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FANGirl Book Reviews: Eight Terrifying Tales For September 2023

Thursday, September 7, 2023 | FANGirl Book Reviews


September is here, and it’s officially Spooky Season! As we head toward the end of the year, bookshelves are brimming with new horror releases – from hauntings to Lovecraftian horror, poetry to satire, there’s a dark new tome for every reader. Check out my top picks to kick off this year’s Halloween season.

THE SEPTEMBER HOUSE by Carissa Orlando (5 September 2023, Berkley)
A dream home becomes a nightmare, but the new owner isn’t leaving in this fresh take on haunted house stories. Here, the walls drip blood in September, but the ghosts haunting the new residents’ home are every bit as fierce as the ones haunting their marriage.

NOT FOREVER, BUT FOR NOW by Chuck Palahniuk (5 September 2023, Simon & Schuster)This horror satire about a family of professional killers should be too bleak to be funny – but isn’t. Family legacy meets dismembered sex dolls in Palahniuk’s latest in which two privileged young brothers prepare to take over the family business.

NO CHILD OF MINE by Nichelle Giraldes (12 September 2023, Poisoned Pen Press)
Motherhood becomes a nightmare when a woman discovers she’s pregnant and that a generational curse threatens her soon-to-be family. Equal parts ghost story and cautionary tale make this new novel ripe for the taking.

DESPATCHES by Lee Murray (15 September 2023, PS Publishing)
A war correspondent is off to report on the Allied campaign – until he learns it isn’t just the Ottoman who wish to reclaim the land. Slippery truths reveal themselves in this Lovecraftian-inspired cosmic horror novella set on the Dardanelles Peninsula during the Great War. 

WHAT KIND OF MOTHER by Clay McLeod Chapman (12 September 2023, Quirk Books)
Southern Gothic gets salty when a former teen mom returns to her hometown, scrapes out a living as a would-be palm reader and finds herself ensnared in a net of disturbing visions of a drowned boy. Domestic suspense meets supernatural horror in this haunting exploration of parental grief.

BLACK SHEEP by Rachel Harrison (19 September 2023, Berkley)
Old horrors make for new nightmares when an estranged daughter discovers there are more than just skeletons lurking in the shadows in her family’s closet. Cynical yet endearing, Harrison’s latest is a whole new type of generational horror – plus a cult!

ON THE SUBJECT OF BLACKBERRIES by Stephanie M. Wytovich (21 September 2023, Rawdog Screaming Press)
Wytovich is synonymous with dark poetry, and her latest, inspired by Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, is (once again) brutal and beautiful. Mediations on female rage, pregnancy and postpartum depression and soul exhaustion make this collection deeply personal and deeply resonant, highlighting the violence and poignancy of childbirth. 

FIND HIM WHERE YOU LEFT HIM DEAD by Kristen Simmons (26 September 2023, Tor Teen)
Four years, five teens and a game form the prongs of this Japanese-inspired breakout about a group of estranged friends playing a deadly game in which few survive. A fresh take or a dash of Jumanji-esque nostalgia awaits in this hellscape.

Hungry for more creepy FANGirl content? Check out Lindy’s RUE MORGUE exclusive interview with Rachel Harrison, author of this month’s new release Black Sheep.

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.