July is shaping up to be an exciting month for horror enthusiasts, with the highly anticipated release of Insidious: The Red Door in theaters. Personally, I’m eagerly looking forward to it and believe that the inclusion of imperfect visual effects adds to the scare factor, particularly for those who have followed the Insidious series. However, July 2023 also brings a multitude of captivating horror books to satisfy fans.
These books offer something for everyone, including a powerful debut novel exploring the dark side of magic, as well as a chilling story set in an all-boys orphanage where evil is unleashed. Deep storytelling and strong character development are common threads among July’s horror offerings. And if you’re in the mood for shorter, bone-chilling tales, there’s even a collection of short stories to keep you up at night during those warm summer evenings.
1. Boys in the Valley by Philip Fracassi (July 11, 2023)
In a remote valley in Pennsylvania, at the turn of the century, lies St. Vincent’s Orphanage for Boys. Under the watchful eyes of priests, thirty boys live, work, and worship there. Among them is Peter Barlow, who found refuge after being orphaned by a gruesome murder. As Peter nears adulthood, he enjoys friends, a future, and a sense of family. However, one stormy night, a group of men arrives, bringing with them a fatally wounded man adorned with occult symbols. His death unleashes an ancient evil that infects the orphanage and its children, causing them to change and divide. As the death toll rises, Peter and his loved ones must choose sides, knowing their lives and souls are at stake. Philip Fracassi’s Boys in the Valley is a captivating coming-of-age tale, blending elements of The Exorcist, Lord of the Flies, and Midnight Mass, exploring the profound struggles of youth as they confront the supernatural.
2. Whisperwood by Alex Woodroe (July 11, 2023)
Join Anna, a curious nomad seeking solace, as she ventures into the mysterious depths of Whisperwood—a hidden town absent from all maps and untouched by outsiders. Desperate to evade her violent witch-hunting ex, she encounters a community filled with unsettling surprises—a vanishing town, gruesome funeral rites, and an emergency field surgery—that challenge her resolve. Hindered by unexplained folk magic, Anna strives to lend a helping hand while realizing that probing the forest’s secrets could be her ultimate undoing.
3. The Centre by Ayesha Manazir Siddiqi (July 11, 2023)
In this darkly comic and boundary-pushing debut, follow Anisa Ellahi, a Pakistani translator adrift in London, as she encounters a mysterious language school promising fluency in just ten days. Yearning for a career translating great works of literature, Anisa is living a mundane life subtitling Bollywood films until she meets Adam, whose overnight mastery of Urdu leads her to the secret Centre. Intrigued yet skeptical, Anisa enrolls, only to discover the organization’s sinister cost as she delves deeper into its alluring possibilities. With dark humor, surreal twists, and a probing exploration of language and success, The Centre takes readers on a gripping journey through Karachi, London, and New Delhi, leaving them questioning the sacrifices they would make.
4. A Good House For Children by Kate Collins (July 4, 2023)
Next one in the list of horror books comes In A Good House for Children, Orla, a painter turned wife and mother, agrees to move to a grand Georgian house on the Dorset cliffs, despite feeling unsettled. Strange happenings unfold—the sound of voices, doors opening and closing on their own, and her son’s mysterious imaginary friend. Decades earlier, Lydia, a nanny, experiences similar eerie occurrences. As both women’s concerns are dismissed, the question arises: are tragedy and illusions looming, and what secrets does the house conceal? This feminist gothic tale explores themes of motherhood, madness, and the value of women’s work, weaving an atmospheric mystery that captures the essence of the present moment.
5. The Beast You Are: Stories by Paul Tremblay (July 11, 2023)
The Beast You Are is a haunting collection of short fiction by Paul Tremblay, bestselling author of The Pallbearers Club, A Head Full of Ghosts, and The Cabin at the End of the World. With fifteen mesmerizing stories that push the boundaries of storytelling, Tremblay explores the dark horrors of the mind. From a young girl dealing with her parents’ addictions in “The Dead Thing,” to a shocking revelation in “The Last Conversation,” and an intertwined tale of a village, a dog, a cat, and a cyclical monster in the title novella, these gripping narratives showcase Tremblay’s mastery of literary horror and psychological suspense. The Beast You Are is an electrifying collection, fearlessly imagined and crafted by one of today’s most innovative writers.
6. Jackal, Jackal: Tales Of The Dark And Fantastic by Tobi Ogundiran (July 18, 2023)
Next in our list of horror books – Discover the highly anticipated debut collection from a Shirley Jackson award-nominated author, brimming with magical wonders and breathtaking imagination. In “The Lady of the Yellow-Painted Library,” a salesman flees from a relentless librarian in pursuit of her lost book, while “The Tale of Jaja and Canti” takes a unique twist on Pinocchio’s quest for love and a reunion with an ancient, powerful mother. In “The Goatkeeper’s Harvest,” Lovecraftian echoes reverberate as a young mother confronts a bizarre encounter with ravenous goats and a chilling demand for retribution. Prepare to be immersed in a world of dark fantasy and captivating tales that will leave you spellbound.
7. Silver Nitrate by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (July 18, 2023)
From the bestselling author of The Daughter of Doctor Moreau and Mexican Gothic comes a mesmerizing fusion of Mexican horror movies and Nazi occultism. In this dark thriller set in ’90s Mexico City, Montserrat, an overlooked sound editor, and Tristán, a faded soap opera star, cross paths with Abel Urueta, a legendary cult horror director. Urueta claims to possess the ability to alter their lives by completing a cursed, unfinished film involving dangerous occult practices. As Montserrat encounters a malevolent presence and Tristán is haunted by his ex-girlfriend’s ghost, they embark on a journey to unravel the mysteries surrounding the film and the occultist. Sorcery and magic intertwine with reality as they discover that the boundaries between cinema and the supernatural are blurred.
8. Infested: An MTV Fear Novel by Angel Luis Colón (July 25, 2023)
Experience a gripping YA ghost story that merges The Taking of Jake Livingston with Cemetery Boys, exploring the battle of a Puerto Rican teenager against a malevolent spirit haunting his apartment building, intertwined with the unsettling horrors of gentrification. Manny, having recently moved to the Bronx, is burdened with menial tasks in the luxury condo managed by his stepfather, until he befriends Sasha, a building protester, and forms an unlikely alliance with Mr. Mueller, the exterminator. However, Manny’s tranquility is shattered by haunting nightmares and a horrifying realization that Mr. Mueller, who died in a fire at the exact location of Manny’s new residence, is not what he seems. With the disappearance of construction workers, Manny and Sasha must race against time to save their families from a deranged specter hell-bent on unleashing destruction upon the Bronx once again.
9. The Militia House by John Milas (July 11, 2023)
The last one in our list of horror books – Enter the haunting world of The Militia House, a gothic horror novel by John Milas that combines the eerie storytelling of Stephen King with the gritty realism of Tim O’Brien. Set in 2010 Afghanistan, Corporal Loyette and his unit venture to an old Soviet-era militia house rumored to be haunted. After a brief visit, their lives take a sinister turn as unsettling sights and sounds plague their days. Loyette dismisses the growing unease as war-induced stress, but the relentless grip of the militia house refuses to release them. With meticulous plotting and visceral storytelling, Milas explores the unceasing horrors of war, leaving readers spellbound by the chilling presence of the haunted dwelling.
Are you a horror fan? Which of these horror books you would like to read? Share with us in the comments section below!