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My Top Ten Most Anticipated Female-Written Horror Novels | Kallie Weisgarber

My Top Ten Most Anticipated Female-Written Horror Novels 
Kallie Weisgarber

February is Women in Horror Month and I am celebrating by reading works from lots of female authors. I think that all readers should be making a conscious effort to read female authors in February and every other month. The fact is that horror is largely a male-driven industry. Go to any major book store’s horror section (if they have one) and count how many female authors you see on the shelves. I’ve done the legwork and I can tell you that it is not a lot. Male authors are great, don’t get me wrong, but there are some female authors that will blow you away. But you’ll only be able to be blown away by female horror authors if you can find their books, and as I said, they just aren’t really stocked on shelves. That’s why you should be actively seeking out female authors to read.

It would be cool to keep reading female authors after February is over, right? So I’ve made a list of upcoming horror releases from female authors to keep you reading women all year. 

1. The Deep - Alma Katsu

Release Date: March 5, 2020

Someone, or something, is haunting the ship. That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the Titanic from the moment they set sail. The Titanic's passengers expected to enjoy an experience befitting the much-heralded ship's maiden voyage, but instead, amid mysterious disappearances and sudden deaths, find themselves in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone. While some of the guests and crew shrug off strange occurrences, several--including maid Annie Hebbley, guest Mark Fletcher, and millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim--are convinced there's something more sinister going on. And then disaster strikes.

Years later, Annie, having survived that fateful night, has attempted to put her life back together by going to work as a nurse on the sixth sailing of the Britannic, newly refitted as a hospital ship to support British forces fighting World War I. When she happens across an unconscious Mark, now a soldier, she is at first thrilled and relieved to learn that he too survived the tragic night four years earlier. But soon his presence awakens deep-buried feelings and secrets, forcing her to reckon with the demons of her past--as they both discover that the terror may not yet be over.

Featuring an ensemble cast of characters and effortlessly combining the supernatural with the height of the historical disaster, The Deep is an exploration of love and destiny, desire and innocence, and, above all, a quest to understand how our choices can lead us inexorably toward our doom.

Why I’m excited about this book:

Alma Katsu is an amazing writer. The Hunger was a wonderful book. Also, I am OBSESSED with deep-sea creatures. It’s like this book was personally made for me.


2. The Return- Rachel Harrison

Release Date: March 24, 2020

An edgy and haunting debut novel about a group of friends who reunite after one of them has returned from a mysterious two-year disappearance.

Julie is missing, and the missing don't often return. But Elise knows Julie better than anyone, and she feels in her bones that her best friend is out there and that one day she'll come back. She's right. Two years to the day that Julie went missing, she reappears with no memory of where she's been or what happened to her.

Why I’m excited about this book: 

I love finding new-to-me-authors and Rachel Harrison is just that. I love a good mystery and this book seems to be full of them. Also, the cover is hot pink and I am here for it.


3. The Ancestor: A Novel- Danielle Trussoni

Release Date: April 7, 2020

It feels like a fairy tale when Alberta ”Bert” Monte receives a letter addressed to “Countess Alberta Montebianco” at her Hudson Valley, New York, home that claims she’s inherited a noble title, money, and a castle in Italy. While Bert is more than a little skeptical, the mystery of her aristocratic family’s past, and the chance to escape her stressful life for a luxury holiday in Italy, is too good to pass up.

At first, her inheritance seems like a dream come true: a champagne-drenched trip on a private jet to Turin, Italy; lawyers with lists of artwork and jewels bequeathed to Bert; a helicopter ride to an ancestral castle nestled in the Italian Alps below Mont Blanc; a portrait gallery of ancestors Bert never knew existed; and a cellar of expensive vintage wine for Bert to drink.

But her ancestry has a dark side, and Bert soon learns that her family history is particularly complicated. As Bert begins to unravel the Montebianco secrets, she begins to realize her true inheritance lies not in a legacy of ancestral treasures, but in her very genes.

Why I’m excited about this book:

This seems like another mystery for me to solve and as I said, I have this weird need to solve mysteries. It looks like it could go a little supernatural, too, which sounds great to me.


4. The Haunting of Ashburn House- Darcy Coates

Release Date: March 3, 2020

There's something wrong with Ashburn House...

The ancient building has been the subject of rumors for close to a century. Its owner, Edith, refused to let guests inside and rarely visited the nearby town. Following Edith's death, her sole surviving relative, Adrienne, inherits the property. Adrienne's only possessions are a suitcase of luggage, twenty dollars, and her pet cat. Ashburn House is a lifeline she can't afford to refuse. Adrienne doesn't believe in ghosts, but it's hard to ignore the unease that grows as she explores her new home. Strange messages have been etched into the wallpaper, an old grave is hidden in the forest behind the house, and eerie portraits in the upstairs hall seem to watch her every movement.

As she uncovers more of the house's secrets, Adrienne begins to believe the whispered rumors about Ashburn may hold more truth than she ever suspected. The building has a bleak and grisly past, and as she chases the threads of a decades-old mystery, Adrienne realizes she's become the prey to something deeply unnatural and intensely resentful.


Only one thing is certain: Ashburn's dead are not at rest.


Why I’m excited about this book:

HAUNTED HOUSES BOOKS ARE MY JAM. This book has haunted houses, mysteries, and supernatural elements. This seems like a binge-worthy book.


5. Velocities: Stories- Kath Koja

Release Date: April 21, 2020

From the award-winning author of The Cipher and Buddha Boy, comes Velocities, Kathe Koja’s second electrifying collection of short fiction. Thirteen stories, two never before published, all flying at the speed of strange.

Why I’m excited about this book:

I really like to have a “background book” at all times. Meaning I have the books I would normally read and then one book that I read a little bit of between them. Short story collections are perfect for a background book and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing with this book come April


6. Thin Places- Kay Chronister

Release Date: April 14, 2020

Kay Chronister’s remarkable debut collection of modern horror tales, Thin Places, echoes with the ghosts of Shirley Jackson and Charlotte Perkins Gilman while forging its own unique gothic sensibility. Here there be monsters! And witches!

These are tales of monstrous mothers and dark desires. Love, grief, death; and the exquisite pain and joy of life. With transcendent prose, Chronister chronicles the lives of powerful women and children; wicked witches and demons. These are the traumatic ghosts we all carry, and Chronister knows what it means to be human and humane. Powerful and hypnotic, these are tales you won’t forget, from a vibrant new voice.

Why I’m excited about this book:

Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s THE YELLOW WALLPAPER is one of my favorite reads. Anything that pays homage to Gilman or Shirley Jackson is sure to be a hit in my book. This seems like it would also be a good background book for me.


7. Last Ones Left Alive- Sarah Davis-Goff

Release Date: August 27, 2020

Raised in isolation by her mother and Maeve on a small island off the coast of a post-apocalyptic Ireland, Orpen’s life has revolved around training to fight a threat she’s never seen. More and more she feels the call of the mainland, and the prospect of finding other survivors. But that is where the danger lies, too, in the form of the flesh-eating menace known as the skrake.

Then disaster strikes. Alone, pushing an unconscious Maeve in a wheelbarrow, Orpen decides her last hope is abandoning the safety of the island and journeying across the country to reach the legendary banshees, the rumored all-female fighting force that battles the skrake.

But the skrake are not the only threat…

Sarah Davis-Goff's Last Ones Left Alive is a brilliantly original imagining of a young woman's journey to discover her true identity.


Why I’m excited about this book:

An all-female fighting force that battles zombies? Yea, that’s all I needed to hear. Then you tell me there is a young woman finding herself while also battling zombies? I mean, come on, this book sounds kick ass.


8. Wonderland- Zoje Stage

Release Date: June 16, 2020

If Shirley Jackson wrote The Shining, it might look like this novel from the acclaimed author of Baby Teeth: A mother must become a protector when unnatural forces threaten her family's new and improved life in a rural farmhouse.

The Bennett family - artist parents and two precocious children - leave their familiar urban surroundings for a new home in far upstate New York. They're an hour from the nearest city, a mile from the nearest house, and everyone has their own room for the very first time. Shaw, the father, even gets his own painting studio, now that he and his wife Orla, a retired dancer, have agreed that it's his turn to pursue his passion. But none of the Bennetts expect what lies waiting in the lovely woods, where secrets run dark and deep. Orla must finally find a way to communicate with - not just resist - this unknown entity that is coming to her family, calling to them from the land, in the earth, beneath the trees ... and in their minds.

Why I’m excited about this book:

I am the mother of twin daughters and any book where a parent needs to fight for their child(ren) automatically has me hooked. Also, weird crap in the woods scares me.


9. Flyaway- Kathleen Jennings

Release Date: July 28, 2020

In a small Western Queensland town, a reserved young woman receives a note from one of her vanished brothers—a note that makes question her memories of their disappearance and her father’s departure.

A beguiling story that proves that gothic delights and uncanny family horror can live—and even thrive—under a burning sun, Flyaway introduces readers to Bettina Scott, whose search for the truth throws her into tales of eerie dogs, vanished schools, cursed monsters, and enchanted bottles.

Why I’m excited about this book:

Did you know that I like mysteries? I feel like I might have mentioned that. Here is another family horror that is going to suck me in, chew me up and spit me out, I can just tell.


10. Beneath the Rising- Premee Mohamed

Release Date: March 3, 2020

All the Birds in the Sky meets Lovecraft Country in this whimsical coming-of-age story about two kids in the middle of a war of eldritch horrors from outside spacetime…Nick Prasad and Joanna “Johnny” Chambers have been friends since childhood. She’s rich, white, and a genius; he’s poor, brown, and secretly in love with her. But when Johnny invents a clean reactor that could eliminate fossil fuels and change the world, she awakens the primal, evil Ancient ones set on subjugating humanity.

From the oldest library in the world to the ruins of Nineveh, hunted at every turn, they need to trust each other completely to survive…


Why I’m excited about this book:

Coming-of-age-horror is a new found love of mine and I’m a big Lovecraft fan. Here we have a book that promises Lovecraft type monsters and a coming of age story. Obviously I am in.

That’s it. Ten upcoming horror novels all written by females to keep you reading women in horror long after February has ended.

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