Quirk Books Summer Boardwalk: The Haunted House Ride

Posted by Quirk Books Staff

Love a good scare at the beach? These horror reads are right up your alley. Try What Kind of Mother for a “good old-fashioned salty summer scare” (Caroline Kepnes, New York Times best-selling author of the You series), This Wretched Valley for an escape to the wilderness, or get swept up in a tornado of a good read with Bride of the Tornado.

Whatever your taste, strap in for the horror ride of your life.


What Kind of Mother 

by Clay McLeod Chapman

New York Times Book Review Best Horror of 2023 selection

“A good old-fashioned salty summer scare about the beautiful, terrifying power of belief.”—Caroline Kepnes, New York Times best-selling author of the You series

“Packed with profoundly unsettling scenes that’ll slither under your skin and stay there long after you turn the last page.”—Gabino Iglesias, author of The Devil Takes You Home

After striking out on her own as a teen mom, Madi Price is forced to return to her hometown of Brandywine, Virginia, with her seventeen-year-old daughter. With nothing to her name, she scrapes together a living as a palm reader at the local farmers market.

It’s there that she connects with old high school flame Henry McCabe, now a reclusive local fisherman whose infant son, Skyler, went missing five years ago. Everyone in town is sure Skyler is dead, but when Madi reads Henry’s palm, she’s haunted by strange and disturbing visions that suggest otherwise. As she follows the thread of these visions, Madi discovers a terrifying nightmare waiting at the center of the labyrinth—and it’s coming for everyone she holds dear.

Combining supernatural horror with domestic suspense into a visceral exploration of parental grief, What Kind of Mother cements Clay McLeod Chapman’s reputation as a “star” (Vulture) and “the twenty-first century’s Richard Matheson” (Richard Chizmar, Chasing the Boogeyman.)

The paperback edition includes a sneak peek from Clay McLeod Chapman’s next horror novel, Wake Up and Open Your Eyes.


On Sale August 6, 2024

The Unmothers

by Leslie J. Anderson

In this raw and lyrical folk horror novel, a journalist sent to a small town begins to unravel a dark secret that the women of the town have been keeping for generations.

Marshall is still trying to put the pieces together after the death of her husband. After she is involved in a terrible accident, her editor sends her to the small, backwards town of Raeford to investigate a clearly ridiculous rumor: that a horse has given birth to a healthy, human baby boy.

When Marshall arrives in Raeford, she finds an insular town that is kinder to the horses they are famous for breeding than to their own people. But when two horribly mangled bodies are discovered in a field—one a horse, one a human—she realizes that there might be a real story here.

As she’s pulled deeper into the town and its guarded people, her sense of reality is tipped on its head. Is she losing her grip? Or is this impossible story the key to a dark secret that has haunted the women of Raeford for generations?

Unbearably tense and utterly gripping, this atmospheric tale of female rage, bodily autonomy, and generational trauma hails the arrival of a masterful storyteller.


Watch Lindsay King-Miller in conversation with Hailey Piper here!

The Z Word

by Lindsay King-Miller

“Sexy, scathing, delightful, and intimately devastating.”—Gretchen Felker-Martin, author of Manhunt and Cuckoo

Packed with action, humor, sex, and big gay feelings, The Z Word is the queer zombie romp you didn’t know you needed.

Chaotic bisexual Wendy is trying to find her place in the queer community of San Lazaro, Arizona, after a bad breakup—which is particularly difficult because her ex is hooking up with some of her friends. And when the people around them start turning into violent, terrifying mindless husks, well, that makes things harder. Especially since the infection seems to be spreading.

Now, Wendy and her friends and frenemies—drag queen Logan, silver fox Beau, sword lesbian Aurelia and her wife Sam, mysterious pizza delivery stoner Sunshine, and, oh yeah, Wendy’s ex-girlfriend Leah—have to team up to stay alive, save Pride, and track the zombie outbreak to its shocking source. Hopefully without killing each other first.

The Z Word is a propulsive, funny, emotional horror debut about a found family coming together to fight corporate greed, political corruption, gay drama, and zombies.


This Wretched Valley

by Jenny Kiefer

“A hallucinatory nightmare of a novel that blends adventure, horror and historical fiction, and isn’t shy about violence or strangeness.”—New York Times

“If you love wilderness horror, This Wretched Valley is a must-read.”—Alma Katsu, author of The Hunger and The Fervor

Take only pictures. Leave only bones.

This trip is going to be Dylan’s big break. Her geologist friend Clay has discovered an untouched cliff face in the Kentucky wilderness, and she is going to be the first person to climb it. Together with Clay, his research assistant Sylvia, and Dylan’s boyfriend Luke, Dylan is going to document her achievement on Instagram and finally cement her place as the next rising star in rock climbing.

Seven months later, three bodies are discovered in the trees just off the highway. All are in various states of decay: one a stark, white skeleton; the second emptied of its organs; and the third a mutilated corpse with the tongue, eyes, ears, and fingers removed.

But Dylan is still missing—and no trace of her, dead or alive, has been discovered.

Were the climbers murdered? Did they succumb to cannibalism? Or are their impossible bodies the work of an even more sinister force?

This dread-inducing debut builds to a bloodcurdling climax, and will leave you shocked by the final twist.


On Sale September 3, 2024

Horror for Weenies: Everything You Need to Know About the Films You’re Too Scared to Watch

by Emily C. Hughes

A smart, funny crash course in 25 iconic horror movies, from Psycho to Hereditary, for people who love getting the reference but hate being scared.

You don’t have to miss out just because you don’t like to be frightened! Stop trying to read nonsensical Wikipedia plot summaries (we know you’re doing it), and let an expert tell you everything you need to know about the most influential horror films of the past 60 years—without a single jump scare or a drop of gore.

With a rundown of the history and significance of horror cinema, explanations of common tropes, and detailed entries on 25 important movies ranging from Night of the Living Dead to The Blair Witch Project to Get OutHorror for Weenies will turn even the scarediest of cats into a confident connoisseur.

Each entry includes:

  • A detailed plot summary, with enough jokes that it won’t freak you out
  • Smart, illuminating analysis of the film’s themes and cultural significance
  • Descriptions of iconic scenes you definitely do not want to look at
  • Talking points for impressing even the biggest scary-movie buffs

Horror for Weenies is the first installment in the Outsider’s Guide series, which offers highly readable crash courses in major cultural phenomena, so you can catch the references and understand the big deal. Never get left out of a conversation again!


Listen to the Bride of the Tornado Playlist curated by James Kennedy

Bride of the Tornado

by James Kennedy

“A powerfully weird, original tale that combines American folk horror with a surreal coming-of-age nightmare.”—The Guardian

Stephen King’s The Mist meets David Lynch’s Twin Peaks in this surreal, mind-bending horror-thriller.

In a small town tucked away in the midwestern corn fields, the adults whisper about Tornado Day. Our narrator, a high school sophomore, has never heard this phrase but she soon discovers its terrible meaning: a plague of sentient tornadoes is coming to destroy them.

The only thing that stands between the town and total annihilation is a teen boy known as the tornado killer. Drawn to this enigmatic boy, our narrator senses an unnatural connection between them. But the adults are hiding a secret about the origins of the tornadoes and the true nature of the tornado killer—and our narrator must escape before the primeval power that binds them all comes to claim her.

Audaciously conceived and steeped in existential dread, this genre-defying fever dream of a novel reveals the mythbound madness at the heart of American life.


The Bonus Room

by Ben H. Winters

From New York Times best-selling and Edgar Award-winning author Ben H. Winters, this supernatural page-turner about a real-estate nightmare will make you think twice about your dream home

Susan and Alex Wendt have found their dream apartment in a gorgeous Brooklyn brownstone.

Sure, the landlady is a little eccentric. And the elderly handyman drops some cryptic remarks about the basement. But the rent is so low, it’s too good to pass up.

Big mistake. Susan awakens every morning with fresh bug bites, but neither Alex nor their daughter, Emma, has a single welt. An exterminator searches the property and turns up nothing. The landlady insists her building is clean. Susan fears she’s going mad—until she makes a chilling discovery in the bonus room.

Filled with Hitchcockian suspense, The Bonus Room is a horrifying tale of a dream home that becomes a nightmare.

Previously published in 2011 as Bedbugs.


Many Paperbacks from Hell readers have felt the urge to get their hands on the lost, pulpy titles featured in the book. A small Richmond, VA press by the name of Valancourt Books has been answering the demand and bringing them back from the dead. Now they’re teaming up with Quirk Books and Barnes & Noble to deliver exclusive editions to readers.

Featuring funny and engaging introductions by Grady Hendrix, Barnes & Noble readers will finally be able to get their hands on trade paperback editions of these wild and horrifying novels.

Learn more about these four horror reads here.


Take me back to the Quirk Books Boardwalk!