Spooky Season is here, and this week’s Three to Read is sure to thrill every horror lover. Whether you’re in the mood for a bone-chilling thriller to keep you up at night or a collection of delightfully unsettling short stories, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to discover a searing social horror, sixteen unsettling short stories, and a set of mysterious disappearances too spooky to print. Our award-winning authors James Han Mattson, Aliya Whiteley, and Erik Larson are sure to capture your attention with these new-release horror picks.
by James Han Mattson
A chilling and blisteringly relevant literary novel of social horror centered around a brutal killing that takes place in a full-contact haunted escape room—a provocative exploration of capitalism, hate politics, racial fetishism, and our obsession with fear as entertainment.
On April 27, 1997, four contestants make it to the final cell of the Quigley House, a full-contact haunted escape room in Lincoln, Nebraska, made famous for its monstrosities, booby-traps, and ghoulishly costumed actors. If the group can endure these horrors without shouting the safe word, “reprieve,” they’ll win a substantial cash prize—a startling feat accomplished only by one other group in the house’s long history. But before they can complete the challenge, a man breaks into the cell and kills one of the contestants.
An astonishingly soulful exploration of complicity and masquerade, Reprieve combines the psychological tension of classic horror with searing social criticism to present an unsettling portrait of this tangled American life.
If you’re a fan of social-commentary horror, like the 2017 film Get Out, you’re sure to enjoy James Han Mattson’s Repreive. Featuring a diverse cast of characters, this new release skillfully explores the biases that underlie much of our modern society when rising tensions expose horrifying prejudices. Los Angeles Times predicts that Reprieve is “sure to spark conversation and debate at book clubs across the land,” and Kiese Laymon claims the novel is “an eventual American classic.” The novel is available today, October 5th, 2021. Be sure to check out this Hot Pick before it sells out!
by Aliya Whiteley
The new collection of beautiful, strange, and disarming short stories from the award-winning author of The Beauty, Clarke Award nominee The Loosening Skin, and The Arrival of Missives, Aliya Whiteley. In sixteen stories Whiteley deftly unpeels the strangeness of everyday life through beguiling gardens, rebellious bodies, and journeys across familiar worlds, with her trademark wit and compassion.
Witness the future of farming in a new Ice Age, or the artist bringing life to glass; the many-eyed monsters we carry and the secret cities inside our bodies; the alien invasion through our language to the Chantress and her twists on the fairy tale. Fascinating and always unexpected, Whiteley is unlike any other writer working today.
This collection of short stories is perfect for any coffee-shop reader. These eerie tales are just unsettling enough to get you in the mood for Halloween without terrifying you in public, like some other horror novels might. Bonus: each story is the perfect length to enjoy with your favorite fall drink. If you’re a fan of Edgar Allan Poe or The Twilight Zone, you’ll love this unique collection.
by Erik Larson
Pioneering psychologist William James leads an expedition to a remote isle in search of answers after a family inexplicably vanishes. Was the cause rooted in the physical world… or were there forces more paranormal and sinister at work? Available only on audio, because as Larson says, ghost stories are best told aloud.
A group of researchers sets sail for the Isle of Dorn in the North Atlantic in 1905 to explore the cause of several mysterious disappearances, most notably a family of four who vanished without a trace after a week-long holiday on the island. Led by Professor James, a prominent member of the Society for Psychical Research, they begin to explore the island’s sole cottage and surrounding landscape in search of a logical explanation.
The idyllic setting belies an undercurrent of danger and treachery, with raging storms and unnerving discoveries adding to the sense of menace. As increasingly unexplainable events unfold, the now-stranded investigators are unsure whether they can trust their own eyes, their instincts, one another—or even themselves.
Erik Larson is well-known for his repeated appearance on the New York Times Best Sellers List with titles like Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, In the Garden of Beasts, and Thunderstruck. However, this is Larson’s debut fiction novel. What makes No One Goes Alone even more interesting is that it will only be released as an audiobook. This thrilling tale of suspense and deceit will captivate any lover of ghost stories, as the chilling narration is sure to keep you up late into the night.