Book Club Nominees

4 Books From Beyond the Border

by @Smoko, curator of HOWLS Book Club nominees for January’s “Beyond the Border” category

Get ready for that overused sepia because we are reading Latino-based horror! I’m a 5th generation Chicana and honestly want more representation, so with that, I bring you 4 books from authors in the US and beyond the border that have all have Latino roots. The stories vary so you have choices from folklore, black magic, the underworld and so much more….

Cover of Mayan Blue by Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason. Cover shows a historical Mayan figure wearing a traditional decorated loin cloth, armbands, and necklace. They are raising a bowl above their head as if in offering. The background is a giant rendering of a Mayan calendar.

Mayan Blue by Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason

Xibalba, home of torture and sacrifice, is the kingdom of the lord of death. He commanded legions of shapeshifting creatures, spectral shamans, and corpses hungry for the flesh of the living. The Mayans feared him and his realm of horror. These legends, along with those that lived in fear of them, have been dead and gone for centuries. Yet now, a doorway has been opened in Georgia. A group of college students seek their missing professor, a man who has secretly uncovered the answer to one of history’s greatest mysteries. However, what they find is more than the evidence of a hidden civilization. It’s also a gateway to a world of living nightmares. (Goodreads)

Okay so to be honest I chose this book because I had just finished Maya and the Three. I loved the show and cried at seeing characters that looked like myself and my family. So of course I want to feel closer to my Latina roots which means I must find a way to connect myself to horror. I wanted to find a book that was written by a Latino author and has something to do with Mesoamerican gods. After much searching, I found Mayan Blue by Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason AKA The Sisters of Slaughter.

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

Cover of Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias. Cover is a painting of the Virgin Mary surrounded by a red-gold halo on what appears to be a wooden slat board wall. There are splashes of blood on the wall.

Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias

A man tasked with shuttling children over the border believes the Virgin Mary is guiding him towards final justice. A woman offers colonizer blood to the Mother of Chaos. A boy joins corpse destroyers to seek vengeance for the death of his father. These stories intertwine with those of a vengeful spirit and a hungry creature to paint a timely, compelling, pulpy portrait of revenge, family, and hope. (Goodreads)

Some close friends have raved about Igelsias’s work so with my theme being focused on showcasing Latino stories, I had to include Coyote Songs

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

Cover of Things We Lost In The Fire by Mariana Enríquez. Cover shows what appear to be abstract shapes in tones of beige, yellow, orange, brown, and black. When you look closer the shapes resolve into plants, vines, flowers, and snakes.

Things We Lost In The Fire by Mariana Enríquez

Three young friends distract themselves with drugs and pain in the midst of a government-enforced blackout ; a girl with nothing to lose steps into an abandoned house and never comes back out; to protest a viral form of domestic violence, a group of women set themselves on fire. But alongside the black magic and disturbing disappearances, these stories are fueled by compassion for the frightened and the lost, ultimately bringing these characters—mothers and daughters, husbands and wives—into a surprisingly familiar reality. (Goodreads)

I chose this book as I wanted something that showcased the horror in everyday life. I’m a sucker for monsters and everything spooky but sometimes the scariest things are the complexities we deal with in everyday life…

Bookshop* | Goodreads | Amazon

Cover of Loteria by Cynthia Pelayo. Cover shows a drawing of an anatomically correct heart against a sepia toned background. The heart has an arrow through it and is dripping blood.

Loteria by Cynthia Pelayo

There are 54 cards in the Lotería game, and for this short story collection you will find one unique story per card based on a Latin American myth, folklore, superstition, or belief – with a slant towards the paranormal and horrific. In this deck of cards you will find murderers, ghosts, goblins and ghouls. This collection features creatures and monsters, vampires and werewolves and many of these legends existed in the Americas long before their European counterparts (Goodreads)

I grew up with folklore, from my grandma she would threaten my cousins and I with stories of El Cucuy and La Llorona whenever we were bad or wanted to stay outside into the night. I honestly think that the fear from these stories founded a fondness and love for horror. So with that, I found it only fitting to find a book that felt like home.

Goodreads | Amazon

And The Winner Is…

Out of these four books, HOWLers voted to read Things We Lost In The Fire by Mariana Enríquez. Join HOWL Society on Monday, January 24, 2022 to begin discussion!

*The HOWLS affiliate storefront pays a 10% commission to HOWL Society and gives a matching 10% to independent bookstores

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