Women in Horror month is here again, although it goes without saying that women authors should be read year round. Most of us do that anyway, so here’s a highlight reel of the outstanding fiction I’ve read over the last year. Ready?
Welsh author Catherine McCarthy had a prolific year publishing short fiction, my favourite of which was “Sanctuary” from the Daughters of Sarpedon anthology (Brigids Gate). Who doesn’t love a modern Medusa? Catherine has two new books coming out this year, Mosaic (Dark Hart Books) and A Moonlit Path of Madness (Nosetouch Press), which I got to read early. Both of them took my breath away and I can’t wait to see them released, so keep an eye out for those. You won’t be disappointed.
Was anyone else prepared for We Are Here to Hurt Each Other (Nictitating Books) by Paula Ashe? I know I wasn’t. Ashe’s collection is dark, gritty, unflinching horror at its best. Not for the faint of the heart, but so rewarding.
Gwendolyn Kiste’s Reluctant Immortals (Saga) was a pure treat to get lost in. Heroines of Gothic literature transposed to hippie era California. What’s not to love here?
This is Where We Talk Things Out (Darklit Press) by Montreal author, Caitlin Marceau, is a twisted psycho-drama that left my jaw on the floor. Seriously good stuff! I got to meet Caitlin this summer, and it’s true; horror writers are the kindest people! Keep an eye out for A Blackness Absolute (Ghost Orchid Press), coming out February.
I finally got around to Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica. The hype is real with this tale of corporate cannibalism. Like, holy shit! Her new collection, Nineteen Claws and a Blackbird, comes out this summer.
Bound Feet (Cemetery Gates) was my first time reading Kelsea Yu, but it won’t be my last. This is a beautifully told ghost story that upends tropes, peels back hidden histories, and ends with a bold snap. Kelsea has two novels coming out 2024.
Lapvona (Penguin) was the first Ottessa Moshfegh book I’ve read, but I’ll be going back for more soon. God, I love cruel books!
Below (Ghoulish Books) by Laurel Hightower was her follow up to the glorious Crossroads. This Mothman inspired story gave me serious claustrophobic chills. Hightower’s narrative voice is a major draw, always compelling and humane, no matter how gruesome it gets. Hightower’s new collection, Every Woman Knows This, comes out in March from Death Knell Press.
I really enjoyed Alma Katsu’s The Fervor (Penguin), but I adored her short story, The Wehrwolf (Amazon), even more. A very thorny WW2 tale that cuts directly into our current timeline.
RJ Joseph pulls no punches in her collection, Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Haunted (Seventh Terrace). The stories here scan through revenge, betrayal, rage, motherhood and love. A standout debut that cuts to the quick.
Hailey Piper continues to Frankenstein genres and stitch them back together into something uniquely her own. Queen of Teeth (Strangehouse Books) had my eyes falling out as it spliced the DNA of sci-fi, horror, dystopia, and romance. No wonder this won the Stoker award. Her splatter western, Cruel Angels Past Sundown, drops soon from Death’s Head Press.
Do you know Alex Woodroe? Alex is the editorial side of Tenebrous Press, ensconced in the wilds of Transylvania, who has an almost supernatural passion for storytelling. Her debut novel, Whisperwood (Flame Tree Press), drops this summer and I can’t wait to see what delights she has in store.
A quick glance at the publishing schedule for 2023 shows a bounty of great new books coming from Mariana Enriquez, Cynthia Pelayo, Christi Nogle, Trang Thanh Tran, Sylvia Moreno-Garcia, T. Kingfisher, Ai Jang, Laura Keating, V. Castro, Tananarive Due, and many more. May we all be buried under our TBRs!
Tim McGregor is the author of Wasps in the Ice Cream, Taboo in Four Colors, and Lure. A former screenwriter and HWA member, Tim lives in Toronto with his wife and kids. More info at timmcgregorauthor.com, and general tomfoolery on Twitter at @TimMcGregor1