It’s spooky season and this wouldn’t be a horror book blog without a best of list now would it? I see so many blogs doing a 31 movie countdown to Halloween but I thought I’d do something a little different. Fifteen of the best Independently released horror novels – this can take the form of self-published and released by small presses. What a list I have I have for you. Some you will definitely have heard of and maybe some new to you authors that you can check out. So buckle up, give Netflix a rest and open up a book that is bound to scare the pants off you.
1. Too Near the Dead by Helen Grant
Sometimes it’s terrifying, loving someone this much…
For Fen Munro and her fiancé James, it is a dream come true: an escape from London to a beautiful house in the stunning Perthshire countryside.
Barr Dubh is modern, a building with no past at all. But someone walks the grounds, always dressed in lavender. Under a lichenous stone in an abandoned graveyard, a hideous secret lies buried. And at night, Fen is tormented by horrifying dreams.
Someone wants Fen’s happiness, and nothing is going to stop them—not even death…
2. Darkened Wings Flutter by Lou Yardley
“The end is nigh when darkened wings flutter…”The small town of Crow’s Foot Hollow is thrown into turmoil when a local boy called Dwayne goes missing. For teacher Beth Harwood, it soon becomes clear that the nearby forest is connected to his disappearance. Clouded in mystery, scary stories and haunting nursery rhymes, that forest seems like just the kind of place to swallow a young boy whole.But the forest isn’t the only thing you have to worry about in Crow’s Foot Hollow. Sometimes the dangers are much closer to home. Chuck Graves lives next door to a family with their share of problems – a couple that always argues, a little girl called Imogen who creeps the hell out of everyone – but they appear to be held together by little Ryan who keeps on smiling regardless of what’s going on. Everything appears normal, but Chuck can’t help but wonder what’s going on behind closed doors.Crawling with monsters big and small, “Darkened Wings Flutter” wants to get under your skin.
3. The App by Stuart James
Once you’re in, they’ll never let you leave.
Whatever happens, don’t download The App.
* It will come in the form of a link. Maybe in your DM’s on a social media account, the junk folder of your emails or a WhatsApp message from a friend.
* You’ll be enticed by the chance of winning one hundred thousand pounds on offer every Friday, wired straight into the winner’s bank account.
* It’s not a joke.
* This part is genuine.
* Someone can and will win the money.
* But at what cost?
Marty Benson gets the link sent to him by a friend. So what is the harm in looking?
He clicks it, downloads the app and enters a few basic details.
A message prompts him to wait while he’s loaded onto the system.
An hour later, another message.
• Do not delete the app.
• Do not tell anyone outside of your family about the app.
• Send the link to one person who is close to you.
* Do not throw your phone away.
* Always narrate while streaming.
• If you break any of the rules, we’ll kill a member of your family. Then we’ll kill you.
Marty is sent a picture of his wife, who is shopping with her mother in Oxford Street.As Marty struggles to breathe, he clicks the links and watches the most recent streams, realising what happens within the
Every Friday morning, a person is randomly picked from social media.
They now have a bounty on their head—a death warrant. But they don’t know it.
Their profile appears on the app’s main page; all their details are displayed.
Every app member must play the game at least once a month or face the consequences.
Kill the person randomly selected from social media.
Win one hundred thousand pounds.
As Marty watches the terror unfold and everyone streaming the hunt within the app, he realises he has to do something.
But how do you stop a murder, when everyone could be the killer?
4. The Goners by L. Stephenson
On the quiet island of Boatmore, it was believed that there were only two causes of death: either natural or accidental.
That is until a strange phone call, and a bloody handprint, leads Liam and his small team of paramedics to the body of a young man, still clinging to life, by the roadside. As they work to revive him, it becomes clear that whoever is responsible for such butchery does not want his victim to be saved.
As the mysterious killer continues his spree, more chilling discoveries await our rescuers and the island residents find themselves tainted by suspicion and fear.
So, grab the next ferry and witness THE GONERS, the first gripping chapter of ‘The Boatmore Butcher trilogy’.
5. Wilthaven by Oli Jacobs
Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Award 2021 FINALIST
Welcome to Wilthaven!
A quiet English town that thrives on local produce, old fashioned values, and survival against the rule of an Eldritch Abomination. Here, you will enjoy endless walks, soothing sounds, forceful avatars, and the kind of joys that only an English township can bring!
(Please note: this dossier has been compiled by the BPD based on materials found relating to P1983 – or Wilthaven as you know it. Treat every sentence, word, image, and syllable with the utmost paranoia. Be safe.)
Wilthaven is a horror comedy by Oli Jacobs, who previously mined scares & chuckles from the likes of The Children of Little Thwopping, Filmic Cuts, and Station 17. As always, he hopes you enjoy.
6. God’s Leftovers by Grant Wamack
A young couple, a religious man, a gritty rapper, and a sublime videographer get stranded together in the desert. Little do they know, they’ll cross paths in a bloody fashion with one another as well as a hippie cult that has a fetish for the flesh. Welcome to the Valley of Fire, where sex magic, psychedelics, ancient tongues, and old gods reign supreme.
“God’s Leftovers is not for the faint of heart. This brutal, visceral, shocking work of fiction is Ketchum meets Barker with a sprinkling of classic slashers and grindhouse pulp. If you want to be disgusted and unsettled, tapping into the vibe of films like Martyrs, I Spit on Your Grave, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre-this is your jam. I need to take a shower and douse myself in holy water.” -Richard Thomas, author of Spontaneous Human Combustion and Bram Stoker Award® nominee
“If you can picture The Hills Have Eyes imbued with Jodorowsky’s psychedelic sensibilities, you might get something close to God’s Leftovers. With it, Grant Wamack makes a spectacular, bloody entrance into the splatterpunk arena. You’ve gotta read this book!” -Lucas Magnum, author of Gods of the Dark Web
7. Inheriting her Ghosts by S.H. Cooper
Inheritance often comes with strings attached, but rarely are they as tangled as those hanging over High Hearth.
When Eudora Fellowes learns she’s the sole heir of her estranged great-aunt’s seaside manor, she believes it will be the peaceful escape she’s longed for. What awaits, however, is a dark legacy shrouded in half a century of secrets, and it doesn’t take long before Eudora realizes she’s not the only one to call High Hearth home.
8. Shadows of the Woods by Duncan Thompson
Faceless shadows, a night that will never be the same, and a sinister force. If you go down to the woods tonight, you’re in for a sinister surprise.
When a stag party decide to camp in the woods, they soon discover that a malevolent force has them in their sights. As the unknown creeps ever closer, Joe and his friends must survive. To survive, Joe must learn to fight. If he fights, he could lose it all.
A rollercoaster ride of blood, sweat and tears, Shadows of the Woods will keep you hooked, all whilst throwing nostalgic homage to slashers of the late seventies and early eighties.
A night terror that you won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Shadows of the Woods and Shadows of Hell are the prelude to The Mystery of Ravenfield.
Together they are The Shadows of Ravenfield.
9. The House on Rectory Lane by Stuart James
Jake and Kate live in Camden, London and have had enough of the hassle with parking, overbooked restaurants and burglaries. After an altercation with a stranger who pulls a knife on Jake, they take their son Sean, and move to a house in the woods.
It’s their dream home, or so they think. People in the village warn them they shouldn’t have come. Neighbours are over friendly and who was the face at the window Kate saw late at night?
They find a DVD hidden in the loft of their new house, a home made video recording of the previous family, the Prescotts. What they view, chills them to the bone. They realise that the family living there before them have disappeared and now, they could be next……
10. A Song for the End by Kit Power
‘Becoming an overnight sensation was supposed to be a good thing.
Not for Bill Cutter, supply teacher and weekend rock star. His band, The Fallen, have just released their latest tune on social media, and it’s blowing up.
So is the body count.
Now, Bill faces a frantic race against time to stop the spread of the song, before the horrific effects can no longer be contained.
Terrifying, bitterly funny, and tragic, A Song For The End is a breakneck, bloodsoaked tale of truth, lies, consequences… and Rock N Roll.
11. Crossroads by Laurel Hightower
How far would you go to bring back someone you love?
When Chris’s son dies in a tragic car crash, her world is devastated. The walls of grief close in on Chris’s life until, one day, a small cut on her finger changes everything.
A drop of blood falls from Chris’s hand onto her son’s roadside memorial and, later that night, Chris thinks she sees his ghost outside her window. Only, is it really her son’s ghost, or is it something else—something evil?
Soon Chris is playing a dangerous game with forces beyond her control in a bid to see her son, Trey, alive once again.
“There’s a single note that plays through all of Laurel Hightower’s Crossroads, and in that note you can hear a mother’s justified devastation, a lover’s acceptance, and the haunting displacement of a ghost. Refreshingly nuanced character, down to earth in the rightest of ways, Crossroads will sincerely move you. There is a big mind, and an even bigger heart, behind this book.” — Josh Malerman, New York Times best-selling author of Bird Box and Malorie
“Crossroads is a gripping, deeply emotional ride. From its very first sentence to its shattering finale, this novella held me spellbound. If you aren’t reading Laurel Hightower, you’re missing out on one of horror’s brightest rising stars.” — Jonathan Janz, author of The Raven
12. The House of Little Bones by Beverley Lee
He thought he was untouchable.
David Lansdown, esteemed British horror writer and supernatural sceptic, is used to basking in the glow of the press…
Until a hastily snapped photo hits the headlines and makes his affair with his publisher’s son public.
When David finds himself at Bone Hollow, a house with a glass wall overlooking a wild and desolate moor, his only concern is writing his next best seller to bury his misdeeds in the past.
But something stirs beneath the earth. Something bound to the land. Something determined to take everything from him.
Luca Fox-Waite is still in love with the man who cast him aside, but his own childhood demons lurk in his shadow. As he discovers more about Bone Hollow’s history, he finds himself ensnared in its story—a story steeped in time and tragedy.
Because curses lie in bones, and they do not die.
The House of Little Bones is a tale of avarice, adoration, and of how the sins of the past cling to the living as well as the dead.
13. The Balance – Kev Harrison
When myth becomes nightmare … The price of blood is always blood.
Natalia’s in trouble. She only looked away for a second, and now her brother’s hurt. Her relationship with her mother is fractured, her brother’s condition is deteriorating, and her only hope lays deep in the unforgiving forest. A secret spoken only in whispers offers a way out. But when help comes in occult forms a sacrifice may be the only way to restore the balance.
Humanity and nature collide in The Balance by Kev Harrison, a modern reimagining of the Slavic folk tale of Baba Yaga, set in Cold War Poland.
14. Abberton House by Debbie Ioanna
A family moves into a farmhouse in a quiet English village—but mysterious events a century earlier haunt their new home . . .
In 1916, the Great War is underway and Henry has been called up, leaving his wife and three children in their North Yorkshire farmhouse. They keep in touch via letters—but when he returns to Abberton House, his whole family has disappeared. There are whispers of an affair, but Henry refuses to believe it—and spends the rest of his life searching . . .
That long-ago mystery is still talked about in the village a hundred years later when Adam and Catherine move into the house with their five-year-old daughter. As they settle in, strange things begin to happen. Little Bella speaks to imaginary friends. Faces are seen in the windows, and footsteps sound from above. As time goes on, Catherine digs deeper into the history of Abberton House and learns of some chilling truths—or are they just rumours? And will Catherine and Adam have to take drastic action to rid the house of the angry spirits before any more damage is done?
15. The Worm and his Kings by Hailey Piper
New York City, 1990:
When you slip through the cracks, no one is there to catch you. Monique learns that the hard way after her girlfriend Donna vanishes without a trace.
Only after the disappearances of several other impoverished women does Monique hear the rumors. A taloned monster stalks the city’s underground and snatches victims into the dark.
Donna isn’t missing. She was taken.
To save the woman she loves, Monique must descend deeper than the known underground, into a subterranean world of enigmatic cultists and shadowy creatures. But what she finds looms beyond her wildest fears-a darkness that stretches from the dawn of time and across the stars.
Friday Five: Fighting Time Edition – Peat Long's Blog
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