The Fright Stuff

2023 Queer Horror Books Coming to a Shelf Near You

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.

This June I’ve had the pleasure of promoting so many wonderful queer horror books for readers of all ages in celebration of Pride month. And since today is, sadly, our last Fright Stuff of the month, I thought this would be the perfect time to share just a few of the exciting new titles being published this year. After all, 2023 is only half over! There’s still plenty of queer horror on the way.

Before we get started stacking your TBR: Are you looking for fascinating stories, informed takes, useful advice, and more drawn from our collective experience as power readers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and bookish professionals? Subscribe to The Deep Dive, a biweekly newsletter to inform and inspire readers, delivered to your inbox! Your first read (The Power Reader’s Guide to Reading Logs & Trackers) is on the house. Check out all the details and choose your membership level at

Bookish Goods

gay and spooky t-shirt by gabyandtali

Gay & Spooky T-Shirt by GabyandTali

Pride month might be almost over but, hey, if June has to end at least it leaves us officially in the second half of the year and on the descent into fall. Haunted days are just around the corner! May this delightful T-shirt (which comes in many color options, but I love the traditional black and orange myself) remind you that, just like Halloween, Pride is a year round affair! Keep it Gay & Spooky ghoulies.


New Releases

cover of the archive undying by emma mieko candon

The Archive Undying by Emma Mieko Candon

If you like your sci-fi with an alarming amount of body horror (and of course I mean that in the best way), this is the book for you. Welcome to The Archive Undying, the first book in Emma Mieko Candon’s The Downworld Sequence series, where AI powered robots once worshiped as gods have become corrupted and gone mad, destroying the very worlds they created. Enter Sunai, who many years ago was offered a final gift from a dying god. If a gift is what you call it. Sunai is frozen in time, un-aging, un-dying. He roams from one dying city to the next on the run from his own past, until one bad night and too much to drink finds him waking up exactly where he doesn’t want to be: on the road back to a faith and a broken world he tried to escape.

cover of are you afraid of the dark: the tale of the gravemother by rin chupeco

Are You Afraid of the Dark?: The Tale of the Gravemother by Rin Chupeco

Were you also a ’90’s kid who grew up watching Are You Afraid of the Dark? Does that super eerie intro music set you atingle with nostalgia? Well get ready my fellow fans of the frightful, because Rin Chupeco’s new middle grade horror (the first in a new Are You Afraid of the Dark? book series) has all the creepy goodness you remember. It’s also a great way to introduce the junior scary book readers in your life to the series that shaped so many of us into horror fans! The Tale of the Gravemother is a classic ghost story about a spirit who haunts an old mansion on the outside of the little town of Solitude and kidnaps children. Zane and his family just inherited said haunted mansion — yikes! — and now it looks like the Gravemother has set her sights on his little sister. Unless Zane and his new friend Garrett can figure out the Gravemother’s secret, Emmy might disappear forever!

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

Riot Recommendations

cover of the death I gave him by em x liu

The Death I Gave Him by Em X. Liu (September 12)

The Death I Gave Him is actually the first of two horror/dark fiction Shakespeare retellings on this list. Which, as an eternal English major, I find just so delightful. The name of the game is Hamlet through the lens of a locked room sci-fi thriller, with plenty of murder, gore, and body horror to satisfy any horror reader. A scientist on the verge of a momentous discovery — the defeat of death itself — has his work interrupted in brutal fashion when his father (and co-researcher) is murdered in their lab. In a bid to catch the killer himself, Hayden steals his own research. Only to discover that his father had suspected his death was near and left a message charging Hayden to avenge him. What ensues is a deadly game of whodunnit within the locked down laboratory. There are only four other people in the building besides Hyden, and one of them is a murderer.

cover of brainwyrms by alison rumfitt

Brainwyrms by Alison Rumfitt (October 10)

Now, see, that’s an Upsetting cover. So squiggly. So wiggly. Slimy. Pulpy. I just love it, and I can’t wait for Brainwyrms to hit shelves this October. I absolutely devoured Rumfitt’s oh so disturbing and terrifying Tell Me I’m Worthless when it came out earlier this year, and I have been eagerly anticipating the release of Brainwyrms ever since. When the aftermath of a transphobia-motivated bombing at her workplace upends Frankei’s life, it leaves her grasping for someway to cope with the fallout. Along the way she finds herself falling hard and fast for a mysterious woman with too many secrets. The more time Frankie spends with Vanya, the more she’s sure Vanya’s hiding something sinister from her, and unfortunately for Frankie, she’s right.

cover of where the dead wait by ally wilkes

Where the Dead Wait by Ally Wilkes (December 5)

Someone give me this book already. Please, just put it in my hands so I can put it in my eyes. December is such a long time away and, as someone who absolutely adored Wilkes’ All the White Spaces, I am impatient! Taking us back to the cold and the dark, Wilkes steers us towards the Arctic this time, following in the footsteps of William Day who is returning to the ice 13 years after his disastrous Arctic expedition. His then second-in-command, Jesse Stevens, has vanished, and if Day can find Jesse, just maybe he can redeemed himself in the eyes of society. But things soon go from bad to worse when Day’s rescue mission descends into chaos and darkness. The ice is unforgiving and its memory is long. Day will have to face the horrors of his own past if he hopes to survive the dark days ahead and bring Jesse home.

cover of but a dream by caitlin marceau

But a Dream by Caitlin Marceau (December)

Caitlin Marceau’s But A Dream is the aforementioned second Shakespeare retelling on this list, and honestly December can not come fast enough. Because as excited as I am for all the new queer horror we’re getting this year, I am absolutely over the moon that Marceau is giving us a dark retelling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, my absolute favorite Shakespeare play. But a Dream is about a group of four friends whose camping trip in the Canadian wilderness goes awry. Horribly awry. Cataclysmically, terribly, violently awry when they kill and eat what they assume to be a deer but is in fact a witch in disguise. A witch whose magic, upon consumption, produces some very…unpleasant side effects…

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