A little over a week to go till we begin the 2019 Women in Horror Month, and I am excited! I’ve been compiling a list of books to read, review and promote as part of the celebration of WIHM at my blog. It was a challenge compiling this list; there are just so many talented women horror writers out there, and so many, well, just plain damned good books to choose from.
What follows is a list of books from women authors that I feel will give a good sampling of titles to read for WIHM. These are all books that caught my eye, either from articles I’ve read, recommendations on Amazon, or by word of mouth. Each of these titles captured my attention and I look forward to reading them. Some I’ve already read, but the bulk of these novels will be a new experience for me, and I look forward to reading as many of them as I can through February. I invite anyone and everyone reading this blog post to join me in celebrating WIHM by choosing one or more books to read from the list that follows. Enjoy!
Bailey’s Cafe, by Gloria Naylor. I hemmed and hawed about including this book in a list of horror stories. I’m sure there are those in the literary world that will raise dudgeons to new heights at the suggestion that Bailey’s Cafe is a horror novel. Bailey’s Cafe is a literary masterpiece, they’ll say, while wringing their hands in dismay that I would consign the novel to the realm of genre fiction. In response, I would have no choice but to open the book and direct their attention to any of several passages that are dark, disturbing, and quite chilling. I will agree that Naylor’s novel transcends genre, but I firmly believe that any fan of horror fiction could pick up a copy of Bailey’s Cafe and thoroughly enjoy it. I first read this book around twenty years ago. I remember sitting down to start reading shortly after dinner one night. I finished the book in the wee hours of the next morning, and I was so stunned by what I had read that I couldn’t go to sleep for another hour. I just sat there thinking about it. Yeah, it’s that good. If you only have time to read one book this month, I urge you to give this one a shot. Not only do I regard this as a great piece of fiction by a woman writer, I think it’s a masterpiece of modern American literature, period.
Black Wings, by Megan Hart. I received an advance reading copy of this novel from Flame Tree Press, and I’ll be buying an official copy when it’s released on February 14th. I’m two-thirds of the way through the book now and loving it. The story is about a young girl with a genius-plus intelligence who begins exhibiting some disquieting signs. It’s a gripping story, and so far, it’s keeping me guessing as to what’s going to happen. I’ll be writing and posting a formal review in a few days, but for now, I’ll say I definitely recommend this to all fans of horror fiction. Watch for this one!
The Haunting of Henderson Close, by Catherine Cavendish. I read this one earlier this year for the first time, and it was my introduction to the writing of Catherine Cavendish. I’ve posted about the novel here on my blog and on Amazon. No need to rehash my review here; let it suffice to say if you enjoy a good ghost story, you’ll love this novel. It’s haunting, creepy, scary and sad, and I loved every minute I spent reading it. The author has a beautiful and elegant prose that I loved, and I look forward to reading more by her.
Skin Folk: Stories, by Nalo Hopkinson. This book, and, to be honest, all the rest of the following titles are ones that I have not read yet. I selected them because everything I’ve heard or read about them indicates that they will be good reads. I encountered this collection of stories while browsing around on Amazon. According to the description on Amazon, it’s a set of stories that range from “science fiction to Caribbean folklore,” and from “passionate love to chilling horror.” I enjoy stories that delve into folklore and mythology, and as I really haven’t read anything dealing with Caribbean folklore, it was a no-brainer putting it on my list of books to read in the coming month.
Roses and Rot, by Kat Howard. I learned of this novel after hearing it discussed on one of my favorite podcasts, Three Guys With Beards. Kat Howard was a guest on an episode from 2016, and they discussed her then just-released novel. The book is basically a modern fairy tale that explores the dangers involved in dealing with the Fae. This sounds like a really fun read, and I’m looking forward to it.
Black Magic Women: Terrifying Tales by Scary Sisters, edited by Sumiko Saulson. February is not only WIHM, it’s also African-American History Month, and with that in mind, this title and the next one are books I recommend as a celebration of both themes. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this anthology, and I look forward to enjoying the stories therein.
Sycorax’s Daughters, edited by Kinitra Brooks, PHD. Another great collection of stories written by African-American women horror writers. I will be writing more about this book and Black Magic Women through the month of February.
Rust Maidens, by Gwendolyn Kiste. “Something’s happening to the girls on Denton Street.” That’s the beginning of the description for this novel on Amazon, and when I read further, I knew I had to get this book. It sounds like one of the more original ideas in horror fiction in recent years, and I am eager to read this novel. Check it out, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
The Hole, by Hye-Young Pyun. This novel is about a man named Oghi, who awakens after an accident to find he’s paralyzed and disfigured, and in the care of his mother-in-law. Needless to say, creepy things begin happening, and the story spirals into horror as Oghi tries to find a way to escape. Hye-Young Pyun is an emerging writer of horror fiction, and from all accounts, is an author to watch. The two books she’s released thus far have garnered acclaim. Can’t wait to read this one.
All the Names They Used For God, by Anjali Sachdev. A collection of stories by another emerging writer. Sachdev’s book was named one of the best books of the year by NPR. As with the others on the list, I’m eager to delve into this book.
Devil’s Call, by J. Danielle Dorn. Three men murder another man in the presence of his pregnant wife. The men don’t realize that the woman is one in a long line of witches. Hell ensues. Yep, I’m definitely looking forward to this story.
The Fray, by Holly McKee. This is the first novel by McKee, and it sounds like a good one. An expedition into the Alaskan wilds and a fight for survival, both from the natural dangers of the wilderness and terrifying mythical beings. I will definitely be reading this one.
Bella Strega, by Elizabeth Price. A woman unjustly accused of being a witch and subsequently put to death leads to a modern day tale of terror aboard a haunted ship. Sounds like a great, scary read. As with the others, can’t wait to crack it open.
That’s it for this list. I hope you enjoy reading them, and that you use this list to spur yourself to find and read other stories by women horror writers. There are tons of great ones out there; I haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s available. Start your journey today!