Welcome to my second post of the 2020 TBR series. I admit I originally planned to do my fantasy list today, but….there are so many. And I need many more hours to prepare that list. So instead, I thought I’d talk about my favourite HORROR (et al) books coming in 2020. Fair warning, I have a pretty loose definition of what I consider horror. As a genre I’ve only really started reading this year, I take it to mean ‘things that might scare me’ quite generally. So there’s lots of fantasy, psychological thrillers, and contemparies here, but all with a creepy, horror twist!
As a small note, with this genre, do take notice of any content warnings as they become apparent over the next few months with advance reviewers. Stay safe ❤️
Jane Anonymous – Laurie Faria Stolarz
Quick summary: Stockholm syndrome, kidnapping, what happens after. (Do take note of the content warnings on this one from Goodreads reviewers)
Release date: January 7th
Goodreads blurb: Bestselling author Laurie Faria Stolarz returns with Jane Anonymous, a gripping tale of a seventeen-year-old girl’s kidnapping and her struggle to fit back into her life after she escapes.
Then, “Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old in a typical New England suburb getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.
Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” Three months of writing down everything she remembered from those seven months locked up in that stark white room. But, what if everything you thought you knew―everything you thought you experienced―turned out to be a lie?
Burn the Dark – S.A Hunt
Quick summary: Revenge on witches; real but pretending to be fictional witch hunter viral series WHAT WHAT WHAT
Release date: January 14th (originally published 2015)
Goodreads blurb: Supernatural meets Stranger Things in award-winning author S. A. Hunt’s Burn the Dark, first in the Malus Domestica horror action-adventure series about a punk YouTuber on a mission to bring down witches, one vid at a time.
Robin is a YouTube celebrity gone-viral with her intensely-realistic witch hunter series. But even her millions of followers don’t know the truth: her series isn’t fiction.
Her ultimate goal is to seek revenge against the coven of witches who wronged her mother long ago. Returning home to the rural town of Blackfield, Robin meets friends new and old on her quest for justice. But then, a mysterious threat known as the Red Lord interferes with her plans….
Blood Countess – Lana Popović
Quick summary: Book based on most prolific female serial killer of all time (who also inspired Countess Dracula) but make it GAY
Release date: February 3rd
Goodreads blurb: A historical YA horror novel based on the infamous real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula
In 17th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has just begun working as a scullery maid for the young and glamorous Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid, a far cry from the filthy servants’ quarters below. She receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and the Countess begins to groom Anna as her friend and confidante. It’s not long before Anna falls completely under the Countess’s spell—and the Countess takes full advantage. Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.
The Last Confession of Autumn Casterly – Meredith Tate
Quick summary: Ghost/spirit of older sister trying to get help after a drug deal gone wrong, younger sister trying to find her body….
Release date: February 11th
Goodreads blurb: When band-geek Ivy and her friends get together, things start with a rousing board game and end with arguments about Star Wars.
Her older sister Autumn is a different story. Enigmatic, aloof, and tough as nails, Autumn hasn’t had real friends–or trusted anyone–in years. Even Ivy.
But Autumn might not be tough enough. After a drug deal gone wrong, Autumn is beaten, bound, and held hostage. Now, trapped between life and death, she leaves her body, seeking help. No one can sense her presence–except her sister.
When Autumn doesn’t come home, Ivy just knows she’s in trouble. Unable to escape the chilling feeling that something isn’t right, Ivy follows a string of clues that bring her closer to rescuing her sister… and closer to danger.
Autumn needs Ivy to find her before time runs out. But soon, both sisters realize that finding her also means untangling the secrets that lead to the truth–about where they’re hiding Autumn, and what Autumn has been hiding
Red Hood – Elana K Arnold
Quick summary: Gruesome and gory, twisted fairytale retelling
Release date: February 25th
Goodreads blurb: You are alone in the woods, seen only by the unblinking yellow moon. Your hands are empty. You are nearly naked.
And the wolf is angry.
Since her grandmother became her caretaker when she was four years old, Bisou Martel has lived a quiet life in a little house in Seattle. She’s kept mostly to herself. She’s been good. But then comes the night of homecoming, when she finds herself running for her life over roots and between trees, a fury of claws and teeth behind her. A wolf attacks. Bisou fights back. A new moon rises. And with it, questions. About the blood in Bisou’s past and on her hands as she stumbles home. About broken boys and vicious wolves. About girls lost in the woods—frightened, but not alone.
Elana K. Arnold, National Book Award finalist and author of the Printz Honor book Damsel, returns with a dark, engrossing, blood-drenched tale of the familiar threats to female power—and one girl’s journey to regain it.
Be Not Far From Me – Mindy McGinnis
Quick summary: Ummmm survial story, falling in a ravine, fighting to survive an infection, in the middle of a creepy forest?! Yes please.
Release date: March 3rd
Goodreads blurb: Hatchet meets Wild in this harrowing survival story from Edgar Award-winning author Mindy McGinnis.
The world is not tame.
Ashley knows this truth deep in her bones, more at home with trees overhead than a roof. So when she goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. But people are not tame either. And when Ashley catches her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends her running into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine. Morning brings the realization that she’s alone – and far off trail. Lost in undisturbed forest and with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley must figure out how to survive despite the red streak of infection creeping up her leg.
The Deep – Alma Katsu
Quick summary: TITANIC HAUNTING I REPEAT TITANIC HAUNTING
Release date: March 10th
Goodreads blurb: Someone, or something, is haunting the Titanic.
This is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the ship from the moment they set sail: mysterious disappearances, sudden deaths. Now suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone during the four days of the liner’s illustrious maiden voyage, a number of the passengers – including millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, the maid Annie Hebbley and Mark Fletcher – are convinced that something sinister is going on . . . And then, as the world knows, disaster strikes.
Years later and the world is at war. And a survivor of that fateful night, Annie, is working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannic, now refitted as a hospital ship. Plagued by the demons of her doomed first and near fatal journey across the Atlantic, Annie comes across an unconscious soldier she recognises while doing her rounds. It is the young man Mark. And she is convinced that he did not – could not – have survived the sinking of the Titanic . . .
Brilliantly combining fact and fiction, the historical and the horrific, The Deep reveals a chilling truth in an unputdownable narrative full of unnerving moments and with a growing, inexorable sense of foreboding.
Darling Rose Gold – Stephanie Wrobel
Quick summary: terrifying mother-daughter relationship; daughter wants revenge for mother’s crimes, mother wants revenge for daughter turning her in…
Release date: March 17th
Goodreads blurb: Sharp Objects meets My Lovely Wife in this tightly drawn debut that peels back the layers of the most complicated of mother-daughter relationships…
For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.
Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.
After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.
Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she’s forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.
Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…
And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home
All Your Twisted Secrets – Diana Urban
Quick summary: Agatha Christie with more thriller, still killer
Release date: March 17th
Goodreads blurb: Welcome to dinner, and again, congratulations on being selected. Now you must do the selecting.
What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill … or else everyone dies.
Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?
The Familiar Dark – Amy Engel
Quick summary: Psychological thriller, murder, mother searching for truth about daughter’s murder
Release date: March 31st
Goodreads blurb: A spellbinding story of a mother with nothing left to lose who sets out on an all-consuming quest for justice after her daughter is murdered on the town playground.
Sometimes the answers are worse than the questions. Sometimes it’s better not to know.
Set in the poorest part of the Missouri Ozarks, in a small town with big secrets, The Familiar Dark opens with a murder. Eve Taggert, desperate with grief over losing her daughter, takes it upon herself to find out the truth about what happened. Eve is no stranger to the dark side of life, having been raised by a hard-edged mother whose lessons Eve tried not to pass on to her own daughter. But Eve may need her mother’s cruel brand of strength if she’s going to face the reality about her daughter’s death and about her own true nature. Her quest for justice takes her from the seedy underbelly of town to the quiet woods and, most frighteningly, back to her mother’s trailer for a final lesson.
The Familiar Dark is a story about the bonds of family–women doing the best they can for their daughters in dire circumstances–as well as a story about how even the darkest and most terrifying of places can provide the comfort of home.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires – Grady Hendrix
Quick summary: BRINGING BACK VAMPIRES
Release date: April 7th
Goodreads blurb: 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.
Devolution – Max Brooks
Quick summary: Bigfoot investgation told through journal entries and interviews with experts, is it real, is it fiction I DON’T KNOW but it sounds set up very much like Into the Drowning Deep which has a similar style but with mermaids so I am here for it
Release date: May 12th
Goodreads blurb: As the ash and chaos from Mount Rainier’s eruption swirled and finally settled, the story of the Greenloop massacre has passed unnoticed, unexamined . . . until now.
But the journals of resident Kate Holland, recovered from the town’s bloody wreckage, capture a tale too harrowing—and too earth-shattering in its implications—to be forgotten.
In these pages, Max Brooks brings Kate’s extraordinary account to light for the first time, faithfully reproducing her words alongside his own extensive investigations into the massacre and the legendary beasts behind it.
Kate’s is a tale of unexpected strength and resilience, of humanity’s defiance in the face of a terrible predator’s gaze, and inevitably, of savagery and death.
Yet it is also far more than that.
Because if what Kate Holland saw in those days is real, then we must accept the impossible. We must accept that the creature known as Bigfoot walks among us—and that it is a beast of terrible strength and ferocity.
Part survival narrative, part bloody horror tale, part scientific journey into the boundaries between truth and fiction, this is a Bigfoot story as only Max Brooks could chronicle it—and like none you’ve ever read before.
The Only Good Indians – Stephen Graham Jones
Quick summary: Ownvoices Blackfeet rep; mysterious entity taking revenge
Release date: May 19th
Goodreads blurb: Peter Straub’s Ghost Story meets Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies in this American Indian horror story of revenge on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
Four American Indian men from the Blackfeet Nation, who were childhood friends, find themselves in a desperate struggle for their lives, against an entity that wants to exact revenge upon them for what they did during an elk hunt ten years earlier by killing them, their families, and friends.
I Killed Zoe Spanos – Kit Spark
Quick summary: Murder, true crime podcast vibes, creepy resemblance to dead girl
Release date: June 2nd
Goodreads blurb: What happened to Zoe won’t stay buried.
When Anna Cicconi arrives in the small Hamptons village of Herron Mills for a summer nanny gig, she has high hopes for a fresh start. What she finds instead is a community on edge after the disappearance of Zoe Spanos, a local girl who has been missing since New Year’s Eve. Anna bears an eerie resemblance to Zoe, and her mere presence in town stirs up still-raw feelings about the unsolved case. As Anna delves deeper into the mystery, stepping further and further into Zoe’s life, she becomes increasingly convinced that she and Zoe are connected—and that she knows what happened on New Year’s.
Two months later, Zoe’s body is found in a nearby lake, and Anna is charged with manslaughter. But Anna’s confession’s is riddled with holes, and Martina Green, teen host of the Missing Zoe podcast, isn’t satisfied. Did Anna really kill Zoe? And if not, can Martina’s podcast uncover the truth?
Inspired by Serial and Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, this thrilling story of psychological suspense is told in three interwoven timelines, including the transcript of a fictionalized true crime podcast.
Category Five – Ann Dávila Cardinal
Quick summary: Series of supernatural murders after a hurricaine, ser in Puerto Rico
Release date: June 2nd
Goodreads blurb: Category Five is a new supernatural YA thriller from Ann Dávila Cardinal, set against the backdrop of a post-hurricane Puerto Rico.
After the hurricane, some see destruction and some smell blood.
The tiny island of Vieques, located just off the northeastern coast of the main island of Puerto Rico, is trying to recover after hurricane Maria, but the already battered island is now half empty. To make matters worse, as on the main island, developers have come in to buy up the land at a fraction of its worth, taking advantage of the island when it is down.
Lupe, Javier, and Marisol are back to investigate a series of murders that follow in the wake of a hurricane and in the shadow of a new supernatural threat.
Wonderland – Zoje Stage
Quick summary: Motherhood, more creepy forests, and an unnatural entity trying to control a family…
Release date: June 16th
Goodreads blurb: If Shirley Jackson wrote The Shining, it might look like this novel from the acclaimed author of Baby Teeth: A mother must become a protector when unnatural forces threaten her family’s new and improved life in a rural farmhouse.
The Bennett family – artist parents and two precocious children – leave their familiar urban surroundings for a new home in far upstate New York. They’re an hour from the nearest city, a mile from the nearest house, and everyone has their own room for the very first time. Shaw, the father, even gets his own painting studio, now that he and his wife Orla, a retired dancer, have agreed that it’s his turn to pursue his passion.
But none of the Bennetts expect what lies waiting in the lovely woods, where secrets run dark and deep. Orla must finally find a way to communicate with – not just resist – this unknown entity that is coming to her family, calling to them from the land, in the earth, beneath the trees … and in their minds.
Mexican Gothic – Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Quick summary: Creepy mansion creepy mansion BLOOD AND DOOM BLOOD AND DOOM
Release date: June 30th
Goodreads blurb: He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me.
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find — her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough, smart, and has an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.
The Year of the Witching – Alexis Henderson
Quick summary: WITCHES vs religious cults, dark fantasy
Release date: July 21st
Goodreads blurb: A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself, with terrifying and far-reaching consequences, in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.
In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.
But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.
Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.
Jake in the Box – Ryan Douglass
Quick summary: Get Out inspired (and even though I was too scared to watch it, I know that’s a KILLER comp), school haunted by ghost of school shooter, QPOC, possession
Release date: Fall/Autumn 2020
Goodreads blurb: Stacey Barney at Putnam has bought HuffPost writer Ryan Douglass’s YA debut, Jake in the Box, a Get Out-inspired horror story about one of the only black kids at an elite suburban Atlanta prep school who is being haunted by the ghost of a school shooter. Publication is planned for fall 2020; Rena Rossner at the Deborah Harris Agency brokered the deal for world rights.
Lost in the Never Woods – Aiden Thomas
Quick summary: More creepy woods, Peter Pan retelling, PTSD
Release date: December (I think?)
Goodreads blurb: When children go missing, people want answers. When children go missing in the small coastal town of Astoria, people look to Wendy for answers.
It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road, and gets pulled into the mystery haunting the town.
Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, claims that if they don’t do something, the missing children will meet the same fate as her brothers. In order to find them and rescue the missing kids, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods.
Wow that took me so long to write and format – I don’t even want to think about how long the longer genres will take! Oh well….what is free time anyway?!
Horror is the genre that I’m probably most excited for in 2020, purely because its an area I haven’t read much of before but as I enjoyed the few I read this year SO MUCH, I want to aim to read lots more!
Are there are any horror (or mysteries, thrillers etc…) that I missed that you’re excited to read in 2020? Let me know in the comments!
As a final note, to anyone else grieving and devastated in the wake of the general election results, I hope this post manages to take your mind of it and distract you, at least for a few minutes. Stay strong today.
Rach + Draco