2023 Staff Picks: Horror

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

Our expert staff members look back at the year and share their favorite titles.

  • How to Sell a Haunted House

    2023 by Hendrix, Grady

    Who knew a book about a scary clown puppet could make you cry? Grady Hendrix excels at crafting seriously scary stories from quirky premises that other authors would play for laughs. This is a touching and frightening story about letting go, grief, sibling dynamics, and yes, clowns. Suggested by Lynnanne and Steven.

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  • Lone Women

    2023 by LaValle, Victor

    This imaginative western horror balances the creature feature with compelling characters. Though it's certainly a scary story, the author leads with empathy and it's surprisingly uplifting. LaValle tells a great story of female empowerment from a time when women had few rights, let alone power. Suggested by Lynnanne and Amber H.

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  • Our Share of Night

    2023 by Enriquez, Mariana

    I loved this new English translation of Enríquez's magical realism-infused tale of a family entwined with the occult. Set in Argentina across the years of the Dirty War and AIDS epidemic, Enríquez offers a queer and brutal horror story that mirrors its political context. Suggested by Lill.

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  • The September House

    2023 by Orlando, Carissa

    Imagine if ghosts were real and a pack of them filled your home with their annoying antics. That’s the premise of this debut horror novel that starts off silly, gradually becomes darker and more frightful, and ends explosively. This is a unique book, and its message of survival makes it unforgettable. Suggested by Amber H. and Steven.

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  • A House with Good Bones

    2023 by Kingfisher, T.

    I really enjoyed this fast-paced, extremely witty, suspenseful Southern horror novel about buried family secrets and complicated family relationships. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Silver Nitrate

    2023 by Moreno-Garcia, Silvia

    A sound editor and a voiceover actor unwisely agree to help finish a legendary "cursed" film. Moreno-Garcia is always at her best with slow-burn tales that give her room to indulge such nerdy interests as the history of Mexican cinema. Suggested by Andrew.

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  • The Salt Grows Heavy

    2023 by Khaw, Cassandra

    I was dazzled by the intense imagery conjured in so few pages in this story. Definitely a great read for spooky season and for folks who love fairy tales. Suggested by Susanne.

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  • Cursed Bunny

    2022 by Chung, Bora

    Wonderfully written with a thread of sadness throughout, I loved this award-winning collection of haunting short stories. I feel like I have to read the whole collection five more times to truly understand all the hidden meanings and layers. The titular story and the last story are my favorites. Suggested by Lynnanne.

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  • A History of Fear

    2022 by Dumas, Luke

    Debut author Luke Dumas adds abundant atmosphere and sheer creepiness to the story of an American student in Scotland who murdered his classmate. Was the student’s apparent mental illness to blame, or did the devil himself drive him on? Dumas wrings this tense tale for every drop of unease. Suggested by Steven.

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  • Midnight Showing

    2023 by Shepherd, Megan

    Two sisters, a family curse, and the scariest hotel this side of the Overlook combine in this horror sequel. I loved the first book in the series, Malice House, and here the author ups the scary monsters and deepens the character relationships. Once the scares wear off, I was contemplating the nature of art and a creator’s responsibility for their work. Suggested by Lynnanne.

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  • Red Rabbit

    2023 by Grecian, Alex

    After the Civil War, seven people (six alive and one ghost) travel across the American West in search of the witch Sadie Grace. I love the found family and episodic nature of their travels. There’s humor, warmth, and some genuinely scary situations! Suggested by Lynnanne.

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