It’s been a little while since we published a roundup of the latest horror books so it’s nice to return with quite an exciting bunch for September. Stephen King’s The Institute is certainly the biggest name on this list – read our review. Is there a book we’ve missed that you think should be included? Leave a comment or get in touch.
The Institute by Stephen King
Another year and another book from Stephen King. Like many of King’s previous books, The Institute involves children gifted with psychic abilities, such as telepathy and telekinesis, fighting both themselves and the world in which they struggle to conform – and, usually, for their survival. In The Institute, these gifted children are kidnapped from their homes and locked in The Institute where they are tested on and not allowed to return to the outside world. The protagonist, Luke, fights for his and his fellow kidnappees survival.
A celebration of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, this anthology from Titan Books is a collection of stories as mind-bending as their source material, but with plenty of modernisation to include the macabre and the nightmarish. In our review of Wonderland, Rebecca Wojturska writes that “With monsters, mirrors, enough dream-like familiarity to make you feel cosy and enough nightmarish difference to make you feel uneasy, Wonderland is thoroughly entertaining and inspired.”
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Bone China by Laura Purcell
Being compared to Daphne du Maurier – one advance review promoted by the publisher claims that “Queen Daphne might have to hand over the crown to Queen Laura”, a somewhat bold claim to be making – Bone China is the third of Purcell’s “Gothic novels”. Set in Cornwall, Bone China unravels a chilling family-mystery in a home where “superstitious staff” enact “bizarre rituals” and nurse, Hester Why, looking after the mostly-mute Louise Pinecroft, discovers that the home has as many dangers as her previous life, which she is trying to flee.
The Wayward Girls by Amanda Mason
The Wayward Girls is Amanda Mason’s debut coming-of-age story about the relationship between two sisters and the strange occurrences that happened within their family home in the summer of 1976. The mother, Cathy, now in a care home in the present day, is contacted by the daughter of one of the now-dead paranormal investigators called to inspect the poltergeist-like activity in their remote farmhouse that summer, wanting to discover more about the mystery of the house and whether it was really haunted.
The Twelve Strange Days of Christmas by Syd Moore
It is much too early to be thinking about Christmas but, nonetheless, this collection of short stories from the Essex Witch Museum Mystery series is out at the end of the month. More about entertainment than scares, this collection should be a great deal of fun. Sarah Perry, author of the recent reimagined Gothic novel Melmoth, spoke very favourable of a previous entry in this series, Strange Magic, saying “I gleefully submitted to a tale of witchcraft, feminism, mysterious strangers, historical atrocities, plucky heroines and ghastly apparition”.
Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction by Lisa Kroeger and Melanie Anderson
There are so many brilliant books coming out celebrating the women pioneers in horror (such as The Lady from the Black Lagoon, which we reviewed earlier in the year) and it’s wonderful to add another to the list. Monster, She Wrote is a biographical index of women, past and present, within horror and speculative fiction, and provides a reading list for each so you can go and explore, and read, further.
Promethean Horrors: Classic Tales of Mad Science (British Library Tales of the Weird)
What I like least about the Tales of the Weird series is knowing that it will one day have run out of stories to publish. The theme of Promethean Horrors is the mad scientist – misguided villains who desire to push nature to its limits, with calamitous consequences. Editor Xavier Aldana Reyes has pulled together ten stories from writers such as Mary Shelley, H.P. Lovecraft, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Edgar Allen Poe, E. Nesbit, and George Langelaan to form a collection that’s sure to be as good as the rest of the series (even if we weren’t quite so favourable about The Weird Tales of William Hope Hodgson).
Inspection by Josh Malerman
I will finish this list with two paperback releases (n.b. UK readers will need to wait until January). Inspection is John Malerman’s (of Bird Box fame) – I think – sixth novel (or seventh if you include the novella A House at the Bottom of a Lake) and this month sees it released in paperback. Inspection is a coming-of-age novel where a small group of boys are trained in a secret school and girls, separated, in another. They do not know of life outside of their schools nor do the boys know of girls and the girls of boys. There are some clear similarities here with The Institute as this is a well-trodden path: especially-talented children locked away and trained (or researched upon) in secret, away from the outside world.
Help the Witch by Tom Cox
Help the Witch is Tom Cox‘s first work of fiction and could be described as a collection of ghost stories, but it’s much more than that, and perhaps it would be better to think of it as medley of folk horror and weird fiction, channeling as he does writers such as Robert Aickman and E.F. Benson. Cox has written a great deal of nature writing in the past and it is the UK’s landscapes that provide the source of this book’s chills – showing how ghosts permeate every aspect of our environments, man-made or not.