A good monster never dies, it just keeps coming back, badder and weirder and more alluring than before. The horror genre is like that, too, and contemporary horror novels are not just as scary and thrilling as those of ages past, they’re taking the genre to places its never been before.
Black River Orchard
A small town is transformed by dark magic when seven strange trees begin bearing magical apples in this masterpiece of horror from the bestselling author of Wanderers and The Book of Accidents. Take a bite of one of these apples and you will desire only to devour another. And another. You will become stronger. More vital. More yourself, you will believe. But then your appetite for the apples and their peculiar gifts will keep growing—and become darker. This is what happens when the townsfolk discover the secret of the orchard. Soon it seems that everyone is consumed by an obsession with the magic of the apples… and what’s the harm, if it is making them all happier, more confident, more powerful? And even if buried in the orchard is something else besides the seeds of this extraordinary tree: a bloody history whose roots reach back to the very origins of the town. But now the leaves are falling. The days grow darker. It’s harvest time, and the town will soon reap what it has sown.
Clifford Island. When Willow Stone finds these words written on the floor of her deceased son’s bedroom, she’s perplexed. She’s never heard of it before, but soon learns it’s a tiny island off of Wisconsin’s Door County peninsula, 200 miles from Willow’s home. Why would her son write this on his floor? Determined to find answers, Willow sets out for the island. After a few days on Clifford, Willow realizes: this place is not normal. Everyone seems to be stuck in a particular day in 1994: they wear outdated clothing, avoid modern technology, and, perhaps most mystifyingly, watch the OJ Simpson car chase every evening. When she asks questions, people are evasive, but she learns one thing: close your curtains at night. High schooler Lily Becker has lived on Clifford her entire life, and she is sick of the island’s twisted mythology and adhering to the rules. She’s been to the mainland, and everyone is normal there, so why is Clifford so weird? Lily is determined to prove that the islanders’ beliefs are a sham. But are they? Five weeks after Willow arrives on the island, she disappears. Willow’s brother Harper comes to Clifford searching for his sister, and when he learns the truth—that this island is far more sinister than anyone could have imagined—he is determined to blow the whole thing open. If he can get out alive…
Stephen King’s Holly marks the triumphant return of beloved King character Holly Gibney. Readers have witnessed Holly’s gradual transformation from a shy (but also brave and ethical) recluse in Mr. Mercedes to Bill Hodges’s partner in Finders Keepers to a full-fledged, smart, and occasionally tough private detective in The Outsider. In King’s new novel, Holly is on her own, and up against a pair of unimaginably depraved and brilliantly disguised adversaries. When Penny Dahl calls the Finders Keepers detective agency hoping for help locating her missing daughter, Holly is reluctant to accept the case. Her partner, Pete, has Covid. Her (very complicated) mother has just died. And Holly is meant to be on leave. But something in Penny Dahl’s desperate voice makes it impossible for Holly to turn her down. Mere blocks from where Bonnie Dahl disappeared live Professors Rodney and Emily Harris. They are the picture of bourgeois respectability: married octogenarians, devoted to each other, and semi-retired lifelong academics. But they are harboring an unholy secret in the basement of their well-kept, book-lined home, one that may be related to Bonnie’s disappearance. And it will prove nearly impossible to discover what they are up to: they are savvy, they are patient, and they are ruthless. Holly must summon all her formidable talents to outthink and outmaneuver the shockingly twisted professors in this chilling new masterwork from Stephen King.
How to Sell a Haunted House
When Louise finds out that her parents have died, she dreads going home. She doesn’t want to leave her daughter with her ex and fly to Charleston. She doesn’t want to deal with her family home, stuffed to the rafters with the remnants of her father’s academic career and her mother’s lifelong obsession with puppets and dolls. She doesn’t want to learn how to live without the two people who knew and loved her best in the world. Most of all, she doesn’t want to deal with her brother, Mark, who never left their hometown, gets fired from one job after another, and resents her success. Unfortunately, she’ll need his help to get the house ready for sale, because it’ll take more than some new paint on the walls and clearing out a lifetime of memories to get this place on the market. But some houses don’t want to be sold, and Louise and Mark’s home has other plans for both of them….
Thirty years after a tragic accident shut down production of the classic children’s program Mister Magic, the five surviving cast members have done their best to move on. But just as generations of cultishly devoted fans still cling to the lessons they learned from the show, the cast have spent their lives searching for the happiness they felt while they were on it. The friendship. The feeling of belonging. And the protection of Mister Magic. But with no surviving videos or scripts, no evidence of who directed or produced it, or even who—or what—the beloved magical host actually was, memories are all the former circle of friends have. In Val’s case, kidnapped by her father and in hiding ever since, she doesn’t even have those. A surprise encounter with her old castmates brings them all together for a reunion. Back to the remote desert filming compound that feels like it’s been waiting for them all this time. Back among friends they haven’t seen for years, but who somehow understand each other better than anyone has since. After all, they’re only ones who hold the secret of that circle, the mystery of the magic man in his infinitely black cape, and, maybe, the answers to what really happened on that deadly last day. But as Val reclaims parts of her past, she wonders: are they there by choice, or have they been lured into a trap? Because magic never forgets the taste of your friendship….
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Our Hideous Progeny
It’s 1853 London. Ex-medical student Victor Frankenstein has been missing for years now. Frankenstein’s great niece Mary Saville and her husband, Henry, are trying to follow in his scientific footsteps and become renowned paleontologists. They have the brains and the ambition; the only thing they lack is the reputation. Mary is a woman with a sharp mind, but a fierce tongue and Henry is an unemployed gambling addict: none of this earning appeal with their peers. But after finding clues to her great uncle’s disappearance, her luck may just change. She constructs a plan that will force the scientific community to take her and her husband seriously; no one will be able to ignore them after they learn to create life. Once they have successfully constructed their Creature, Henry’s ambition soars, but Mary finds herself asking deeper, more important questions than she’s ever confronted before. As Henry’s desire for fame grows, she must decide how far she is willing to go to protect the creature she has grown to love.
Sadie Grace is wanted for witchcraft, dead (or alive). And every hired gun in Kansas is out to collect the bounty on her head, including bona fide witch hunter Old Tom and his mysterious, mute ward, Rabbit. On the road to Burden County, they’re joined by two vagabond cowboys with a strong sense of adventure – but no sense between them – and a recently widowed schoolteacher with nothing left to lose. As their posse grows, so too does the danger. Racing along the drought-stricken plains in a stolen red stagecoach, they encounter monsters more wicked than witches lurking along the dusty trail. But the crew is determined to get that bounty, or die trying.
After his estranged father’s mysterious death, Charlie Remick returns to Seattle to help with the funeral. There, he discovers his father left him two parting gifts: the keys to the family record store and a strange black case containing four antique records that, according to legend, can open a gate to the land of the dead. When Charlie, his sister, and their two friends play the records, they unwittingly open a floodgate of unspeakable horror. As the darkness descends, they are stalked by a relentless, malevolent force and see the dead everywhere they turn. With time running out, the only person who can help them is Charlie’s resurrected father, who knows firsthand the awesome power the records have unleashed. But can they close the gate and silence Schrader’s Chord before it’s too late?
Chuck Gross would like nothing more than to prune himself from his family tree. He’s already clipped his name, turning Charles Grossheart, Jr.—son of a billionaire labor exploiter, weapons manufacturer, and climate change denier—into ordinary good-guy Chuck, the “self-made” proprietor of an up-and-coming punk label. But when Daddy threatens to cut him off, Chuck is forced to get a “real job”—and conveniently, an old college friend has just swept back into his life with the perfect opportunity. Famed Harvard dropout and biotech darling Olivia Watts says she is on the verge of totally reinventing the field of medicine, but when Chuck signs on, he soon discovers that things at the vast Kenosis campus are not quite how they appear. Secret labs, vanished employees, and mutated test subjects seem to be as impossible as they are sinister. Is Olivia simply a scammer, or does her technology threaten to usher humanity toward a far bloodier fate? Moreover, does Chuck—who has never accomplished anything without the aid of Daddy’s money—stand a chance of stopping her?
Vampires of El Norte
As the daughter of a rancher in 1840s Mexico, Nena knows a thing or two about monsters—her home has long been threatened by tensions with Anglo settlers from the north. But something more sinister lurks near the ranch at night, something that drains men of their blood and leaves them for dead. Something that once attacked Nena nine years ago. Believing Nena dead, Néstor has been on the run from his grief ever since, moving from ranch to ranch working as a vaquero. But no amount of drink can dispel the night terrors of sharp teeth; no woman can erase his childhood sweetheart from his mind. When the United States invades Mexico in 1846, the two are brought abruptly together on the road to war: Nena as a curandera, a healer striving to prove her worth to her father so that he does not marry her off to a stranger, and Néstor as a member of the auxiliary cavalry of ranchers and vaqueros. But the shock of their reunion—and Nena’s rage at Néstor for seemingly abandoning her long ago—is quickly overshadowed by the appearance of a nightmare made flesh. And unless Nena and Néstor work through their past and face the future together, neither will survive to see the dawn.