20 Books Like Mexican Gothic (Historical Horror Fiction)

Mexican Gothic is a horror novel written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and was published in 2020. This book rose to fame quickly with the help of social media platforms and influencers’ recommendations. 

20 Books Like Mexican Gothic (Historical Horror Fiction)

Publishing a novel during the pandemic undoubtedly had a positive impact on the novel’s reception too but nevertheless, it received a plethora of positive reviews within days of its publication and has since been highly recommended.

This novel is set in the 1950s and follows Noemí, who is obliged to leave bustling Mexico City to check in on her ill cousin in a small mining town called El Triunfo. 

Merging crime, murder mystery, medicine, and horror, this book is multifaceted and genre-bending, culminating in a huge conspiracy that unearths secrets, dives into complex marriages, and unravels suspicious events.

Noemí’s story has captivated the attention of millions of fans worldwide and continues to enthrall readers today. If you’re keen on psychological thrill, eerie settings, and complex characters, you’re in for a treat with Mexican Gothic. 

Historical horror is a continuously growing genre, with many writers using the dark, creepy settings of pre-electrical time periods as a basis for their stories. However, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, along with many others, has used a more modern historical period as her setting, which creates a sense of closeness and relatability for readers. 

The horror implemented isn’t always ghosts, ghouls, and poltergeists, instead, it’s a lot more real, and as a result, a lot scarier. This type of horror is generated through creepy characters with twisted habits, disturbing relationships, and tense, gripping plot lines.

So, apart from Mexican Gothic, what other books provide this intriguing, multi-genred, suspenseful reading experience? Well, without further ado, here are 20 books that are similar to Mexican Gothic. 

The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon

The Drowning Kind

After receiving numerous missed calls from her sister Lexie, Jax is unsure whether she’s in desperate need or whether she’s just calling out for help as a result of her long-term psychological issues. 

Curious and fulfilling a sense of duty, Jax takes it upon herself to go and visit. But when she arrives, Lexie is dead and the circumstances seem suspicious. Jax soon discovers that Lexie had been researching the family history and uncovering some of the dark mysteries held within the house. Diving back into the 1920s, Jax continues the research and discovers twisted secrets about the history of the house too, which may end up killing her the way it killed Lexie…

The Drowning Kind is a suspenseful, supernatural horror that flicks between the modern-day and the 1920s. An enjoyable read for any gothic, horror, or history lover.

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

The Only Good Indians: A Novel

Psychological horror, cultural identity, disturbing events, and family politics are just a few things you can expect from this innovative novel.

The Only Good Indians closely follows four American-Indian men and the people that surround them, who are all linked by one deadly event that happened years ago. This is a story of revenge, tradition, and identity.

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier


This classic book has been lapped up by millions since it was first published. It follows a woman who marries a wealthy widower, unaware of the dangers this new relationship will bring. After their wedding, she moves into his family home, the one he used to live in with his ex-wife Rebecca. 

She quickly discovers that all occupants of the house are still obsessed with Rebecca and begins feeling her presence around the house, which quickly becomes haunting and makes her feel insane. Rebecca blends ghostly presence, dark secrets, mystery, haunting relationships, and female madness.

The Curse She Wore by Jordan Dane

The Curse She Wore

Trinity is desperate. She is homeless, isolated, and has lost all hope. So when she finds a valuable necklace, she clings onto it, despite knowing it’s cursed. 

This necklace takes her on a journey through time, tracing the deaths of two people, completely different but with the same ugly fate. In order to prevent more deaths in the future, Trinity will have to embark on a dangerous journey that will position her in the center of a serial killer’s gaze. 

The Curse She Wore is violent, gripping, mysterious, and terrifyingly realistic.

Dark Archives by Megan Rosenbloom

Dark Archives: A Librarian's Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin

This is a truly innovative work that blends multiple genres including morality, murder, academics, history, and scientific discovery. Dark Archives hones in on the stories behind those who bind books with skin. Yes, you heard that right. 

This is a dark, twisted narrative that delves into the ethical, scientific, and mythical elements behind these extraordinary stories.

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

The Little Stranger (Movie Tie-In)

Set in the 1940s, this book tells the haunting story of a ghost-filled mansion in rural England. Following a doctor who arrives there to investigate reports, this book slowly unravels the secrets behind the creepy house and illuminates his gradual mental decay.

The Little Stranger is written by the same author who famously wrote Fingersmith and incorporates themes of friendship, romance, loss, and love.

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina: A Novel

This book interpolates spirituality, loss, love, and family relationships, into an eerie story that is grounded in secrecy. 

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina dives headfirst into the personal lives of different family members as they all try to uncover the weird secrets of Orquídea Divina, the mysterious woman who unites them all. 

Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield 

Once Upon a River: A Novel

This story follows three different families, united in their grief after they each lose a young girl. Uncovering the secrets hidden within these families, their religions, and their spiritual beliefs, Once Upon A River tells a curious story of mystery, death, and meaning.

This book is not grounded in horror but has a creepy undertone that runs throughout and its sheer mysterious and disturbing feel is what earns it a place on this list.

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story

Made popular by the film adaptation starring Daniel Radcliffe, The Woman in Black follows a normal solicitor called Arthur Kipps who is sent to a rural area to carry out the wishes of a client after her death. 

However, Kipps has no idea of the danger and tragedy that he is about to discover. A ghostly woman dressed in black from head to toe is the basis of this story but her power and influence over the minds of others are what makes this story so eerie and twisted. 

The Hunger by Alma Katsu

The Hunger

If you pick up any of the books on this list, let it be this one. The Hunger is one of the most spine-chilling books out there. You won’t want to read this one in the dark.

This is a horror-filled reimagining of the Donner Party, one of America’s most notable historical events. Travelers are driven to madness by mysterious disappearances, arguments, and the unexpected death of a young boy.

Something is watching them, or are they cursed? As more people disappear and suspicions grow, this soon becomes a fight for survival – but how can you survive this supernatural presence if you don’t know what it is or where it lurks?

Ring Shout by P. Djeli Clark

Ring Shout

Set in 1915, this book concentrates on the developing Ku Klux Klan, a demonic group of white supremacists that are eager to spread fear, gain influence, and feed on the vulnerable.

Ring Shout follows the battle between this group and the resistance. Evil lurks and war is looming but no one is prepared for what comes next and no one is safe.

The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher

The Twisted Ones

While clearing out her grandmother’s home following her death, Mouse finds a string of hidden secrets that hint at a group that lurks in the woods. With only the limited information she’s found in journals, Mouse must face the danger herself, driven more by curiosity than anything. But what she finds will change her life forever… that’s if she gets out alive. 

The Twisted Ones is eerie, gripping, and unpredictable, guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat until the very last moment.

The Terror by Dan Simmons

The Terror

The Terror is an immersive retelling of Captain Sir John Franklin’s failed expedition. He and his crewmen must face an unknown predator – a monster perhaps – that lurks behind the arctic ice. 

With attacks, deaths, and limited supplies, this is a terrifying story of survival and mystery, one likely to leave you confused, mesmerized, and keen for more. 

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

The Winter People: A Suspense Thriller

After a string of suspicious deaths starting in the early 1900s, West Hall, a small town in Vermont quickly gained a bad reputation. 

Now, Ruthie, a 19-year-old girl lives off the grid with Alice and Fawn, her mother and sister. When Alice suddenly vanishes, an in-depth search results in finding an age-old diary that contains the inner secrets and thoughts of one of the most mysterious deaths that occurred over a century prior. 

The Winter People beautifully merges history, crime, murder, and secrecy in one eerie story of age-old legend and mysterious murders.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved (Vintage Classics)

This isn’t the generic type of horror you may have been expecting but this harrowing and poetic narrative illuminates the exploitation, reality, and grief attached to slavery. Sethe, the story’s protagonist, is a slave, who escaped to Ohio. But years on, she remains chained to her experiences with slavery, through the haunting of her lost baby.

Beloved is one of the most important novels of its generation. It tells the horrors of slavery from an authentic and dark perspective and delves into the psychological impacts of a slavery survivor.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

See What I Have Done

In 1892, Andrew and Abby were murdered in their Massachusetts home. The circumstances were immediately deemed suspicious, and so an intricate investigation begins, unraveling the brutal realities of their family dynamic. 

See What I Have Done blends psychology, murder mystery, and domestic fragility. It delves into the internal thoughts of one particular character, uncovering the factors that make up a murderer.

The Poisoned Island by Lloyd Shepherd

The Poisoned Island: A Novel

The Poisoned Island is a mysterious tale that criticizes the methods of colonialism. Set in London in 1812, following the retrieval of several exotic plants from Tahiti in the late 1700s, the crew members slowly begin to die, creating one of the most intense investigations seen in the period. 

As the police uncover more information, the circumstances become vague and it soon becomes obvious that the deaths of a few sailors could have major impacts nationwide.

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Lovecraft Country: A Novel

This brilliant, racially-charged historical account is set in Chicago in 1954. Atticus, a 22-year-old Army veteran, travels across New England to find his father who mysteriously went missing. 

During their journey, they stumble across the Braithwaite manor, the site at which many of Atticus’s ancestors suffered under slavery. But the house is not an abandoned building. Instead, it holds terrifying secrets and is riddled with extraordinary spirits. Lovecraft Country is a heartbreaking story of two black families and through horror, emphasizes how strong the forces of racism still are within modern American society.

Shadows in Summerland by Adrian Van Young

Shadows in Summerland

Boston, 1859. Spiritual experts are popular and construct the perfect ground on which con artists can exploit. 

William is a known con man and with the help of Hannah, who can communicate with the dead, he seeks fame and riches. Shadows in Summerland will unearth a whole new eerie dimension to the afterlife. 

The Devils of D-Day by Graham Masterton

Devils of D-Day

In a small French town near the site of the D-Day landings, one black tank remains untouched 35 years after. Dan McCook, an American surveyor, is the first to peek inside, and releases the contents, knowing it will have devastating consequences for the rest of the world. 

The Devils of D-Day follows the events afterward, as the world quickly descends into chaos and a third world war seems inevitable. 

Final Thoughts

These books will immerse you within the creepiest periods of history and tell you toe-curling stories, whether fictional, myth, or grounded in reality, that will have you gripped until the very last page – that is if you don’t put them in the freezer first!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is horror always supernatural?

No, frequently the ‘horror’ aspect is generated through tense, twisted events or people that may not be real, but they’re definitely realistic.

Is there a sequel to Mexican Gothic?

Yes – Velvet Was the Night was released in 2021 and is set in 1970s Mexico.

Does Mexican Gothic come with any trigger warnings?

Sexual harassment, misogyny, murder, incest, gore, violence, child deaths, and racism are all featured in this book, so please only read it if you feel comfortable with these themes.

What’s the difference between the gothic genre and the horror genre?

Horror is often overtly scary and frequently incorporates supernatural elements, whereas gothic novels are typically creepy and are grounded in realism.

How many books has Silvia Moreno Garcia written?

She has written 23 books in total, all of which are highly recommended.

YouTube video
Colton Cowie