror of the Year have been such illustrious writers as: Neil Gaiman, Kim Newman, Stephen King, Linda Nagata, Laird Barron, Margo Lanagan, and many others.
The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: Volume One—ed. Paula Guran (Pyr)
Join twenty-five masterful authors and talented newcomers with more than 400 pages of the disturbing, unnerving, haunting, and strange. This outstanding annual exploration of the year’s best dark fiction delivers tales of deathly possession, the weirdly surreal, mysterious melancholy, and frighteningly plausible futures. Confront your own humanity and the fears that stir you—from the darkly supernatural and painfully familiar to the disquieting terror of the unknown.
WEEK FOUR (October 27)
No new titles.