Halloween is my favorite time of the year. Scary movies and even scarier books. Here is a list of ten horror/thriller novels back black writers.
All blurbs are courtesy of Goodreads.
The Weight of Blood by Tiffany Jackson
When Springville residents—at least the ones still alive—are questioned about what happened on prom night, they all have the same explanation… Maddy did it.
An outcast at her small-town Georgia high school, Madison Washington has always been a teasing target for bullies. And she’s dealt with it because she has more pressing problems to manage. Until the morning a surprise rainstorm reveals her most closely kept secret: Maddy is biracial. She has been passing for white her entire life at the behest of her fanatical white father, Thomas Washington.
After a viral bullying video pulls back the curtain on Springville High’s racist roots, student leaders come up with a plan to change their image: host the school’s first integrated prom as a show of unity. The popular white class president convinces her Black superstar quarterback boyfriend to ask Maddy to be his date, leaving Maddy wondering if it’s possible to have a normal life.
But some of her classmates aren’t done with her just yet. And what they don’t know is that Maddy still has another secret… one that will cost them all their lives
The Good House by Tananarive Due
Working to rebuild her law practice after her son commits suicide, Angela Toussaint journeys to the family home where the suicide took place, hoping for answers, and discovers an invisible, evil force that is driving locals to acts of violence
The Forgotten Child by Melissa Erin Jackson
The dead can speak. They need her to listen.
Ever since Riley Thomas, reluctant medium extraordinaire, accidentally released a malevolent spirit from a Ouija board when she was thirteen, she’s taken a hard pass on scary movies, haunted houses, and cemeteries. Twelve years later, when her best friend pressures her into spending a paranormal investigation weekend at the infamous Jordanville Ranch — former home of deceased serial killer Orin Jacobs — Riley’s still not ready to accept the fact that she can communicate with ghosts.
Shortly after their arrival at the ranch, the spirit of a little boy contacts Riley; a child who went missing — and was never found — in 1973.
In order to put the young boy’s spirit to rest, she has to come to grips with her ability. But how can she solve a mystery that happened a decade before she was born? Especially when someone who knows Orin’s secrets wants to keep the truth buried — no matter the cost.
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.
But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.
Devil’s Wake by Steven Barnes
What happens when an unprecedented infection sweeps the world, leaving the earth on the brink of the Apocalypse?
But this infection goes far beyond disease. Beyond even the nightmare images of walking dead or flesh-eating ghouls. The infected are turning into creatures unlike anything ever dreamed of . . . more complex, more mysterious, and more deadly.
Trapped in the northwestern United States as winter begins to fall, Terry and Kendra have only one choice: they and their friends must cross a thousand miles of no-man’s-land in a rickety school bus, battling ravenous hordes, human raiders, and their own fears.
In the midst of apocalypse, they find something no one could have anticipated . . . love.
Nana by Brandon Massey
Monica Stephens never knew her birth mother. Raised by a strict but loving adoptive parent, she blossomed into a woman with a thriving career as a pediatrician and a family of her own. But sometimes, she wondered about her origins. Especially her biological mother.
Until Grace arrives.
Confessing to be the birth mother Monica had long wanted to meet, Grace quickly becomes an indispensable member of the Stephens household. Cooking their meals. Looking after the children. Comforting Monica when the family dog is inexplicably killed. Tending to Monica as she falls ill to a mysterious sickness that, every day, makes Monica look and feel older.
Meanwhile, Grace is looking better. More vibrant. More youthful. More seductive . . .
Monica’s husband, Troy, knows something is up. He launches an investigation into the woman who demands to be called “Nana,” and has taken over his home.
But the truth is beyond their wildest imaginings.
It seems Grace has done this before
Sycorax’s Daughters by Walidah Imarisha
A powerful, revealing anthology of dark fiction and poetry by Black women writers. The tales of what scares, threatens and shocks them will enlighten and entertain you.
Sycorax’s Daughters’ stories and poems delve into demons and shape shifters from Carole McDonnell’s “How to Speak to the Bogeyman” and Sheree Renée Thomas’ “Tree of the Forest Seven Bells Turns the World Round Midnight” to far future offerings from Kiini Ibura Salaam’s “The Malady of Need”, Valjeanne Jeffers’ steampunk female detective in “Mona Livelong: Paranormal Detective II” and others.
These thought-provoking twenty-eight stories and fourteen poems cover creatures imagined—
vampires, ghosts, and mermaids, as well as the unexpected price paid by women struggling for freedom and validation in the past—slavery to science-fiction futures with transhumans and alternate realities.
Leave the lights on and join these amazing authors as they share their unique vision of fear.
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead.
Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuilding civilization under orders from the provisional government based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street—aka Zone One—but pockets of plague-ridden squatters remain. While the army has eliminated the most dangerous of the infected, teams of civilian volunteers are tasked with clearing out a more innocuous variety—the “malfunctioning” stragglers, who exist in a catatonic state, transfixed by their former lives.
Mark Spitz is a member of one of the civilian teams working in lower Manhattan. Alternating between flashbacks of Spitz’s desperate fight for survival during the worst of the outbreak and his present narrative, the novel unfolds over three surreal days, as it depicts the mundane mission of straggler removal, the rigors of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, and the impossible job of coming to grips with the fallen world.
And then things start to go wrong.
Both spine chilling and playfully cerebral, Zone One brilliantly subverts the genre’s conventions and deconstructs the zombie myth for the twenty-first century.
The Devil in Silver by Victor Lavelle
Pepper is a rambunctious big man, minor-league troublemaker, working-class hero (in his own mind), and, suddenly, the surprised inmate of a budget-strapped mental institution in Queens, New York. He’s not mentally ill, but that doesn’t seem to matter. He is accused of a crime he can’t quite square with his memory. In the darkness of his room on his first night, he’s visited by a terrifying creature with the body of an old man and the head of a bison who nearly kills him before being hustled away by the hospital staff. It’s no delusion: The other patients confirm that a hungry devil roams the hallways when the sun goes down. Pepper rallies three other inmates in a plot to fight back: Dorry, an octogenarian schizophrenic who’s been on the ward for decades and knows all its secrets; Coffee, an African immigrant with severe OCD, who tries desperately to send alarms to the outside world; and Loochie, a bipolar teenage girl who acts as the group’s enforcer. Battling the pill-pushing staff, one another, and their own minds, they try to kill the monster that’s stalking them. But can the Devil die?
The Devil in Silver brilliantly brings together the compelling themes that spark all of Victor LaValle’s radiant fiction: faith, race, class, madness, and our relationship with the unseen and the uncanny. More than that, it’s a thrillingly suspenseful work of literary horror about friendship, love, and the courage to slay our own demons.
Crescendo by L. Marie Wood
A man, haunted by a family curse, is taken beyond the limits of his sanity to a realm where he has no control over his actions or his fear. James Adams lived a normal life in a New York suburb before the demons dwelling within him awoke from their slumber to reveal unspeakable horror and prophesize his future a his destiny. Crescendo is a novel about fate and the lengths we will travel to avoid the inevitable. Set in tranquil Rockland County, New York, this tale of suspense and horror will take its reader on an emotional roller coaster of anger, anxiety, compassion, and indelible fear