Fifteen new releases reimagine the past, or paranormal up a mystery to start the new year in this month’s genre-defying category. Look for series additions from Iver P. Cooper (1636); Karen White (Tradd Street); Victoria Laurie (Ghost Hunter Mystery); Peter Clines (Ex-Heroes); and E.D. deBirmingham (Mongoliad Cycle).
Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here.
Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
Two novellas in the Ring of Fire series. A cosmic catastrophe, the Ring of Fire, strands the West Virginia town of Grantville in the middle of Europe during the Thirty Years War. The repercussions of that event transform Europe and, in a few years, begin spreading across the world. By 1636, the Ring of Fire’s impact is felt across two great oceans, the Atlantic and Pacific. Stretching Out: The United States of Europe seeks out resources to help it wage war against the foes of freedom. Pioneers cross the Atlantic and found a new colony on the Wild Coast of South America. Rising Sun: In 1633, the wave of change emanating from the Ring of Fire reaches Japan. Japan pulls back from a policy of isolation and stakes out its own claim in the brave new world created by the Ring.
Samuel Hawkins, Sergeant in the King’s Sentry, has been called in to investigate a murder case. As he awaits the Archivists to arrive, the team who will use a special device to extract the memories of the dead man to help find clues to his murder, he never expects to come face to face with the woman he’d left behind when he’d fled the Archives. Piper Smith has grown into a strong woman and full-fledged archivist. As the two begin working together to find the killer, Samuel and Piper explore their attraction. “Jack the Ripper” proves to be harder to catch than they thought. They discover he may work for the Archives. Samuel and Piper must battle internal and external threats as they try to foil a plot against the Crown and stop Jack the Ripper from taking his next victim.
Things are very different, better, for Sarah and her family. After growing up in the free country of the Pacific Northwest, Sarah Parsons has settled in at Amber House, the stately Maryland home that’s been in her family for generations. It’s a place where the colonists lost the 1776 Insurrection, where the American Confederation of States still struggles with segregation, and where Sarah is haunted by echoes of a better world that she knows never existed. Her friend Jackson shares these visions of a different world, and together, they manage both to remember the way things ought to be, and to plan a daring mission that will reset the universe. Sarah must figure out what has changed, and why, and how she can fix it, how she can find her way to another otherwhen.
Melanie is only going through the motions of living since refusing Jack’s marriage proposal. She is completely unprepared for motherhood, and she struggles to complete renovations on her house on Tradd Street before the baby arrives. When Melanie is roused one night by the sound of a ghostly infant crying, she chooses to ignore it. Until the remains of a newborn are found hidden in the foundation of her house. As the hauntings on Tradd Street slowly become more violent, Melanie decides to find out what caused the baby’s untimely death, uncovering the love, loss, and betrayal that color the house’s history. Can she seek Jack’s help without risking her heart? Melanie awakens the malevolent presence that has tried to keep the truth hidden for decades.
London 1888. His Majesty’s airships troll the sky powered by antigrav liftwood as a cabal of Iron Lords tightens its hold on a Britain choked by the fumes of industry. Mars has been colonized, and clockwork assassins stalk the European corridors of power. The Old Man of the Mountains plots the end of the world with his Forever Engine. Enter Jack Fargo. Former special forces operator in Afghanistan. A man from our own near future thrust back in time. Aided only by an elderly Scottish physicist, a young British officer of questionable courage, and a beautiful but mysterious spy for the French Commune, Fargo is a man on a mission: save the future from irrevocable destruction when the Forever Engine is brought to full power and blows this universe, and our own, to smithereens.
On a well-deserved hiatus from the ghoulish grind of their TV show, Ghoul Getters, psychic medium M. J. Holliday, her boyfriend, Heath, and her best friend, Gilley, are back home in Boston. But there’s no rest for the weary ghost busters. M. J.’s ex comes to her for help, his fiancée’s brother Luke seems haunted by a sinister spirit. The crew sets up surveillance cameras to watch for the possessive poltergeist while Luke is sleeping. But when he goes outside in the middle of the night and returns hours later covered in blood, they are all very concerned, especially when the news reports the murder of a young woman in the neighborhood. Now M. J., Heath, and Gilley must remain self-possessed as they try to stop a wicked ghost whose behavior is anything but neighborly.
Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her “our little genius.” Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad. (Digital)
George Bailey is just an ordinary man. Five days a week he coaxes his old Hyundai to life, curses the Los Angeles traffic, and clocks in at his job as a handyman at the local college. But when he sleeps, George dreams of something more. George dreams of flying. He dreams of fighting monsters. He dreams of a man made of pure lightning, an armored robot, a giant in an army uniform, a beautiful woman who moves like a ninja. Then one day, a pale girl in a wheelchair tells George of another world, one in which civilization fell to a plague that animates the dead, and in which George is no longer a glorified janitor, but one of humanity’s last heroes. As George’s dreams and his waking life begin bleeding together, he starts to wonder, which is the real world?
Spademan used to be a garbage man. That was before the dirty bomb hit Times Square, and before the city became a bombed-out shell of its former self. Now he’s a hitman. In a New York City split between those who are wealthy enough to “tap into” a sophisticated virtual reality for months at a time and those left to fend for themselves in the streets, Spademan chose the streets. He finds that killing people for money is not that different from collecting trash, and the pay is better. His latest client hires him to kill the daughter of a powerful evangelist. His mark has a shocking secret and his client has an agenda far beyond a simple kill. Spademan must navigate the dual levels of his world to finish the job, to keep his conscience clean, and to stay alive.
No new releases.
A different kingdom of wolves, woods and stranger, darker, creatures lies in wait for Michael Fay in the woods at the bottom of his family’s farm. Michael Fay is a normal boy, living with his grandparents on their family farm in rural Ireland. In the woods there are wolves; and other things, dangerous things. He doesn’t tell his family, not even his Aunt Rose, his closest friend. And then, as Michael wanders through the trees, he finds himself in the Other Place. There are strange people, and monsters, and a girl called Cat. When the wolves follow him from the Other Place to his family’s doorstep, Michael must choose between locking the doors and looking away, or following Cat on an adventure that may take an entire lifetime in the Other Place.
Rome was the center of the most powerful empire the world had ever seen, but that didn’t stop it falling to Alaric the Goth, his horde of barbarian tribesmen and their wild spell-casting shamans. The victors carved up the empire into a series of bickering states which were never more than an insult away from war. A thousand years later, and Europe has become an almost civilized place. The rulers of the old Roman palatinates confine their warfare to the short summer months and trade flourishes along the rivers and roads. Even the barbarians’ gods have been tamed. But it looks like the gods are going to have the last laugh before they slip quietly into ill-remembered obscurity.
In the Provincial Union of Victoriana, a steampunk America that lost the Revolutionary War, Charmian “Kit” Kittredge makes her living investigating crimes of magic. She follows mysteries wherever they lead. Kit doesn’t believe in magic, but she can’t refuse to help Lady Diana Walsh, who claims a curse is viciously wounding her while she sleeps. Kit becomes convinced that the attacks are part of a more ominous plot. Kit must also skirt the attentions of a nefarious deathmage and the scrutiny of the police chief inspector. Unwilling to surrender to either man’s passion for her, Kit struggles to remain independent as she draws closer to the heart of the mystery. The truth promises to ruin her life, and turn Rumsen into a supernatural battleground from which no one will escape.
Rudi is a cook in a Kraków restaurant. But when his boss asks Rudi to help a cousin escape from the country he’s trapped in, a new career, part spy, part people-smuggler, begins. Europe has fractured into countless tiny nations, duchies, polities and republics. Recruited by the shadowy organization Les Coureurs des Bois, Rudi is schooled in espionage. When a training mission to The Line, a sovereign nation consisting of a trans-Europe railway line, goes wrong, he is arrested, beaten and Coureur Central must attempt a rescue. He is sent to smuggle someone out of Berlin and finds a severed head inside a locker instead. Rudi begins to realize that underneath his daily round of plot and counter plot, behind the conflicting territories, a different reality might be pulling the strings.
Ocyrhoe, a young, cunning fugitive from Rome, safeguards a chalice of subtle but great power. Finding herself in France, she allies with the persecuted, pacifist Cathar sect in their legendary mountaintop stronghold, Montségur. There she resists agents of the Roman Church and its Inquisition, fights off escalating, bloody besiegement by troops of the King of France, and shields the mysterious cup from the designs of many. Percival, the heroic Shield-Brethren knight from The Mongoliad, is also drawn to Montségur, where the chalice holds the key to his destiny. Arrayed against Percival and Ocyrhoe are enemies both old and new. who are determined to reveal the secrets of the Shield-Brethren with the hope of destroying the order once and for all.
Chiliad consists of two interrelated stories, stories filtered through the melancholy imagination of a narrator perched on the banks of a river that flows backward and forward through time. The first movement, Men and Sin, takes place in the millennial year of 1000 AD. The second, A Moment at the River’s Heart, occurs exactly one thousand years—the length of a chiliad—later. At the heart of these stories are two savage, seemingly inexplicable atrocities, each of which reaches across the centuries to reflect and connect with the other.
Author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good dystopia. Her Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series continued this fall with the release of Elysian Fields. You can find Suzanne on Twitter and on her daily speculative fiction blog, Preternatura.