A chill creeps into the air, the leaves start to turn, the days grow shorter, and Halloween looms large. For Stephen King fans, fall is the perfect season to settle in with a mesmerizing new work of horror, suspense, or dark fantasy. We have a great selection to see you through the upcoming months, from an anthology that King curated to a must-read crime thriller from Tana French. Here’s a list of new books we recommend for Stephen King fans, and why they’re worth a read! Publishers’ descriptions included.
Six Scary Stories selected by Stephen King
Stephen King discovered these stories when he judged a competition run by Hodder & Stoughton and the Guardian to celebrate the publication of his own collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. He was so impressed with the entries that he recommended they be published together in one book. The six stories are: “Wild Swimming” by Elodie Harper, “Eau-de-Eric” by Manuela Saragosa, “The Spots” by Paul Bassett Davies, “The Unpicking” by Michael Button, “La Mort de L’Amant” by Stuart Johnstone, and “The Bear Trap” by Neil Hudson.
Reader beware: The stories will make you think twice before cuddling up to your old soft toy, dipping your toe into the water, or counting the spots on a leopard…
Release date: Out now
Why we recommend it: This chilling collection was compiled and edited by Stephen King himself. If you prefer your horror fiction in quick, trembling bursts, this book is for you.
The Hike by Drew Magary
When Ben, a suburban family man, takes a business trip to rural Pennsylvania, he decides to spend the afternoon before his dinner meeting on a short hike. Once he sets out into the woods behind his hotel, he quickly comes to realize that the path he has chosen cannot be given up easily. With no choice but to move forward, Ben finds himself falling deeper and deeper into a world of man-eating giants, bizarre demons, and colossal insects.
On a quest of epic, life-or-death proportions, Ben finds help comes in some of the most unexpected forms, including a profane crustacean and a variety of magical objects, tools, and potions. Desperate to return to his family, Ben is determined to track down the “Producer,” the creator of the world in which he is being held hostage and the only one who can free him from the path.
At once bitingly funny and emotionally absorbing, Magary’s novel is a remarkably unique addition to the contemporary fantasy genre, one that draws as easily from the world of classic folk tales as it does from video games. In The Hike, Magary takes readers on a daring odyssey away from our day-to-day grind and transports them into an enthralling world propelled by heart, imagination, and survival.
Release date: Out now
Why we recommend it: A man stumbles through the woods into an epic, fantastical adventure, described by Library Journal as The Dark Tower series mixed with Homer’s Odyssey, Alice in Wonderland, and the game King’s Quest. Get ready for strangeness and wonder, twists and turns.
Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton
For readers of Station Eleven and The Snow Child, Lily Brooks-Dalton’s haunting debut is the unforgettable story of two outsiders — a lonely scientist in the Arctic and an astronaut trying to return to Earth — as they grapple with love, regret, and survival in a world transformed.
Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, is consumed by the stars. For years he has lived in remote outposts, studying the sky for evidence of how the universe began. At his latest posting, in a research center in the Arctic, news of a catastrophic event arrives. The scientists are forced to evacuate, but Augustine stubbornly refuses to abandon his work. Shortly after the others have gone, Augustine discovers a mysterious child, Iris, and realizes that the airwaves have gone silent. They are alone.
At the same time, Mission Specialist Sullivan is aboard the Aether on its return flight from Jupiter. The astronauts are the first human beings to delve this deep into space, and Sully has made peace with the sacrifices required of her: a daughter left behind, a marriage ended. So far the journey has been a success. But when Mission Control falls inexplicably silent, Sully and her crewmates are forced to wonder if they will ever get home.
As Augustine and Sully each face an uncertain future against forbidding yet beautiful landscapes, their stories gradually intertwine in a profound and unexpected conclusion. In crystalline prose, Good Morning, Midnight poses the most important questions: What endures at the end of the world? How do we make sense of our lives? Lily Brooks-Dalton’s captivating debut is a meditation on the power of love and the bravery of the human heart.
Release date: Out now
Why we recommend it: King loves to place his characters in situations they can neither predict nor explain. In this spellbinding novel, two unique outsiders — an astronomer and an astronaut — must deal with a seemingly silent, empty world following a cataclysmic event.
In the Mountains of Madness by W. Scott Poole
In the Mountains of Madness interweaves the biography of the legendary writer with an exploration of Lovecraft as a phenomenon. It aims to explain this reclusive figure while also challenging some of the general views held by Lovecraft devotees, focusing specifically on the large cross-section of horror and science fiction fans who know Lovecraft through films, Role Playing Games, and video games directly influenced by his work but know little or nothing about him.
More than a traditional biography, In The Mountains of Madness will place Lovecraft and his work in a cultural context, as an artist more in tune with our time than his own. Much of the literary work on Lovecraft tries to place him in relation to Poe or M. R. James or Arthur Machen; these ideas have little meaning for most contemporary readers. In his provocative new book, Poole reclaims the true essence of Lovecraft in relation to the comics of Joe Lansdale, the novels of Stephen King, and some of the biggest blockbuster films in contemporary America, proving the undying influence of this rare and significant figure.
Release date: Out now
Why we recommend it: King cites Lovecraft as one of his earliest and greatest influences. Take a deeper look into the work of this legendary horror author and how his ideas have manifested in King’s fiction.
The Boys of Summer by Richard Cox
In 1979, a massive tornado devastates the city of Wichita Falls, Texas, leaving scores dead, thousands homeless, and nine-year-old Todd Willis in a coma, fighting for his life.
Four years later, Todd awakens to a world that looks the same but feels different in a way he can’t quite grasp. For Todd, it’s a struggle to separate fact from fiction as he battles lingering hallucinations from his long sleep.
The new friends Todd makes in 1983 are fascinated with his experience and become mesmerized by his strange relationship with the world. Together the five boys come of age during a dark, fiery summer where they find first love, betrayal, and a secret so terrible they agree to never speak of it again.
But darkness returns to Wichita Falls 25 years later, and the boys — now men — are forced to reunite and confront the wounds from their past. When their memories of that childhood summer refuse to align with reality, the friends embark upon a search for truth that will threaten their lives, and transform their understanding of each other — and the world itself — forever.
Release date: Out now
Why we recommend it: Five young boys experience something dark and devastating in a tornado-ravaged town in North Texas. But, much like the King classic It, the horrors they witness can only be suppressed for so long, and the group is compelled to reunite 25 years later.
We Eat Our Own by Kea Wilson
An ambitious debut novel by an original young writer, We Eat Our Own blurs the lines between life and art with the story of a film director’s unthinkable experiment in the Amazon.
When a nameless, struggling actor in 1970s New York gets the call that an enigmatic director wants him for an art film set in the Amazon, he doesn’t hesitate: He flies to South America, no questions asked. He quickly realizes he’s made a mistake. He’s replacing another actor who quit after seeing the script — a script the director now claims doesn’t exist. The movie is over budget. The production team seems headed for a breakdown. The air is so wet that the celluloid film disintegrates.
But what the actor doesn’t realize is that the greatest threat might be the town itself, and the mysterious shadow economy that powers this remote jungle outpost. Entrepreneurial Americans, international drug traffickers, and M-19 guerillas are all fighting for South America’s future — and the groups aren’t as distinct as you might think. The actor thought this would be a role that would change his life. Now he’s worried if he’ll survive it.
Inspired by a true story from the annals of 1970s Italian horror film, and told in dazzlingly precise prose, We Eat Our Own is a resounding literary debut, a thrilling journey behind the scenes of a shocking film, and a thoughtful commentary on violence and its repercussions.
Release date: Out now
Why we recommend it: If the preoccupations of the Richard Bachman books linger in your mind, you might want to try this surprising new read. The novel examines the blurry line between violence and violent entertainment, featuring a heady descent into sinister, compromised territory.
The Final Trade by Joe Hart
The thrilling sequel to the runaway bestseller The Last Girl.
Zoey is not the woman she once was. She’s watched her friends die at the hands of their captors, been hunted, and returned from the brink of death. Now she must find the truth about who she is.
In search of the family she never knew, Zoey learns of personal records stored in an Idaho missile silo that may contain the information she and the other women seek. With the help of her group of newfound friends, Zoey travels to the missile facility, but among the records, they uncover information that leads to an insidious and horrific new foe: the Fae Trade, a macabre carnival of slavery and pain.
Zoey’s journey into the darkest parts of the human psyche brings her perilously close to the ever-thinning line between good and evil, and the final cost in her quest for justice might be her own humanity.
Release date: Out now
Why we recommend it: The Stand gave us a glimpse into the havoc caused when society’s natural order is destroyed. Explore another shocking dystopian reality in The Final Trade — the second installment of the hugely popular Dominion trilogy — from an author who cites King as one of his primary influences.
Fractured by Catherine McKenzie
Julie Prentice and her family move across the country to the idyllic Mount Adams district of Cincinnati, hoping to evade the stalker who’s been terrorizing them ever since the publication of her bestselling novel, The Murder Game. Since Julie doesn’t know anyone in her new town, when she meets her neighbor John Dunbar, their instant connection brings measured hope for a new beginning. But she never imagines that a simple, benign conversation with him could set her life spinning so far off course.
We know where you live…
After a series of misunderstandings, Julie and her family become the target of increasingly unsettling harassment. Has Julie’s stalker found her, or are her neighbors out to get her, too? As tension in the neighborhood rises, new friends turn into enemies, and the results are deadly.
Release date: October 4
Why we recommend it: Misery fans will be hooked by this eerie, intimate tale of a novelist who moves to the distant suburbs in an attempt to escape a stalker — but can only run so far.
The Trespasser by Tana French
Being on the Murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point.
Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her catalogue-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her — except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before.
And that her death won’t stay in its neat by-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette’s road. Aislinn’s friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be.
Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can’t tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?
Release date: October 4
Why we recommend it: Readers in need of an absorbing new mystery after finishing the Bill Hodges trilogy should look no further than Tana French. Kings calls The Trespasser “terrific, terrifying, amazing, and the prose is incandescent.”
Stranded by Bracken MacLeod
Badly battered by an apocalyptic storm, the crew of the Arctic Promise find themselves in increasingly dire circumstances as they sail blindly into unfamiliar waters and an ominously thickening fog. Without functioning navigation or communication equipment, they are lost and completely alone. One by one, the men fall prey to a mysterious illness. Deckhand Noah Cabot is the only person unaffected by the strange force plaguing the ship and her crew, which does little to ease their growing distrust of him.
Dismissing Noah’s warnings of worsening conditions, the captain of the ship presses on until the sea freezes into ice and they can go no farther. When the men are ordered overboard in an attempt to break the ship free by hand, the fog clears, revealing a faint shape in the distance that may or may not be their destination. Noah leads the last of the able-bodied crew on a journey across the ice and into an uncertain future where they must fight for their lives against the elements, the ghosts of the past and, ultimately, themselves.
Release date: October 4
Why we recommend it: This suspense-filled tale involving an isolated, fog-drenched environment, a mysterious illness, and a survivor that must persevere at all costs bears many of the elements King is best known for.
Swift to Chase by Laird Barron
Laird Barron’s fourth collection gathers a dozen stories set against the backdrops of the Alaskan wilderness, far-future dystopias, and giallo-fueled nightmare vistas.
All hell breaks loose in a massive apartment complex when a modern day Jack the Ripper strikes under cover of a blizzard; a woman, famous for surviving a massacre, hits the road to flee the limelight and finds her misadventures have only begun; while tracking a missing B-movie actor, a team of man hunters crashes in the Yukon Delta and soon realize the Arctic is another name for hell; an atomic-powered cyborg war dog loyally assists his master in the overthrow of a far-future dystopian empire; following an occult initiation ritual, a man is stalked by a psychopathic sorority girl and her team of horrifically disfigured henchmen; a rich lunatic invites several high school classmates to his mansion for a night of sex, drugs, and CIA-funded black ops experiments; and other glimpses into occulted realities a razor’s slice beyond our own.
Combining hardboiled noir, psychological horror, and the occult, Swift to Chase continues three-time Shirley Jackson Award winner Barron’s harrowing inquiry into the darkness of the human heart.
Release date: October 7
Why we recommend it: Few writers can deliver spine-tingling terror like Stephen King. Laird Barron is one of those few.
The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike
One of the most popular writers working in Japan today, Mariko Koike is a recognized master of detective fiction and horror writing. Known in particular for her hybrid works that blend these styles with elements of romance, The Graveyard Apartment is arguably Koike’s masterpiece. Originally published in Japan in 1986, Koike’s novel is the suspenseful tale of a young family that believes it has found the perfect home to grow into, only to realize that the apartment’s idyllic setting harbors the specter of evil and that longer they stay, the more trapped they become.
This tale of a young married couple who harbor a dark secret is packed with dread and terror, as they and their daughter move into a brand new apartment building built next to a graveyard. As strange and terrifying occurrences begin to pile up, people in the building start to move out one by one, until the young family is left alone with someone… or something… lurking in the basement. The psychological horror builds moment after moment, scene after scene, culminating with a conclusion that will make you think twice before ever going into a basement again.
Release date: October 11
Why we recommend it: A claustrophobic tale featuring the scariest interior setting since The Shining.
Which of these new releases do you plan to read? Let us know in the comments!
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