The Fright Stuff

Coming to a Shelf Near You: 2023 Horror Books by Black Authors

Hey‌ ‌there‌ horror fans, ‌I’m‌ ‌Jessica‌ ‌Avery‌ ‌and‌ ‌I’ll‌ ‌be‌ ‌delivering‌ ‌your‌ ‌weekly‌ ‌brief‌ ‌of‌ ‌all‌ ‌that’s‌ ‌ghastly‌ ‌and‌ ‌grim‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌world‌ ‌of‌ ‌Horror.‌ ‌Whether‌ ‌you’re‌ ‌looking‌ ‌for‌ ‌a‌ ‌backlist‌ ‌book‌ ‌that‌ ‌will‌ ‌give‌‌ you‌ ‌the‌ ‌willies,‌ ‌a‌ ‌terrifying‌ ‌new‌ ‌release,‌ ‌or‌ ‌the‌ ‌latest‌ ‌in‌ ‌horror‌ ‌community‌ ‌news,‌ ‌you’ll‌ ‌find‌ ‌it‌ ‌here‌ in‌ ‌The‌ ‌Fright‌ ‌Stuff.

Week three of February already! How time files when you’re having frightfully good fun. We’re celebrating horror by Black authors again this week, and there are so many amazing forthcoming titles I want to talk about that I actually had to split this list in two! So this week will feature new Black horror books coming out through May, and next week part two will feature new books coming out in the second half of the year.

Get your wishlists and your preorder buttons ready!

Bookish Goods

ufo abduction metal bookends by knobcreekmetalarts

UFO Abduction Bookends by KnobCreekMetalArts

I don’t know, I just think this bookend set feels…thematically appropriate for recent events. Regardless of whether or not our alien overlords really have come to collect us, however, the fact is that you can never have too many bookends! And KnobCreekMetalArts actually makes a number of really interesting bookend sets. If alien abduction isn’t your theme of choice, be sure to check out the rest of their collection.


New Releases

where darkness blooms book cover

Where Darkness Blooms by Andrea Hannah

When the gorgeous, creepy cover for Where Darkness Blooms was released, I was so ready to get my hands on this book. You had me at queer horror with scary sunflowers. Delilah, Whitney, Jude, and Bo all live in a big house together in Bishop, an isolated rural town separated from the world by miles and miles of sunflowers. But this tiny town is far from idyllic. Bishop is plagued by dangerous windstorms that seem determined to tear the whole thing down, and its history is marred by violence. Year after year women die or go missing — too many women for such a small town. Delilah, Whitney, Jude, and Bo’s moms disappeared the same way. One day they were just gone. Now it’s up to the four girls to find out the truth, not just about their own mothers, but about Bishop’s dark and bloody history, before they themselves are numbered among the missing.

cover of loteria by cina pelayo

Lotería by Cynthia Pelayo

I am overjoyed that Cina Pelayo’s Lotería is getting a reprint this year, and with such a smashingly gorgeous new cover! (Though I’ll always have a soft spot for the old cover by Abigail Larson. So pretty.) I actually read this collection of short stories a couple of years ago and just loved it, and now that it’s being reprinted, a whole host of new readers will get to experience Pelayo’s fantastic storytelling! There are 54 cards in Lotería, and Cina Pelayo has spun up 54 dark little tales based on Latin American folklore and full of creatures, monsters, and murderers, each based on a card. If you haven’t read any of Pelayo’s work yet, I highly recommend starting with this collection.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

my dear henry book cover

My Dear Henry by Kalynn Bayron (Mar 7)

Does it get better than a queer retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? I honestly don’t think it does. I am so excited for My Dear Henry to finally hit shelves. Everything Kalynn Bayron writes is a win, as far as I’m concerned, and I’m sure this is going to be no exception. Gabriel Utterson knows that something is wrong with his friend Henry Jekyll. Having finally returned to London after scandal imploded his and Henry’s lives two years ago, Gabriel is desperate to find out what has become of his friend and why Henry stopped writing to him. What he finds instead, is Hyde, the strange and charismatic young man who claims to be Henry’s new friend.

Also worth noting, My Dear Henry is actually part of a series of classic story retellings, the Remixed Classics series, which frequently features authors of color and queer retellings.

lone women book cover

Lone Women by Victor LaValle (March 28)

Raise your hand if you’re also super excited for a new Victor LaValle book! And a historical horror novel to boot! Set in the American West of the early 20th century, LaValle’s newest novel, Lone Women, is about a woman fleeing her past by taking up the government’s offer of free land in Montana to any homesteader to can settle and keep it. And Adelaide isn’t the only one. There are other “lone women” taking their chances on the Montana frontier, but not all of them have Adelaide’s secrets, like the massive steamer trunk that travels with her but which always remains locked. It was Adelaide’s secret that destroyed her family and drove her out of her hometown, but out in the wilds of Montana, it may well be her secret that will help her survive the hardships to come.

cover of the scourge between stars by ness brown

The Scourge Between Stars by Ness Brown (April 4)

Where are my space horror fans? Because wow do I have a must-read book for you. Nightfire has blessed us once again with nightmares from the depths of space! Ness Brown’s novella, The Scourge Between Stars, is a bit of a flip on the sci-fi narrative of colonists going forth to seek the stars (and often finding horrors instead) in that it’s actually about what happens after the long dreamed-of colony has failed. Jacklyn Albright is the acting captain of the Calypso, a starship containing all that remains of humanity. The Calypso is making its way back to Earth after the catastrophic failure of the colony that was supposed to set humanity’s future among the stars. And if the lack of food and the dangers of the crushing void of space around them weren’t bad enough, Jacklyn has reason to suspect that there is something alive onboard her ship that shouldn’t be there — an intruder that might kill them all before they ever make it home.

cover of we don't swim here by vincent tirado

We Don’t Swim Here by Vincent Tirado (May 2)

After how much I loved Tirado’s Burn Down, Rise Up last year, any new books of theirs are always going straight onto my to-buy list, and that definitely includes We Don’t Swim Here. In Hillwoods, nobody goes in the water. Not in pools, not in lakes. No swimming period. Which is unfortunate, because Bronwyn is stuck in the tiny rural town for a year while her father gets her grandmother’s affairs in order, and there’s not much else to do. Everyone is so weird and secretive, all they’ll tell her is “don’t go in the water” but no one will tell her why. Anais, meanwhile, just wants Bronwyn to stop asking why when it comes to Hillwoods. It’s the only way to guarantee that the new girl will be safe from the town’s notice. Anais grew up in Hillwoods, and she has her own means of protecting herself from the town’s secrets. But Anais won’t be able to protect Bronwyn if she can’t keep her from trying to discover the truth about Hillwood’s painful history.

As always, you can catch me on twitter at @JtheBookworm, where I try to keep up on all that’s new and frightening.