“The Only Good Indians” by Stephen Graham Jones
Four American Indian men, and their families, are haunted by a disturbing, deadly event that took place in the men’s youth. Several years later, they find themselves tracked by an entity bent on revenge, totally helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.
[Page Count: 310; Release Date: July 14, 2020]
“The Only Good Indians” combines Blackfeet folklore and modern life to create a horrifying story of guilt, grief, and revenge. With a mythological and sympathetic antagonist, it’s impossible to put the book down. While it is a bit of a slow burn, compared to other modern horror, this is a story worth every minute. Multiple points of view help build out the characters and plot, and keep you engaged with each turn of the page.
“Survive the Night” by Riley Sager
Charlie Jordan wants to leave her college life behind following the shocking murder of her best friend, the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. Josh Baxter is the stranger with whom she’ll be sharing the long drive home to Ohio with. The longer Charlie sits in the passenger seat, the more she grows suspicious of Josh. Could she be sharing a car with the Campus Killer? Or is this paranoia the result of her movie-fueled imagination?
[Page Count: 322; Release Date: June 29, 2021]
In “Survive the Night”, we follow a severely unreliable protagonist as we ride along with both Charlie and Josh. While the perspective switches with the occasional chapter, we’re always in Charlie’s head. With her “movie-fueled imagination,” it’s easy to get absorbed into her world and not as easy to escape it. Although the main conflict of the story surrounds a serial killer, many of the smaller problems can be relatable to the average college student. For anyone looking to read a movie, this is your book.
Uzumaki by Junji Ito
Kurouzu-cho, a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. According to Shuichi Saito, the withdrawn boyfriend of teenager Kirie Goshima, their town is haunted not by a person or being but a pattern: UZUMAKI, the spiral—the hypnotic secret shape of the world.
[Page Count: 656; Release Date: January 12, 1998/October 16, 2018]
Usually referred to as a master of horror manga, Junji Ito’s “Uzumaki” is a wonderfully twisted introduction to his work. The 656-page count may seem daunting, but the pages turn quickly as the disturbing illustrations force you to confront the characters’ (and your) worst fears. The art-style and dialogue are engaging for even the most hesitant or disinterested of readers. A fast read for anyone looking to get a modern-classic in before Halloween, Uzumaki is worth the attention.
My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, an absent mother, and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies...especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. Narrating the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies, we’re pulled into Jade’s encyclopedic mind. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us in and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold.
[Page Count: 398; Release Date: August 31, 2021]
Combining horror and humor, “My Heart is a Chainsaw” is a relatable story for anyone who’s been bored of their small-town life. Jade’s obsession with horror movies carries the plot and refuses to let go, even when you feel your personal ideas melding into hers. Gentrification and wishful thinking go hand-in-hand as we follow Jade through Proofrock and wonder whether all these signs are mere coincidence—or if there really is a slasher loose in the streets. Jade’s narration and the oddity of the town is perfect for anyone looking for a quirky—and less horrifying—read for this spooky season.
By Sam Sage