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The 10 Best Gay Horror Books You Should Have Read Already By Now!

The 10 Best Gay Horror Books You Should Have Read Already By Now!

The intertwining of gay narratives and horror is a tale as old as cinema itself. Historically, Hollywood’s portrayal of LGBT characters was often relegated to villainous or undesirable roles, shaping the archetype of many nefarious characters, particularly in animation.

Consider the flamboyant villains of classic Disney films, with their penchant for dramatics and meticulous attention to appearance, embodying stereotypes that were both compelling and problematic.

However, this portrayal has evolved significantly in contemporary times, both on screen and in literature. In modern horror fiction, gay characters, once sidelined or victimized, are now being reimagined as vibrant protagonists in their own right. This shift is particularly evident in the realms of gay graphic novels and LGBT graphic novels, where the visual medium adds a rich layer to the storytelling, allowing for a more nuanced exploration of queer identities and narratives.

Similarly, gay thriller books are redefining the genre, infusing it with the unique experiences and perspectives of gay characters. These books often feature protagonists who are not just bold and brave, but also intricately developed, offering insights into their journeys of self-discovery and acceptance, a journey sometimes more daunting than facing a horde of supernatural terrors.

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Moreover, the exploration of queer themes has expanded into the domain of homosexuality books and lesbian mystery books, where the complexities of gay and lesbian experiences are woven into gripping narratives. These books offer a compelling exploration of identity, love, and the mysteries that lurk within human relationships, all set against the backdrop of suspense and intrigue.

So, as we dim the lights and settle in for an enthralling reading session, let’s embrace the exhilarating world of horror, now enriched with a distinctly gay twist. These stories, spanning from the visually striking tales in graphic novels to the suspense-filled pages of mystery and thriller books, invite us to confront our fears while celebrating the diversity and richness of gay narratives. Prepare to be captivated, as these books promise a journey that is as terrifying as it is enlightening, leaving us eager for more, despite the lurking dread.

Today what I want is simple.

Sliding Rock, North Carolina. Entering Pisgah

the air cools before the long slope of water,

skunk of moss and wood, clean cool of water

all around you in the air. Particulate,

minute, mist rising from the broad rush, water meeting

water. We’ll breathe it, soothe

these parched lips, this burning.

Etymological research of “ardent” brings me to

the gleam of pale quadriceps, skin of your cheekbones, bones

of your jaw. Each island, each car, each rainy street, each

candle each window each sky. Your body smooth, hot

here, cool there. Local lore glory deserving close study.

From Ardent by Jill McDonough
Queer Literature

Don't have time to read them all? Why not try listening to them? Audible is a great platform for listening to audiobooks because it offers a wide selection of books, including bestsellers and exclusive content. With Audible, you can listen to your favorite books on-the-go, whether you're commuting, working out, or doing household chores.

The Audible app also has features like adjustable narration speed, a sleep timer, and the ability to create bookmarks, making it easy to customize your listening experience. Additionally, Audible offers a membership program that gives members access to a certain number of audiobooks per month, making it a cost-effective option for avid listeners. 

A great resource for people who want to maximize their time and make the most out of their daily activities. Try a free 30-day trial from Audible today, and you'll get access to a selection of Audible Originals and audiobooks, along with a credit to purchase any title in their premium selection, regardless of price (including many of the books on this list!) 

For ebook lovers, we also recommend Scribd, basically the Netflix for Books and the best and most convenient subscription for online reading. While they have a catalog comprising over half a million books including from many bestselling authors, for some of the books on this list, you'll still have to purchase individually - either as a paperback or eBook to load on your Kindle - due to publishing house restrictions. 

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Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo

Andrew thought that he knew his best friend, Eddie, through and through. After all, they had done everything together for most of their lives. Their friendship was legendary and went far beyond just the connection between two acquaintances. It was a kinship, a connection, with the potential to be so much more if only they could express their feelings to one another. 

At least… That was until Eddie committed suicide just days before Andrew had been set to start living with him and to start his new life in the graduate program at Vanderbilt School, and left his lifelong friendship with a bucketload of questions and not a lot of answers to be found, no matter how hard he looks.

What follows next is a dark, frightening, and reluctant journey as Andrew runs through a world of forgotten longings repeatedly, forced to explore the past of Eddie’s life and his own. The Eddie that he had known was different from the Eddie that had died so recently.

That person had been an inhabitant of the night – a drug abuser, a frequenter of nightclubs and strangers’ bedrooms, and a keeper of secrets that Andrew had not even thought possible to hide.

Summer Sons is a story of kinship, regret, and hope for the future wearing a horror disguise, and it takes readers through a journey of longing, forgotten memories, and what could have been. Will Andrew find himself, or will he be lost in turn?

Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo - Best Gay Horror Books

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The Bright Lands by John Fram

Joel thought that he had seen the last of the conservative, religious town Bentley when he left ten years ago in the wake of a wave of shame, but it seems that while he had left the place, Bentley’s ties to him remained attached still.

His younger brother is reported to have disappeared, and only one person can solve the mystery of a lifetime and discover the dark secret that this small town has been hiding from even the most diligent inhabitants. 

Temporarily leaving the life that he has made for himself in New York behind, where he feels like he can finally be himself and embrace his identity as a gay man, Joel comes back to a place of sour memories only to find that the people there are all answering the same call – wheeling in confusion and suspicion as missing reports and people who seem to know far too much hang around every corner.

Will Bentley claim Joel and his brother forever, locked in some dark, mysterious conspiracy, or will his bravery free him from the town’s curse in his memory forever? The answer waits to be found in the Bright Lands – the light upon the horizon, catching the eyes of all the town’s inhabitants and drawing them on to a wild, dark tomorrow.

Packed to the brim with real social commentary and gripping, engaging horror, The Bright Lands is a yes on all accounts and one of the best on this list of the best gay horror books.

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The Dust of Wonderland by Lee Thomas

Ken thought he had found peace and would never have to experience horror again. But that temporary bliss disappears almost instantly when he receives a call from his ex-wife. Their son has been attacked and left for dead, in the first step down a dark, long path that Ken thought he would never have to walk down again. 

He doesn’t want to accept it, and everything in his mind screams against the need, but he has to. The past is calling to him, and he has no choice but to plunge back into depths of antiquity behind him, to his youth and his discovery of self.

He has no choice – the lives of his ex-wife, his son, and his lover David are all in the balance of what he does next, and he knows that he is the only one who can bring back the safety he once built around himself.

The Dust of Wonderland executes its buildup and suspense perfectly – following Ken through his youth with a deep, overseeing tone. The circumstances and the setting of his past are mysterious and ever-changing, taking place in a strange club called ‘Wonderland’. 

The club functioned under the influence of the twisted Travis Brugier, who killed several young men in Ken’s presence before taking his own life on a life-altering night that closed the club forever. 

Will Ken persevere and save those he cares about, or will Wonderland be his end after all?

The Dust of Wonderland by Lee Thomas - Best Gay Horror Books

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Books of Blood by Clive Barker

The career-starting brainchild of English author and poet Clive Barker, the Books of Blood are not one novel but a series of 16 short stories that make up one arc of nightmare-inducing terror.

Barker enters the horror scene with a strength and a dark pull that easily competes with the best authors of the genre, rising to greatness with surprising speed given that the Books of Blood are his first published pieces of writing.

The first volume of the series contains the titles ‘The Book of Blood’, ‘The Midnight Meat Train’, ‘The Yattering and Jack’, ‘Sex, Death, and Starshine’, and ‘In the Hills, the Cities’ with the tales being continued in further volumes and their own separate stories.

Each tale includes unique, different takes on established horror tropes alongside new, equally shocking ideas, taking their characters down twisted paths of dread, death, realization, and darkness. 

The Books of Blood aren’t just short stories – they are dynamic tales of wit, terror, and tenderness, unlike any other works known to the critics of the literary world. If you’re looking for a comprehensive horror experience that leaves no holds barred, holds heavy queer themes, and leaves every possible itch satisfied, look no further than Barker’s Books of Blood.

There’s not a single niche that they don’t fill, and not an angle of horror that is not fully embraced and turned into the driving force of a wild, gripping story that will shake the boots of even the most desensitized horror veteran.

Books of Blood by Clive Barker - Best Gay Horror Books

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Queer Fear, Edited by Michael Rowe

The first book on this list to be a compilation of smaller stories rather than a regular novel, Queer Fear takes the diversity offered by a range of different takes on storytelling to create a multifaced tale that grips and terrifies the eyes more than any other. 

Compiled and edited by well-accomplished journalist Rowe but featuring the stunning work of over fifteen well-known writers and journalists, Queer Fear takes horror and terror into its own hands and breaks well into the genre of LGBT writing with its striking use of queer points of view and feelings to drive home meaning and emotion.

This isn’t just any compilation of short stories – it is a masterwork that brings together some of the best things about horror and presents them in an easily readable format. 

The individual stories – beginning with C. Mark Umland’s ‘The Nightguard’ and ending with Joseph O’Brien’s ‘Second Shadow’ – are no page-fillers, either. Each entry into Queer Fear’s numbers brings something new to the table and presents an entirely different world to dive into and immerse yourself with.

Their honestness allows an in-depth and shameless exploration of even the darkest feelings, and their approach to fleshing out characters makes each new protagonist feel just as real and tangible as before.

A high recommendation for horror fans in general, Queer Fear’s loyalty to its title and bringing gay characterization into its story is incredible, to say the least, making it an engaging, frightening, and well-assembled read. 

Queer Fear by Michael Rowe - Best Gay Horror Books


Hawk Mountain by Conner Habib

Hawk Mountain is yet another tale on this list of the best gay horror books about the onset of the past and the return of the things from one’s memories that become just as real in the present as they were when they were locked away and forgotten.

This time that transformation comes bearing the name Jack, and that name comes attached to a face half noticed by protagonist Todd while the latter is holidaying with his son on the beach. 

Todd knows that Jack had bullied him through almost all his time at school as a child, but now that the two encounter one another as adults, the other man greets Todd as though they had been friends.

Flattered, Todd accepts a get-together meal to reminisce on old times, but little does he know that this is only the first step in an invasive change to his life that will affect and endanger everything that he loves and that he once knew about his past life.

Though it is also a debut novel, like a few other entries on this list, its way of presenting emotions and dread is unique and powerful. Fifteen years had seemed like a lot of time and a lot of distance to Todd, but now that Jack is back in his life, he knows that time meant nothing.

Hate, love, and fear mingle dangerously, and there doesn’t seem to be a way for him to escape the nightmare that is creeping in on him from all angles.

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The German by Lee Thomas

Thomas is the recipient of countless horror and literary awards thanks to this book and the rest of his collection, marking him as one of the genre’s most respected authors.

A classic of both the gay fiction and horror genres, The German follows a peaceful hermit named Ersnt Lang and the quiet Texan town that he calls home as a killer begins to take everything from his neighbors: calm, security, and even life. Secrets, lies, and conspiracies hide around every corner, but Lang has his own secret. 

Ten long years ago he had been a member of the Nazi party, living on the other side of the world and serving as a soldier in the interests of a ruthless dictator. That was until he fled and renounced his calling, becoming a man who despised violence and simply wanted to live out his life in peace.

Or had he? 

Lang finds himself to be a man of two minds. On the one hand, he is a hermit who lives in harmony with his community, but on the other hand, he is an executed criminal responsible for and the recipient of more than his fair share of violence, seduction, and betrayal.

Is he simply a madman – as his thoughts tend to tell him – or is something more happening here? Are these memories his own, or has the gloom of the killer haunting the town begun to take hold even in his mind, a place that had once been sacred to him?

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Cold Fingers by Amy Spector

A perfect example of slow, creeping horror with a gothic air, Cold Fingers builds upon its story like a twisted behemoth, making each step forward equally as gripping as it is terrifying.

Christopher Minnick didn’t want to go to his birthday dinner in the first place, but if he had known the repercussions that attending would have, he would have driven far, far in the opposite direction rather than giving it even a second thought.

But alas, he goes, and that is when his fate is sealed. Minnick meets Victor Polidori at the party – the godson of one of his friends – and things begin to spiral quickly. Victor is handsome and alluring, yes, but there is something wrong.

Secrets keep whispering themselves behind Christopher’s ears, people keep disappearing, and it feels like the walls of doom are slowly closing in. What must he do to escape, what exactly does he have to escape from, and how much time does he have left to do it before it’s too late?

Spector is an author well-versed in the genre and knows how to attract the attention and the suspicions of her readers to where they need to be for the maximum effect later.

There is nothing like a writer who knows how to play games with expectation and assumption, which makes Cold Fingers and the rest of the books in the series such an entrancing read. A must-read and a star recommendation for this list.

Cold Fingers by Amy Spector - Best Gay Horror Books


Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Making a strong entry into this list of the best gay horror books even though it is a young adult novel and the debut work of its author, Aiden Thomas, the Cemetery Boys deserves every word of praise and recommendation it can get.

Following serious real-life issues of sexuality and gender through the talented, colorful lens of well-rounded fantasy, the tale of the Cemetery Boys follows Yadriel – a young Latinx boy who has summoned a ghost and now has to wake up day to day to live to regret it. 

Yadriel’s life already had enough problems, which isn’t making it any easier. All that he wants is for his parents and his family to see him as a real boy, a real brujo and to acknowledge his magical powers, but it seems that none of those things will happen any time soon.

Given the name Julian Diaz when alive, the ghost isn’t exactly happy with this situation either, but while Yadriel wants nothing more than to get rid of the spirit he brought back to life at first, it isn’t long down the track before he starts to feel a little more fondness for him than planned.

The first Cemetery Boys has a planned sequel with a release date of 2024, so fingers are crossed, and hopes are high for yet another incredibly successful work in the same world as the first novel. If this first book was any indicator of Thomas’ writing prowess, then we can all expect yet another banger!

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas - Best Gay Horror Books

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The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass

Like many kids, his age, Jake Livingstone doesn’t have things easy at school. He’s one of the only black kids that he knows, and that is only made harder by the fact that he is also one of the only gay people that he knows too. 

Oh, and he can see dead people. Not in the tacky or dramatic sense, but quite literally – he can see dead people all around him and at almost all times. 

Especially at school. That’s where Sawyer lives – or neglects to live, rather. When alive, Sawyer was responsible for the deaths of six kids, and now that he’s caught on to Jake’s abilities, he has his ghostly eyes set on taking yet another victim, even now from beyond the grave.

Tackling topics surrounding the struggles of queer life in school and facing racism with remarkable taste and tact, The Taking of Jake Livingston is a book written with exceptional talent and prowess, making use of every page of its length and not wasting a single moment without building suspense, drama, and terror. 

A New York Times bestseller and a great testament to its author’s skill, The Taking of Jake Livingstone is a perfect example of everything good about all of the genres that it dips its toes into – young adult, horror, and queer fiction, touching on each with an attention to detail and care that makes it well rounded for all audiences and a pleasure to read. A definite testament to Douglass’ skills!

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