I am certain it surprises no one to learn I love a good horror story. As a kid, I borrowed every Goosebumps book the library stocked. Authors like Stephen King and Anne Rice lined my bookshelf in high school. By the time I stumbled upon psychological thrillers and supernatural suspense, it was over. I had found my “happy place” in fiction, even if it disturbed everyone else around me.
These days, I’m still a junkie for the darker stories. If Stephen King announces a new release, I pre-order it the same day. I never outgrew “fangirling” my idols, but my list of favorite authors has expanded tremendously in the last five years. From Paul Tremblay to Kelly St. Clare, there’s no shortage of talented authors and creepy tales to love.
Because I have a special love for the indie community, I wanted to take a few minutes to highlight some of that talent on the indie publishing side. Here are ten killer indie-published horror, thriller, and suspense books sure to leave you craving more!
Blood Drops by WB Welch
This first collection of short stories received a lot of well-deserved hype on social media. I opened the book as a skeptic, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t close it a believer in Welch’s talent.
“Whether we are following WB through a grim future where human meat is on the market or trailing slowly behind while she introduces us to Marie Laveua’s daughter, you can be certain of one thing: you will be surprised. Meet the friend you didn’t know Dahmer had; watch a young girl follow behind a mass murder attack, be witness to a small moment that ripples through families. The best and the most brutal of WB’s works has been brought together in this all-too-believable collection. Includes a total of eighteen tales.”
Insomnis: Volume I by Lux Noctis
Another chilling short story collection. The author’s second book, Stray, is equally dark and delicious!
” A series of interconnected horror stories penned by Lux Noctis, with the aim to induce countless sleepless nights. Set in a world of sinister forces, full of violence, gore, and psychological terrors lurking in every shadowy corner.”
While the beginning opens a little slower than some of the other novels on this list, the intense character-driven story makes it worth moment invested in Sophia.
“The dead have stories to tell. Are you listening?
On a sunny August morning, in 1935, thirteen-year-old Sophia Gray finds her friend, Rosemary wandering in the woods. Rosemary’s yellow dress is tattered and stained, she walks with a strange lurch, and her eyes are vacant and glassy. She beckons to Sophia, desperate to show her something, and Sophia follows.
In an abandoned cabin, beneath a tattered blanket, Sophia discovers Rosemary’s body.
It was not Rosemary who led her there, but Rosemary’s ghost.
Step into the Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane
Twenty years after Sophia discovers Rosemary’s body, she finds herself trapped in the sprawling, and eerily beautiful, Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane, in the hands of a malevolent doctor who preys on patients who exhibit paranormal abilities.”
Best Seller by Susan May
Ten-year-old Nem has just witnessed her mother’s brutal murder and her life appears destined for tragedy. Until, that is, she finds her mother‘s old green journal which holds an incredible secret.
She discovers it has the power to control others’ luck. The diary keeps a strange kind of karmic balance though. In gifting someone luck, she must steal someone else’s first. All it takes is a simple entry.
Decades later, the literary world hails William Barnes’ debut novel as a masterpiece. His best seller success though doesn’t survive his next two books, while his protégé Orelia Mason enjoys a crazy meteoric rise. This success of hers appearing to coincide suspiciously with his fall from grace.
So, William embarks on a plan to take back the life he’s certain she has somehow stolen, and if people get hurt along the way, well, tough luck. What he’ll discover though, is that battling fate when luck is not on your side can be a dangerous game.
Hallowed be thy Name by Anthony Hulse
Don’t be fooled by the cover on this one. Hulse’s Hallowed Be Thy Name combines religion, murder, sex, horror, and humor into an artful masterpiece.
“Mysterious man Ethan Lavender is involved in a series of so-called miracles and is wooed by con man, Jake Randolph, whose intent it is to dupe the public. Father Driscoll pursues Ethan, along with journalist Pamela Hutchins; their intentions differing. After worldwide publicity, the Church and various religious leaders attempt to thwart the man who claims he can heal the sick. Ethan alleges he is visited by Moroni, an apparent holy vision. Gangster, Abdul Rahim sees the financial potential and pursues Ethan to India and Africa, where his cult is thriving. A series of macabre deaths follow Ethan in his quest. Is he really heaven sent, or is he a servant of evil? A frightening tale of deceit, treachery and dishonor. Not for the faint-hearted.”
Ink Witch by Lindsey Farleigh
The gods are gone. Her brother is missing. One retired assassin must confront her past to save his future…
Immortal Kat Dubois has traded in her sword for a flask. Hard drinking helps ease the grisly memories of her former trade: an assassin of immortals. She’s perfectly content to spend eternity in her Seattle tattoo parlor…until the mysterious disappearance of her brother finally brings her out of retirement.
With a charmed deck of tarot cards and her trusty sword, Kat sets off to track down her brother and save his soul. A wicked corporation and a laundry list of old rivals stand in the way of her quest. For someone with an eternity to live, Kat’s chances of unraveling the mystery become less likely with each passing second…
The Dark by David C. Cassidy
Prepare yourself as award-winning author David C. Cassidy draws you into a frightening realm of terror. With a haunting darkness lurking on every page, The Dark will leave you breathless, reminding us all that for all we desire there is always a price, the currency in suffering and sacrifice. Brimming with insidious evil and a pulse-pounding pace, this astonishing tale will grab hold of your most primitive fears and won’t let go.
One by one, they vanish.
For the living, hell is on its way.
Nightingale by Amy Lukavics
“At seventeen, June Hardie is everything a young woman in 1951 shouldn’t be—independent, rebellious, a dreamer. June longs to travel, to attend college and to write the dark science fiction stories that consume her waking hours. But her parents only care about making June a better young woman. Her mother grooms her to be a perfect little homemaker while her father pushes her to marry his business partner’s domineering son. When June resists, her whole world is shattered—suburbia isn’t the only prison for different women…
June’s parents commit her to Burrow Place Asylum, aka the Institution. With its sickening conditions, terrifying staff and brutal “medical treatments,” the Institution preys on June’s darkest secrets and deepest fears. And she’s not alone. The Institution terrorizes June’s fragile roommate, Eleanor, and the other women locked away within its crumbling walls. Those who dare speak up disappear…or worse. Trapped between a gruesome reality and increasingly sinister hallucinations, June isn’t sure where her nightmares end and real life begins. But she does know one thing: in order to survive, she must destroy the Institution before it finally claims them all.”
Hidden Company by S.E. England
“A dark psychological thriller set in a Victorian asylum in the heart of Wales.
Warning – contains highly disturbing material!
1893, and nineteen-year-old Flora George is admitted to a remote asylum with no idea why she is there, what happened to her child, or how her wealthy family could have abandoned her to such a fate. However, within a short space of time it becomes apparent she must save herself from something far worse than that of a harsh regime.
2018, and forty-one year old Isobel Lee moves into the gatehouse of what was once the old asylum. A reluctant medium, it is with dismay she realises there is a terrible secret here – one desperate to be heard. Angry and upset, Isobel baulks at what she must now face. But with the help of local dark arts practitioner, Branwen, face it she must.
This is a dark story of human cruelty, folklore and superstition. But the human spirit can and will prevail…unless of course, the wrath of the fae is incited…
Escape! By Iain Rob Wright
Cheryl is about to learn that the people she works with are keeping a secret. One they are willing to kill for.
Cheryl is the new girl at work, which is why she feels like she doesn’t have a choice when she’s asked to go on a “company outing.” She and six of her colleagues are to be locked inside a room with only their wits to aid them. If they escape in time, there’ll be prize money. Fail, and the repercussions could be deadly.
Do you have a favorite indie horror author or book? Let me know!