Every month, Fiction Affliction provides a handy reference of the upcoming month’s releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and young adult paranormal. Today’s column examines URBAN FANTASY and PARANORMAL ROMANCE.
The Symptoms: Avid readers of urban fantasy and paranormal romance have collapsed beneath the weight of August releases, buried under piles of vampires, demons and shapeshifters, with a few angels hovering overhead.
The Diagnosis: Fifty-three new urban fantasy (35) and paranormal romance (18) books weigh down the shelves in August, including 13 vampires, eight demons, seven shifters, four mages, three faeries, and dozens of miscellaneous immortals.
The Cure: Lots of strong coffee, some reading glasses, some silver bullets and a few wooden stakes. You’re gonna need them.
This anthology brings a myriad of modern fantasy voices under one cover. Urban fantasy is represented here in all three of its distinct styles—playful new mythologies, sexy paranormal romances, and gritty urban noir. Features stories by Emma Bull, Charles de Lint, Neil Gaiman, Jeffrey Ford, Peter S. Beagle, Kelley Armstrong, Norman Partridge, Carrie Vaughn, Patricia Briggs, Bruce McAllister, Suzy McKee Charnas, Francesca Lia Block, Thomas M. Disch, Susan Palwick, Holly Black, Steven R. Boyett, Joe R. Lansdale, Tim Powers and Al Sarrantonio.
A brand new adventure from the author of the Morganville Vampires and Weather Warden series. Bryn Davis is new on the job as a funeral director, and even she knows that once you’re dead, you ought to stay that way. But Fairview Mortuary has a hidden backroom business: reviving the dead for profit, at extortionate rates. Finding out could cost Bryn more than her life—it might just take away her death, too. First in the Rivivalist series.
Jewelry designer Garet James is still coming to terms with the fact she is the last in a line of women sworn to protect the world from evil. Now she has received a sign from Will Hughes, the 400-year-old vampire who once helped her defeat the evil threatening to destroy New York City. Hughes, tortured by his own violent history, has asked her to join him on a quest to rid himself of his curse of vampirism. While looking for Will in Paris, Garet encounters an ancient botanist metamorphosed into the oldest tree in Paris, a gnome who lives under the Labyrinth at the Jardin des Plantes, a librarian at the Institut Oceanographique, and a dryad in the Luxembourg Gardens. Each encounter leads Garet closer, but she realizes that she’s not the only one who’s trying to find the way to the magical world called the Summer Country.
The editors of Death’s Excellent Vacation bring home a new collection, including a new Sookie Stackhouse story. There’s nothing like home renovation for finding skeletons in the closet or otherwordly portals in the attic. Now, for any homeowner who’s ever wondered, “What’s that creaking sound?” Harris and Kelner return with an all-new collection of the paranormal perils of Do-It-Yourself with their own new stories plus offerings from Patricia Briggs, James Grady, Heather Graham, Melissa Marr, Seanan McGuire, E.E. Knight, S.J. Rozan, Stacia Kane, Suzanne McLeod, Simon R. Green, Victor Gischler and Rochelle Krich.
To a vampire, nothing is sweeter than bloodfairy essence—and Ember is the most sought-after fairy on the underworld circuit. Selling her blood to the highest bidder—and robbing her clients in the process. And if she hopes to survive, she needs protection. Diamond is a glassfairy who, for better or worse, knows his way around the vampire underworld. Smooth as silk and tougher than trolls, Diamond is Ember’s only chance to keep her magical blood inside her body. Fourth in the Shadowfae Chronicles series.
Recent World War II veteran Bull Ingram is working as muscle when a Memphis DJ hires him to find Ramblin’ John Hastur. The mysterious blues man’s dark, driving music—broadcast at ever-shifting frequencies by a phantom radio station—is said to make living men insane and dead men rise. Disturbed and enraged by the bootleg recording the DJ plays for him, Ingram follows Hastur’s trail into the strange, uncivilized backwoods of Arkansas, where he hears rumors the musician has sold his soul to the Devil. But as Ingram closes in on Hastur and those who have crossed his path, he’ll learn there are forces much more malevolent than the Devil and reckonings more painful than Hell.
Nola O’Grady and her sidekick, Ari Nathan, begin to realize that their anti-Chaos work in San Francisco is going to take them very far afield indeed. Second in the Nola O’Grady series.
All but five people in the world think Evy Stone is dead—immolated in a factory fire set specifically for her. Evy and Wyatt, her partner, 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—they can trust only each other. Because when the Triads raided a monster-filled lab of science experiments and hauled away the remnants, they failed to capture their creator: a vampire-obsessed scientist who most wants Evy Stone, the key to his ultimate experiment in mad science. Third in the Dreg City series.
Fallen angels in the form of vampires are infecting humans one by one, creating an army fit for Armageddon. Jesse Burke, driven by vengeance to destroy the vampiric angels, has been protecting New Orleans from the onslaught, unaware that she has a much greater destiny awaiting her in the face of the oncoming apocalypse. First in the Vampire Armageddon series.
After being shot in the back and dying—again—Greywalker Harper Blaine’s only respite from the chaos is her work. But while conducting a pretrial investigation in the Olympic Peninsula, she sees a ghostly car accident whose victim insists that he was murdered and that the nearby community of Sunset Lakes is to blame. Harper soon learns that the icy waters of the lake hide a terrible power, and a host of hellish beings under the thrall of a sinister cabal that will use the darkest of arts to achieve their fiendish ends. Sixth in the Greywalker series.
When a vital member of the British millennials’ mission goes missing after an intense firefight with Nazi-supported vampire hunters, Mors, the mission’s leader, vows to discover the truth. The search takes him from Berlin to his own ancient stomping grounds in Rome. But it will take collaboration with human partisans to achieve his goal, a dangerous alliance most vampires would never attempt, made more unstable by his growing love for the partisans’ beautiful and brave organizer, Giulia. As the Allies prepare to invade Italy, and hunters and Nazi-collaborators start to encircle Mors, a very different war is about to begin.
Stefan Korsak and his genetically altered brother have evaded the Institute for three years. When they learn the new location of the secret lab, they plan to break in and save the remaining children there. But one of the little ones doesn’t want to leave. She wants to kill. Second in the Chimera series.
Take a walk on the “wild side” of urban fantasy. When the werewolf cubs are asleep and the baby vamps are tucked into their coffins, the adults come out to play. Spend some quality time lolling in the moonlight shadows with a love that only comes out at night. From light-spirited romps to black-hearted noir, tales of love, eros, betrayal and seduction from authors Tanya Huff, Caitlin Kittredge, Toni L.P. Kelner, Dana Cameron, Sarah A. Hoyt, John Lambshead, Diana Rowland and Mark L. Van Name.
Alice Cameron is an archeoastronomer devoted to studying ancient Mayan culture. The era driving her career has always been the end of the Mayan baktun, so she’s on the Yucatan Peninsula in December 2012 with her daughter Nixie...and so are fellow serious scholars, plenty of end-of-the-world crazies, and, at an international summit, the U.S. president and other heads of state. When Nixie disappears into the past in the Mayan jungle, rationality and mysticism, the present and the past start merging. A savvy scientist, a handsome dreadlocked time-traveler, an ancient shaman, a noble Mayan couple, a computer nerd, and an 11-year old traverse the past and present in a search for the meaning of life and a way to save two worlds.
When Charley is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by her best friend, she can’t help but wonder what Cookie’s up to. Cookie explains that a friend of hers named Mimi disappeared five days earlier with only a single clue. Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. He’s left his body because he’s being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can’t let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they’ll have a portal to heaven. And if they have a portal to heaven... Well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty. Second in the Charley Davidson series.
A bastard hybrid of War of the Worlds and Night of the Living Dead, the Autumn series chronicles the struggle survivors are forced to contend with in a world torn apart by a deadly disease. In Autumn: Purification, the heroes from the original Autumn novel and Autumn: The City work together to survive in this horrifying new world. Without ever using the ‘Z’ word, the series offers a new perspective on the traditional zombie story. There’s no flesh eating, no fast-moving corpses, no gore for gore’s sake. Combining the atmosphere and tone of a George Romero film with the attitude and awareness of 28 Days Later, this novel is filled with relentless cold, dark fear. Third in the Autumn series.
The first story collection from Vaughn gives longtime fans a window into the origins of some of their favorite characters. In “Conquistador de la Noche,” we learn the origin story of Denver’s master vampire, Rick; with “Wild Ride,” we find out how Kitty’s friend T.J. became a werewolf; and in “Life is the Teacher,” we revisit Emma, the human-turned-unwilling-vampire who serves the aloof vampire Master of Washington, D.C. This collection includes two new works: “You’re On the Air,” about one of Kitty’s callers after he hangs up the phone; and the eagerly awaited “Long Time Waiting,” the novella that finally reveals just what happened to Cormac in prison, something every Kitty fan wants to know.
Edinburgh: 1828. In the starkly lit operating theaters of the city, grisly experiments are being carried out on corpses in the name of medical science. But elsewhere, there are those experimenting with more sinister forces. Among the crowded, sprawling tenements of the labyrinthine Old Town, a body is found, its neck torn to pieces. Charged with investigating the murder is Adam Quire, Officer of the newly formed Edinburgh Police. The trail will lead him into the deepest reaches of the city’s criminal underclass, and to the highest echelons of the filthy rich. Soon Quire will discover that a darkness is crawling through this city of enlightenment,and no one is safe from its corruption.
During the war against murderous, flesh-eating aliens, grimspace “jumper” Sirantha Jax decided to go it alone. The cost of her actions: the destruction of modern interstellar travel—and the lives of 600 Conglomerate soldiers. Now she’s on trial for dereliction of duty, desertion, mass murder, high treason—and her life. Fifth in the Sirantha Jax series.
Marie Brennan returns to the Onyx Court, a fairy city hidden below Queen Victoria’s London. Now the Onyx Court faces its greatest challenge. Seven years ago, Eliza’s childhood sweetheart vanished from the streets of Whitechapel. No one believed her when she told them that he was stolen away by the faeries. But she hasn’t given up the search. It will lead her across London and into the hidden palace that gives refuge to faeries in the mortal world. That refuge is now crumbling, broken by the iron of the underground railway, and the resulting chaos spills over to the streets above. Fourth in the Onyx Court series.
Emma Donahoe has just started her new job as nanny to Simone, the daughter of John Chen, a rich Hong Kong businessman. She understands that Simone may be a target for kidnappers, but she does not expect to be drawn into a world of martial arts, magic and extreme danger, where both gods and demons can exist in the mortal domain. When John and his American bodyguard, Leo, teach Emma their particular style of martial arts, they begin to realize that Emma herself is more than she seems. First in the Dark Heavens series.
Former car thief Ray Lilly is now the expendable grunt of a sorcerer responsible for destroying extradimensional predators summoned to our world by power-hungry magicians. Luckily, Ray has some magic of his own, and so far it’s kept him alive. But when a friend from his former gang calls him back to his old stomping grounds in Los Angeles, Ray may have to face a threat even he can’t handle. Third in the Twenty Palaces series.
A fatal incident at a medical facility sends U.S. government agents on the trail of Evangelina Scales—Jennifer’s sister and an extraordinary figure with deadly intent. But not everything is as it seems. Sixth in the Jennifer Scales series.
A literary mashup that rewrites Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations with Pip as a werewolf and Estella as a vampire slayer.
Having narrowly averted an (under)world war, Cat Crawfield wants nothing more than a little downtime with her vampire husband, Bones. Unfortunately, her gift from New Orleans’ voodoo queen just keeps on giving—leading to a personal favor that sends them into battle once again, this time against a villainous spirit. Sixth in the Night Huntress series.
Protecting Atlanta from the off-world criminals of Underground is tough enough, but now Detective Charlie Madigan and her siren partner, Hank, learn that the addicts of the offworld drug ash have begun taking their own lives. Ash makes humans the perfect vessels for possession, and something or someone is leading them to their deaths. Charlie is desperate to save her addicted sister, Bryn, from a similar fate. As New Year’s Eve approaches and time runs out, Charlie makes a deadly bargain with an ancient race of beings and embarks on a dangerous journey into hellish Charbydon with Hank and the Revenant Rex to save Bryn and make it back before it’s too late. Third in the Charlie Madigan series.
For as long as it has stood overlooking New England’s jagged coastline, Lexington House has been the witness to madness and murder. But in recent years the malice that once tormented so many has lain as silent. Until now. A member of the nation’s foremost paranormal forensic team, Jenna Duffy has made a career out of investigating the inexplicable. Yet nothing could prepare her for the string of slayings once again plaguing Lexington House, or for the chief suspect—a boy barely old enough to drive. Fourth in the Krewe of Hunters series.
The Ghost Finders answer a distress call from the private research center of one of the biggest drug companies in the world, where a team of police enforcement agents have vanished. They have no idea what they’re facing—except a deadline that threatens to remove the entire building from existence if they fail to get to the bottom of the mystery. Second in the Ghostfinders series.
Fans of Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series get an in-depth look at Sookie, her family, friends, enemies, adventures, and—of course—the lovers who set her world on fire. Readers can tour Bon Temps; read transcripts of Eric and Bill’s private conversations; examine all the branches of Sookie’s family tree; learn the fine points of the distinctions between vampire, shifter and fae; and get must-have Bon Temps recipes, including Caroline Bellefleur’s famous chocolate cake.
Pete Caldecott did everything she could to save Jack from Hell, even reigning in the dark machinations of the Morrigan to help bring him home. Still, Black London has not welcomed Jack back with open arms. So when a friend in Los Angeles asks for help tracking a sorcerous serial killer, Pete and Jack decide a change of scenery couldn’t hurt. But the shadow side of the City of Angels turns out to be more treacherous than they ever imagined. Fourth in the Black London series.
Cal MacDonnell is a happily married New York City cop with a loving family. Seth Raincrest is a washed-up photographer who has alienated even his closest friends. The two have nothing in common—except that they both suffer from retrograde amnesia. It’s as if they just appeared out of thin air thirteen years ago, and nothing has been able to restore their memories. Now their forgotten past has caught up to them with a vengeance. Cal’s and Seth’s lives are turned upside down as they are stalked by otherworldly beings who know about the men’s past lives. But these creatures aren’t here to help; they’re intent on killing anyone who gets in their way.
John Farrell is about to get “The Cure.” Old age can never kill him. The only problem is, everything else still can. Imagine a near future where a cure for aging is discovered and—after much political and moral debate—made available to people worldwide. Immortality, however, comes with its own unique problems, including evil green people, government euthanasia programs, a disturbing new religious cult, and other horrors.
Jane Boyle married her prince charming and moved into his Upper East Side castle—but it’s hard to live happily ever after when your controlling mother-in-law is literally a witch, determined to steal the magical powers you didn’t know you had. Jane narrowly avoided Lynne Doran’s clutches when she escaped on her wedding day, but she can’t hide forever. When Jane learns of the one thing Lynne wants most, she sets out to provide it, hoping her good turn will persuade her mother-in-law to stop hunting her. Unfortunately, Jane’s daring plan will send her right back into the witches’ den—the Doran clan’s multistory townhouse on Park Avenue. Second in the 666 Park Avenue series.
Carl meets Annie Risk and falls for her. Hurt by a recent relationship, she resists becoming involved. A chance find offers distraction when Carl stumbles across part of a map to an unknown town. He becomes convinced it represents the city of his dreams, where ice skaters turn quintuple loops and trumpeters hit impossibly high notes—where Annie Risk will agree to see him again. But if he ever finds himself in the streets on his map, will they turn out to be the land of his dreams—or of his nightmares?
After the death of Anna’s old vampire mentor causes ripples in the mortal world, Anna needs to lie low. But when Max—an FBI agent and Anna’s former flame—comes to her with reports that bodies are showing up on the Mexican border drained of blood, Anna has no choice but to get involved, both with the case and with the man who broke her heart. Seventh in the Anna Strong Chronicles series.
In this third installment of Chase’s paranormal trilogy, we meet witch Morgaine, who is deathly afraid of the dark, and her vigilante vampire neighbor Sly, who has his reasons for hating sunlight. Sly needs Morgaine’s magic to help heal a broken fang, but with further help (and sometimes hindrance) from the wacky apartment dwellers around them, they may become each other’s last hope for a normal life. Third in the Strange Neighbors series.
Acclaimed for her worldbuilding, in Kathryne Kenned’s new series love prevails over strife against all odds. The daughter of the Storm Lord, Cecily Sutton’s powers over sea and sky have put her life at risk. Giles Beaumont is reluctant to protect her, until he falls under her enchanting spell. Second in the Elven Lords series.
Hope appeared out of nowhere, naked and alone, a woman without a past. The only thing she knows is that she is imbued with a strange power. It’s in her blood. And two men want to posses it. One is Logan, a Sanguiner demon-fighter who needs Hope’s essence to survive. The other is Krag, a Synestryn lord whose desire is to enslave Hope, and drain her of the lifeforce. When Hope and Logan both fall prey to Krag, a powerful desire grows between them. But is it enough to thwart their captor’s diabolical plan and his demon warriors, and survive a vampire’s destiny written in blood? Fifth in the Sentinel Wars series.
Brooding and sexy Rafe Di Luca has returned to his family’s luxurious vineyard resort for one reason: to find out who attacked his beloved grandmother. His homecoming stirs up a decades-old feud, forcing him to work with Brooke Petersson, the woman he once seduced and betrayed—but never forgot.
Able to wield thunder and lightning, wyr sentinel Tiago Black Eagle has ruled the skies for centuries. His massive build and thunderous power make him one of the wyr’s best weapons. And he’s the one sent to protect Tricks, heir to the Dark Fae throne, when she’s almost assassinated in Chicago. Soon, Tiago and Tricks will fall prey to the stormy hunger that engulfs them—a passion that will shake the very foundation of all the worlds. Second in the Elder Races series.
A hired gunslinger, William Jessup Brady believed every life had a price—until in one single act of betrayal, he lost everything, including his life. Brought back by a Greek goddess as one of her Dark-Hunters, he gave his immortal soul for vengeance and swore he’d spend eternity protecting the humans he’d once considered prey. Orphaned as a toddler, Abigail Yager was taken in by a family of vampires and raised on one belief—Dark-Hunters are the evil who prey on both their people and mankind. She has spent her life eliminating the Dark-Hunters and training for the day when she’d meet the man who killed her family: Jess Brady. Twentieth in the Dark Hunter series.
Court seducer La Belle Coeur has met her match in Tristan, a Knight of the Round Table unafraid of blood—or lust. Joining to combat a werewolf wizard and sworn enemy of Arthur, they must put their lives on the line while coming to grips with the rising heat between them. Twelfth in the Mageverse series.
Laev T’Hawthorn, one of the highest nobles in the land, must rebuild his life after a devastating mistake. He married a woman he believed was his HeartMate, only to learn she was a greedy social climber. Abandoned at fifteen, Camellia Darjeeling values her independence above all. She’s fought to establish her own businesses, and trusting men, even her HeartMate, is too risky. When Camellia’s shady relatives are implicated in the theft of Laev’s property, the couple’s lives become entangled, bringing each to the brink of despair and passion—and a destiny they can’t avoid. Tenth in the Celta’s Heartmates series.
Meet the Alpha Pack, a top-secret military team of wolf-shifters fighting the most dangerous predators in the world, human and nonhuman. After a massacre leaves Jaxon Law crippled, he must relearn how to fight—and battle the anger and guilt threatening to overwhelm him. But when Jax rescues a beautiful woman who awakens his primal instincts, he is unprepared for the dangers that lie ahead. Soon he must decide if the deep connection he feels with Kira is worth defying the ultimate shifter law. First in a new Alpha Pack series.
Hector Dean is shaved, tattooed and totally ripped—and he has a deadly secret. He is a walking weapon, capable of killing with a single brush of his fingertips. Little wonder he’s determined to remain on his own. But Noelle Tremain is a temptation like no other. She is beautiful and rich, with a party girl smile that hides a shocking vulnerability, and from the beginning his sizzling attraction to her is undeniable. When a wealthy businessman is murdered in New Chicago’s seediest district, the two are partnered, and there’s no escaping what they both want. Sixth in the Alien Huntress series.
Nicolai the Vampire was renowned for his virility, but in a twist of fate “The Dark Seducer” has become a sex slave in the kingdom of Delfina—stripped of his precious timepiece and his memory. All that remains is a primal need for freedom, revenge—and the only woman who could help him. In her dreams, a wanton vampire calls to Jane Parker, drawing her to his dark sexuality and his magical realm. But for a human, all is not a fairy tale in Delfina. First in the Royal House of Shadows series.
Once the favorite son of the Lord of the Underworld, Lokan Krayl held enviable privileges and powers. Powers that led to a devastating betrayal—murder. Resurrected by his immortal brothers, Lokan is still trapped in purgatory. In order to find the truth about his death and who killed him, he must escape his prison. And there’s only one way out: through the 12 gates of his eternal enemy, Osiris. Bryn Carr, the woman who duped him once before, is his beautiful yet unwanted guide. Lokan must place his fate—and that of the mortal and immortal worlds in the hands of the one woman he can never trust. Fourth in the Otherkin series.
Most can’t touch the power. But Liv Warren is special—a paranormal tracker who follows the scent of blood. When a friend’s daughter goes missing, Liv has no choice but to find the girl. But that means trusting Cam Caballero, the former lover forbidden to her. Bound by oath and lost in desire for a man she cannot have, Liv is racing to save the child from a dark criminal underworld where secrets, lies, trauma and danger lurk around every corner...every touch...every kiss. And more blood will be spilled before it’s over. First in a new series.
The island of Rainshadow is home to the mysterious, privately owned woods known only as the Preserve. Now, after 15 years away, both Charlotte Enright and her teen crush, Slade Attridge, have returned. But will their psi talents and Slade’s dust bunny companion be enough to keep them from getting drawn into the darkness at the heart of the Preserve? Third in the Looking Glass series and the twelve Arcane Society novel by Jayne Ann Krentz writing as Jayne Castle.
After the man named Gabriel came to the Bloodlands, Mariah Lyander was forced to face her true nature, and the horrible things she had done. To redeem herself, she embarks on a quest to find a rumored cure for her were-creatures hoping to recover her own humanity—and Gabriel’s love. Second in the Bloodlands Trilogy.
Four novellas including “Vampire Fight Club” by Larissa Ione; “Darkness Eternal” by Alexandra Ivy; “Kane” by Jacquelyn Frank; and “Dragon on Top” by G.A. Aiken.
Talk about wedding crashers from hell. Keira Kelly and her sexy vampire king, Adam, are about to tie the proverbial knot—sort of—when an uninvited blood relative shows up to cast a long, dark shadow over the happy occasion. Adam’s brother Gideon comes bearing the one-size-fits-all gift of bad news: an ancient, convoluted Challenge thrown down upon the entire Kelly clan. It seems the dreaded forces of the Dark Fae have declared war on Keira’s family, and at stake is the land that is rightfully theirs. Fifth in the Blood Lines series.
By night, the winged warrior Antony Medichi fights the death vampires who threaten his world. By day, he hunts the rogue vampires who invade Mortal Earth. But deep in his heart rages the fiercest battle of all—his soul-searing passion for the one mortal he is sworn to protect. Parisa Lovejoy is so beautiful, and so powerful, that Antony cannot fight the feelings she arouses. But his unexpected love only intensifies his strength as her Guardian—a strength that is put to the ultimate test when Parisa is abducted. Third in the World of Ascension series.
Urban fantasy author Suzanne Johnson is warming up to demon romance but draws the line at zombie love. 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.