Some people just love a good scare, and while The Pope’s Exorcist is spooking fans at theaters, hardcore horror fans know that a great horror book can build tension and provide chilling narratives for lovers of the genre. May 2023 is filled with great horror releases from both new authors and ones readers will recognize from some of their favorite books.
Horror movies often use a “show, don’t tell” method where the threat is external and constantly lingering around every proverbial corner. Novels, on the other hand, don’t have the benefit of visuals for their readers, but that shouldn’t be taken as a disadvantage. Instead, horror stories in book form often have deeper characters who are forced to face down their demons, both externally and internally. Investing more in characters makes the stories more relatable for readers, and the result is that many horror books deliver amazing tales with compelling characters that stay with the reader long after the final page is turned.
Let’s take a look at the best horror novels coming in May 2023:
Killing It – Mike Bockoven, May 23
If you’ve read the excellent FantasticLand, you already know all about how great a storyteller Mike Bockoven is. If you haven’t read FantasticLand, you seriously should, as it is a great story about the worst in human nature when theme park employees are trapped inside the grounds for weeks after a major storm.
Killing It looks to continue Bockoven’s polished character-building and storytelling, featuring four comedians inside a famous New York comedy club who discover that the club holds dark secrets from its past. When those secrets emerge in the form of spirits from the club’s dark history, the comedians are no longer laughing — they’re fighting for their lives.
Conjuring the Witch – Jessica Leonard, May 2
Sometimes, the scariest things are what people who have power will do in order to keep it. That is the central theme of Conjuring the Witch, a story in which a small town’s secrets are let loose from deep in the nearby woods. Jessica Leonard tells the story of Nicole Warby, who walks the woods despite the town reverend warning of witches in the woods. When she returns, she isn’t quite the same, and a series of events unfolds that exposes the secrets of the town.
The Alchemy of Moonlight – David Ferraro, May 30
When Emile is given an ultimatum to either get married or be disowned for being gay, he flees to the mansion of Count Montoni to live and serve as a servant. Soon after, Emile discovers a body on the grounds, and David Ferraro’s graphic novel The Alchemy of Moonlight takes us on a journey with Emile as he must confront his family and Count Montoni, as well as deal with the new affection and attention he’s receiving from a good-looking doctor and the count’s nephew.
This World Belongs to Us: An Anthology of Horror Stories About Bugs, May 23
Indiana Jones is returning to the big screen soon in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, and who can forget the famed archaeologist’s encounters with some pretty disgusting bugs in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? If those scenes are your bag, then you’ll want to check out This World Belongs to Us. This anthology is exactly what it says it is. An anthology of scary stories about bugs. Slimy, squirmy, scary bugs. In stories that you’ll definitely want to read right before you go to sleep.
Pet Peeves – Nicole Goux, May 25
Everyone loves a good doggo. If you don’t, you’re a monster and should have your own horror novel. In Nicole Goux’s breakout debut solo graphic novel, Bobbie lives an unrewarding life. Her job is unfulfilling and her social life is lacking, and the only good thing in her life is her adorable little dog. Her dog is always there for her and always helps her feel better, but is her dog intentionally working to eliminate everything else from her life? In Pet Peeves, the adorable dog might not be as adorable as we originally thought.
Let us know if you plan to pick up any of these promising horror books of May 2023.