10 Queer Horror Books Coming Out in 2023

New spooky stories to continue a queer tradition

Illustration of Carmilla by David Henry Friston
Illustration of Carmilla by David Henry Friston

Horror is queer. I don’t make the rules. 

From the moment Carmilla sprang onto Laura’s bed to when M3GAN murder-danced her way down the red hall, the horror genre has been dominated by queer icons—and loved by queer audiences as well. While the subtext-entrenched classics remain iconic, the past few years have inspired explicitly queer retellings, such as AMC’s Interview with the Vampire, as well as fresh original stories, including one of my favorites, Carmen Maria Machado’s genre bending collection Her Body and Other Parties.

Here are 10 horror books coming out in 2023 to keep this queer tradition going.

Carmilla: The First Vampire by Amy Chu & Soo Lee 

Set in 1990s New York, Carmilla: The First Vampire follows a Chinese-American social worker named Athena who is determined to get to the bottom of a string of murders targeting young, homeless women in Chinatown. Athena’s clues lead her to Carmilla’s, a nightclub run by a mysterious figure who is always lurking behind the scenes. Filled with deliciously gothic artwork, Chu and Lee’s graphic novel is both an ode to Sheridan Le Fanu’s original and a stunning, modern take infused with dark, Chinese folklore. 

Monstrilio by Gerardo Sámano Córdova

Monstrilio opens with the death of 11 year-old Santiago, who was born with only one lung. Not ready to give up on her only son, Santiago’s mother, Magos, extracts his lung and returns it to Mexico City, where she nurtures it into a ravenous, fanged creature who she calls Monstrilio. As Monstrilio—or M for short—develops into a young man, he must contend with the longings and desires of all boys his age, as well as the deep seated hunger which only grows by the day. Gerardo Sámano Córdova’s horror debut on grief and monstrous love is not one to miss. 

Everything the Darkness Eats by Eric LaRocca

Eric LaRocca, author of the Bram Stoker Award-nominated Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke, returns with a dark, occult tale set in rural Connecticut. As local law enforcement investigate a string of recent disappearances, a grieving widower finds herself pulled into the dark magic rituals of a man named Heart Crowley. Underneath these tangled threads is a simmering, unrestrained bigotry which threatens to swallow the town whole. 

Brainwyrms by Alison Rumfitt

Alison Rumfitt, a self described “semi-professional trans woman,” has crafted a body horror novel not meant for the faint of heart. Brainwyrms follows Frankie, a woman whose life falls apart after her workplace is blown up in a transphobic attack. What follows is a messy aftermath of binge-drinking and one nightstands, until Frankie meets Vanya. Vanya is beautiful. Vanya is frightening. Vanya is—hiding something? As the relationship deepens, Frankie slowly uncovers the sick, twisted secrets between them.

Such Pretty Flowers by K.L. Cerra

Holly receives one last message before her brother’s body is found torn apart in his girlfriend’s home: “Get it out of me.” While the death is ruled a horrific suicide, Holly believes something more sinister is at play, and begins stalking her brother’s girlfriend: a beautiful, sophisticated woman named Maura. As Holly digs deeper into the world of Savannah high society, she finds herself lured into a confusing, guilt-inducing attraction to Maura. 

Boys Weekend by Mattie Lubchansky 

Arguably no genre pairs better with horror than comedy. Boys Weekend, a graphic novel by Mattie Lubchansky, follows artist assistant Sammie, who despite recently coming out as trans, is invited to be ‘best man’ at their old friend Adam’s wedding. What follows is a bachelor party from hell, set in what is essentially a floating Las Vegas and featuring—you guessed it—a murder cult. 

Eyes Guts Throat Bones by Moïra Fowley

In Moïra Fowley’s short story collection Eyes Guts Throat Bones, horror is beautiful, horror is funny, horror is romantic, and horror is, of course, haunting. An immersive, gothic read about queer lives at the end of the world.

Camp Damascus by Chuck Tingle 

Chuck Tingle—if anything, you probably know him for his viral gay erotica, but in Camp Damascus, he captures the twisted horrors that take place at a gay conversion camp in Neverton, Montana. At the center of this story is Rose Darling, a God-fearing young woman who happily attends her town’s cult-like mega-church. It is uncertain how someone such as Rose has any involvement with a place like Camp Damascus—until she starts vomiting flies and seeing a strange woman in the woods. 

She Is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran 

She Is a Haunting follows one of my favorite horror storylines: that of the broken family. The book begins when Jade Nguyen arrives in Vietnam to visit her estranged father, who promises he will pay for her dream school if she stays five weeks with him while he restores a 1920s French colonial for a bed-n-breakfast. Jade doesn’t mind helping out, nor pretending to be straight for a couple of weeks, but then she begins finding bugs in strange places and hearing noises in the walls at night. It soon becomes clear the house intends to destroy its inhabitants, and as the only one who can see the horrors, Jade must save her family. Warning: there are a lot of bugs in this. Hopefully you’re into that kind of thing.

Chlorine by Jade Song

Bildungsroman meets body horror in Jade Song’s debut Chlorine. The novel follows high school student Ren Yu, whose whole life revolves around swimming. Nothing comes close to the “isolated grandeur” she feels when she first plunges into the pool. It is her parents’ wish for her to get scouted, earn a scholarship, and eventually attend a good college—but Ren Yu wants more than to be a good swimmer. She longs for the touch of water. Needs it. It’s a desire that transcends human boundaries. When the pressures of everyday life become too much, Ren takes inspiration from the mermaid folklore she used to read as a child.

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