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Just in Time for Halloween, 13 Spooky Speculative Books

Halloween is here, and even though 2020 is scary enough as it is, we couldn’t resist gathering a list of thirteen of our favorite spOoOoky books. Turn off the news for a bit, shut the computer down, and check out some of these fictional scares instead!

We’ve included links to those works at Bookshop in the titles. Bookshop supports both Sirens and independent bookstores, so if you’re looking to purchase any of these titles, they’re a great option!

1. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood Cas hunts ghosts. But when he meets rage-filled, vengeful haunt Anna, everything about his too-tidy life changes. The revelation of this work is Anna, Blake’s study in dichotomies, in violence, in victimization, and in heroism.

2. Black Cranes ed. by Lee Murray and Geneve Flynn

Black Cranes Black Cranes collects beautifully eerie, darkly real works by Southeast Asian authors. These stories run the gamut from nightmarish folktales to chilling futurism, but they all revolve around the horror of cultural expectations.

3. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Cemetery Boys A Latinx trans boy with a traditional family tries to prove he’s a brujo by summoning a ghost. But he summons the wrong boy—and falls for him instead! A spooky yet cozy and heartfelt book about strength, affirmation, and honoring your truth.

4. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Gideon the Ninth Gideon hates every fucking second of her time as cavalier primary to Harrowhark, master necromancer, as they navigate an impossible puzzle in a house of death in space. Muir’s work is gloriously, ferociously ambitious, defiant—and hilarious.

5. How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend by Linda Addison

How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend A collection of horror poetry and prose, How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend absolutely nails the low, creeping dread of giving yourself away in pieces. It’s not death itself that serves up the fear here, but what comes after.

6. Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Into the Drowning Deep A missing ship and crew. A scientific excursion to the Mariana Trench. Tory Stewart just wanted to learn what happened to her sister, and instead finds bloodthirsty mermaids. A gory, scary tale of how far one will go for revenge.

7. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Mexican Gothic In 1950s Mexico, socialite Noemí finds herself trapped in a house of horrors both supernatural and all-too-human. This exploration of invasions, colonization, and ultimately autonomy is the pulsing heart of modern feminist horror.

8. The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

The Luminous Dead Caver Gyre is trapped below ground on a far-flung planet, with only expedition director Em in her ear—Em, who lies, who manipulates, who injects Gyre’s body with unknown drugs. An utterly suffocating, utterly magnificent horror novel.

9. The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

The Girl from the Well “I am where dead children go,” begins Chupeco’s debut novel about a potent spirit who uses all her deathly power to punish those who hurt kids. A must-read for anyone who’s ever sympathized more with the ghost than the people it haunts.

10. The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke

The Scapegracers When Sideways Pike is paid to do magic at the cool girls’ party, it goes gloriously right. But magic going right has consequences. Feral, delicious, and queer af, this hard-edged ode to fierce female friendship is a whole vibe.

11. The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood

The Unspoken Name An ambitious fantasy, smeared across a hundred vibrant worlds, acknowledging the old tropes of the genre and then soundly subverting them. The Unspoken Name reads like Larkwood asked herself what scared her the most—and the answer was “gods.”

12. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

Vassa in the Night In a world of creeping night, Baba Yaga runs a chain of nightmare convenience stores in Brooklyn—and she’s all too happy to behead shoplifters. Headstrong Vassa stubbornly takes on a suicide mission for lightbulbs. Enter bravery and cleverness.

13. Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Wilder Girls Power’s quarantine book might be a bit much right now, but her exploration of female friendship, queer love, and resilience through a little mystery and a lot of body horror is stunning, revelatory, a must-read.

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