What are the best horror novels of the 21st century? Which books will loom largest upon the Gothic landscape to come? Do we have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for the years after 2000?
We are almost sixteen years into this new century, giving us a substantial body of work to reflect upon.
Caveats: let's draw some boundaries around this quest. We're talking novels, not short story collections, not novellas, nor movies. Let's assume English-language work, including recent translations. And published after 1999.
How to determine these grand books? We can start with the Bram Stoker Award winners, which are the horror field's leading awards. Let's pick the best novel award winners.
EDITED TO ADD: we've also taken this question to writers and critics participating in the 2015 Necronomicon conference.
What to rule out? Goodreads has a list, but it is unfortunately far too long, with hundreds of titles.
Now we have a dataset of sorts, from which we can build a bibliography.
What follows is in alphabetical order by author, and by title when multiple responses occur for a single author. Two asterisks (**) appear beside any title that appears in two or more sources.
Jeffrey E. Barlough, The Cobbler Of Ridingham
Laird Barron, The Croning
Lauren Beukes, Broken Monsters
Laird Barron, The Croning
Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History Of The Zombie War
Ramsey Campbell, The Grin Of The Dark
Justin Cronin, The Passage
Mark Z. Danielewski, House Of Leaves
Bret Easton Ellis , Lunar Park
Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects
Neil Gaiman, American Gods< br> Ray Garton, The Folks
Joe Hill, Heart-Shaped Box **
" " , Horns
" " Twentieth-Century Ghosts
Charlee Jacob, Dread in the Beast
Brian Keene, The Conqueror Worms
" ", Ghoul
" ", The Rising
Jack Ketchum, The Lost
Caitlin R. Kiernan, The Drowning Girl
Stephen King, Doctor Sleep
" " Duma Key **
" ", Lisey’s Story **
" ", Under The Dome
Sarah Langan, Audrey's Door
" ", The Missing **
Richard Laymon, The Traveling Vampire Show
John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let The Right One In
Bentley Little, The Walking
Jonathan Maberry, Ghost Road Blues
Josh Malerman, Bird Box
Michael Marshall, We Are Here
Joe McKinney, Flesh Eaters
David Morrell, Creepers
Adam Nevill, Last Days
Weston Ochse, Scarecrow Gods
Chuck Palahniuk, Haunted
" " , Lullaby
Norman Partridge, Dark Harvest **
Tom Piccirilli, A Choir Of Ill Children
" ", The Night Class
Dan Simmons, Drood
" " , The Terror
Bryan Smith, The Freakshow
" ", Soultaker
Scott Smith, The Ruins
Peter Straub , A Dark Matter **
" ", In the Night Room
" ", lost boy lost girl
Steve Rasnic Tem, Blood Kin<
Jeffrey Thomas, Boneland
" ", Punktown
Paul Tremblay, Head Full of Ghosts
Jeff Vandermeer, the Southern Reach sequence
David Wong, John Dies At The End
Rio Youers, Westlake Soul
Which of these do you recommend, dear Infocult reader? Are there other titles we should add?