Summer Scares for Adults

Do you love Halloween? Are you tired of waiting all year for the spooky season? Have no fear, for the Horror Writers Association has you covered! HWA (in partnership with United for Libraries, Book Riot, and Booklist) offers Summer Scares, a booklist of horror recommendations for all ages. Plano Public Library gives you access to all of these titles and more. Check out the 2022 Summer Scares for adults below!

Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias (Print)

In this mosaic horror/crime novel, ghosts and old gods guide the hands of those caught up in a violent struggle to save the soul of the American southwest. A man tasked with shuttling children over the border believes the Virgin Mary is guiding him towards final justice. A woman offers colonizer blood to the Mother of Chaos. A boy joins corpse destroyers to seek vengeance for the death of his father. These stories intertwine with those of a vengeful spirit and a hungry creature to paint a timely, compelling, pulpy portrait of revenge, family, and hope.

My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris (Print)

Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late ’60s Chicago, and narrated by 10-year-old Karen Reyes, Monsters is told through a fictional graphic diary employing the iconography of B-movie horror imagery and pulp monster magazines. As the precocious Karen Reyes tries to solve the murder of her beautiful and enigmatic upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a holocaust survivor, we watch the interconnected and fascinating stories of those around her unfold.

The Remaking by Clay McLeod Chapman

Inspired by a real urban legend, this supernatural thriller for horror and true crime fans follows a tale as it evolves every twenty years — from campfire story, to ’70s B-movie, to a ’90s meta-remake, to a popular true crime podcast.

My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones (Print; eBook; eAudio)

For the horror movie buff: Protected by horror movies — especially the ones where the masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them, Jade Daniels, an angry, half-Indian outcast, pulls us into her dark mind when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian lake.

Nothing but Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw (eBook)

Short but not-so-sweet: Cassandra Khaw’s Nothing but Blackened Teeth is a gorgeously creepy haunted house tale, steeped in Japanese folklore and full of devastating twists. A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company. It’s the perfect venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends, brought back together to celebrate a wedding. A night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare as secrets get dragged out and relationships are tested. But the house has secrets too. Lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart. And she gets lonely down there in the dirt. Effortlessly taking the classic haunted house story and turning it on its head, Nothing but Blackened Teeth is a sharp and devastating exploration of grief, the parasitic nature of relationships, and the consequences of our actions.

The Queen of the Cicadas by V. Castro (Print; eBook)

Not for the faint of heart: When Belinda Alvarez returned to Texas for a friend’s wedding, she didn’t know it would be the site of the urban legend, La Reina de Las Chicharras–The Queen of The Cicadas. In life she was known as Milagros, a young farmworker who left her home in Mexico for the US in the 1950s to find work, only to be cruelly abused and horribly murdered. The town ignored the brutal crime, but the Aztec goddess of death heard her cries and allowed her to return to the land of the living to exact her terrible revenge. Now, decades later, as Belinda learns the truth about Milagros, she realizes the legend is all too real… and that she herself will soon play an important part in it.

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix (Print; eBook; eAudio)

A dark twist on the final girl trope: A fast-paced, thrilling horror novel that follows a group of heroines to die for, from the brilliant New York Times bestselling author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious, a victim and a hero. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her? Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again. But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife…they will never, ever give up.

When the Reckoning Comes by LaTanya McQueen (Print; eBook)

Haunted houses: More than a decade ago, Mira fled her segregated hometown of Kipsen, leaving behind her best friend, the white Celine, and Woodsman Plantation–rumored to be haunted by the spirits of slaves. Now, Mira is back in Kipsen for Celine’s wedding weekend at that same plantation. Mira hopes to reconnect with her old friends, especially Jesse, the boy she secretly loved. Woodsman remains a monument to its racist history and the darkest elements of the plantation’s past–that slaves were tortured mercilessly–have been carefully erased. As the weekend unfolds, Mira, Celine, and Jesse are forced to acknowledge their history together and to save themselves from what is to come.

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay (Print; eBook)

Haunted houses: The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s bizarre outbursts and subsequent descent into madness. As their home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts plight for a reality television show.

Devil House by John Darnielle (Print; eBook)

The perfect mix of true crime + horror: Gage Chandler is descended from kings. That’s what his mother always told him when he was a child. Years later, he is a true crime writer, with one grisly success–and a movie adaptation–to his name, along with a series of subsequent less notable efforts. But now he is being offered the chance for the big break: to move into the house where a pair of briefly notorious murders occurred, apparently the work of disaffected teens during the Satanic Panic of the 1980s. Chandler finds himself in Milpitas, California, a small town whose name rings a bell–his closest childhood friend lived there, once upon a time. He begins his research into the murders with diligence and enthusiasm, but soon the story leads him into a puzzle he never expected–back into his own work and what it means, back to the very core of what he does and who he is

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon (Print; eBook)

Genre-bending horror: Vern escapes the religious compound where she was raised and gives birth to twins in the forest, raising them away from the influence of the outside world. Her community won’t let her go that easily, however, and as they pursue, she breaks the boundaries of humanity, changing her body in uncanny ways in order to protect her family

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero (Print; eBook)

For adult fans of the Scooby gang: The summer of 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in Oregon’s Zoinx River Valley) solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster–another low-life fortune hunter trying to get his dirty hands on the legendary riches hidden in Deboën Mansion. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids.

1990. The former detectives have grown up and apart, each haunted by disturbing memories of their final night in the old, haunted house. There are too many strange, half-remembered encounters and events that cannot be dismissed or explained away by a guy in a mask…The time has come to get the team back together, face their fears, and find out what actually happened all those years ago at Sleepy Lake. It’s their only chance to end the nightmares and, perhaps, save the world.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Gracia (Print; eBook; eAudio)

The remix on Gothic Horror: After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.  
 Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
 Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
 And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

It Came from the Multiplex: 80s Midnight Chillers – Edited by Joshua Viola (Print)

For the short story fanatic: Welcome to tonight’s feature presentation, brought to you by an unholy alliance of our spellcasters at Hex Publishers and movie-mages at the Colorado Festival of Horror. Please be advised that all emergency exits have been locked for this special nostalgia-curdled premiere of death. From crinkling celluloid to ferocious flesh–from the silver screen to your hammering heart–behold as a swarm of werewolves, serial killers, Satanists, Elder Gods, aliens, ghosts, and unclassifiable monsters are loosed upon your auditorium. Relax, and allow our ushers to help with your buckets of popcorn–and blood; your ticket stubs–and severed limbs; your comfort candy–and body bags. Kick back and scream as you settle into a fate worse than Hell. Tonight’s director’s cut is guaranteed to slash you apart.

Each summer, the HWA releases a curated list of horror titles for adults, young adults, and middle grade readers. Highlighting horror books “introduces readers and librarians to new authors and helps start conversations extending beyond the books from each list and promotes reading for years to come” (HWA, Summer Scares). Join us next month for horror book recommendations for young adults!

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