Look at most lists of heavyweight horror authors and you’re bound to notice a trend – they’re mostly men. King, Straub, Campbell, Barker, Ketchum, Hill – all masters of the genre, to be sure. But women authors are writing some of the most innovative and terrifying horror fiction out there, and we’ve decided to highlight a handful of our favorites. Did we leave out your fave? Tell us in the comments!
Alma Katsu’s standalone historical horror novel is a treasure. Drawing on werewolf tales, Wendigo folklore, and more, Katsu manages to create a sense of strangling claustrophobia in the doomed wagon train, even as it crosses expansive prairies. The interpersonal dynamics within the wagon party are key here too – power struggles among the travelers, suspicion cast on beautiful, quiet Tamsen Donner, and personal secrets that were meant to be left back east. Add in monstrously hungry creatures lurking just beyond the firelight, and you’ve got an absolutely gripping tale.
If you loved House of Leaves, do not pass go: proceed immediately to your nearest bookstore and pick up this book. The Grip of It is more formally traditional than House of Leaves (then again, pretty much everything is more formally traditional than House of Leaves), but just as mind-bending and unsettling. It’s also more character-focused, hewing closely to Julie and James, our protagonists, and tinged with body horror, as the eldritch stains on the walls of the house map themselves as bruises onto Julie’s body