Halloween is almost here, m’dears! I recently had the chance to do some traveling and get caught up on four horror/Gothic/spooky adjacent books from my TBR (To Be Read) list/mountain, and I want to share the bounty with you. We’ve got YA, we’ve got adult, we’ve got vampires, tree creatures, parasites, and more! So grab a cup of your favorite hot beverage and a blanket and settle in for some spooky reads.
Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas
From the publisher: Vampires and vaqueros face off on the Texas-Mexico border in this supernatural western from the author of The Hacienda.
I loved The Hacienda. I reviewed it for this blog back in 2021. And once again, Isabel is teaching me Mexican history via horror novels. This time the setting is 1840s Mexico near the Texas border. While The Hacienda was full of Gothic elements, VoEN is much more character driven. It’s historical fiction (with vampires) and a romantic subplot. Some might even call it a historical romance (with vampires). Regardless, there’s definitely the ‘bad communication’ trope which I do not care for. The historical aspects and the vampires themselves were fantastic, they just weren’t the stars. And that’s okay! It’s just not how the book is marketed. But it’s definitely a good read for Spooky Season.
The Galesburg Public Library owns Vampires of El Norte.
The Sacrifice by Rin Chupeco
From the publisher: An island oasis turns deadly when a terrifying legend threatens to kill off visitors one by one in this haunting novel from the highly acclaimed author of The Girl from the Well and the Bone Witch trilogy.
Set in the Philippines, The Sacrifice follows an American reality show cast and crew as they arrive to investigate the legends surrounding an uninhabited island. Picking up a local youth as their guide, Bad Things quickly begin happening. Just like all the locals said! This YA novel is screaming (ha) for a well done film adaption. So trade the Illinois chill for the sunshine of southeast Asia. Just mind the plants.
The Sacrifice is available through interlibrary loan.
Leech by Hiron Ennes
From the publisher: In an isolated chateau, as far north as north goes, the baron’s doctor has died. The doctor’s replacement has a mystery to solve: discovering how the Institute lost track of one of its many bodies.
Okay, so this one is weird. I can’t say much more plot-wise due to spoilers, but for 500 years the Interprovincial Medical Institute has been hoarding all the medical information left after we humans have destroyed the world (several times over) and replacing human doctors with their own. Leech is Gothic and body horror and medical horror and parasitology and post-apocalyptic civilizations. So if any of those are your jam, I think you’ll like this!
The Galesburg Public Library owns Leech.
The Liar of Red Valley by Walter Goodwater
From the publisher:
Don’t trust the Liar.
Do not cross the King.
Never, ever go in the River.
If American Gothic is your genre and/or you’re a fan of Welcome to Night Vale, then you’ll enjoy this one. Red Valley is a sleepy California town where Weird Things happen, and it’s just expected. Outside of the town, there’s senators and a governor and a president that we’d find familiar, but the King rules the town. I finished it in less than a day, much of which I should have been sleeping.
The Liar of Red Valley is available through interlibrary loan.