Every month, Fiction Affliction provides a handy reference of the science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy and paranormal romance, horror, and young adult paranormal coming out in the ensuing month. Today’s column examines URBAN FANTASY, HORROR, AND PARANORMAL ROMANCE.
The Symptoms: Despite rumors to the contrary, vampires just keep rising from the dead. And so do zombies. Werewolves are dwindling in numbers, angels have all but disappeared — but there still be dragon-shifters.
The Diagnosis: Fifty-three new books in these overlapping genres come out in October — 29 in urban fantasy and horror, and 24 in paranormal romance, with vampires putting a serious bite on all the other creatures out there.
The Cure: There are lots of monsters hanging around this month, so maybe take a light approach by checking out a couple of vampire Christmas anthologies (don’t think about it too hard), two Jane Austen-as-vampire books, or the titles-so-nuts-they-have-to-be-good: The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten or Real Werewives of Vampire County.
URBAN FANTASY AND HORROR
Dark magic, unknown enemies, monsters of every stripe — FBI profiler Jace Valchek has seen it all. In this parallel universe, shapeshifting werewolves and bloodthirsty vampires don’t even warrant a raised eyebrow. That is, until Jace has to face what life might look like as one of them. It starts off as just another run-of-the-mill assignment: to track down the rogue don of a mafia werewolf family before he upsets the delicate balance of the underworld. But Jace wasn’t counting on being bitten — and soon she’s fighting the growing wolf inside her with a startling antidote — vampirism. Fourth in the Bloodhound Files series.
In a dusty corner of a basement in a rambling Victorian house in northern New Hampshire, a door has long been sealed shut with 39 six-inch-long carriage bolts. The home’s new owners hope to rebuild their lives after Chip, an airline pilot, has to ditch his 70-seat regional jet in Lake Champlain. The body count? Thirty-nine. What follows is a story with a palpable sense of place, an unerring sense of the demons that drive us, and characters we care about. The difference this time? Some of those characters are dead.
Jackie Rutledge just cannot put her past to rest. Her Bureau partner is dead, but not gone. And her sanity is becoming as fragile as her career. Worst of all, a wrenching journey into Deadworld has given her unwanted new abilities — and exhuming memories she hoped to keep buried. Now a merciless force capable of possessing humans is on a killing spree, destroying the guilty and innocent alike. Second in the Jackie Rutledge series.
When Bonnie Grayduck relocates from sunny Santa Cruz, Calif., to the small town of Lake Woebegotten, Minn., to live with her estranged father, chief of the local two-man police department, she thinks she’’s leaving her troubles behind. But she soon becomes fascinated by another student — the brooding, beautiful Edwin Scullen, whose reclusive family hides a terrible secret. (Psst: they’re actually vampires. But they’re the kind who don’t eat people, so it’s okay.) But while Bonnie seems to her friends and family to be an ordinary, slightly clumsy girl, she’s not. This is a love story about monsters — and the vampire isn’t the monster.
Eleisha Clevon lives a quiet life in Portland, Ore. — for a vampire. She has learned to feed without killing humans and to train others of her kind. Now, a series of killings in England point to a new — and feral — vampire. Eleisha, Philip, and Wade travel to London to make contact with the terrified creature, to offer him sanctuary and stop the bloodshed. But the vampire they find is not what they expected.
In this all-new collection of urban fantasy stories, editors Martin and Dozois explore the places where mystery waits at the end of every alley and where the things that go bump in the night have something to fear. Includes stories by New York Times bestselling authors Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Diana Gabaldon, Simon R. Green, S. M. Stirling, and Carrie Vaughn, as well as tales by Glen Cook, Bradley Denton, M.L.N. Hanover, Conn Iggulden, Laurie R. King, Joe R. Lansdale, John Maddox Roberts, Steven Saylor, Melinda Snodgrass, and Lisa Tuttle.
It is 1810, and the Damned are out of favor — banished from polite society. Jane Austen’s old undead friends have become new neighbors, raising hell in her tranquil village just in time to interrupt Jane’s work on what will be her masterpiece. Suddenly Jane’s niece is flirting dangerously with vampires, and a formerly respectable spinster friend has discovered the forbidden joys of intimate congress with the Damned (and is borrowing Jane’s precious silk stockings for her assignations). Writing is simply impossible now. Second in the Immortal Jane Austen series.
After Hessius Mann was convicted of his wife’s murder, suppressed evidence came to light and the verdict was overturned — too bad he was already executed. But thanks to the miracles of modern science Hessius was brought back to life. Sort of. Now that he’s joined the ranks of Fort Hammer’s pulse-challenged population, Hessius attempts to make a “living” as a private investigator. But when a missing persons case leads to a few zombies cut to pieces, Hessius starts thinking that someone’s giving him the run-around — and it’s not like he’s in any condition to make a quick getaway. First in the Hessius Mann series.
Playing a scantily clad vampire victim in an off-Broadway play, struggling actress Esther Diamond now may be the target of someone who claims to be a genuine bloodsucker. Fourth in the Esther Diamond series.
In approximately 72 hours, a little-known Middle Eastern terrorist group plans to bring about the end of the world. Convinced they are the descendants of angels, they believe they are on the verge of at last being returned to heaven. Central to their plan is the kidnapping of Martin Faber, an undercover American scientist whose research has led him to an extraordinary secret. Martin’s only hope for survival is his young wife, Julia Alvarez — a woman born with a rare psychic gift. But she must find the courage to save her husband, all while running from religious extremists and clandestine government agencies.
One ordinary winter afternoon on a snowy island, Anders and Cecilia take their six-year-old daughter Maja across the ice to visit the lighthouse in the middle of the frozen channel. While the couple explore the lighthouse, Maja disappears — either into thin air or under thin ice — leaving not even a footprint in the snow. Two years later, alone and more or less permanently drunk, Anders returns to the island to regroup. He slowly realizes that people are not telling him all they know; even his own mother, it seems, is keeping secrets. What is happening in Domaro, and what power does the sea have over the town’s inhabitants?
Jeremiah Hunt has been broken by a malevolent force that has taken his young daughter and everything else of value in his life: his marriage, his career, his reputation. Desperate to reclaim what he has lost, Hunt finally turns to the supernatural for justice. Sacrificing his normal sight so that he can see the souls of the dead and the powers that stalk his worst nightmares, Hunt embarks upon a strange new career — a pariah among the living; a scourge among the dead; doomed to walk between the light of day and the deepest darkness beyond night. His love for his departed daughter sustains him when all is most hopeless, but Hunt is cursed by something more evil than he can possibly imagine.
Welcome to Parr’s Landing, Population 1,528 — and shrinking. The year is 1972. Widowed Christina Parr, her daughter Morgan, and her brother-in-law Jeremy have returned to the remote northern Ontario mining town, the place from which Christina fled before Morgan was born, seeking refuge. Dr. Billy Lightning has also returned in search of answers to the mystery of his father’s brutal murder. All will find some version of what they seek — and more. Built on the site of a decimated 17th-century Jesuit mission to the Ojibwa, Parr’s Landing is a town with secrets of its own buried in the caves around Bradley Lake.
Bound by his promise to Glaeken, Jack has refrained from making any direct moves against Rasalom. But things have changed so there’s nothing holding Jack in check any longer. Other changes are occurring as well. Jack is healing at an accelerated rate — much like Glaeken did when he was immortal. This can only mean that Glaeken’s time is almost up and when he dies, Jack takes his place. Rasalom continues to plot against the Lady. Twice she has died and returned; a third time and she will be gone, leaving a clear path for the Otherness to infiltrate this reality. But Ernst Drexler forms an uneasy alliance with Jack, while Dawn Pickering is searching for her supposedly dead baby. Now the stage is set for Jack’s massive assault on Rasalom. The final Repairman Jack novel.
All hail Sandman Slim, author Richard Kadrey’s ultra-extreme anti-hero and recent escapee from Lucifer’s overheated Underworld playground. Now, in Aloha from Hell, the ruthless avenger, a.k.a. Stark, finds himself trapped in the middle of a war between Heaven and Hell. With God on vacation, the Devil nosing around in Paradise, and an insane serial killer doing serious damage on Earth, Stark/Slim is ready to unleash some more adrenaline-surging, edgy and violent supernatural mayhem — and even pay another visit to Hell if necessary. Third in the Sandman Slim series.
Risa will go to any lengths to avenge her mother’s murder — even if it means making a pact with the most evil vampire she’s ever met. Lethal and powerful, Madeline Hunter is leader of the vampire council and will put her resources behind finding the killer — for a price. Someone — or something — is targeting the elders of the local council, cursing the immortal vampires to rapidly age, sink into madness, and die. Risa must track down the vengeful being responsible. But not even the great Madeline Hunter may be able to protect her from the shadowy forces that desire nothing less than Risa’s destruction. Second in the Dark Angels series.
King has been betrayed, but he has no time to lick his wounds — he has to draw his people together to fight the ultimate foe in this conclusion to the Knights of Breton Court trilogy. U.S. release.
When Emma’s relatives come to visit, they are freaked out by what they learn — Emma’s beloved, John Chen, is a 3,000-year-old Chinese god. Not only that, John is becoming weaker by the day. Demons pursue him relentlessly, hoping to use Emma and his child, Simone, as bargaining tools against him. Emma battles to defend Simone as John’s energy is drained by the effort of both living in the mortal world and protecting them. U.S. release. Third in the Dark Heavens series.
The Night Eternal begins where The Strain and The Fall left off: with the last remnants of humankind enslaved by the vampire masters in a world forever shrouded by nuclear winter. Still, a small band of the living fights on in the shadows, in the final book of the dark fantasy trilogy that Newsweek says is “good enough to make us break that vow to swear off vampire stories.” Final book in the Strain trilogy.
Thaddeus Blaklok — mercenary, demonist, bastard and thug-for-hire — is pressed into retrieving a mysterious key for his clandestine benefactors. Little does he know that other parties seek to secure this artefact for their own nefarious ends and soon he is pursued by brutal cultists, bloodthirsty gangsters, deadly mercenaries and hell-spawned monsters, all bent on stopping him by any means necessary.
Welcome to the Hollows — Kim Harrison’s shadow world of vampires, pixies, demons — and one unstoppable bounty hunter witch named Rachel Morgan. The Hollows Insider is a guide through the dark mysteries of this grimly twisted Cincinnati — featuring maps and illustrations, spells and character profiles, and much more, including an all-new Rachel Morgan short story.
Jacob Aldridge is still devastated by the death of his fiancee when he suddenly encounters her doppelganger. Livia Aram’s uncanny resemblance to the late Rhoda Carothers so transcends coincidence that Jacob becomes obsessed with her. The intensity of his passion terrifies her until her compassion is roused by his desperate plight. A demon is stalking him, a succubus-like entity that feeds on human pain and desire. With the help of Jacob’s sister, Cecily, and Livia’s guardian, the mysterious Dr. Chang, can they overcome the demon before all is lost?
A prison doctor injects a condemned serial killer with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake while his body rots in the grave. But all drugs have unforeseen side-effects. Before he could be buried, the killer wakes up. Hungry. Infected. Contagious. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang…but a bite.
Fifteen years ago, Teresa “Trance” West was a skilled telepath and a proud member of the Ranger Corps. But ever since the Rangers were inexplicably rendered powerless at the climax of the devastating Meta War, she’s bounced from one dead-end job to another. Now her powers have reappeared just as mysteriously as they vanished — only they’re transformed and more potent than ever. And they’re threatening to destroy her.
With the ring of sorrows still missing and the covenant between othernaturals and mortals broken, Chrysabelle and Malkolm’s problems are just beginning. Chrysabelle still owes Malkolm for his help, but fulfilling that debt means returning to Corvinestri, the hidden vampire city neither of them is welcome in. The discovery that Chrysabelle has a brother could mean reneging on her promise to Malkolm, something that might make him angry enough to loose the beast living inside him. Second in the House of Comarre series.
The human race is under siege — with shapeshifters, vampires, and half-blood werewolves freely prowling the streets of the world’s cities — and Full Bloods about to descend en masse from the dark wilderness. The police and the military are helpless, and only the Skinners can forestall the tactical nuke strikes the Army has planned as a last resort. Skinners, partners, lovers, Paige Strobel and Cole Warnecki know Armageddon is at hand, and seek a union with the mysterious European blood hunters, the Gypsy Amriany, as a final, desperate means to preventing the monster apocalypse. The final book in the Skinners series.
Jill Kismet is back from the grave in the final book of Lilith Saintcrow’s urban fantasy series. She wakes up in her own grave. She doesn’t know who put her there, she doesn’t know where she is, and she has no friends or family. She only knows two things: She has a job to do: cleansing the night of evil. And she knows her name. Sixth in the Jill Kismet series.
Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them, reading the shadows they leave behind. A Houston college student, McKenzie has worked for the fae king for years, tracking rebels who would claim the Realm. For just as long, she’s been in love with Kyol, the king’s sword-master — and relationships between humans and fae are forbidden. But any hope for a normal life is shattered when she’s captured by Aren, the fierce rebel leader, who tells her dark truths about the Court. Time is running out, and McKenzie must decide whom to trust and where she stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.
Jack Winter used to be a bad man, but he left black magic and wickedness behind him for a simpler life exorcising ghosts in London. Then Fiona Hannigan, the girl he abandoned to a life of depraved sorcery, turns up murdered, and it’s not long before Jack finds himself accused of the crime, along with three other slayings. Someone is hunting London’s black magicians — and they’ve decided Jack is going to pay the price. Running from the police and pursued by his own ghosts, Jack must go back to the supernatural underworld he left behind to find who wanted Fiona dead, who framed him for the deed and why the spirit of Aleister Crowley is turning up in his living room. An original novella in the Black London series.
Cursed by a Druid millennia ago, Roan lives a bleak existence in the Shadowlands, desperately trying to retain his soul and not succumb to the goblin horde. When a beautiful human summons him to grant a wish, he sees a glimmer of hope. But will she ever agree to be his queen?
This paranormal Jane Austen sequel by author Mary Lydon Simonson explores Mr. Darcy as the leader of a secret world of werewolves threatened with extinction. Elizabeth comes to realize that she loves him in both his incarnations, and all his servants protect his secret. But then Elizabeth must confront a shocking danger to her beloved with every full moon, when Darcy is alone and exposed to those who hate wolves.
Desperate to save his clan from deadly biological warfare, Dragonstar sentry Logan Kelly infiltrates the dangerous Wyvermoon clan by posing as a rogue dragon. But his plan is compromised when he falls for Cecily, the Wyvermoon queen. Third in the Dragon’s Heat series.
They soar through the night, unearthly creatures of legends and lore. Four masters of urban fantasy and paranormal romance explore the rapture of the heavens above, and the darkness below in four all-new stories of angels and guardians, and good and evil.
Dante Condellaire, heir to the Sicari Lords, knows that being a leader means sacrifice. For Dante, it’s relinquishing all erotic pleasures. But he never expected his willpower to be tested so fiercely by Cleopatra Vorenus, expert assassin of the Order, and daughter of the man he is positioned to succeed. Third in the Order of the Sicari series.
Rachel, a werewolf/accountant, is asked to keep one eye on Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor and the other peeled for a rogue werewolf who’s itching to start a war. But her attention is mostly on a sexy, mysterious stranger she wishes she could trust. A Wyndham Werewolf novel.
Adrian Mitchell is a powerful angel leading an elite Special Ops unit of Seraphim. His task is to punish the Fallen-angels who have become vampires — and command a restless pack of indentured lycans. But Adrian has suffered his own punishment for becoming involved with mortals — losing the woman he loves again and again. Now, after two hundred years, he has found her soul inhabiting a new body, with no memory of him. And this time, he won’t let her go. First in the Renegade Angels series.
Although he keeps company with a vampire and a were, human shaman Caleb O’Flare can definitely hold his own. But neither his psychic ability nor his healing powers can help his sexy-as-hell teammate, Wraith — a ghost with no memory of her human existence, who cannot experience touch without pain. No wraith has managed to exist past its tenth year, so her time is about to run out. She wants only two things before accepting her fate: to learn her human identity, and experience one night with Caleb. Second in the Para-Ops series.
Recently, Vampire Queen Carling’s power has become erratic, forcing her followers to flee. Wyr sentinel Rune is drawn to the ailing queen and decides to help find a cure for the serpent’s kiss — the vampyric disease that’s killing her. With their desire for each other escalating they will have to rely on each other if they have any hope of surviving. Third in the Elder Races series.
Teresa Santiago has awakened her abilities to summon lightning but is unable to control her power — or her attraction to Rune, her Eternal protector and destined partner. Now, Teresa and Rune must locate a missing artifact of unimaginable power before it unleashes the forces of darkness on the world. But with enemies both mortal and magical on their trail, Teresa and Rune discover that only through sacrifice will love conquer all. Second in the Awakening series.
Corazon Ferreira is a jaded woman. Turns out she was a vampire’s mate in a past life. And no matter how distractingly gorgeous he is, she just can’t get the image of him killing someone out of her head. But when her life depends on him, Corazon’s going to have to stop overthinking things, and start trusting her heart. Ninth in the Dark Ones series.
Within Meaghan Ballagh surges the blood of a sorceress whose ancient love for a druid ended in treachery. When Meaghan is thrust into the past, she feels the desire between the sorceress and the handsome druid once again rise inside her. To survive, she must piece together the history of the woman who haunts her and the man who needs her. Fourth in the Mists of Ireland series.
Kaia Verde is one of the four Faerie Handmaids of Zafira, Queen of the Fey. To redress an ancient wrong done to Zafira by a human king, the Handmaids make sport of mortal men, seducing and humiliating them. When Kaia sets out to seduce Garrett Jameson, but ends up being the one surrendering to pleasure, Zafira is furious. Kaia’s punishment is simple: make Garrett fall in love with her by the summer solstice, then break his heart, or face eternity without her wings — or her soul. Eventually, she discovers losing her wings may be a far easier price to pay than losing her heart.
When Abby Maddox’s grandfather swears he saw Bigfoot in the woods behind his Portland, Ore., home, his neighbors decide to bring in a prominent anthropologist to prove him wrong. Rather than see her grandpa made a laughingstock, Abby sets out to send the professor packing...until she sees how hot he is. Roark Wallace can’t risk having tourists comb the woods for Bigfoot, not with a local pack of werewolves to protect. When Roark meets Abby, sparks fly. But can he pursue this fiery redhead without compromising his pack? Second in the Wild About You series.
Despite the growing passion that unites them, all is not well between Elizabeth and Saloman. She refuses to follow him as he builds his influence among the human population and consolidates his rule over the vampire world. A shocking revolt is just the latest crisis that’s call him away. But under Saloman’s regime, vampires have become less concerned with secrecy. And after he joins forces with vampire hunters, Elizabeth begins to understand the inevitable collision of the two worlds. She could be a conduit between humanity and the undead — if she can manage to play both sides and stay alive. Third in the Awakened by Blood series.
Once upon a time, the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs, and time is running out. For practical Reda Weston, nothing could explain how reading a sexy version of “Little Red Riding Hood” catapulted her into another realm — face-to-fang with the legendary wolf-creature who seduced women. A wolf who transformed into a dark, virile man.
All they want for Christmas is you...It’s the time of year for twinkling lights on trees and kisses under the mistletoe. Yet the passing of another year means nothing to the stunning immortals who lurk in the shadows of the new-fallen snow. And they don’t care if you’ve been naughty or nice. Let four fanged lovers open your eyes to a passion you never dared to imagine. After all, there’s no place like home for the holidays–and these dazzling vampires can’t wait for an invitation.
A quartet of scandals and secrets, with “Where Darkness Lives” by Alexandra Ivy; “Murder on Mysteria Lane” by Angie Fox; “What’s Yours is Mine” by Jess Haines, and “Werewolves in Chic Clothing” by Tami Dane. The suburbs will never be the same.
From their first tantalizing touch, Jasmine knows he is different. What other lover could unlock her tight control, flood vampire senses jaded by a lifetime of decadent self indulgence? Centuries ago, when he disappeared without a trace, she had given up hope of ever fulfilling the promise of incomparable passion. But here he is, against the very laws of nature, ready to bring down their most vicious enemy, ready to bring her blood to the boiling point. Sixth in the Nightwalkers series.
Alexi O’Brien is pissed and will stop at nothing to locate her missing twin. Even when Alexi is abducted into a beautiful and highly sensual world, Alexi is determined to escape and resume her search for her sister — even though the dark and dangerous man who captured her excites her in unimaginable ways. King Darronn prefers his women submissive. His future queen is anything but. Whatever it takes, Darronn intends to convince the fiery and spirited Alexi that her body, heart, and soul belong to him.
Annie Lou Riddle had a plan: Move to New York City. Break into the fashion industry. Work her way to the top. Nowhere in that scenario did she expect to accidentally sell her soul in exchange for a job at Hot! Magazine. Demons, it seems, aren’t big on letting mortals off the hook. Now Annie is stuck working as assistant/personal slave to Finola White — diva extraordinaire, and glamorous she-devil.
Shattered by recent nightmarish events, Hawke feels his bond with his animal spirit weakening — and once it breaks, he’s finished. The arrival of Faith sends his life spinning even further out of control, for although she delights him and enflames his deepest primal passions, she’s promised to Maxim, the newest Feral Warrior. Though gravely damaged, Hawke is the only one who can end Faith’s slavery and protect the Feral Warriors from Maxim’s evil designs. Sixth in the Feral Warriors series.
In Lynsay Sands’ “The Gift,” Katricia Argeneau knows grey-eyed cop Teddy Brunswick is her life mate. She just needs to convince him they belong together, and being snowbound in a secluded cabin will make this a Christmas neither will forget. It’s “Home for the Holidays” in Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series. Cat and Bones may long to wrap presents and set up a tree, but this Christmas, an evil vampire and long-buried family secrets will threaten to take a bite out of their holiday cheer.
WANTED: Single human female to join charming, wealthy, single male were-cougar for a night of romantic fun — and maybe more. Me:The tall, sensuous, open-minded leader of my clan. You:A deliciously curvy virgin who’s intimately familiar with what goes bump in the night. Prefer a woman who’s open to exploring her animal nature. Interest in nighttime walks through the woods a plus. My turn-ons include protecting you from the worst the supernatural world has to offer. Ready for an adventure? Give me a call. Vampires and doppelgangers need not apply.
Author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good vampire. 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.