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We Scare You To Read This: Exciting 2022 Horror Books

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Liberty Hardy

Senior Contributing Editor

Liberty Hardy is an unrepentant velocireader, writer, bitey mad lady, and tattoo canvas. Turn-ons include books, books and books. Her favorite exclamation is “Holy cats!” Liberty reads more than should be legal, sleeps very little, frequently writes on her belly with Sharpie markers, and when she dies, she’s leaving her body to library science. Until then, she lives with her three cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon, in Maine. She is also right behind you. Just kidding! She’s too busy reading. Twitter: @MissLiberty

One of the great things about being an adult is partaking in scary books and movies, even when it isn’t Halloween! You don’t need it to be October in order to be chilled to the bone. That’s why I made this list of 11 exciting 2022 horror books! Because I know that there are a lot of people out there who like to read horror 365 days a year. I have read several of these and I think they are excellent.

I could have easily made this list “111 exciting 2022 horror reads” but for now, these are several of the upcoming books that immediately caught my eye. From horror in space, to werewolves, to haunted roads, to horrifying sequels, there’s a lot of great stuff here! I’m so delighted by how the number of horror books continues to grow each year.

But a couple of notes before we get to the good stuff: Some of these don’t have their final covers yet. But I am so excited about them, I had to include them anyway! And remember, these are horror books, so there’s a lot of scary and upsetting stuff in them, some more than others. So if you are sensitive to certain things in books, proceed to the descriptions below with caution, and please do further research before you pick them up.

cover of Cherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow, cover photo of two Black women in bathing suits sitting on teal tile beside a pool

Cherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow (February 8)

If you like unsettling books about manipulative people worming their way into someone else’s life, then get ready for this great novel! There are two young Black girls at the country club: 17-year-old Farrah Turner and her best friend, Cherish Whitman, the adopted daughter of a wealthy white family. When Farrah starts to insinuate herself into Cherish’s family, things start to get strange — and then dangerous.

cover of Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes, featuring image of gloved space suit hand pushed up against the inside of a portal window

Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes (February 8)

I love a “crew in space discovers abandoned ship and decides to investigate” story! In this case, it’s Claire Kovalik and her beacon repair crew, who are getting ready to return to Earth when they pick up a strange distress signal. They decide to check it out. Wow, are they going to be sorry…This is a tale of terror a bit like Event Horizon mixed with a little Avenue Five.

cover of Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones, orange with a metal hook ripping a section of the cover out next to the title

Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones (August 2)

And this sequel to 2021’s My Heart Is a Chainsaw! A favorite trope of horror franchises is the “hero returns home just as the killings start again” storyline. It’s the “one last job” of the horror genre. So of course SGJ is going to use it for his novels that are literally explainers of horror sub-genres! In Don’t Fear the Reaper, Jade Daniels, the horror-obsessed protagonist of Chainsaw, returns to her hometown just as a killer escapes custody.

House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson placeholder cover, black with white font

House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson (September 27)

From the author of The Year of Witching comes a novel set in the same universe! Marion Shaw is so desperate to get away from her life of poverty that she takes a job as a bloodmaid in the far north. There it is her job to provide blood for the mysterious Countess Lisavet to drink.This practice is a sign of nobility, she’s told. But when Marion’s fellow bloodmaids start to go missing, she begins to suspect her life is in danger.

cover of Jawbone by Mónica Ojeda; illustration of two young women's faces sew together down the middle

Jawbone by Mónica Ojeda, Translated by Sarah Booker (February 8)

And this is a wild, fever dream of a novel about two adventurous best friends, Fernanda and Annelise. Things are pretty boring for them at the Delta Bilingual Academy, so they make their own fun. Which includes dangerous spelunking and increasing bizarre rituals, that will eventually land them in mortal danger. Meanwhile, their teacher Miss Clara gets closer and closer to losing her own grip on reality.

cover of Just Like Mother by Anne Heltzel, photo of creepy plastic doll face resting on a bed of silk

Just Like Mother by Anne Heltzel (May 17)

Maeve and her cousin were raised in a cult when they were children. Now adults, Maeve is contacted by Andrea, who she hasn’t heard from in years. Andrea has made millions with her fertility clinic and wants Maeve back by her side. But Andrea’s reemergence in Maeve’s life is triggering painful memories. And she’s got a lot more horror to come when she discovers what is really going on with Andrea.

cover of The Legacy of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson, photo of a young Black woman in profile with another young woman in the background

The Legacy of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson (May 17)

And I love this series about a young woman whose blood generates a new murderous version of herself! Molly Southbourne has spent her life trying to be careful, for fear of bleeding and creating monsters. In the final book of the trilogy, a legion of these creations band together, and discover their origins, which seem to lie in Russia.

cover of Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin, photo of two plums in a red mesh bag with a bite taken out of one of them

Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin (February 22)

And finally, a book about the apocalypse that takes trans women and men into account at the end times! This wild, violent novel is about Beth and Fran, who spend the end times harvesting the organs of feral men in order to stay alive. Trust me when I tell you that you have read nothing like this before. And kudos to the person who designed that cover — it’s nuts.

cover of Mary: An Awakening of Terror by Nat Cassidy; photo of woman with towel around head sitting in a bath of bloody water with a book and a glass of wine

Mary: An Awakening of Terror by Nat Cassidy (July 19)

And I haven’t read this one yet, but it sounds promising and seriously disturbing! It’s about a middle-aged woman named Mary, who begins experiencing changes. But these middle life changes aren’t just hot flashes. They seem to be linking her to a notorious serial killer. And when the killings start up again, she begins to wonder if she’s the cause — or even the killer.

cover of Road of Bones by Christopher Golden; aerial image of snowy forest and road made up to look like a skull

Road of Bones by Christopher Golden (January 25)

And a Christopher Golden book is always a frightfully good time! It’s set in a real location: Siberia’s Kolyma Highway, a 1200-mile road of packed gravel within driving distance of the Arctic Circle. Under the gravel are over the skeletons of over 600,000 gulag prisoners who helped build the road. What a ripe spot for hauntings! This novel is about an American documentarian and his team who travel to the “Road of Bones” to report on it, and discover a lot of scary stuff for themselves. (Full disclosure: Golden is a friend of mine, but I first met him because I was such a big fan of his work. He’s one of the nicest people on the planet, and I hope someday you can attend one of his events in person too.)

cover of Such Sharp Teeth by Rachel Harrison placeholder, black with white font

Such Sharp Teeth by Rachel Harrison (October 4)

And last, but not least, we are getting a werewolf novel from the author of two of my favorite recent scary books! Harrison is the author of The Return and Cackle, and this time, she’s getting all lycanthropic with a story about a young woman who is attacked by an animal after she hits it with her car. Rory Morris survives the attack, and not only does she heal, but things seem better than ever. Her sense are heightened, she feels stronger, her teeth are sharper — oh, wait, nope. Dammit, she might be a werewolf. I NEED THIS RIGHT NOW.

I hope you found some fabulous horror to haunt your TBR! And if horror is your thing, be sure to sign up for our horror newsletter The Fright Stuff, and check out Why Are Horror Novels So Obsessed with Mushrooms? and 9 Horror Novels for Foodies.