7 Contemporary Horror Novels that Push Boundaries

From Electric Lit:

The grocery store of all places was my initial indoctrination into the world of horror. As my father shuffled up and down the aisles, dutifully stacking groceries in the cart for our family, I would sneak away to the magazine section and my eye was always drawn to the shiny paperback display brimming with such creepy covers as Salem’s LotThe Legacy, and Flowers in the Attic

At first, I was too frightened to even touch the books. My young mind was convinced whatever horrors lurked behind those monolithic and terrifying covers would surely emerge from the pages and follow me home to stalk me at night. But as I grew older, just as Lucky Charms were a staple of my grocery booty as a kid, mass market horror novels found their way into my diet as an early teen.

My love for the genre has only grown in time, and my tastes in horror have become vast. Lately, I have been craving new voices and favoring authors who are not afraid to take risks, push boundaries, and speak bravely from their own unique perspective. 

More importantly, I enjoy reading from voices that have a unique or daring tone that breaks the mold and pushes the horror genre into interesting and new paradigms—everything from classic monster scares, to psychological horror, to shivering Gothic tales. These are my seven favorite horror novels from boundary pushing authors with bold and unique voices. 

Blanky by Kealan Patrick Burke

A quick and biting read from one of my favorite contemporary horror authors. The amount of grief, despair, and dread Burke manages to cram into 79 pages is a feat in its own right as we follow the tale of a father coping with his recently deceased infant daughter. The revelations are beyond disturbing and if you’d ever told me that someone could make a baby blanket frightening, well, then welcome to the world of Kealan Patrick Burke.

The Iliac Crest by Cristina Rivera Garza

A powerful Gothic tale that strikes at the heart of male-female binary issues. An unnamed narrator’s home is invaded in the middle of a storm as two mysterious intruders proceed to question the host’s identity. Our protagonist grows increasingly frantic as he fails to satisfy the strange intruders’ harassment to the point where his own sanity begins to crack. A stand out and original tale on the horrors of gendered violence. 

Link to the rest at Electric Lit