Fiction Affliction is a monthly column written by Royal Street author Suzanne Johnson that examines upcoming releases by genre or sub-genre. Check back every day this week for coverage of July releases in science fiction, fantasy, and young adult paranormal. Today’s column examines new releases in URBAN FANTASY and PARANORMAL ROMANCE.
The Symptoms Romance withers as the tough guys (and girls) of urban fantasy have too many preternatural butts to kick to take time off for the mushy stuff.
The Diagnosis Thirty-eight new urban fantasy (30) and paranormal romance (eight) books battle their way through July, including a certain Chicago wizard who’s just a ghost of his former self.
The Cure Even without his magic, Harry Dresden can take you down. And if a ghost doesn’t do it for you, there are legions of new zombies shuffling along in Urban Fantasyland.
Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband’s past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux’s latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines, and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant. Fourth in the Parasol Protectorate series.
The Palatine Guard—a powerful secret demon-hunting unit of the Vatican—has hired Meena Harper to work at their new branch in Lower Manhattan. With Meena’s ability to predict how everyone she meets will die, the Palatine finally has a chance against the undead. But Meena isn’t the Palatine’s only hope. Father Henrique, New York City’s youngest, most charming priest, has also been assigned to the case. So why doesn’t Meena trust him? As she begins unraveling the truth, Meena finds her loyalties tested, her true feelings laid bare, and temptations she never imagined impossible to resist. Second in the Insatiable series.
It was called the New Badlands, home to the survivors of a cataclysm that altered the entire nation. Then the vampires arrived, and it was rechristened the Bloodlands. Not because of the vampires, but because of the gun-for-hire who’d decided to slay every monster in the country by any and every means necessary. Author Cody writes the Vampire Babylon series under the name Chris Marie Green.
Twenty paranormal authors contribute to this collection of original stories, including Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Delia Sherman, Ellen Kushner, Peter S. Beagle, Lavie Tidhar, Melissa Marr, Holly Black, Christopher Fowler, Richard Bowes, Pat Cadigan, Naomi Novik, Matthew Kressel, Kit Reed, Nathan Ballingrud, John Crowley, Jeffrey Ford, Lucius Shepard, Caitlin Kiernan, and Elizabeth Bear.
Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor thought she couldn’t die. So what’s she doing in the morgue? It could have something to do with a time-traveling trip she made, and a foe with a wicked agenda that could finally be the real death of Betsy—if she’s not careful. Tenth in the Undead series.
The morning the world ends, Katie is getting ready for court and housewife Jenni is taking care of her family. Less than two hours later, they are fleeing for their lives from a zombie horde. Thrown together by circumstance, Jenni and Katie become a powerful zombie-killing partnership, mowing down zombies as they rescue Jenni’s stepson from an infected campground. They find sanctuary in a tiny, roughly fortified Texas town—only it doesn’t provide refuge for long. First in the As The World Dies trilogy.
Cicely Waters had always thought she was simply one of the magic-born—a witch who can control the wind—but recently she discovered she’s also one of the shifting Fae. Now she must perfect her gift. Because Cicely and her friends may have escaped from Myst and her Shadow Hunters, but Myst has managed to capture the Fae Prince who holds Cicely’s heart. Second in the Indigo Court series.
After a few bumps, Shia is ready to get serious with sexy werewolf Chaz. That means bringing his entire pack along for a full-moon weekend in the Catskills. Soon after they arrive, threatening notes appear, then their cabin is ransacked. As rumours about her vampire connections arouse the pack’s hostility, Shia has to contend with other, potentially fatal dangers. Third in the H&W Investigations series.
Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully—he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare. Things are heating up in Atticus’s home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters are running rampant. Despite portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plain of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself. Third in the Iron Druid Chronicles series.
Madeline Black is an Agent of death, meaning she escorts the souls of people who have died to the afterlife. But deaths are occurring contrary to the natural order, Maddy’s being stalked by foes inside and outside of her family, and her two loves—her bodyguard, Gabriel, and her doughnut-loving gargoyle, Beezle—have disappeared. But because Maddy is Lucifer’s granddaughter, things are expected of her, things like delicate diplomatic missions to other realms. Second in the Madeline Black series.
Alex allowed a case involving murdered vamps to get personal and is suspended from the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigation. Now she’s facing an official inquiry but has a chance to redeem herself. The catch: She must once again work with Varik Baudelaire, her former mentor and ex-fiancé, as he spearheads a search for a missing college student. But Varik has been keeping secrets from Alex, and his mysterious past is on a collision course with his present. Second in the Alexandra Sabian series.
Since being gifted—or cursed—with the ability to touch a lifeless body and relive the deceased’s final moments, Olivia Wainwright has died a hundred deaths. Though he doesn’t believe in psychics, Savannah Detective Gabe Cooper offers her a glimmer of light. As their bond deepens, Gabe can’t refuse when she needs his help solving a crime that’s haunted her for over a decade—her own murder. Second in the Extrasensory Agents series.
Sarah Beauhall is a blacksmith, has a night job as a props manager for a low-budget movie, and spends her free time fighting in a medieval re-enactment group. On top of all this, Sarah has managed to reforge an ancient sword that everyone suddenly wants—and those who don’t want the weapon want Sarah to take on her destiny and become humanity’s saviour. As Sarah tries to make her way in this new world, she discovers just how little she knows of reality. Fairies and dwarves and giants abound, and the fault line of the Pacific Northwest is rife with ancient Norse magic. Second in the Black Blade series.
After a month of downtime, Grave Witch Alex Craft is ready to get back to solving murders by raising the dead. With her love life in turmoil, Alex is eager for the distractions of work. But when her new case forces her to overuse her magic, it might be the last mystery the Grave Witch ever gets to solve. Second in the Alex Craft series.
Cassandra Archer is the Huntress. She has faithfully served the Earth Mother for years, rescuing kidnapped children from monsters, both human and supernatural, dwelling in the ruins of the Barrows District. But when two children are kidnapped under similar circumstances, all clues point to a cataclysmic event on the next dark moon. Now Cass must race against the clock and prevent a sacrifice that could destroy the entire town.
Jillian Conrad’s blood has killed the vampire king. Now an enemy to all vampires, she is targeted for elimination. So is the infant daughter of the dead king. If Jillian doesn’t stand in the way of her death, then everyone, living or dead, is in great peril. Second in the Nightshade series.
Teenage delinquent Angel Crawford lives with her redneck father in the swamps of southern Louisiana. She’s a high school dropout, addicted to drugs and alcohol, and has a police record a mile long. But when she’s made into a zombie after a car crash, her addictions disappear, except for her all-consuming need to stay “alive.”
Jesse James Dawson is a Champion, putting his life on the line for those foolish enough to bargain with demons and fighting to save their souls. But even a Champion needs some downtime, so Jesse takes his annual camping trip to Colorado for some male bonding over friendly games of paintball. Unfortunately, the fun and war games are interrupted by a pack of creatures summoned up from the very depths of hell by an entity Jesse prayed he’d never see again. Second in the Jesse James Dawson series.
Charlotte Caine isn’t called “the Vampire Chef” because she’s a member of New York’s undead community. She just cooks for them. Her restaurant, Nightlife, is poised to take the top slot in the world of “haute noir” cuisine. But when a drunk customer causes a scene, a glowing review from the city’s top food critic doesn’t seem likely, especially when that customer winds up dead on Nightlife’s doorstep. First in the Vampire Chef series.
None who enter The World House leave it unchanged. In some rooms, forests grow; animals roam and objects come to life. Great secrets and treasures await the brave or foolhardy. And at the very top of the house, the prisoner it was all built to contain sat behind a locked door waiting for the key to turn. The day that happened, the world ended. Second in the World House series.
Savannah Levine is in terrible danger, and for once she’s powerless to help herself. At the heartbreaking conclusion of Waking the Witch, Savannah swore that she would give up her powers if it would prevent further pain for a young orphan. Little did she know that someone would take her up on that promise. Now, witch-hunting assassins, necromancers, half-demons, and rogue witches all seem to be after her. The threat is not just for Savannah; every member of the Otherworld might be at risk. Twelfth in the Women of the Otherworld series.
When we last left wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn’t doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin. But being dead doesn’t stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has nobody, and no magic, to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own. To save his friends—and his own soul—Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic. Thirteenth in the Dresden Files series.
Earl Harbinger may be the leader of Monster Hunter International, but he’s also got a secret. Nearly a century ago, Earl was cursed to be werewolf. When Earl receives word that one of his oldest foes, a legendarily vicious werewolf that worked for the KGB, has mysteriously appeared in the remote woods of Michigan, he decides to take care of some unfinished business. But another force is working to bring about the creation of a whole new species of werewolf. When darkness falls, the final hunt begins, and the only thing standing in their way is a handful of locals, a lot of firepower, and Earl Harbinger’s stubborn refusal to roll over and play dead. Third in the Monster Hunter International series.
As a Shadowchaser, Kira Solomon has been trained to serve the Light, dispatch the Fallen, and prevent the spread of chaos. It’s a deadly job, and Kira knows the horror of spilling innocent blood. But now she has a new role, as the Hand of Ma’at, the Egyptian Goddess of Truth and Order, and an assignment that might just redeem her. A fellow Shadowchaser has gone missing, and so has a unique artifact imbued with astonishing magic. Unless the Vessel of Nun is returned, it will cause destruction beyond anything the modern world has seen. Third in the Shadowchasers series.
Senator Howard Stark wants to be president of the United States. So does the demon inside him. With the competing candidates dropping out due to scandal, blackmail, and ‘accidental’ death, Stark looks like a good bet to go all the way to the White House. Occult investigator Quincey Morris and white witch Libby Chastain are determined to stop him. But between them and Stark stand the dedicated agents of the U.S. Secret Service—and the very forces of Hell itself. Third in the Quincey Morris series.
Evy Stone is a former Dreg Bounty Hunter who died and came back to life with some extraordinary powers. Now all but five people think she is dead. Evy and Wyatt, her partner/lover/friend, can no longer trust their former allies, or even the highest echelons of the Triads—the army of fighters holding back from an unsuspecting public a tide of quarreling, otherworldly creatures. Because when the Triads raided a macabre lab of science experiments, they failed to capture their creator: a brilliant scientist with a wealth of powerful, anti-Dreg weaponry. Third in the Dreg City series.
Sasha’s only friends at university start disappearing, and she realizes her British companion, Jack, has a lot of secrets. Sasha and Jack try to stop a war brewing between the three empires, but end up pursued by the terrifying Dame Florence Nightingale of the British Secret Service. They escape to China, where Sasha discovers Jack is not quite the person she thought he was—but then again, neither is she.
It’s been three months since musician Miranda Grey became a vampire and married David Solomon, Prime of the South. As Queen, Miranda must quickly come to terms with her new role and learn how to negotiate the treacherous waters of Signet politics, inevitably making dangerous enemies along the way. As if complicated vampire politics and a rising music career weren’t enough, an enigmatic but powerful force from David’s past appears, leaving a wake of chaos and uncertainty for the pair’s fledgling relationship. Second in the Shadow World series.
Decades ago a young rock and blues guitarist and junkie named Niko signed in blood on the dotted line and in return became the stuff of music legend. But when the love of his damned life grows mortally and mysteriously ill he realizes he’s lost more than he bargained for. Niko sets out on a harrowing journey from the streets of Los Angeles through the downtown subway tunnels and across the red-lit plain of Hell to play the gig of his mortgaged life and win back the purloined soul of his lost love. Limited edition release.
Chivalry is far from undead. Matthew Halkett, Earl of Blodswell, is one of the few men in the ton who can claim to be a knight in shining armor—because that’s precisely what he was before being turned into a vampyre. When he spies a damsel in distress in the midst of a storm in Hyde Park, his natural instinct is to rush to her aid. But not every woman needs to be rescued. Weather-controlling witch Rhiannon Sinclair isn’t caught in a storm—she’s the cause of it. Second in the Regency Vampyre trilogy.
It’s okay that no one remembers Etruscan Sun goddess Tessa. But when a demon threatens her life, she must turn to mythology’s darkest warrior for protection. Caligo of the Cimmerians has never met a woman as warm, sunny and inviting as Tessa. Their sizzling mutual attraction quickly sweeps the two of them into a love story that’s worthy of the gods. First in the Forgotten Goddesses series.
He’s just about the hottest warrior she’s ever seen. Reina Fleming really appreciates a man who’s on a mission—especially when he’s a badass warrior doing his best to impress her. And Jarvis is charmed by the way Reina’s magic touch can soothe his dark side. But when Jarvis’s attention puts her job, her home, and her family in danger, Reina has to decide whether love is worth the price. Second in the Soulfire series.
Fallen angels rule Moscow’s seedy underworld, promising untold pleasure to the females who dare to mate them. That promise—and Brends Duranov’s own raw sexual power—has hopefuls mobbing the velvet rope outside his elite club G2’s. But Mischka Baran has no intention of hooking up with one of the Fallen. She’s after information. What she doesn’t know is that with a sadistic killer carving up his brethren, Brends is hunting the one woman whose bond can restore his lost wings. First in the Fallen series.
Gillie is a fugitive, determined never to be bound again. Because of her special gift, her former captors intend to retrieve her—by any means necessary. Taye can’t remember much about his past, but with a bounty hunter hounding them, he’ll do anything to assure Gillie’s safety and preserve her innocence—for himself. Fourth in the Skin series.
As servant to vampire mistress Lady Daniela, Elisa is unwaveringly devoted—but she recoils at one shocking request: destroy the untamed, undead children entrusted to her care. There is one desperate option: Malachi, a Native American vampire who is a legend for his work with rehabilitating feline predators. And as Malachi struggles to control the young ones’ impulses, he opens himself up to those of Elisa and the passion they share for the night could seal their fates forever. Seventh in the Vampire Queen series.
Detective Charlotte Caissie is suddenly sharing drawer space and making media news with her shapeshifter lover Max Savoie. Knowing the reformed mobster is determined to be accepted by her peers, how can she ask him to return to his criminal roots to help her solve a complex case? In calling on Max to use his preternatural talents to aide a hated enemy, she crosses a line that strains their relationship to its limits. Book four in the Moonlight series.
After six months in hell, Julian Castille has returned to the world a changed man—no longer the calm, powerful CEO, but a shifter fully embraced by the blood of his clan. Julian has one goal: find the key to the portal that stands between the human realm and unprecedented darkness, in order to win back the pieces of his soul. The last thing he needs is a distraction like the beautiful, enigmatic Jaden DaCosta. And as they fight for their immortal souls, their insatiable desire for each other may prove their fatal undoing. Third in the Jaguar Warriors series.
Urban fantasy author Suzanne Johnson finds demonic romance vaguely unsettling. Her new urban fantasy series, scheduled to begin with the release of Royal Street in April 2012 by Tor Books, is set in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. Find Suzanne on Twitter.