It’s Women in Horror Month, so this month’s fiction spotlight celebrates some of the most exciting women writers in indie genre fiction.
Under gothic architecture where the vampires prowl, the abominations of science roam free, and ghosts spy through laced curtains, horror has been the voice for oppressed and outcasts. From Anne Rice to Mary Shelley to Shirley Jackson, women have been putting wheels together and creating chariots, giving us new perspectives on how we make our monsters. So for this month, in celebration of Women in Horror Month, we bring you the indie side of the book world. Creating scares for the modern era…
These are not your Final Girls.
1. Paracosm (Gillian Dowell)
Haunted by her past, Marzanna desperately struggles to find peace. If destiny should grant it, and if the fates will allow it, can Marzanna ever be set free from her life’s mortal curse?
There will always be room for more Gothic stories. Be they set in the past or the present, the Gothic horror genre will live on. And live on it does, through Dowell’s dark telling of the unfortunate Marzanna. A story that ought to stumble through tropes often used but does not. Instead, it stands on its own through the writing of the author; paced fast enough to allow the reader to consume it in large chunks, but also in a way that gives the story enough breathing room to enjoy.
Dowell does well to include all the proper landmarks of a Gothic novel while relishing in the present time — the dour self-isolated main character, a dread laced morose atmosphere, the abrasive and cocky love interest, and of course the large house that attracts misfortune. Or is it the house?
2. Broken Mirrors (Marie McWilliams)
The truth was, she knew why she was upset. She was upset because she could no longer pretend.
Bridging the gap of a a thriller/romance story with prose that can elicit a true horror, McWilliams sets a tone with her writing that screams with tension.
With a plot that focuses on a crime syndicate and the romance stuck in between, McWilliams sets POV on the wife of the crime boss. It’s through her that we get the emotional impacts of the story, as well as the darker and more crazed aspects of the story. It’s this clashing of genres that makes Broken Mirrors a nice palette cleanser for anyone that’s looking for something that doesn’t stray too far from the horror world but sits comfortably adjacent to it.
3. Cradles the Brain (Alyanna Poe)
Within the depths of our minds lie our true selves. Between every crack and crevice in the brain, secrets hide.
A collection of short stories with something for everyone, Poe has put together a stunning variety of work.
Ranging from in your face violence to rather potent poetry, the author shows that she’s willing to give anything a go. Though the varying style of stories may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the reader will find one that sticks with them. With a writing style that’s vivid and perfect for the rather gory and spine tingling stories she unfolds, Alyanna Poe knows what’ll get under the reader’s skin, and how to dig the knife further in.
4. Red (Sabrina Voerman)
For four hundred years, the townsfolk have been telling the tale of a wicked wolf, a beast created by evil that prowls the forest at the town’s border, waiting to be summoned, waiting for a daughter to be sacrificed.
A historical fantasy that plays on the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale, Red takes the underlining dread and wickedness of the original Brother’s Grimm telling and expands it into a unique and page turning read.
Utilizing and intricate plot to keep the dread throughout, Voerman creates tangible characters as she explores a variety of themes that all seem to hit home. Her writing elicits the times in which the story takes place, helping to create a fully fledged world with all its lurking horrors.