By Alexandra Constable, Hayley Cadel, Maisie Clarke and Yashika M.
Halloween is nearly here, and for this issue the trends team is exploring horror fiction in all its forms as well as publishers who’ve made it their specialism. Horror fiction is often sub categorised into various genres of psychological horror and supernatural horror. The aim is to frighten the audience with supernatural events that create an eerie atmosphere for the reader. Horror fiction has had another resurgence this season and there are plenty of books, and publishing houses, that may have something to spark your interest. Arkham House is a prominent publishing house that has a rich history in publishing horror fiction in collaboration with notable authors like H.P. Lovecraft. A Black and Endless Sky by Matthew Lyons and Just like Home by Sarah Gailey have been doing rounds amongst readers recently, with the interest garnering attention and new love for horror. Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin has also been topping the lists for the best horror fiction of 2022. Let's dive into more into the world of horror through more literary fictional creations and explore its resurgence.
Gothic and horror fiction have enjoyed a huge rise in popularity with the increased use of streaming platforms such as Netflix – series such as The Haunting of Hill House (2018) and The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020), for example, catalysed a resurgence of interest in the novels of Shirley Jackson. Although not featured in the Netflix series, we also recommend Jackson’s other horror classics this spooky season, such as We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Hangsaman. If you want to pick up a more modern text this Halloween, why not open Sally Hinchcliffe’s Hare House, a modern-day witch tale set in Scotland and based in an eerie cottage on the Hare estate. You might also want to check out The Final Girl Support Group, a 2021 horror novel by writer Grady Hendrix. The novel centres around an all-female support group that formed from women who had each survived horrific and macabre massacres. It has recently been announced that the novel will receive a television adaptation in the near future.
Moving onto non-fiction, there’s plenty of real-life that fits into this horror category. The recently released The Ruin of All Witches by Malcolm Gaskill recounts the witch hunts in Massachusetts by focusing on a family tragedy. Having been shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize and the current Waterstones non-fiction book, this will be both a gripping and chilling Halloween read. Alternatively, as we’re all currently bingeing Dahmer on Netflix and the interest in true crime podcasts shows no sign of slowing, this Halloween readers may turn to true crime. If the Netflix show has left you curious, but confused, Christopher Berry-Dee’s book Inside the Mind of Jeffrey Dahmer may be the book to turn to this Halloween, with Berry-Dee using experience and psychiatry to analyse the motivation, behaviour and horror of Dahmer’s crimes. On the other hand, for a broader-reaching book, lawyer and writer Kate Morgan’s Murder: A Biography takes readers through the history of murder law by documenting the crimes and true stories of murder cases.
Whilst Halloween acts as the perfect season to promote horror, there are also publishers making horror their niche, exclusively publishing horror, acting as a one-stop shop. One Scottish publisher, Haunt Publishing, set up independently in 2018, with the focus to explore gothic and horror literature. Haunt Publishing aims to publish books and poetry which “haunt” the reader long after they have finished reading. We like the sound of Anna Cheung’s debut poetry collection, Where Decay Sleeps, which centres around the undertaker’s table and reveals the seven stages of decay, and also Joanna Corrance’s The Gingerbread Men which has echoes of The Shining. The Gingerbread Man combines horror and Christmas against a Scottish backdrop, in a book which sounds truly eerie. If you’re a keen fan of horror, or want to read more on the genre, Haunt Publishing has a newsletter and you can follow them on Twitter to keep up-to-date with all their releases!
Overall, there is a wealth of books to dig into this Halloween to fully feel the chills of the spookiest month of the year with gothic horror, such as Shirley Jackson’s classics, exciting new releases, or true-crime novels to accompany your Netflix binge-watching sessions. There are plenty of options for you to choose from, especially with the emergence of horror-focused publishing houses. We hope you may take some inspiration from this article – it is clear that it won’t be difficult to find the perfect fright-filled book this October!