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.
I honestly can’t believe it’s been three years and I’ve never done killer mermaids. I feel like that one guy from Cabin in the Woods is super disappointed in me right now. But today I will rectify my grievous misstep! This week’s Fright Stuff is all about the kind of mermaids that are less interested in being a part of your world than they are in making you a part of their lunch.
And really, that’s the best kind of mermaid!
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Horror Book Club Tote by KnockoutFinery
If there’s one thing the consummate bookworm needs, it’s bags enough to carry their books in. And this Horror Book Club design by KnockoutFinery was too delightful to pass up on! I love the vintage Halloween art color choices, and the sweetly creepy moon hanging out in the corner. And, if totes aren’t your thing, this particular design is also available as a mug, and two different T-shirt options. Share your love of horror everywhere you go!
Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas
Happy Vampires of El Norte day! It’s got vampires! It’s got romance! It’s the epitome of Gothic Romance Western Horror and it should definitely be on your August reading list. Nena and Néstor were childhood sweethearts growing up on her father’s ranch until the night that Nena was attacked by a terrifying winged creature and Néstor vanished into the night, sure that Nena was dead and that he would be blamed. Years later, they’re brought together as war with the United States looms. They find themselves having to set aside their past in order to survive when the violence of the battlefield gives way to an even more horrifying, unnatural violence in the form of the same monsters that once attacked Nena. The only way for Nena and Néstor to protect their home and the ones they love is to work together, or everything will be lost, including their second chance to be together.
The Last Girls Standing by Jennifer Dugan
What can I say? There’s just something so classic about a summer camp slasher. The smell of sunblock, the lake shining in the sun…the conveniently available wood axes. It’s the chef’s kiss of slasher subcategories! So if you wanted a little massacre (or a lot of massacre) for your end-of-summer reading, look no further than Jennifer Dugan’s The Last Girls Standing. Cherry and Sloan are the only survivors of a massacre that killed all the other counselors at the summer camp where they worked, and they’ve been inseparable ever since. Now, months after the killings, Sloan has discovered new information about the motives behind the attack. Information that suggests her girlfriend, the only other person who knows and understands what Sloan survived, may have been involved in the horrific ritual murders. The only way that Sloan can know for sure if Cherry was involved, and why, is to uncover the truth about that night before her world comes crashing down a second time.
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The Reyes Incident by Briana Morgan
You know what is always a terrible idea? Exploring an abandoned military bunker rumored to have been used for top secret scientific experiments. (She says, knowing that she’d probably do it anyway if given the chance.) Because, I mean, even if the local legends are wrong, you’re still going to be underground in a creepy, abandoned bunker. I’ve seen that horror movie. It seldom ends well. It certainly didn’t end well for Liv, who led her friends on a trip to a former military bunker that, so the stories say, is inhabited by monsters. But it’s just a story, right? Where’s the danger? Well, apparently it’s in that bunker. Because Liv is the only one who gets out alive. She turns up at the local police station, covered in blood, raving about — of all things — killer mermaids.
Chlorine by Jade Song
This book. Ya’ll, seriously. It’s so good. It fulfills all the dreams of the little mermaid loving horror fan I once was (and still am, let’s be honest). All Ren Yu wants is to become a mermaid. (And feast on the flesh of tasty sea goers.) She’s already a swimmer, whose love of being in the water butts up against the expectations that she’ll use her skill at swimming to advance in life. Get into a good college on an athletic scholarship. Be successful — a state of being highly defined by everyone in Ren’s life except herself. When really all she wants is to escape from landlocked concerns and sink deep into the ocean until she’s nothing but fins and teeth. She wants to be free, and she’ll stop at nothing to make it happen.
Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
Now Into the Drowning Deep is the obvious pick for this list, I know. It’s a fantastic bit of ocean horror, killer mermaids included, and I’ve actually never featured it in The Fright Stuff before now! So I’d say it’s about time. Seven years before the story begins, a cruise ship called the Atargatis set out for the Mariana Trench with a film crew on board. Their plan was to acquire enough footage and eyewitness testimonies to slap together a “mockumentary” on mermaids, but they found much more than they bargained for. Now a second crew has been brought together to research the fate of the Atargatis, among them Victoria Stewart whose sister was lost when the Atargatis went down. The truth about what happened to her sister can only be found on that same stretch of ocean above the trench, the Atargatis’ last known location, and Victoria isn’t going home without answers. No matter what secrets might lurk beneath the waves.
Mermaids Never Drown: Tales to Dive For ed. by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker (September 26)
I have chosen to include Mermaids Never Drown in this week’s list with the caveat that it is an anthology that is not exclusively horror. I’m willing to lay odds that there’s more than one dark and horrifying twist on the mermaid mythos in this collection of 14 stories, given that a few of the authors included frequent the horror genre. However, I cannot promise you an anthology full of JUST flesh eating and bloodied waters. That being said, I’m so beyond excited that Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker are editing another collection like Vampires Never Get Old, and this time around, centering the history of merfolk in folklore and storytelling. And with authors like Kalynn Bayron, June Hur, Kerri Maniscalco, and many others on board, you just know that Mermaids Never Drown is going to be fin-tastic. (I won’t apologize for that, you can’t mako me.)