Five New Horror Novels for Halloween 2021

Looking for something scary to read? Then check out these five new horror novels. All of these chilling tales of terror, which range from unsettling to deeply horrifying were published within the last year, so prepare for scares that are fresh and thrilling. Actually, with the exception of the last title on this list, all of the selections were published within the last two months! Whether you’re looking for something psychological or supernatural, I’m sure that you’ll find something spooky to chill you to the bone.

Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow is definitely at the top of my Halloween to-read list! I’m a sucker for retellings of classic stories, and this chilling tale, inspired by The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, promises to be a thrilling tale of mystery and murder! The story takes place more than 30 years after the original events–where Ichabod Crane was chased out of the town by the fiery specter he claimed did not exist. The village of Sleepy Hollow is a quiet place, and teenage Ben and his friends play-act the events of that fateful day, basing their adventures on stories that Ben’s grandfather, Brom Bones shared with him. But, when the boys discover the headless body of a murdered child in the woods, Ben is forced to reconsider everything he has ever known. Could the Headless Horseman be real after all? Or is there something more sinister at work?

When he’s just eight years old, Wayland Maynard watches as his father kills himself, and leaves behind a note that says I Am Not Who You Think I Am. The distraught boy’s troubles are not over, however, as he grapples with the mystery of who his father must be–if he’s not who Wayland thought he was. He keeps the note a secret, but eight years later, more trouble surfaces as Wayland makes a shocking discovery and realizes that his father’s suicide note is the key to unlocking a past full of secrets that his family wants to keep hidden. As Wayland and his friends discover strange messages, family secrets, and even a tragedy linked to his birth, he finds that it’s nearly impossible to trust those around him, including his friends, and that the note is to blame for it all. This twisting, pulse-pounding, and addictive book will keep you fixated until the last page.

In this chilling piece of alternate history, journalist Evangeline Kilhooley is assigned to write a “star profile” of the aging actor Bela Lugosi, who was most famous for his role in classic horror films, especially Count Dracula. During their interviews, Lugosi draws Evi into his history, including his Eastern European background, as he links the Old World Shadows to the twilight of modern horror. Along the way, Evi meets English expatriate Hugo Radelle, a fellow cinephile who offers to help her research. But, as their relationship deepens, Evi begins to suspect that Hugo knows more about her and her deceased soldier husband than he is letting on. Meanwhile, a menacing Darkness threatens Evi, Lugosi, and Hugo, stalking them as their histories and futures begin to intertwine. This Thing of Darkness is a perfect blending of mystery and horror for fans of old Hollywood and in particular, classic horror films.

Quiet, unassuming Jane Lawrence is practical to a fault. So, it comes as no surprise that she has already determined the most secure path for her life to take. That is, to find a husband in a marriage of convenience, who will allow her to retain her independence and continue to work. So, it appears almost too good to be true when she meets the handsome and reclusive doctor Augustine Lawrence, who agrees to marry her on the condition that she never visit Lindridge Hall–his family’s ancestral estate. But, when an accident on their wedding night strands Jane at Augustine’s door in the pitch black and the pouring rain, she discovers a very disturbing change in him. The dashing, courageous surgeon is gone, replaced by a terrified, paranoid man who cannot tell reality from nightmare, and who believes that Jane is a ghost come to haunt him. By morning, he has returned to normal, but for Jane, nothing can ever be normal again. The Death of Jane Lawrence is a chilling, terrifying tale that should be read in the company of others and the lights on.

A boarded-up house at the end of the street holds a series of terrifying secrets. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. A teenage girl who is not allowed outside–not after last time. A man who drinks alone in front of the TV, trying to ignore the gaps in his memory. A house cat who loves to nap and read the Bible. And the unspeakable secret that binds everything together will soon become unearthed–just like the thing that is buried out among the birch trees, when a new neighbor moves in next door. The Last House on Needless Street is a chilling tale that is not what you’d expect. As the publisher says, you think you’ve read this story before–but you’re wrong.

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Erin

I'm the Reader's Advisory Librarian at WPPL. My interests include old horror films, classic novels, manga and anime, paper-crafting, and plants. If you like my suggestions, you can request personalized recommendations from me on My Librarian page.