7 chilling queer horror books to read this Halloween

To our horror fans out there, take a look at this list and find a book that will spook you to the core!

A person reading one of many queer horror books at Halloween.
Image: Pexels

With October in full swing, we’re sure that you’ve embraced the autumn weather and spooky décor by now. But perhaps you’re missing something… something spooky… a book perhaps? But not just any old read, we’re talking queer horror books that are chilling to the core, that make your stomach churn and that will make you keep the lights on when you go to sleep.

Sound like your kind of thing? Well, read on and pick your poison from our list of the most captivatingly creepy queer horror books released this year!

Extasia by Claire Legrand

We start our list off with a lesbian horror fantasy filled with witches, cults and dystopian religious themes. The blurb leaves us knowing that the main character, whose name is kept secret at first, is to become one of the four saints of Haven which will save her people from destruction. Many readers comment that the book focuses a lot on religious trauma, with hints of the main character struggling with the ritual of becoming a saint and attempting to control her powers. And if this short description didn’t get you hooked instantly, one honest reader commented, “Claire Legrand really said: you can have some witches and lesbians…. as a treat.”

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield

This is another book about lesbians featuring main character, Miri, and her wife, Leah. Leah has recently come home after a deep-sea mission that ended in catastrophe and soon after, Miri feels like Leah isn’t the same as she was before. With Miri feeling like the woman she loved is slipping from her grasp, this book focuses on love, loss, grief and the deep, deep blue. With the point of view switching between the worried Miri and haunted Leah, this book features a lot of ocean horror and is a perfectly chilling book for those with thalassophobia. We hope you don’t have any cruises booked after reading this story!

Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin

If you’re a fan of graphic descriptions of gore in novels, Manhunt is definitely one to add to your queer horror books list! As described in the blurb, Manhunt is “an explosive post-apocalyptic novel that follows Trans women and men on a grotesque journey of survival.” Many readers have warned others to not eat while reading this as the author does an amazing job at the visceral descriptions of body horror when the main characters must kill the infected men to harvest their organs. One reviewer gave their synopsis of the book saying, “It’s violent, erotic, thought-provoking, visceral…did I mention erotic?”

My Dearest Darkness by Kayla Cottingham

In this book, we follow a queer fantasy story between Finch Chamberlin and Selena St Clair as they grow closer and unleash otherworldly creatures into their town. The carnivorous creature they summon promises to grant the girls their biggest desires with one cost, human body parts. The book features some sweet body horror (but not as intensely as the previous book on this list). There are a lot of moments for romance and a handful of readers expressed how they swooned at scenes between Finch and Selena discovering their sexualities in the midst of the paranormal mishaps occuring in their town. When you get to the ballet scene, you’ll understand.

The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

In this novel we experience a genderfluid main character, Mars, recovering from the grief of losing his sister and spending time at a prestigious summer camp attempting to find out more about his sister’s death. Themes of gender identity and sexuality perfectly stand side by side with various moments of insect horror and twisting mystery. With some readers comparing the atmosphere of the book to the movie Midsommar, La Sala’s melodic style of writing will make it difficult to put down this masterpiece.

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Hawk Mountain by Conner Habib

Conner Habib’s debut novel is one you can’t miss. Focusing on the story of Todd and his high-school bully Jack this novel delivers “topics of bullying, abuse, mental health, sexual identity, manipulation, and grief,” as quoted by a reader. The twists and turns the characters face in this book range from sudden surprise to “oh my god what is happening?!” and we’re totally here for it. This fast-paced story makes for an epic read paired with gory scenes, with one reader stating, “the gruesome moments left me breathless.” If you are interested in learning more about the development of the novel penned by Conner Habib, read our interview here!

Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White

Described as “A furious, queer debut novel about embracing the monster within and unleashing its power against your oppressors,” we experience the hardships told by 16 year-old Trans boy Benji who is on the run from a cult that raised him. This book has an array of LGBTQ+ representation while also having everything a horror book should have, and many readers have praised this book to hell (see what we did there?) One amazing quote from a review about the book reads, “This book. It challenged me. It made me squirm. It made me uncomfortable. But it left me feeling some sense of hope.” So if you’d love to be spooked yet come out of the novel with mixed, yet good, emotions, read Hell Followed With Us!

These are just some of our top picks for queer horror books that came out this year, and we hope you found one to grab and snuggle (or shiver) up with this October!

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