Bookstr Picks: Favorite Summer Slasher Reads

For those readers who view the warm months as the ideal time to get their scare on, we at Bookstr have assembled a list of our favorite summer slasher reads.

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There’s something about this time of year that just seems to bring the phobia junkies out of the woodwork… and we’re not talking about Halloween. Between shark movies, creature features, and, of course, slashers, summer has become a season of unique thrills and chills for any reader brave enough to seek them out. These titles, picked by horror lovers among the Bookstr staff, represent the best summer slashers in literature.

Crazy: A Prayer for the Dead by Steven LaChance



I’m not a huge horror fan, but my best friend is, at least when it comes to true stories. She convinced me to read Crazy since it’s based on a true story about the haunted Tri-County Truck Stop, which isn’t too far from where we live. Due to the lack of full details, much of the backstory on the ghosts that haunt the now-closed truck stop is fictional. That doesn’t take away from the absolutely haunting and emotionally devastating truth of those who died there. 

I read this over the summer, and if I ever read it again, summer will be when. I have more daylight then, and I absolutely will not read this in the dark. LaChance is a paranormal investigator who, along with his team, added the truck stop to their list of cases, hoping to help the souls haunting the place move on. What transpires that night, along with a narration of the deadly event that caused the haunting, is terrifying. 

  • Kristi Eskew, Editorial

Stone Maidens by Lloyd Devereux Richards



Stone Maidens is a serial killer thriller set in the Midwest during the summer, mainly in the month following the Fourth of July. The heat and inclement weather play a large role in hindering the detectives from finding the killer. Additionally, science nerd that I am, I love the focus on forensics throughout the story, and the mystery of the whole thing is fascinating and original!

  • Madison Weir, Editorial

My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones



A summer-centric slasher novel from one of the modern masters of literary horror is basically guaranteed to be a fantastic read. The story centers around Camp Blood, the abandoned summer camp where, decades prior to the equally troubled present, a horrific chain of events put the area out of commission. This book is perfect for horror fans who love reading about horror fans; you can’t help but smile when Jade, the slasher-obsessed heroine, references a classic horror movie or spins a ghost story of her own.

  • Charlie Williams

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer 



The Chemist is intriguing because it’s very different from The Twilight Saga. People do die in mysterious ways. The main character is on the run from her old bosses, who suddenly want to make a truce. She’s hesitant. Everything changes when the threat of a deadly flu-mimicking virus that could kill millions potentially being released across the entire nation is made known to her. However, there’s more than meets than eye in what she’s been told. And that is only the beginning of an unlikely alliance in an action-packed story that will keep you turning the pages. 

  • Christina Hardesty, Graphics

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn



Out of Flynn’s three bestsellers, Dark Places is the most slasher-esque. It has all the components of a great horror read: a haunting small-town setting, an unsolved mass murder, and a killer plot twist. The narrative moves between two time periods from the POV of our “final girl” protagonist as she tries to come to grips with her past. Plus, I appreciate that the plot is not all fluff but more deeply examines the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, rural poverty, and farming communities, etc. I definitely recommend!

  • Erin Shea, Editorial 

Happy reading! We can’t recommend each of these titles enough… assuming, of course, you intend to read them in a well-lit setting, far from the untamed wilderness or any decommissioned summer camps where horrific events once transpired.