Select Page

FANGirl Book Reviews: Tricks and Treats for October 2023

Sunday, October 22, 2023 | Books, FANGirl Book Reviews

​This October, stuff your trick-or-treat sack with thirteen brand new horror releases with RUE MORGUE’s author-in-residence Lindy Ryan’s top picks for this year’s Halloween season. From witches and serial killers to alternate realities and Southern Gothics, there’s a treat in this bunch sure to satisfy any reader’s literary fangs.


MIDNIGHT IS THE DARKEST HOUR by Ashley Winstead (3 October 2023, Sourcebooks)Serial killers meet Southern Gothic in this fairy tale gone wrong about a serial killer haunting the swamps of small-town Louisiana. Murder, obsession and religion weave together in a twisted tale of beastly urges and monstrous secrets.

THE WITCHES AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Chelsea Iversen (17 October 2023, Sourcebook)
Drawing on the Norwegian witch trials, this historical debut set in the 17th century involves two sister witches forced into hiding when their mother is burned at the stake and how grief, fury, and isolation can become a curse.

BECOMING THE BOOGEYMAN by Richard Chizmar (10 October 2023, Gallery Books)
A tale of obsession and the adulation of evil, no one will be spared from the glare of the spotlight in this haunting sequel to Chasing the Boogeyman.

THE QUIET ROOM by Terry Miles (3 October 2023, Del Rey)
The mysterious, probably deadly underground game known as Rabbits gains new dimension in this twisty sequel set in the world of the hit Rabbits podcast when, after almost winning the eleventh iteration of Rabbits, a new player suddenly finds herself trapped in a dimension stream where the game doesn’t exist.

NESTLINGS by Nat Cassidy (31 October 2023, Tor Nightfire)
Winning an affordable housing lottery into one of Manhattan’s most revered buildings is a lucky break for Ana and Reid after the birth of their first child. However, mobility in the high-rise is a new struggle for Ana, left paralyzed and bitter after childbirth. And that’s before needle-like bite marks begin to appear on the baby.

DISTANT SONS by Tim Johnston (17 October 2023, Algonquin Books)
More thriller than horror but still devastating enough to qualify, this crime novel asks the age-old question, what if? With each answer, an irreversible chain of events is set in motion, culminating in shattering violence and the upheaval of long-buried truths.

EDENVILLE by Sam Rebelein (3 October 2023, William Morrow)
A struggling young author takes a job at a college as a writer-in-residence, hoping for a turn in luck, only to discover there’s something very wrong in the picturesque college town. Horror and humor blend in this nightmare-fuel story about how ambitions can overshow instincts.

PHANTOM by Helen Power (10 October 2023, CamCat Books)
Broke when no one takes her art seriously and dealing with an unstable ex, a mysterious stranger offers Roz a million dollars in exchange for her left hand. Wracked with insufferable pain following amputation, she seeks relief in an experimental drug trial that provides a psychic connection with her missing limb and the long-dormant serial killer who now possesses the appendage.

MY DARLING GIRL by Jennifer McMahon (3 October 2023, Scout Press)
Prepare for grisly holiday cheer in this domestic psychological thriller about a woman who takes in her dying, alcoholic mother and begins to suspect that it’s not alcoholism but demonic possession haunting her family. That’s probably going to make things tense around the Christmas dinner table!

A HAUNTING ON THE HILL by Elizabeth Hand (3 October 2023, Mulholland Books)
A fresh new story of isolation and longing gives the classic a modern update in the first-ever novel authorized to return to Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.

A LIGHT MOST HATEFUL by Hailey Piper (10 October 2023, Titan Books)
Three years after running away, a strange storm threatens to destroy everything Olivia has built – what little that is, anyway. A summer storm, a reality-bending threat, and a missing best friend feature in this supernatural thriller.

CHRISTMAS AND OTHER HORRORS: AN ANTHOLOGY OF SOLSTICE HORROR edited by Ellen Datlow (24 October 2023, Titan Books)
It’s Halloween now, but with that other holiday just around the corner, editor Ellen Datlow’s latest anthology is packed with an advent calendar of Yuletide shorts to keep you warm when those winter chills kick in. With stories from horror greats like Christopher Golden, Alma Katsy, M. Rickert, Stephen Graham Jones and more, this anthology is ready to trim your holiday tree with fright.

Craving more creepy FANGirl content? Check out her RUE MORGUE exclusive interview with NESTLINGS author Nat Cassidy here

Lindy Ryan
An award-winning author, editor, professor, and short-film director, Lindy Ryan was recently named one of horror’s six most masterful anthology curators, alongside Ellen Datlow and Christopher Golden, for her work in UNDER HER SKIN, a women-in-horror poetry showcase, and INTO THE FOREST: TALES OF THE BABA YAGA, a forthcoming women-in-horror anthology from Black Spot Books and Blackstone Audio. A 2020 Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree and previous board member for the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Lindy is a long-time advocate for women-in-horror and an active member of the HWA and ITW. She is the current chair of the Horror Writers Association’s Women in Horror Month. The author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, Lindy’s work has been adapted for film. Her debut horror-thriller novel, BLESS YOUR HEART, is forthcoming from St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books.