Is La Llorona your homegirl? Does El Cucuy live in your garage? Latino writers have always had a unique relationship to the strange and supernatural. More and more, we are seeing Latino authors putting their own spin on old monsters — and making new ones. What a time to be undead! Here are nine authors to read if you’re in the mood for a fright.
Mariana Enriquez is an Argentine journalist, novelist and short story writer. This year saw her English-lanaguage debut in the form of a short story collection called “Things We Lost in the Fire.” The collection serves as a great example of how horror can be a powerful vehicle for social commentary. Macabre and disturbing, the collection features stories that will chill you to the bone while also offering an insight into Argentina as experienced by the author. It’s a breath of fresh air in the field of horror fiction…if you can manage to breathe.
Edgar Cantero originally hails from Spain. His English-language debut, “The Supernatural Enhancements,” is part classic ghost story, part mystery, as the two protagonists uncover the secrets of the haunted house they inherited. His newest novel, “Meddling Kids,” is a fun cross between pop culture nostalgia and H.P. Lovecraft. Fans of the horror-comedy genre will find a lot to love here.
Guadalupe Garcia McCall
While YA author Guadalupe Garcia McCall is not known for horror, she did write a novel that incorporates the mythology of Mexico into an epic supernatural tale. “The Summer of the Mariposas” takes place on and across the Texas border, and starts as a female-driven version of “Stand by Me” when four sisters find a dead body. From there, the story takes on a hero’s journey where the girls find themselves encountering all the monsters your abuela warned you about.
Zoraida Córdova is quickly becoming a rising star in the literary world. “The Vicious Deep,” her mermaid series, is definitely worth a read. Her most recent novel and the first book in her Brooklyn Brujas series, “Labyrinth Lost,” just won an International Latino Book Award, among other accolades, and has been optioned by Paramount. In this book, a teenage bruja tries to rid herself of her powers and accidentally makes her family disappear. This precipitates a journey to an in-between underworld called Los Lagos to bring them back. Dark and magical, this is a fabulous Latino update for “Alice in Wonderland” devotees. With stories in “Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View” and “Toil and Trouble,” Córdova is someone to watch.
Carmen Maria Machado
Carmen Maria Machado has been killing it for a long time as a short story writer, critic and essayist. Her stories have been reprinted in “Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy,” “Best Horror of the Year” and “Year’s Best Weird Fiction.” Her debut short story collection, “Her Body and Other Parties,” has already generated a lot of buzz, and is a finalist for the National Book Award. Machado brings women’s issues to the forefront with an approach to horror that will delight fans of the genre and bring those who are on the fence about it on board. It’s original, it’s feminist af and it will blow your mind.
Michael Paul Gonzalez
Michael Paul Gonzalez is always busy with a new project. His body of work can best be described as noir with a healthy dose of carnage. His stories have been included in many anthologies, including “Gothic Fantasy: Chilling Horror Short Stories” and “Year’s Best Hardcore Horror.” If you are someone who likes audiobooks or podcasts, his newest endeavor is “Larkspur Underground,” a serialized fictional account of a woman with Stockholm Syndrome who is the sole survivor of a serial killer’s house of horrors. It is not for the squeamish.
Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a Canadian short story writer, novelist and editor. In her short story collections and novels, the real and the magical overlap, often examining contemporary issues like her modern take of La Llorona, “Lacrimosa,” which was printed in the November 2015 issue of Nightmare Magazine. Her second novel, “Certain Dark Things,” was on many best of lists in 2016. Vampires in Mexico City. Need I say more? As an editor, she is unapologetic about championing the work of writers of color, making her a great follow on Twitter.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a much-celebrated author in Spain. His most popular series, “The Cemetery of Forgotten Books,” is a noir mystery which just saw its final installment late last year in Spanish. However, English language readers have one more year to catch up on the first three books before the translation comes out. His novel, “Marina,” is a cult classic. It features two teenagers who get caught up in the mystery behind a woman who ritualistically comes to the cemetery at the same time every month to leave a rose on a grave. There’s a little creep factor, a little romance and a lot to love in regards to the beautiful writing.
Samanta Schweblin is an Argentine author who has garnered much attention for her Spanish-language work, being named one of the 22 Best Writers in Spanish Under 35 by Granta in 2010. Her novel, “Fever Dream,” was translated into English and published earlier this year. It’s part ghost story and part psychological thriller that you will find yourself compulsively tearing through, hurtling towards the end. It’s a wave you feel compelled to ride. Fans of David Lynch will find a friend in this book. It’s brilliant and grotesque.